Restoring Victorian Grade II Listed Building Floor for Persimmon Homes

Earlier this year we had the privilege to be involved in the restoration of a large Victorian tiled hall at Stone Cross Manor in Ulverston which is being sympathetically redeveloped into nineteen apartments by Persimmon Homes at a reported cost of £4 million. The magnificent Grade II-listed stately home was built in 1874 for Myles Kennedy who was a Limestone Quarry owner and chairman of an Ironworks.

The property continued to be occupied by the Kennedy family until 1943 when it was requisitioned by the military who then sold it to Lancashire County Council in 1946. The council used it as a boarding school for some decades and allegedly had the central oak staircase removed so the hall could be used to play indoor football. Since that time, it has had different owners and states of disrepair until finally being acquired by Persimmon who contacted us to quote for restoring the floor to its former glory. This would be no easy task and would require plenty of help. However, we are a resourceful bunch and being part of a large network of Tile Doctors means we were able to draft in other Tile Doctors to assist.

Stone Cross Manor Ulverston

Before we took the job on, I went over to survey the floor and was immediately taken aback by the sheer size and scale of the project. The impressive Victorian hall has now had its large wooden staircase rebuilt and this sits in the centre of a series of architectural stone columns.

The floor was in a sorry state though and it certainly had a story to tell. At some point in its long history sections of the beautiful Victorian tiles had been cut out for the installation of central heating and then back filled with cement. There were also other areas that had been given the same treatment for some inexplicable reason. I suspect that the floor must have been covered in carpet during its later life to hide the mess.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall Before Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall Before Restoration

The biggest problem was the realisation that with so many tiles missing the only way we could get exact duplicates would be to have them made by a company such as Craven and Dunhill. They are specialist tile manufacturer who date back to 1872 and can reproduce old tiles using the same tones and colours to match the originals. This was a high spec job, so this was the right approach however the price for the moulds and the time needed to manufacture threatened to push the cost of renovating the floor off the scale.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall Before Restoration

We discussed this with the developer and manged to come to a compromise by reusing tiles from another room in the property. Many of the tiles in that room had been damaged and were beyond restoration however there were enough tiles in good condition to fulfil our requirements in the main hall. They would have to be carefully lifted and cleaned but the tiles matched the colour and tone, size and texture to the main hallway perfectly. When you look at the before and after pictures on this page you will really struggle to see any difference and this is rare on old floor like this, the only exception being the black tiles underneath the radiators where a matching tone wasn’t available.

Rebuilding a Large Victorian Tiled Floor

The first week was spent lifting and replacing broken tiles, it was a large floor area of about 120m2 which was set to be the main showpiece of the building, so it had to be right. As part of the floor prep it was also necessary to level parts of the floor with the application of a a self-levelling compound. We brought in Cardiff Tile Doctor Julian Iaconno to run this part of the job, he is an absolute master tiler and one of the best Victorian Tile installers in the country. At one point there was three of us working on the floor in order to keep to schedule.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration

Deep Cleaning a Large Victorian Tiled Floor

The second week was spent cleaning the floor various Diamond burnishing pads, moving though increasingly finer girts until we achieved the desired finish. We also used a lot of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up and Pro-clean to remove the old grout and dirt from the recycled tiles. As is always the case on a building site you get a lot of tradesmen who like to have a look at what we have done and walk all over our nice clean tiles, thus leaving dusty footprints everywhere. I must give credit to the Site Foreman for keeping these guys out although best intentioned they weren’t helping with the cleaning process, so all doors were locked off and access was limited to the site foreman and Tile Doctor only.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration

Sealing a Large Victorian Tiled Floor

Victorian Tiled Floor Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration Victorian Tiled Floor Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration

We applied a Matt finish sealer called Colour Grow, which copes very well with potential damp issues that can cause problems with old floors with no damp proof course, it’s also excellent at bringing out the colour of Tiles whether Clay or Stone. Four coats of Colour Grow were applied to the Victorian tiles and being such a large floor area, it took a few days to fully seal the floor.

Victorian Tiled Floor Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration

We cannot praise Persimmon enough for the dedication they have shown in the restoration of this historic property which has had a chequered past and will now have a long future.

 

Source: Listed Building Floor Restoration Service in Lancashire

Assisting Cleaning Contractor to Restore a Terracotta Tiled Floor for Amersham Council

A local cleaning contractor called us in to work on the Terracotta tiled floors at a council building in Amersham. The Terracotta had not been deep cleaned and resealed for about ten years and the sealer had worn off leaving the tile vulnerable to dirt becoming ingrained in the pores of the tile. The grout had also suffered the same fate and had almost gone black in many areas.

Terracotta Floor Files Before Cleaning Amersham Council Offices

This is a common problem with Terracotta which is quite porous and once those pores become ingrained with dirt the tile becomes difficult to clean effectively. The solution is to seal the tile however sealers wear off over time and this was basically the problem.

Terracotta Floor Files Before Cleaning Amersham Council Offices

After discussing the issues we agreed on a plan of action to deep clean the Terracotta tile and grout and then re-seal to protect it. Due to the busy nature of the building we agreed to do the work between Christmas and New Year when we knew the building would be empty.

Cleaning Old Terracotta Floor Tiles

We started by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which is a strong tile cleaning product that being in a gel form ensures it sits on the tile for longer, giving it a longer effective dwell time so it can really eat into and loose the dirt. After approximately twenty minutes the gel was scrubbed into the tile with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. This broke down most of the dirt and removed any remaining sealer. Once the whole floor had been treated in this manner it was rinsed thoroughly with water which was then extracted using a wet vacuum.

With the soiled cleaning solution removed I could see the next step would be to spot clean stubborn staining and clean the grout. For this task I used a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean scrubbing it in by hand using stiff brushes and aided with a hand-held steamer to help treat the stubborn staining. Once done the floor was given a final rinse and then as much moisture as possible removed with the wet vacuum.

Sealing Old Terracotta Floor Tiles

We then left the floor to dry off completely and came back a couple of days later to seal the Terracotta tile.

I mentioned earlier that Terracotta is porous; in fact it’s probably the most porous material I deal with, so to fully seal the floor I had to apply eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will provide complete and long lasting protection against staining and dirt. Seal and Go also adds an appealing satin sheen to the tile and the new seal will make it much easier to clean in future.

Terracotta Floor Files After Cleaning Amersham Council Offices

The floor tile and grout now look much healthier and I’m sure the council will be very impressed when they go back to work after the holidays.

Terracotta Floor Files After Cleaning Amersham Council Offices

Happy New Year…
 
 
Source: Terracotta Tile Cleaning and Renovation Service in Amersham, Buckinghamshire

Large Grout Restoration Project at Manchester HQ

We recently received a request from the Manchester headquarters of a global engineering and construction company which was founded in 1911 and now operates in over 160 countries. The company contacted us because they were keen to restore the tiled walls and floors in 20 different toilets and kitchens throughout the offices.

It would be a big job, but we were more than happy to respond to the enquiry. We agreed a complimentary visit to the office for us to test clean one of the floors to show what kind of results could be achieved. The management team at the offices was very impressed with the results of the test clean and asked us to complete the whole job.

Toilet Floor at Corporate Offices Manchester Before Cleaning

There was talk of replacing some of the grout completely and I explained that it would be less expensive and time consuming to restore the discoloured grout through cleaning and recolouring and they were happy to let us proceed on that basis.

Mens Toilet Floor at Corporate Offices Before Cleaning

Cleaning Discoloured Grout Lines

As there were 20 different rooms to clean and recolour, our team worked in a couple of rooms at a time to ensure firstly, that we got the job done in time and secondly, that we wouldn’t disturb the normal operations of the offices.

The process was as follows. To clean the grout, we used a strong mix of Tile Doctor Pro Clean, a strong Alkaline-based cleaner which reliably gets the job done in situations where most run-of-the-mill cleaners won’t. We applied the Pro Clean to the grout lines and tiles and left it to dwell for about 10 minutes. We then scrubbed the grout lines with specially designed grout brushes and followed by cleaning the tiles with a black scrubbing pad fitted to our rotary machine.

Ladies Toilet Floor at Corporate Offices During Cleaning

After scrubbing the tiles and grout, we rinsed and removed all the dirty water and cleaning
solution with a wet vacuum. We repeated the rinsing process several times to make sure all chemicals were neutralised. Similar cleaning techniques were used to clean the tiles on the walls, but the walls took a lot longer to complete as the tiles were much smaller and therefore had a greater number of grout lines. When all the cleaning process was finished, we left the tiles to dry until the next day.

Toilet Floor at Corporate Offices Manchester After Cleaning

Recolouring the Wall and Floor Grout Lines

To recolour the grout lines, we used the Grout Colourant from Tile Doctor’s own range. Available in ten different colours, this is a brilliant product as it rejuvenates and also seals the grout. The fact that the colourant is epoxy based will also make future maintenance easier, as you can just wipe off the dirt.

Mens Toilet Floor at Corporate Offices After Grout Colouring Mens Toilet Floor at Corporate Offices After Grout Colouring

For the floor grout lines, we used the Natural Grey colourant and for walls we used White. The application of the colourant is simple yet quite laborious when working in large rooms. After finishing, we wiped off any excess product.

Bathroom Wall Grout Refresh at Corporate Offices Before and After Cleaning

Overall, it took us two weeks to complete all the work but I think you will agree from the photographs that all toilets and kitchens look completely rejuvenated. We got lots of good feedback from the people who work at the company. They all stated that the toilets and kitchen look like new and even asked us about restoring grout in their own homes.
 
 
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Cleaning and Restoration in Greater Manchester

Maintenance of Office Stone Floors

This is a polished Limestone floor in the reception area of an office in the town of Wilmslow that had been installed around ten years prior. As you can see they were now in a poor state with ingrained dirt and cracks across the surface of some of the tiles.

Damaged Limestone Tiled Floor in Wilmslow Before

Deep Cleaning Limestone Tile and Grout

The polished Limestone tiles needed to be cut back and refinished with a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads however my first task was to clean the grout lines by applying a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and scrubbing it in with a stiff narrow brush. I gave the grout a rinse with hot water and removed the now soiled water with a wet vacuum.

The next task was to start the burnishing process by running a course pad fitter to my rotary machine over each tile lubricated with a little water. The coarse pad removes the dirt from the Limestone and resultant slurry is washed away with more water and the wet vacuum. This process is repeated with the “medium” and “fine” polishing pads which restore the surface and build up the polish back on the tile.

Before moving onto the final polishing pad I tackled the large cracks in the tile by filling them with a colour matching resin. There could be a number of reasons for the cracks but typically it would indicate some sort of movement in the subfloor. A common cause is due to the concrete base was not being given sufficient time to dry out before being tiled over and shrinkage in the concrete as it dries caused movement.

Repairing and Sealing Limestone Tiles

Once the resin had dried I moved onto to apply the final “Super Fine” polishing pad which brings up the polish on the Limestone to that final deep level again using a little water and rinsing down afterwards.

Once the floor was dry it was then sealed with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer which penetrates into the pores of the stone protecting it from within, it also had the added benefit of bringing out the natural colours in the stone enhancing the look of the floor.

Damaged Limestone Tiled Floor in Wilmslow After

 
 
Source: Commerical Tile and Stone Cleaning Service

Cleaning Concrete Works of Art

This was an unusual request to clean a modern piece of contemporary artwork by New York City artist Mel Kendrick on display in one of the gardens of the Wormsley Estate. I’m no art expert but having done some research on the internet it appears to be part of a collection known as “Markers” that were on display at the Madison Square Park in 2009. The work is made from concrete cast into different coloured sections and fitted together to form a rather larger piece of art which having been exposed to the UK elements was now starting to discolour and go orange in part.

Mel Kendrick Markers Modern Art Wormsley Before Cleaning

Cleaning Modern Concrete Artwork

Being such a prestigious work of art i had to be careful not to damage the stone in anyway so after careful consideration I worked out a process using an alkaline cleaning product Tile Doctor Pro-Clean.

Mel Kendrick Markers Modern Art Wormsley Before Cleaning Mel Kendrick Markers Modern Art Wormsley Before Cleaning

To get the statue clean I used a warm water dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean working it into small areas at a time spraying the solution on and scrubbing with a brush, then rinsing it off with clean water. This process took some time but certainly did the trick.

Sealing a Concrete Artwork

With this project being outdoors and with it taking a couple of days I had to pick a good weather window and fortunately the weather held out long enough so I could continue and seal the concrete in order to protect it going forward. Again careful consideration had to be given to the choice of sealer and in the end I went with Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores protecting from within and most importantly it’s a natural look sealer that does not change or enhance the colours.

Mel Kendrick Markers Modern Art Wormsley After Cleaning

If you’re a lover a modern art then you should appreciate the difference and will agree with me that the statue now looks new again.

Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout maintenance service in Oxfordshire

Removing Stubborn Chlorine from Leisure Centre pool tiles

Not sure if these pictures do the job justice but we had a tough job on our hands cleaning the anti-slip ceramic tiles around this swimming pool at a leisure centre near Kendal in Cumbria. Including the changing rooms the area measured approximately 1110m2 and fortunately most of the tiles were just in need of a good scrub and clean but there were also some areas where there was a build-up of hardened chlorine around the drains and dips in the floor allowing it to settle and calcify on the tile.

Hardened Chlorine Around Spa Area Hardened Chlorine Around Changing Area

To clean the tile we used Tile Doctor Pro-clean which is a heavy duty cleaning product specifically designed for tile cleaning. The area was large but fortunately only about 10m2 needed to be cleaned by hand for the rest we were able to use a rotary machine fitted with and a Black Buffing pad; lots of rinsing was required and we used a wet vacuum to remove the water as naturally it was important not to let any chemical contaminate the pool.

Swimming Pool Tile Cleaning in Action

For the difficult areas that had to be done by hand we used a Fein Multimaster which is a versatile electric tool that has a special attachment that allowed us to remove the Chlorine build-up

Spa Area After Cleaning

The area took two of us four days to complete and the client was pleased with the different we made and left the following feedback on our website.

They arrived on the day they said and they finished on the day they said and we were well satisfied with both their work and professionalism and would have no hesitation in recommending them to future clients
 
 
Source: Swimming Pool Tile Cleaning in Cumbria