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

Property Investor Relies on Tile Doctor to Maximise Investment in Lancashire

A property investor contacted Tile Doctor to see if we could help renovate a property that was to be sold in few weeks’ time. To get maximum value from the investment she wanted to preserve the character and period features of the house including the Victorian Tiled Hallway floor, which as you can see from the photograph below was in need a bit of TLC!.

Victorian tiled floors and other period features have become very popular in recent years and are often discovered under hallway carpets covered in years of dirt. Fortunately, they are very resilient and with the right techniques and products can be restored back to their former glory.

Victorian Tiles Before Renovation Burnley

On our initial visit I conducted a survey of the floor to check its condition and work out the most suitable products and methods to employ to restore it. One of the main concerns we have with these old floors is damp as damp-proof membranes were not invented until relatively recently. I have a damp meter to check for this and it did indicate high moisture levels which isn’t really an issue for cleaning the floor but would restrict our choice of sealer to those which are fully breathable and allow moisture to rise-up through the tile. We agreed a price and schedule with the customer and within two weeks we were able to start the work.

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The floor was in quite a state, made worse I suspect by recent restoration work by other contractors who unfortunately didn’t take as much care with the floor as the could have done.

After protecting the skirting boards and carpets with film work got underway starting by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go to the floor to strip away old sealers and other coatings. This product also helps to break down the paint stains on the surface of the tile, though I also used a handheld scraper, as well as a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad, to speed up the process. The resultant slurry was rinsed off the floor with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

With the floor clean of coatings, the next step was to deep clean the tiles with a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an effective Tile and Grout cleaning product that deeply cleans away ingrained stains. Again, we used a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine to make the job easier. Corners were tough to tackle with a machine, so we had to do them by hand.
The floor was given a final rinse to remove any soil and trace of cleaning product and the wet vacuum was used a final time to extract as much moisture out of the floor as possible. Upon finishing the cleaning, we left the floor for a few days, so it could dry out fully.

Dealing with Efflorescence

When we came back to seal the floor we noticed problems with white salt deposits coming to the surface of the tile a problem known as efflorescence. I had suspected this might become an issue but there was no indication of it happening before so was not overly concerned at the time. However, it meant I could not seal the floor as planned until the efflorescence had been dealt with. Fortunately salts like these can be treated and to resolve the problem I gave the floor a wipe with a solution of Tile Doctor Acid Gel which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in a gel form, formulated to remove grout haze (grout smears) and treat efflorescence. Once this was done the floor was given a light rinse and dried again.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

I left the floor to dry again for a few more days and on my return, I was pleased to see the problem had not resurfaced and I was able to complete the restoration with the application of a sealer.

To seal the tiles, I used a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a penetrating sealer designed to soak into the pores of the clay thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained whilst additionally enhancing the colours in the tile. The sealer really deepened the colours in the tile bringing them to life and with Colour Grow being fully breathable there shouldn’t be any issues with damp becoming trapped under the tile and causing issues later.

The customer was delighted with the results (see feedback below) and the work we did should more than pay for itself when the house goes on the market.

“Thoroughly impressed with Kamila, she was so lovely, professional and thorough! Our tiles look amazing and I was especially happy with how quick she sorted that floor out from the first email I sent. Janice M., Burnley”

Victorian Tiled After Renovation Burnley

 
 
Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Lancashire

Refreshing Eight Self Catering Cottage Bathrooms in Ireland

At Tile a Doctor, we often get asked about doing work abroad – and we are more than happy to oblige under the right circumstances for customers who are interested in benefitting from our services. I myself have been as far as France, Mallorca and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia

On this occasion the job was in County Meath in the Republic of Ireland, colloquially known as The Royal County” due to its history as the seat of the High King of Ireland.

Decoy Cottages Ireland

The customer was looking to struggling to restore the tiled shower cubicles and bathrooms in eight different apartments at their luxury, five-star holiday accommodation known as Decoy Cottages, but was struggling to find a local tradesman who specialises in replacing silicone to the standard required.

The last time it had been done was by a local builder who had made a bit of a mess of it, so you can understand the customer’s concern. Applying silicone sounds straight-forward but there is an art to it, in-fact this is something we focus on in our Tile Doctor training program. He found Tile Doctor online and, after the discussing the project in more detail and sharing examples of our previous work, we agreed a date and price for the job to be completed.

Bathrooms at Decoy Cottages Ireland Before Cleaning Bathrooms at Decoy Cottages Ireland Before Cleaning

With a deposit put down to cover travel costs, we went across on the ferry to Ireland, arriving the day before we were scheduled to start in order settle in.

Ferry Crossing to Dublin

Restoring Several Tiled Shower Cubicles and Bathrooms

As I’ve mentioned, we had eight apartments in total to restore. In each case we started by stripping out all the mouldy silicone, before cleaning the grout lines carefully with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up. Grout Clean-up was perfect product for this situation, as it’s an acidic cleaner that can remove grout smears, soap scum and hard water stains.

Once we were satisfied each area was clean, we set about installing fresh silicone sealant in an ivory colour which matched more effectively to the overall colour scheme than the original white silicone.

Bathrooms at Decoy Cottages Ireland After Cleaning

In total it took us took five days in total to strip, clean and re-silicone the eight bathrooms and eight shower cubicles. Naturally, this was quite a lot of work, but we managed it in the time given, and certainly to the customer’s satisfaction.

Bathrooms at Decoy Cottages Ireland After Cleaning

We did such a good job In fact we were asked to quote for more work and the customer left the following feedback on our website:

“Excellent and efficient service provided by Russell and his lovely wife Heidi. They worked really hard to rejuvenate the shower rooms and bathrooms at my self-catering holiday homes and did a fantastic job. Would highly recommend, in fact they are coming back to do my floors later in the year!”
 
 
Source: Bathroom Tile Cleaning & Restoration Service in Lancashire

Tiled Floor Restoration at French Investment Property

It’s not often that we get called abroad for a job, but when we do, it’s always a fantastic experience. We have done a few jobs abroad in the past, including the restoration of Terracotta tiled restaurant floor at a hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This job was closer to home at a chateau in the town of Arcis-le-Ponsart near Reims, located in the Champagne-Ardenne region of North Eastern France. As its name suggests, the Champagne-Ardenne region is famous for its champagne.

French Chateaux Reims

The owner of the chateau was, in fact, an English property developer. He asked us to work on two floors: a Terracotta tiled hallway, and a French Victorian tiled floor. The French style of Victorian tiles are actually made of encaustic cement rather than clay, so we were excited to have the chance to work on something a bit out of the ordinary.

It was going to be a long trip, so after packing the van with the necessary equipment and Tile Doctor products Heidi and I set off to France via the Channel Tunnel. Fortunately, we avoided any disruptions both on the way there and the way back!

On arrival at the chateau, we immediately spent two hours running tests on the two floors to determine the most effective processes. We had four days in which to complete the job, so it was essential to make sure our methods were correct before beginning to avoid any unwelcome surprises later on!

Encaustic Cement Tile Before Cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims Encaustic Cement Tile Before Cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims Zoom

Cleaning and sealing French Victorian tiled floor

After running the tests, we set about cleaning the Victorian tiles using a combination of clean water and diamond burnishing pads. No damage was done to the tiles, and they polished up well. Following the cleaning process, we began sealing the floor using Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a sealer which helps to bring out the colour in the stone while also providing durable surface protection. We were only able to apply one coat of sealer, however, as the second coat kept smearing, preventing the shine from settling in – this was despite testing the process earlier. Nonetheless, we resolved to polish off the one coat we could apply with a fine burnishing pad. Thankfully, the results were still very good.

Encaustic Cement Tile During Cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims

Cleaning and sealing Terracotta hallway tiles

The Terracotta tiled hallway had no sealer, and so it had, over time, become very dirty. We cleaned the tiles using a solution of one part Tile Doctor Pro Clean to five parts clean water, in combination with a couple of black burnishing pads.

Quarry Tiles before cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims Quarry Tiles before cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims

As you can see from the pictures, the combination really helped to lift out the ingrained dirt, leaving the tiles looking at their best again. The floor took three days to dry completely before we could begin the sealing process. Once the floor was dry enough to seal, we applied eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which is suitable for use on a variety of internal, unsealed porous surfaces.

Quarry Tiles after cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims Quarry Tiles after cleaning at the French Chateaux Reims

It was a long and exhausting week but the client was delighted with the results on both floors and left the following comments, he also mentioned using Tile Doctor in the future to work on the other properties he is developing.

“Thanks for yours and Heidi’s work in renovating our floors. It was also great to meet you guys and I hope you have enjoyed your visit to champagne and will come back some time. “

Heidi and Russell at the French Chateaux Reims

 
 
Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout restoration services

Reducing Coefficient of Friction

We recently had a request to take a look at the Ceramic floor tiles installed at a fairly new office building in Lancaster. Well over 300 people work at the builder and they all come and go via the entrance hall where ceramic tiles have been installed which when wet were very slippery. To confirm this we conducted a pendulum test which is a specially designed piece of certified equipment that measures the surface co-efficient of friction which basically is a recognised measure of how much traction a surface has. The testing is very detailed and the output is an official report that can be used for insurance purposes; the report came back high risk which was expected so no surprise there, the next step was to see how this could be improved.

Applying Anti-Slip Treatment to Ceramic tiles in Lancaster Before

Cleaning Porcelain Tiles ready for Anti-Slip treatment

As well as maintaining Tile and Stone Tile Doctor are also trained in the application of Anti-Slip treatments so we were asked to apply Anti-Slip to the 36m2 of Ceramic tiles in the entrance and rectify the problem. We do this by first getting the floor as clean as possible for which we use a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean worked into the floor with a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. The dirty cleaning solution is removed using a wet vacuum and the floor rinsed with clean water.

Applying Anti-Slip treatment to Porcelain tiles

The second step is to apply a Priming and Locking solution which is part of the treatment diluted one part solution to four parts water. This is then left to dry and once dry is followed by the application of the Anti-Slip treatment itself.

The third step in the treatment is to re-apply the diluted Priming and Locking solution before the floor fully dries out and it’s this last step that activates the treatment and locks it in place. There’s no need to wait for the floor to dry at this point it can be used immediately after the last step has been applied.

Applying Anti-Slip Treatment to Ceramic tiles in Lancaster During

Once completed we conducted another Pendulum test so this could be compare to the original test to see if there had been any improvement. I’m glad to report the treatment worked as expected and the latest report came back as low risk. The customer keeps this to prove to any potential insurance claimant that steps had been taken to make the floor as safe as possible. You might notice that floor looks much better as well.

Applying Anti-Slip Treatment to Ceramic tiles in Lancaster After

I should mention that the work was carried out outside of working hours so no disruption was made to the normal operation of the building.
 
 
Source: Tile and Stone Anti-Slip Treatments in Lancashire

Cleaning and Sealing 120m2 of Slate Tiles at an Enterprise Centre

These photographs are taken at an Enterprise Centre in Millom where local business are encouraged to network and they also offer various training courses, all of which results in a large amount of people coming and going across the 120m2 of rough black Slate which covers the communal areas. Interestingly enough this is not the first time we have cleaned and sealed this floor with the last visit being five years ago. Five years of wear and tear had taken its toll on the tiles though and the black Slate was looking tired but not horrendous given its location so I think it’s fair to say the sealer had performed well over the Intermitting period.

Rough Black Slate Millom Before Cleaning

Cleaning Rough Black Slate

As I mentioned before the area in total was about 120m2 which is a large area so we operated in sections working around the public and ensuring the correct signage was displayed were relevant.

To clean the Slate tile and grout and remove the remaining sealer the floor a good deep clean using a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go leaving it to soak in for fifteen minutes before working it in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary buffing machine. This process was followed by rinsing and cleaning with fresh water, stubborn areas were retreated and the water was removed using a wet vacuum to the get the floor as dry as possible.

Sealing Rough Black Slate

Once the section of floor was clean we left it to dry and moved onto cleaning the next section coming back later to seal it which we did with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that occupies the pores preventing contaminates from becoming ingrained. Colour Grow is also a colour enhancing sealer that brings out the deep colour in the slate.

Rough Black Slate Millom After Cleaning

The customer knew about using the right cleaning solution for regular cleaning however as it had been five years since our last visit we thought it best to remind them and recommend the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner which will not reduce the life of the sealer like an acidic cleaning product would.
 
 
Source: Commercial Tile and Stone Cleaning and Sealing in Lancashire

Applying Anti-Slip to a Golf Course Changing Rooms

I recently paid a visit to a Golf Club in Derbyshire to assist local Tile Doctor Steve Carpenter with the application of Anti-Slip treatment to the 6inch porcelain tiles in the men’s changing rooms. This is the advantage of being a member of a large network, if a fellow member needs assistance on a time consuming job they can just ask for assistance. In this case the floor was only around 12m2 but the Golf Club were hosting a Tournament later that afternoon and needed the work completing before 1pm.

Anti-Slip Preparation Derbyshire Golf Course

Cleaning Porcelain Tiles ready for Anti-Slip treatment

For best results the Anti-Slip treatment requires a clean surface so the first job was to give the tiles a thorough wash using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean worked into the floor with a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. The resultant dirty cleaning solution was then removed using a wet vacuum and the floor rinsed with clean water.

Applying Anti-Slip treatment to Porcelain tiles

The next step was to apply the Priming and Locking solution to the tile surface diluted one part solution to four parts water and this was left to dry. Once dry we applied the Anti-Slip treatment ensuring the tile was kept wet for up to 20 minutes in the process. The last step in the treatment was to re-apply the diluted Priming and Locking solution before the floor fully dried, it’s this last step that activates the treatment and locks it in place. There’s no need to wait for the floor to dry at this point it can be used immediately after the last step has been applied.

Anti-Slip Treatment Derbyshire Golf Course

To test the floor I invited the manager to try the floor dry and wet so he could experience the improvement in surface friction on a wet surface for himself. The treatment worked well and the manager was impressed, not only that we managed to complete the job with 45 minutes to spare.

For after care we recommend the floor should be cleaned daily by damp mopping with our Neutral Tile Cleaner, diluted at 35ml per 5-Litres of water periodically scrubbing the floor with a deck brush.
 
 
Source: Residential and Commercial Tile, Stone and Grout Cleaning in Lancashire

Commerical Grade Terrazzo Floor restored at Wigan Chip Shop

These photographs are of a Stained Terrazzo Tiled floor from an old Fish and Chip shop in Wigan which had been closed for several months due to the owner being ill. The shop had then been sold and the new owners asked us to call in and re-furbish the tired and badly stained tiles rather than go to the expense of re-tiling or re-surfacing the Floor area, which would have cost a lot more than what we charged.

Terrazzo Tile at Wigan Fish and Chip Shop Before Terrazzo Tile at Wigan Fish and Chip Shop Before

Terrazzo is a composite tile made up of Marble and Limestone chippings, sometime Granite, all mixed into a clear cement resin and then made up into tiles of all sizes. We estimated these tiles we laid more than fifty years prior and were not looking their best after being stained with rust stains from heavy equipment, cooking oil and grease, ingrained dirt and grime. Although a tough job to tackle it didn’t put us off and as you will see we still managed to get them clean again.

Cleaning Terrazzo Tile

The method we used to restore the surface was to cut them back using a set of burnishing pads which take off a few millimetres off the tile surface and regrinds to make them look as good as new, this is something you can’t do with Vinyl Tiles or Ceramic and Porcelain. The pads are encrusted with diamonds and are used in conjunction with a little water; you start with a coarse pad and work through the set of pads which become finer in grade as you progress until your polishing the surface. Once this process is complete the floor was given a good wash down to remove any soil and allow us to spot any areas that needed further attention.

Sealing Terrazzo Tile

When the Terrazzo tile was dry it was sealed sealing with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating matt sealer that brings out the colours in natural stone, the client had also specified they didn’t want a shiny finish as they had a concern about slippery surface that could lead to slips and falls. Once the sealer was dry it was buffed using a white buffing pad.

Terrazzo Tile at Wigan Fish and Chip Shop After Terrazzo Tile at Wigan Fish and Chip Shop After

The results are quite satisfying given the age of the floor and the stains we had to deal with not only that but the owner had engaged a number of other cleaning companies who had tried a test clean and he had even tried cleaning it himself but the results were poor.

Terrazzo Tile at Wigan Fish and Chip Shop Completed

 
 
Source: Commerical Tile and Stone Cleaning Services in Lancashire

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