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

Removing Limescale from Stone Bathroom Worktops at a Business Park

This job required the cleaning of Marble Worktops in twelve toilets at a very nice office in the Abingdon Science Park. The building was occupied by a company called Sophos who you may have heard of and over a period of time the Marble had become stained through the build-up of Limescale from the water supply and the cleaning company servicing the office could not clean it off. I’ve seen a few horror stories of stone surfaces being damaged through the use of acidic Limescale removers so the cleaning company was quite right not to touch it.

Marble Bathroom Worktop Abingdon Before

Polishing Marble Worktops

To remove the Limescale it would be necessary to hone the Marble using a set of small six inch burnishing pads fitted to a handheld buffing machine. The process involves starting with the coarse 400grit pad with a little water which cuts through the Limescale and then moving on to the 800, 1500 and finishing with 3000 grit to hone the surface and build the polish backup. The water helps lubricate the activity and the surface needs to be rinsed down between each pad.

Sealing Marble Worktops

When the surface was dry I applied two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing sealer which impregnates the pores of the stone to protect it, it also enhances the natural colours in the stone.

There were twelve of these to do so as you can imagine it took me a while to get round.

Marble Bathroom Worktop Abingdon After

If you are experiencing a similar problem with highly polished Marble do get in touch as we can achieve a mirror finish.
 
 
Source: Commercial Tile, Stone and Grout maintenance service in Oxfordshire

End of Tenancy Cleaning a Victorian Tiled floor

We were asked to restore a beautiful geometric Victorian tiled floor. The property had been used as a letting house and the floor had been used and abused for many years, just given an occasional mop over from time to time.

Victorian Tile Before Cleaning Leighton Buzzard Victorian Tile Before Cleaning Leighton Buzzard

The new owners wanted to revive the colours and deal with the neglect. Step one was to put down the tile doctor pro clean alkaline cleaning solution and to let it dwell for a period of around twenty minutes.

We gave the solution plenty of dwell time before setting up our low speed rotary machine, underneath it we used a black pad to agitate and help loosen the ingrained dirt.

Once completed we set up our powerful rinsing tool which is attached to a machine fixed into our van, by doing this we do not need to dispose of any dirty water on your property but instead we take it away with us and dispose of it in the proper manner in an appropriate disposal point.

After rinsing the floor came up very well but we still felt it could be better, we used a steamer coupled with HBU Nanotech and a scraper to remove various deposits of paint and other sticky residue which had set over time.

After thoroughly rinsing the floor again we left the floor to dry for 4 days, Victorian tiles along with other earth based tiles are very absorbent and need to dry thoroughly and fully.

Victorian Tile After Cleaning and sealing Leighton Buzzard Victorian Tile After Cleaning and sealing Leighton Buzzard

On our return we tested for damp ensuring the floor was dry enough to seal.

To seal the floor we used two coats of colour grow impregnating sealer, once the sealer had dried we then began sealing the floor using seal and go.

After applying several thin coats of seal and go, the floor reached the desired appearance.

A combination of Pro clean, hbu nanotech, colour grow and seal and go with a little bit of care from your local tile doctor restored this old uncared for floor back to the prime of its life.
 
 
Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout maintenance service in Bedfordshire

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

Assisting Cleaning Companies To Resolve Tricky Problems

This call actually came from a cleaning company where one of their cleaners had been to a customer in the village of West Hanney near Wantage and tried to clean the walls of this Limestone Shower using a supermarket Limescale remover, which as you can see from the photograph below didn’t work out very well.

I should point out that Limescale removers contain some strong acids which should never be used on stone or sealed surfaces as the acid will etch the surface. Even weak acid cleaners used over time will have an effect so do take care and always read the label.

Damaged Limestone Shower Wall West Hanney Before

Resurfacing Limestone Shower Tiles

To restore the surface I realised it would need to be treated like a polished stone floor and burnished. So with this in mind I started burning the tiles with a little water and a coarse 6 inch diamond burnishing pad fitted to a hand held rotary machine before moving onto a medium pad. Normally to bring up the polish you would move onto the fine and super-fine pads but it was evident that the other shower walls had a matt finish so there was no need.

Sealing Limestone Shower Tiles

I waited for the Limestone tiles to dry and applied two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is a penetrating sealer that will protect the stone from staining.

Damaged Limestone Shower Wall West Hanney After

The owners of the house were very pleased that the wall was not ruined and the cleaning company relieved that the problem had been resolved.
 
 
Source: Professional UK wide maintenance service for Tile, Stone and Grout

Cleaning a Limestone Sign Wall at a Business Park

This was an unusual request to clean a large Limestone wall used to mount a sign at a Reading Business Park that had been installed approximately 8 to 10 years prior and never cleaned. The old sign had been removed from the stone which had exposed the unprotected areas of stone leaving a shadow. Pollutants, carbon soils, road dirt and weathering had discoloured the Limestone and the client was unable to get it satisfactorily clean. You can see from the photo below how obviously dirty the stone had become.

Limestone sign before cleaning reading

Deep Cleaning a Limestone Wall

To get the Limestone cleaned I applied a liberal 50:50 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean with a roller brush and allowed it to dwell for on the stone for around twenty minutes.

Limestone sign during cleaning reading

The chemicals got to work on the dirt whilst I set up our truck mounted medium pressure hot water clean and capture system which uses a twin rotary jet system to fire hot water at 90 degrees at 1200psi onto the stone in a circular spinning motion. It’s a great tool that immediately vacuums the waste water away to a separate tank in the van. This mess free clean and capture system is self-contained and doesn’t require the disposal of hot water or dirty water on site either. Using the tool I was able to blast away the soils and pollutants from the stone and then left it to dry.

Limestone sign after cleaning reading

Sealing the Limestone Wall

When I returned I checked the stone was dry, fortunately it hadn’t rained and the sun and wind had dried it out well. To seal the Limestone I used Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that occupies the pores in the stone to prevent contaminates discolouring it, additionally it’s suitable for internal and external applications and has the added effect of enhancing the natural colour in the stone. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to take a final photograph once it was sealed due to a rather irritating traffic warden.
 
 
Source: Commercial Stone and Tile Cleaning in Berkshire

Deep Cleaning a Communal Hallway Floor in Apartment Block

This Polished Limestone floor had been laid in the communal hallway of a block of flats in Aston Clinton and as you can see from the photograph below the stone had become ingrained with dirt over time and was now overdue for a deep clean and polish. Apologies for sounding like a dentist and also the photographs as the lighting wasn’t brilliant in the corridor.

Polished Limestone before cleaning in Aston Clinton

Cleaning Limestone Tile and Grout

Due to the heavy soling of the stone and grout lines we started by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an alkaline cleaning product that’s safe to use on Stone and Grout. The solution was scrubbed into the floor using a commercial rotary machine fitted with a fitted poly brush; once the cleaning solution had become dirty the floor was rinsed with water and the process re-applied until the stone and grout were clean.

Polishing Limestone Floor Tile

Our next task was to re-build the polish on the stone using a set of Tile Doctor Diamond encrusted burnishing pads which are applied to the tile in sequence from Coarse to fine further cleaning and polishing the stone until its returned to its original condition. The pads come in a set of four and you start with the coarse pad together with a little water. This this cuts through and removes surface grime, dirt and any remaining sealer. The floor is then rinsed and you move on through the remaining pads until the polish has been restored to the tiles. This process took up much of the first day so the floor was given a final rinse and left to dry overnight.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

On the second day we returned to find the tiles had dried and we started to seal the Limestone using three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour intensifying sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone bringing out the natural colours whilst providing that all important lasting protection.

Polished Limestone after cleaning in Aston Clinton

 
 
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Maintenance and Restoration in South-Buckinghamshire

Slippy Porcelain Tile Solutions

We were contacted by a builder who had recently laid Porcelain Tiles in an office reception in Wimbledon. Although he has laid this type of tile in various art galleries around London without problem, in this particular lobby which is situated next to a shopping centre the tiles were extremely slippery and the facilities manager wanted the tiles changed at the expense of the builder.

Antislip Application Porcelain Tile Wimbledon

Obviously this would have been an expensive option and so the builder contacted Tile Doctor for help. Initially he had considered having a member of his team apply the treatment however he realised that as a Tile Doctor applicator we had been trained to apply the treatment properly and this gave the facilities manager confidence it would have been applied to the correct standard so we were awarded the work and asked to carry it out on a Sunday when the building would be empty.

Antislip Application Porcelain Tile Wimbledon

Applying the Anti-Slip Treatment

We arrived at the agreed time and were let in by the shopping centre security team. The area we were treating was around 25m2 so decided to work in 5m2 sections first cleaning the tile using the first stage Ant Slip product worked into the tile with a rotary floor machine fitted with a polypropylene brush head and then removing with a wet vacuum followed by rinsing with clean water.

We carried on with this process until the whole floor was done and let it dry before going onto the next stage to apply the Tile Doctor Anti slip (stage two) and leaving for between 3 to 5 minutes before applying the stage three which locks in the Anti Slip.

Antislip Porcelain Tile Wimbledon

The Anti Slip product is invisible to the eye however it’s very easy to test it’s been applied, all you need to do is wet the tile as the product only activates when it’s wet.

Antislip Porcelain Tile Wimbledon

When we had finished the whole floor we then tested it again just to make sure that everything worked well we cleared away all the tools making sure we left the area tidy and safe and locked the building up.

The Job took us one night and the customer is now recommending us to all other sites that have had these tiles fitted.
 
 
Source: Porcelain Tile Cleaning Questions Answered

Cleaning Etched Anti Slip Tiles

You may recall a Limestone job I did recently at a Manchester country club in Hale. This Anti-Slip porcelain floor was installed at the same location in the passageway on route to the toilets and in the toilets themselves. Slips and falls can be a huge problem for buildings with public areas and so tiles which have been etched to make a normally smooth surface rough make perfect sense, the downside of course is that those rough surfaces trap dirt and are difficult to clean. Tile Doctor have a chemical Anti-Slip alternative that only activates when the tile get wet that doesn’t require the tile to be etched but it does need to re-applied every few years.

Anti Slip Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Anti Slip Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning

Cleaning Anti Slip Floor Tiles

The floor tiled need a deep clean to bring out the ingrained dirt so we applied a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean using two parts water to one part Pro-Clean and left it to soak into the tile for twenty minutes. The solution was then scrubbed into the tile using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. You could see the dirt coming out the pores of the tile and the resultant soiled solution was removed using a wet vacuum before washing the tiles down with clean water.

Anti Slip Tiled Hallway After Cleaning Anti Slip Tiled Hallway After Cleaning

Including the ladies, gents and hallway there was a lot of floor area to cover and some of the stubborn areas had to be re-treated so it was a long job but I think you will agree the floor now looks great.
 
 
Source: Commercial Tile Cleaning Problems solved in Manchester

Cleaning a Manchester Country Club Stone Floor

This beautiful Limestone tiled floor was installed at a busy country club in Hale, Manchester around eighteen months prior and had seen significant foot traffic with around 500 people traversing it daily. The floor was taking a significant amount of punishment and although regularly cleaned the dirt had started to become ingrained into the stone and the maintenance team were struggling to keep it looking good, I also suspect that the cleaning product used on the floor may have accelerated the degradation of the sealer leading to the premature ingress of dirt.

Cleaning Limestone Floor Tiles

The floor was given a quick wash with Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner in order to remove any surface grit and then cleaned using a set of Burnishing pads fitted to a rotary machine. The burnishing pads come in four different types and you work your way through them starting off with a course stripper pad with a little just water and then carry on with the white pad and then the yellow pad until the floor is thoroughly cleaned and any previous sealer removed. Next step was to use Tile Doctor Pro-Clean along the grout lines with a stiff brush to get the grout clean as well. To bring up the polish on the Limestone tiles I used a green polishing pad which is the last in the set of the four burnishing pads.

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

Once the floor was dry we set about sealing it using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing sealer designed to provide maximum stain protection on natural stone floors whilst bringing out the deep colour in the stone. The last step was to buff the floor to a nice shine with a rotary machine fitted with a white pad.

The Limestone floor is now backed to its best and I took the time to explain the need to use a neutral cleaning product such as Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner on the stone in future.
 
 
Source: Limestone Floor Cleaned, Polished and Sealed at a Hale Country Club

New Build Travertine Clean for Construction Company

Details below of a newly laid Travertine Honed & Filled floor in Aylesbury that needed stripping and re-sealing. The work was done at the request of a building company who had just completed a pair of semi-detached houses laid with Travertine tiles on the ground floor. Unfortunately the tiling contractor had failed to clean the tile surface properly before sealing and had trapped particles of dust and debris into the sealer, as a result the whole floor was as rough as sandpaper and needed to be stripped and re-sealed prior to their clients moving in the following week.

Travertine Floor Aylesbury Before

Cleaning Travertine Tile

To remove the existing sealer and to polish the stone we used the Tile Doctor diamond burnishing system. This involves burnishing the floor with diamond encrusted pads fitted to a heavy rotary machine, the system consists of a set of four seventeen inch coloured pads and you work your way through the pads from red (sealer removal) through to green (final polishing). This work returned the stone to its original condition ready for sealing.

Travertine Floor Aylesbury After

Sealing Travertine Tile

We sealed the floor with three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which provides excellent stain protection whilst enhancing the natural colours in the stone. The building company was pleased that we had managed to resolve the problem before the owners moved in as it had avoided an embarrassing situation for them. Interestingly we have since completed three other jobs with this same type of problem.
 
 
Source: New Build Travertine Tile Cleaning in Buckinghamshire