I’m often asked if you should seal a tile before grouting and the answer is a definite yes, and this Encaustic Cement tiled bathroom floor installation in Stockport is a great example as to why. The tiles had not been sealed before grouting and then, once the tiler went to grout the newly installed tiles with a grey grout, the colour ran into the tiles, staining them and leaving them looking grubby and dirty. Had the tiles been sealed it would of made the process of removing the grout from the surface of the tile much easier.
If you haven’t come across them before Encaustic cement tiles are often hand painted and are available in a range of beautifully artistic patterns, so it was a real shame that these tiles were allowed to be spoilt by an avoidable mistake. As you can imagine, the property owner was keen to have the tiles professionally restored, and she contacted me to get the job done. I took some photographs but I’m not sure that they do justice to the problem.
Burnishing and Sealing Encaustic Cement Tiles
Rather than use a liquid cleaning product, I opted to use diamond encrusted handheld burnishing pads to remove the grout stains. Our burnishing system comprises four pads of varying grits. I started with the Coarse grit burnishing pads applying to the tiles it with a small amount of water as lubricant to grind down the grubby marks. Following this I worked my way through the system, applying Medium, Fine and Very Fine pads to gradually restore the appearance of the floor. Once the burnishing process has been completed I rinsed the tiles and then accelerated the drying process using a heat gun to prepare them to be sealed.
Sealing Encaustic Cement Tiles
Removing any excess moisture before sealing is essential as even a small amount can cloud the sealer and prevent it from properly protecting the tiles from dirt and stains. Once satisfied that the floor was dry, I proceeded to seal it using Tile Doctor Colour Grow. As an impregnating sealer Colour Grow penetrates deep into the pores of the stone to fill them and thus prevent dirt from becoming ingrained. Colour Grow’s colour intensifying properties also really accentuated the patterns of the Encaustic Cement tiles.
Now that these fantastic tiles have been properly sealed it will be far easier for the customer to keep them clean in future. Needless to say, she was very happy with the result. We recommend topping up your sealer on a regular basis to ensure problems like those which occurred here do not damage the appearance of your tiles.
Professional Tile Burnishing, Cleaning and Sealing for an Encaustic Cement Tiles Bathroom Floor Restoration in Stockport
Shower cubicles can be the most difficult of tiled features to keep clean. Most are exposed to various acid-based soaps and shampoos on a daily basis, allowing mould and general muck to quickly build up along the grout lines and silicone. This leaves the entire area looking quite unappealing. In some cases, the grout lines become stained beyond a point where they can be restored to their original condition, so property owners will typically request to have the grout cut out and replaced however a faster and cheaper method is to have the grout completely recoloured.
Such was the case with this Ceramic tiled shower cubicle at a house in Wigan. It would take a lot to get the cubicle looking great again, having not been cleaned properly for a long time. The property owner decided to contact me for a professional refresh, including cleaning, new silicone sealer and recolouring of the grout.
Cleaning a Ceramic Tiles Shower Cubicle
I started the refresh by applying Tile Doctor Mould Away spray to the tiles and grout, and leaving it to dwell for an hour. As the name of the product suggests, Mould Away is a fast and effective cleaner for the removal of mould from silicone and grout, making it ideal for use on shower cubicles similar to this one. I then rinsed the entire area down with water before scrubbing the grout lines and tiles with a stiff grout brush to remove any remaining mould and lime scale, leaving them looking a lot cleaner.
Colouring Grout in a Ceramic Tiles Shower Cubicle
The cleaning process made a big improvement however the grout was still too stained so after removing the silicone strip from around the base of the shower I proceeded to recolour with our white Grout Colourant. The colourant is painted onto the grout and any excess is wiped of the tile before it dries which both improves the appearance of the grout and seals it in to protect it from further staining. The last step was to apply fresh white silicone along the base of the shower.
The customer was very pleased with the refreshed appearance of their shower and you must admit it looks much more inviting now.
Professional Ceramic Tiles Shower Cubicle Restoration in Greater Manchester
This small rough Chinese Slate floor in the kitchen of a house in the village of Cheadle near Stockport in Greater Manchester had not had any sealer put on it for many years and was very grubby (dishevelled as described by the customer) looking even after the customer had tried to clean it.
Sealers do take a lot of punishment, especially in a high traffic area such as a small kitchen and will wear off over time and once this happens the floor will start to lose its appearance as dirt becomes ingrained in the stone and it can no longer be cleaned effectively.
Cleaning the Slate Tiled Floors
As we have to apply a liberal amount of water with this sort of work, the first step was to remove the Kicker boards at the bottom of the Kitchen units and silicone the Kitchen units that were fixed; this stops water seeping in and blowing the MDF allowing us to concentrate on cleaning the Slate without causing any damage.
I started the cleaning process by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to get rid of the built up dirt and any remaining sealer, leaving it to soak into the Slate before scrubbing the floor with a black scrub pad fitted to buffing machine running at slow speed. Tile Doctor Pro-Clean is a strong alkaline cleaner/stripper that is safe to use on natural stone, we do have stronger products available if required but in this case a strong dilution of Pro-Clean was sufficient to tackle any remaining sealer.
This process gave the Slate and grout lines a good deep clean and after rinsing the floor with water which was then extracted using a wet vacuum I repeated the process on stubborn areas until satisfied the floor was as clean and free of old sealer. Last stage of the cleaning process was to give the floor a final rinse and then get it as dry as possible using the wet vacuum to soak up the moisture.
Sealing Riven Slate Tiles
The floor was quite small so I was able to leave the floor to dry off over lunch time and then on my return managed to get it fully dry with a little heat from a heat gun. The customer wanted a mat finish so once dry I applied Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer which impregnates into the pores of the natural stone protecting it from within and enhancing the natural colours of the Slate at the same time.
For general cleaning of Sealed stone floors, we recommend the use of a PH Neutral Cleaner as anything with a strong PH will degrade the life of the sealer over time.
Cleaning and Sealing a Chinese Slate Tiled Floor in Greater Manchester
This Travertine tiled kitchen floor had been laid around five years previously in a house in Didsbury and now most of the sealer had worn down making the floor difficult to clean effectively. This resulted in the tiles looking continually dirty and a few of the tiles had cracked which you can see in the photograph below.
Maintaining Travertine Tiles
To start off with i scrubbed Tile Doctor Pro-Clean into all the grout lines with a stiff brush in order to get them as clean as possible followed by a rinse with water which was extracted using a wet vacuum.
The next step was to strip the Travertine of any remaining sealer and dirt using a set of four Diamond encrusted burnishing pads which come in a number of grades and are applied from coarse to extra fine with a little water to help lubricate.
I used the first three pads from coarse to fine rinsing between each pad to restore the polished finish of the stone but stopped before applying the final pad so I could fill all the cracked tiles with a resin filler in a matching shade. Once the filler had dried I gave the floor a final polish with the fourth extra fine burnishing pad and gave the floor a final rinse at the end to make sure the floor was clean before sealing.
Sealing Travertine Tiles
Once the floor was dry it was sealed using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that occupies the pores in the stone so dirt cannot become ingrained there. This particular sealer also enhances the natural colours in the stone.
After the final polish and sealing the cracked areas had blended in very nicely and the customer was very pleased with the overall result.
Repairing and Maintaining Travertine Floor Tiles in Greater Manchester
Incredibly this Travertine tiled floor had been laid just two weeks prior and unfortunately the tiler had not cleaned the floor prior to sealing thus trapping in dirt and dust that were present on the floor and now the tiles looked dull and dirty. Sealing floors can be a minefield and it’s possible the dirt was not that obvious and by sealing the floor it magnified the issue literally; whatever the reason the only solution would be to strip the floor of its sealer, clean the floor and then reseal.
Maintaining Travertine Tiles
To strip the floor of the sealer and clean it requires the application of a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads which are fitted to a rotary machine in a set sequence and run over the floor lubricated with a little water. There are four pads in the set, you start with a coarse pad which will remove ingrained dirt and sealers before moving on to the medium, fine and very fine polishing pads which are a much finer grit and restore the polished finish of the stone. The floor needs to be rinsed down between each pad application to remove the soil that is produced and then given a final wash at the end to make sure the floor is clean before sealing.
Polishing and Sealing Travertine Tile
The floor must be dry before sealing so it was left to dry overnight and I came back the next day to seal it using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that occupies the pores in the stone so dirt cannot become ingrained there and in the process it also enhances the natural colours in the stone. Once the sealer was dry it was buffed using a white buffing pad to make sure that I hadn’t left any residues from the seal.
The customer was very happy with work and they now have the floor that they wanted.
Travertine tiled floor cleaned and re-sealed in Greater Manchester
The photographs below probably don’t do this job justice but in summary recent high winds had dislodged tiles from the roof adjacent this conservatory at a house in Oldham causing them to smash through the glass roof and damage the Travertine Tiles on the floor below.
Cleaning, Filling and Polishing Travertine Tiles
The first job was to wash the floor down with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to give it a general clean and remove any surface dirt and grit from the floor. Travertine is a very hard stone so to restore the finish it needs to be cut back and polished using of a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads fitted to a rotary machine. You start with a coarse pad with a little water, then a medium pad, fine pad and finish with a very fine polishing pad, this takes some time but the effect it quite transforming, it does build up slurry on the floor so it all needs to be washed down again at the end. I use a wet vacuum to remove the liquids from the floor and this also gets the floor quite dry. I then filled the holes in the damaged tiles using resin cement that matched the colour of the Travertine.
Sealing and Buffing Travertine Tile
I let the floor dry fully overnight and came back the next day to seal the tiles checking first with a damp meter that the floor has dried. A sealer is highly recommended for natural stone as it protects the stone from staining and keeps it looking good for longer. For this floor I used coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing sealer that brings out the colours in natural stone, it’s also an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone and preventing dirt becoming ingrained there. Once the sealer was dry it was buffed using a white buffing pad to make sure that I hadn’t left any residues from the seal.
The job took two days to complete and the customer was very happy with the final finish and the fact that you could not tell where the damage had been.
Travertine tiled floor maintained by Greater Manchester Tile Doctor
This original Victorian Tiled floor was uncovered at the Grade 2 listed Salford Town Hall in Salford, Manchester. This public building which built around 1827 was the former Salford Town Hall and Magistrates Court; it’s currently being turned in to luxury apartments and this amazing floor is located in the main entrance hall. The floor was only recently re-discovered during the conversion works after being hidden for many years and was in surprisingly good condition. The company remodelling the building are maintaining the historic features so we got the call to go in and clean and seal the floor.
Cleaning Victorian Tiles
Cleaning the floor was fairly straight forward and involved the application of a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to dwell on the tile for around ten minutes before being worked into the Tile and Grout using a rotary machine fitted with a black pad. The dirty solution was removed using a wet vacuum and the whole floor rinsed down three times to ensure there was no trace of cleaner left on the floor. It’s a large tiled area so it took the whole day to complete.
Sealing Victorian Tiles
I returned the next day to see that the floor had dried off overnight and so started to seal it using Tile Doctor Seal & Go which is a topical sealer that adds a nice shine to the tiles, five coats of sealer were needed before the tiles were fully sealed. I think you would agree the floor now looks fantastic; certainly the client was happy with the finish.
This Terracotta tiled floor was in the kitchen of a house in Didsbury near Manchester. The tiles had never been sealed before and so had become ingrained with dirt making them very difficult to clean.
Cleaning Terracotta Tiles
To get the Terracotta tiles clean I soaked tiles in a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and left it to dwell for ten minutes. Then using a large 17inch black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine and a stiff grout brush proceeded to work the cleaning solution into the tile and grout. This process soon turned the cleaning solution dark with the dirt that had been released from the tile and this was removed using a wet vacuum. The floor rinsed down with water and stubborn areas retreated, finally once happy with the condition of the floor the tiles were thoroughly rinsed to remove any trace of cleaning product prior to sealing and the floor left to dry overnight.
Sealing Terracotta Tiles
I returned the next day to seal the floor testing it first with a damp meter to make sure it had dried. I then started to seal the tiles using Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water based sealer so it doesn’t leave any smell as it dries. Terracotta is a very porous clay based material and so the floor took seven coats of sealer to do the job, this is not unusual and I’ve known some Terracotta to need even more coats of sealer.
This beautiful Brazilian Slate tiled floor was installed in the cellar of a house in Urmston, Manchester; the slate has never been sealed as so as you would expect it dirt soon became ingrained into the pores of the tile and it lost its appearance.
Cleaning slate Floor Tiles
I gave the floor a good deep cleaning using a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-clean which is an alkaline cleaner safe to use on natural stone such as Slate; I should mention this is an industrial strength product and it’s very good at removing general dirt, grime and even grease. I let the product soak into the tile for five minutes before scrubbing it into the slate using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. Pro-Clean was also used along the grout lines to get them clean, although this had to be scrubbed by hand with a stiff brush. Finally I gave the floor a through rinse using hot water to make sure that no chemical remained on the tile before sealing and then left for the evening so the floor could dry.
Sealing Slate Floor Tiles
The next day I checked the floor was dry and then began to seal it using five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which provides stain protection and leaves a nice shiny finish.
I think you will agree the Brazilian slate tiles look much improved.
Brazilian Slate Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Urmston, Manchester
This Ceramic Tiled shower cubicle in a house in Hale was overdue a deep clean, the Ceramic Tiles were in reasonable condition but the grout lines had discoloured and become stained from the dyes in shampoo’s and soaps and the silicone needed to be replaced.
Cleaning Shower Tile and Grout
To clean the grout I decanted a strong 2:1 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean into a spray bottle and sprayed the solution on the tile and grout working in small sections. I think I’ve mentioned this before but in case you were wondering mixing the cleaner with air makes it lighter and allows it to stick onto vertical surfaces better. The solution was then worked in using a stiff scrubbing brush by hand before being rinsed off with water; this process was repeated until all the tile and grout was clean and then left to dry. If you’re doing this work yourself then you should know that Tile Doctor produces a product that comes with a spray attachment called Oxy Pro that is ready to use and can save you some time.
The next step was to take a sharp knife and remove and replace the silicone strip between the tile and the shower tray.
Although the grout was cleaner following the scrubbing it was still showing some staining so to improve it further a white Grout Colourant was applied, fortunately the tiles were large format and the grout lines minimal. The product we use is epoxy based and forms a thin impermeable barrier over the grout so not only does it look good it protects the grout as well; it’s very easily applied using a small brush along the grout lines and you just wipe of the excess so it wasn’t long before the grout was looking like new.
I think you will agree from the photographs the finished result looks like a new installation, certainly my customer was very pleased with job I had done.