We received an unusual request from the owner of an old cottage in Bury who was unhappy with the state of the grouting in their Kitchen. The customer advised us that the floor was very old and originally grouted with a lime mortar also that they had been in touch with several companies before contacting us including tilers and masons and none of them was interested.
Intrigued I paid the customer a visit to survey the floor and work out the best way to renovate the grout. The cottage turned out to be three hundred years old and the owner wanted to keep the Quarry tiled floor which was laid in a Herringbone pattern and still in good condition as a period feature as it complemented the rustic look of the cottage.
After testing the floor, I was able to confirm it was indeed Lime Mortar which was historically used on walls and natural stone floors until the 19th century when it was replaced by cement. The mortar was now grubby and had shrunk in places where it had then been topped up with conventual grout resulting in a patchy appearance.
I felt simply cleaning the grout wouldn’t resolve the irregular look so my suggestion was to use a grout colourant that would sit on the surface of the grout and provide a uniform appearance. I must point out that the Grout Colourants used by Tile Doctor are not like grout pens you see on home make over shows, they are much more effective.
Applying a Grout Colourant to Lime Mortar
Happy to go with my recommendation I set about preparing and cleaning the Quarry tile and mortar with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. This is sprayed onto the floor and then scrubbed in with a buffing machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. This action turns the cleaning solution into a slurry as the dirt is lifted out of the floor which is then rinsed off with water and extracted with a wet vacuum. Tile Doctor do sell a Grout Colourant Pre-Treater product that has been especially designed for this purpose however it’s slightly acidic and so not something I would recommend for use on lime mortar.
Once the floor had dried, I started with the grout colouring which is painted onto the surface with a small brush. Two thin coats of natural grey colourant were applied and any excess that came into contact with the quarry tile was quickly wiped off with a cloth. The product dries within two hours but takes twenty-four hours to fully harden.
I think you will agree the results speak for themselves and made the area look nearly new! My client was certainly impressed and left the following feedback which says it all:
Kamila was professional, courteous and very hard working. I am delighted by the job done on a very old difficult tiled floor. I would not hesitate to use Tile Doctor again or in recommending them to a friend. – Mrs Law, Bury
Lime Mortar Floor Grout Renovated in Greater Manchester
The photograph below is of a Ceramic Tiled Shower Cubicle at a house in the lovely village of Walshaw which is part of the Metropolitan Borough of Bury, near Tottington and Bury. Most of the grout had darkened and some of the grout had cracked and had fallen out, the silicone seal at the bottom of the shower had gone mouldy in places and would also need replacing.
I find mould is a common problem in bathrooms and more prevalent in smaller bathrooms where the hot air and steam are unable to dissipate as easily creating the ideal environment for mould to grow. The solution is improved ventilation; alternatively you can keep on top of the situation by regular cleaning with Tile Doctor Duo Clean.
Tile and Grout Cleaning
To tackle this installation I started by spraying the Tile and Grout down with Tile Doctor Duo-Clean, let it soak in for about ten minutes and then scrubbed it in by hand with a stiff brush followed by rinsing with water. This made a big improvement however there were still areas where the grout was still showing evidence of staining and would need a grout colourant applied to make it look like new again.
Next step however was to rake out the areas of grout that had crumbled and replace with new. Being a Tile Doctor this is something we are very familiar with and once the grout had dried I was able to move onto colouring.
Normally I would recommend using a Grout Colourant Pre-Treater before colouring however in this case I felt the scrub down I gave the grout with Duo-Clean would prepare the grout sufficiently and further preparation would not be necessary. The colourant is painted on using a small brush over the grout and any excess wiped off the ceramic tiles. The process makes a big difference to the look of a shower and the colourant provides a barrier over the grout making it easier to clean in future.
Last step was to strip out the silicone sealant between the shower wall and tray and replace with a new mould resistant sealant in white.
The shower cubicle was transformed and now looks as though it was recently installed.
Professional Shower Cubicle Renovation in South Lancashire
Close-up photo below of a Travertine tiled floor installed in a house in the former mill town of Blackburn where simply put the polished appearance had worn off and was now looking dull and unappealing.
I popped round to the house to take a look and could see that the tiles would need to be burnished to restore the polished appearance. To demonstrate the difference this would make I polished one of the tiles using the Tile Doctor burnishing pad system which consists of the application of four 17 inch diamond encrusted pads applied in sequence from coarse to very fine with a rotary buffer. The customer was amazed at the difference and we agreed a date to come in and complete the whole floor in time for the Christmas holidays.
Stripping and Re-Polishing Travertine
On my return I repeated the burnishing process across the entire floor starting with the 400 Grit Coarse Red No.1 Burnishing Pad which strips off old sealers and dirt from the tile. You use a little water to help lubricate and once complete it’s necessary to rinse the area with water to remove the soil that is generated. The next step is to start building back the polish with the 800 and then 1500 grit pads which are applied in the same manner.
The floor was then rinsed again with water and I turned my attention to the grout which was scrubbed by hand using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and a stiff brush. The floor was given another rinse and then inspected to ensure I hadn’t missed anything. Before leaving for the day I used the wet vacuum to extract as much moisture from the floor as possible.
At this point the customer commented that the floor looked amazing and that the floor never looked this good, even after it was first installed.
Sealing Travertine Floor Tiles
On the second days we used the 4th burnishing pad which is a 3000 grit pad to burnish and polish the surface until it came up looking gorgeous and glossy. With this pad you simply spray a little water on the floor during the polishing process, something we call a spray burnish.
The last step was to seal the tiles using a single coat of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which was applied and then buffed in with a white pad to remove any excess. Ultra-Seal is a premium, no-sheen, natural-look, penetrating sealer formulated to provide maximum stain protection.
The customer was really pleased with the difference we had made to the floor and before leaving we advised the customer of the best way to maintain the floor using neutral PH cleaners and to avoid strong cleaning products which can erode the life of the sealer prematurely.
Honed Travertine Tiled Floor Polished in South Lancashire
This client had contacted us for help renovating their Flagstone hallway floor as nothing they did was helping to keep them clean. The problem with the tiles was due to the pores of the flagstone being ingrained with dirt and once this happens they are really difficult to clean effectively. This is why we always recommend stones floors are sealed after cleaning.
After a successful survey that included measuring background moisture levels and testing different products for stain removal I was able to work out the best process for cleaning the floor and a day to clean and seal the tiles was scheduled.
Deep Cleaning Flagstone Hallway Tiles
I’d established during my earlier testing that I would need a very strong cleaning product to get the floor clean and deal with the stubborn staining that was present and with that in mind I applied Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU. HBU stands for Heavy Build-Up and is a problem solving tile cleaner and stain remover that adds nano-sized abrasive particles to the mix. This was left to dwell on the floor for a few hours and additionally was covered with a plastic sheet to prevent it from drying out. I then gave the floor a scrub using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor machine and a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean for good measure.
Once happy with the result the soiled cleaning solution was extracted using a wet vacuum and the floor given a thorough rinse with water to remove any trace of cleaning products. Again the wet vacuum was used to remove the fluids and extract as much moisture from the stone as possible. The floor was then left to dry out fully overnight assisted with a floor dryer to help accelerate the process.
Sealing a Flagstone Tiled Kitchen Floor
We came back the next day and tested the floor with a damp meter in a few different locations to make sure no dampness remained in the stone. The air mover had done its job and the Flagstones were dry so we proceeded to seal the floor with a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which penetrates into the pores of the stone protecting it from within and enhancing the natural colours of the stone.
It’s difficult to appreciate from the photographs but the customer was amazed at how much of a difference our process had made and at how much dirt we were able to remove. The flagstones were probably more then 100 years old and more aggressive machinery and cleaning products were the only things that would shift the old dirt. The fresh sealer will also ensure the floor is much easier to clean in future.
Old Flagstone Hallway Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Rossendale
Earlier in the year we were contacted by the facilities manager of one of the student apartment blocks in Oldham which provides accommodation for the students of Oldham University. They were looking for a firm to revamp the student en-suite bathrooms during the summer recess. The building has 270 apartments and we had been asked to quote for the renewal of the ceramic tile and grout of around 45 shower cubicles (possibly more) which were judged to be in a bad state and beyond the ability of their in-house cleaning team.
The University runs degree courses from Accounting to Sports Coaching and as you can image Students are not known for their cleanliness so we knew we would have our work cut out completing the assignment on time.
Several companies competing for the work however after successfully demonstrating what we can do with a patch test in one of the bathrooms and comparing of quotes I’m pleased to say the facilities company awarded us the contract!
Tile and Grout Cleaning
We returned in the summer and facing a time limit to complete the work we worked out a system whereby we would spray the Tile and Grout down with Tile Doctor Duo-Clean, let it soak in for about ten minutes and then scrubbed it in by hand with a stiff brush. Duo Clean is an effective double action grout cleaner and mould remover that can remove mould and blackspot from grout and silicone. It’s really useful for cleaning shower tiles as the spay attachment mixes the product with air as its spayed onto the surface allowing it to stick to vertical surfaces more easily. Once the tile and grout was clean it was rinsed off with water and stubborn areas re-treated until clean.
Duo Clean is effective at dealing with Mould on Silicone in most situations however some of the silicon sealant was beyond cleaning so in these cases the old Silicone was stripped out and replaced with new.
We were able to clean all the shower tile and grout using this process however I had brought a long a few Grout Colouring kits as a back-up solution just in case. Once the grout is clean the colourant is painted on using a small brush and makes a huge difference to the look of a shower. There also inexpensive and provide a barrier over the grout so it keeps its appearance for longer.
There were a lot of bathrooms to cover so once the cubicle was spotless we immediately moved onto the next one completing the whole project three days ahead of the due date.
The facilities manager was delighted with results and timing of our work and it just goes to show that using the right cleaning products can save you time and money compared to the alternative of re-grouting.
Commercial Shower Cubicle Cleaning at Oldham Student Accommodation