Monthly Archives: August 2012

We asked to restore a hallway of very dull Victorian floor tile at a house in Lincoln. The customer had already called in another company and paid to have the floor acid cleaned and then sealed with a type of polish, you can see from the before photograph below the results were not very satisfactory and did not achieve the finish the client wanted.

Victorian Floor Before Cleaning

Victorian Tile Cleaning

Adding a new sealer on top of an existing product simply wouldn’t work and so we had to remove the old sealer first, this we managed to do with a strong 2 to 1 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean with water (2 Parts water); it’s a flexible yet effective alkaline product that can be used for stripping sealers, degreasing as well as cleaning.

Victorian Floor Tile Sealing

To seal the Victorian Floor tile we recommend Tile Doctor Seal and Go, it’s a breathable water based product which gave a much deeper shine to the tiles; also being water based it doesn’t give off any chemicals vapours and so it’s much nicer to work with. Victorian Tiles usually require around 4 to 5 coats, so it can take time to apply as you need to wait for it to dry before applying the next coat.

Victorian Floor After Cleaning and Sealing

The client was delighted with the results and has in fact booked us in to re-do their Quarry tile floors which they were happy with previously until they realised the results possible from our Tile Doctor Sealer.
Source: Victorian Floor Restoration in Lincoln

By Sarabeth Asaff, eHow Contributor

Marble tiles have a beauty and elegance that can enhance any area of the home. Like any natural stone, however, marble tiles can have fissures or weak spots that may lead to a cracked tile over time. If a tile does crack, and a replacement can be obtained, it is possible to remove the old tile and install a new one to ensure that the tile job continues to look as great as the day it was installed.

Things You’ll Need

  • Hammer
  • Nail
  • Chisel
  • Blue painter’s tape
  • White thin set
  • Trowel
  • Impregnating sealer
  • Foam paint brush
  • Grout
  • Grout float
  • Damp sponge


Tape off the tiles around the cracked tile with blue painter’s tape. Take care not to tape over the grout joints of the tile to be removed.

Hold a nail at the direct center of the cracked marble tile and hit it hard with the hammer, driving the nail into the tile. This will help free the tile from its bond with the mortar and substrate.

Holding a chisel at a 45-degree angle, pointing away from your body, place the chisel at the center point of the cracked tile and hit it with the hammer. Chisel out the old tile from center to edge, being sure to pull up all the old tile and the mortar. Hit the chisel carefully as you get to the edge of the tile to avoid accidentally cracking the surrounding tiles.

Remove the old tile and mortar completely and clean out the space so that no debris remains to interfere with the new tile’s bond.

Back butter the new tile by spreading a small amount of white, thin set mortar on the back of the tile using a trowel. Ensure even coverage over the entire tile, and then press the tile into the space left. Make sure that the grout joints around the tile are even on all sides, and firmly press the tile into the space.

Allow the thin set to cure for 24 hours, and then seal the tile with an impregnating sealer to prevent staining and to facilitate clean-up. Use a foam paint brush to cover the tile in sealer. Allow the sealer to penetrate for one hour and then wipe away the excess with a lint-free cloth.

Grout the new tile by packing the joints around the tile with grout using a grout float. Wipe up any excess grout with a damp sponge. Be careful when you wipe away the excess grout not to over-wet the grout, which can wash away its color. Allow the grout to dry for an additional 24 hours.

Tips & Warnings
If the cracked marble tile is green or black in color, use a white epoxy thin set to prevent curling of the tile as it dries.

By Robert Korpella, eHow Contributor

Ceramic and porcelain tiles are installed the same way, although porcelain has some key differences. Porcelain tiles are made of sand fired at high temperatures. These tiles are more water-resistant than ceramic and they are stronger, more durable. They do cost a bit more and they are much more difficult to cut.

Things You’ll Need

  • Hammer
  • Portable drill with screwdriver bit
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Chalk line
  • Porcelain floor tiles
  • Plastic spacers
  • Tile adhesive
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Mixing attachment for portable drill
  • Notched trowel
  • Rubber mallet
  • Level
  • Wet saw with diamond saw blade
  • Safety glasses
  • Grout compound
  • Rubber float
  • Bucket of clean water
  • Two clean sponges


Clean the subfloor to remove dirt and debris that could interfere with how well tile adhesive bonds. Hammer any nails that may be sticking up and use a power drill to drive screws heads just below the surface of the subfloor. The subflooring material does not necessarily have to be level, but it does need to be flat.

Create reference lines for the first few tiles by finding the center point of the room. Measure the width and divide by two, then measure the length and divide by two. Mark the floor to indicate these center lines, then snap a chalk line across them to make them easy to see. The chalk lines represent the center grout lines between tiles.

Add tile adhesive to a clean plastic bucket. The adhesive, a type of mortar referred to as thinset, is usually sold as a powder that needs to be mixed with water. Stir in water as directed by the manufacturer by using a mixing attachment on a portable power drill. The adhesive should be about as thick as pancake batter, and will need to rest for 5 to 10 minutes to make sure all the water is absorbed.

Lift a large dollop of adhesive with the back of the trowel and drop it onto the floor. Throw down enough adhesive to cover about a square yard in just one of the four sections of the room the center lines have established. Once the adhesive is down, use the notched side of the trowel to comb it. Hold the trowel at about a 45 degree angle as you work. Be sure not to cover up the chalk lines.

Butter the back of the tile with more adhesive if the tile is 12-by-12 inches or greater, or if it’s more than 1/8 inch thick. You can also butter the back of any tile for better adhesion. No need to comb the adhesive on the backs of tiles.

Begin laying tile at the center point. The first tile should be set into the wet adhesive so that two adjacent sides meet up with two adjacent chalk lines. Set one edge of the tile down first, then drop the tile into place. Give it a twist to set it into the adhesive but be sure it ends up in the correct alignment.

Lay another tile next to the first one within the same section. Give it a slight twist to set it and place plastic spacers between the tiles to establish the correct gap between them.

Tap the tiles gently with a rubber mallet to seat them. Check for level after setting five or six tiles and again anytime you feel you need to. Tiles set too low will need to be pulled up and more adhesive applied. Tiles set too high may need to be tapped lightly again. Even though porcelain tiles are tough, they can break, so use caution with the rubber mallet.

Lay more tiles into the same section until all full tiles are in place. Avoid walking on tiles or kneeling on them as the adhesive cures. Once all tiles are set in place in this section, follow the same procedure to lay tiles in the remaining three sections of the room.

Wait for the adhesive to dry completely (about 24 hours) before marking porcelain tiles that will need to be cut. Cut tiles will line up along walls and door jambs, but leave an expansion gap of about 1/4 inch along the walls.

Put on a pair of safety goggles. Since porcelain is strong, it needs a diamond blade for cutting. The saw should have a sled to place the tile on and a miter gauge for alignment. Line everything up before turning on the saw. One switch will activate the water pump for cooling the blade. Turn that one on first. Then, turn on the blade and make the cut. Be slow, deliberate and use caution. Keep fingers and hands well away from the spinning saw blade.

Butter the backs of cut tiles to set them in place. The adhesive on them does not need to be notched. Wait for the adhesive to cure completely before applying grout.

Mix up enough grout to work comfortably in about half an hour. Grout compound is usually sold as a powder that mixes with water. It can be blended with a mixer attached to a power drill just as the mortar was, then mixed to a peanut butter consistency.

Force grout between tiles with a float held at a 45 degree angle to the floor, wiping diagonally across the joints. When the grout gets firm, clean the excess left on tiles by wiping with a damp sponge in clear water. Rinse out the sponge frequently. Try to work the sponge in one long arc instead of going back and forth, and rinse the sponge after each pass. It may be necessary to repeat this process several times over the entire floor to remove all the excess.

Allow the tiles to haze, then polish them with a different sponge than the one you used to wipe grout in the previous step (that one will have absorbed too much grout) and a bucket of clean water.

Victorian Floor Restoration

Details below of a Victorian floor tile renovation we did recently in the hallway of a house in Heaton Mersey, which is an old suburb of Stockport. The floor was an original feature in the house being laid sometime in the eighteen hundreds, some sealer was left on the floor to offer protection but most had been worn down and the floor was suffering from the impact of ground in dirt from recent building works.

Cleaning the Victorian Floor

The floor was cleaned using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and a black buffing pad to loosen the soil that had built up on the floor. The floor was then neutralised to remove any remaining cleaning solution by rinsing it three times with water and then left to dry.

Victorian Floor Tiles Before Cleaning

Sealing the Victorian Floor

Once dry the floor was sealed with 5 coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is ideal for sealing Victorian tiled floors as it brings out the colours in the tile whilst providing stain protection and allowing moisture vapour to breathe through.

Victorian Floor Tiles After Cleaning and Sealing

The owner Mr Mitchell was very pleased with my work and left a great testimonial which is copied below.

Steve has done an excellent job of cleaning up a very dirty old Victorian floor. The job was not without its problems, but Steve dealt with them very professionally, taking responsibility for issues with third parties that he had little control over. He has also done an excellent job of cleaning our carpets.

Source: Victorian Floor Tile Cleaning

By April Dowling, eHow Contributor

The exceptional colors and distinct textures of natural stone tiles add elegance to shower surfaces. Varying mineral compositions cause stone tile colors to range from vibrant shades to earthy hues. While stone tiles are durable, they are extremely porous and can accumulate soap scum and dirt particles. Frequent cleaning of natural stone tiles maintains their appearance and prevents damages from abrasive grime. Certain cleaning solutions protect natural stone tiles and allow them to last longer.

Things You’ll Need

  • Plastic bucket
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1/2 cup household ammonia
  • Soft cloth
  • Soft sponge
  • Neutral stone soap cleaner
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Terry cloth towel


  1. Fill a plastic bucket with 1 gallon of water. Add 1/2 cup of household ammonia to the water. Mix the solution thoroughly.
  2. Dampen a soft cloth in the ammonia solution. Wipe the cloth over any soap scum and mineral deposits. Rinse the tiles thoroughly with water.
  3. Dampen a soft sponge with warm water. Apply a few drops of neutral stone soap cleaner to the sponge. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on the product label.
  4. Wipe the sponge over the tiles to remove loose dirt and debris. Gently scrub grout lines with a soft-bristled brush to remove accumulated grime.
  5. Rinse the tiles thoroughly with water. Dry the tiles with a terry cloth towel.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can substitute a non-acidic soap scum remover for the ammonia solution.
  • You can substitute mild liquid dishwashing soap for the neutral stone soap cleaner.
  • Never clean natural stone tiles with lemon juice, vinegar or other acid-based cleaners that can erode and discolor grout joints.
  • Never use abrasive products or scouring powders on natural stone tiles; the tiles can become scratched.


By Marie Mulrooney, eHow Contributor

Most commercially available home cleaning products have some serious downsides. They often contain poisonous or toxic chemicals, and they can be very expensive. Although more and more non-toxic commercial alternatives are coming available on the market, you can still save money by making your own natural home cleaning products. You’re also greener, in the end, if you make your own–it cuts down on packaging used and also on the shipping costs of sending the finished product.

Things You’ll Need
– White vinegar
– Bucket
– Mop or scrub brush
– Sponge
– Baking soda
– Ammonia
– Large jug
– Funnel


Vinegar for Brick and Stone Floor Tiles

Step 1
Dilute 1 cup of vinegar per gallon of lukewarm water in a bucket or in a stoppered sink.

Step 2
Scrub or mop the tiles with a scrub brush, mop or towel soaked in the vinegar solution.

Step 3
Rinse the tiles clean with clear water, and then wipe up any excess liquid with a towel.

Baking Soda for Porcelain and Ceramic Tiles

Step 1
Dampen a sponge with water, and then sprinkle baking soda on it.

Step 2
Scrub any soiled tiles with the baking soda sponge.

Step 3
Follow up with diluted vinegar if necessary (as directed above) on any difficult stains, and then add more baking soda to the sponge, and scrub again.

Step 4
Rinse clean with clear water.

Multipurpose Tile Cleaner

Step 1
Combine 1 cup household ammonia, 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 gallon of room temperature water. You can mix these ingredients together in a large bowl, or use a funnel to pour them into a large jug (be warned, the baking soda foams when it comes into contact with the vinegar and ammonia).

Step 2
Store the mixture in a large jug, and fill a spray bottle at need.

Step 3
Spray the cleaning solution on soiled tile, wipe clean, and rinse with clear water.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never combine ammonia or vinegar with bleach; harmful or even fatal gases could result.
  • Keep cleaning chemicals like ammonia out of the reach of children, and only use ammonia products in areas that are well-ventilated. You may even want to wear gloves to protect your hands because ammonia is so strong.


This old quarry tiled floor was in the dining room of a Victorian terrace house in central Ipswich, Suffolk. The tiled floor had been covered by carpet for the previous 12 years and the owner wanted it restoring back to its original condition.

Quarry Tile Cleaning

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration

The carpet backing had been glued to the quarry tiled floor and it took two days of hard graft using 2 liters of Remove & Go to remove the backing followed by 2 litres Pro-Clean to clean up the tile. Once we had finished cleaning we washed down the floor to remove any remaining cleaning products and left it to dry overnight. We find a Wet and Dry Vacuum helps a lot when doing this; it’s a great tool for removing liquids from floors.

Quarry Tile Sealing

Quarry Tiled Floor After Restoration

We came back the next day and sealed the floor with five coats of Seal & Go, about 1 litre, which brought out the beauty in the floor, you can see the remarkable difference in the photographs.
Source: Quarry Tile Cleaning in Ipswich