Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Slate floor in the kitchen and conservatory of a house in St. Albans was laid around five to six years old and now required deep cleaning and re-sealing. Previously a grout repair had been carried out but unfortunately after the initial clean the grout applied was the wrong colour and needed to be replaced.

Slate floor before restoration

Cleaning the Slate Floor

The Slate floor was pre-cleaned using a diluted solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mixed with Nanotech Ultra-Clean scrubbed with a buffing machines fitted with a polypropylene brush running at a slow speed. The dirty solution was removed using a wet vacuum, floor rinsed with clean water and left to dry.

It’s not a good idea to apply new sealer on top of a different product so it was necessary to ensure all the old sealer had been completely removed. Sealers are by nature stubborn to remove so it was necessary to apply Remove & Go (a product designed for the removal of sealers) which we left to dwell on the surface for an hour. Often a strong solution of Pro-Clean is sufficient but not in this case.

The dirty solution was removed with the wet vacuum and rinsed with water to remove any residues and neutralise the floor.

Removing Grout

To remove the grout we used a specialist “Oscillating Grout Tool”, if there was a large area to do we would normally recommend the user of an epoxy Grout Colourant however there wasn’t a great deal to remove so it was quicker to cut out the offending Grey grout and replace with a matching sandstone.

Grout removal and repair Cutting out with an Oscillating grout tool

Sealing the Slate Floor

We sealed the floor with a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which really helps bring out the deep colour from the slate. To finish and build up the lustre and richness of the colour we then applied seven coats of Seal & Go.

Finished Slate floor with new grout

All of the job took two full days and was ready for soft foot traffic after two hours of completion and fully dry in 24 hours. For maintenance we recommended the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner, diluted 1:30 with water and applied with a microfibre flat mop, rinse with water and then remove with a clean microfibre flat mop.

The customer was very pleased with the results and left the following comment:

We are delighted with the results achieved by the Tile Doctor on our slate floor. It looks like we have laid a completely new floor in our kitchen and conservatory! Rob was a true professional and we would thoroughly recommend the Tile Doctor to anyone considering using their services

Ms. S. Hiller, St Albans, Hertfordshire

Source: Cleaning a Slate Floor in St Albans

By Kimbry Parker, eHow Contributor

Though they add character and charm to any home, brick walls become dusty and dirty over time. Clean your brick walls regularly to maintain their appearance; use the proper products and methods to clean old brick walls so not to damage the brick surface. Whether you have old brick walls are inside or outside of your home, keep them clean to preserve the beauty of the brick.

Things You’ll Need

  • Feather duster or vacuum cleaner with hose attachment
  • Garden hose
  • Two buckets
  • 1/2 cup clear dish soap
  • Rags
  • Old toothbrush
  • Table salt
  • Bowl
  • Spoon


  1. Dust off the brick. Use a feather duster or vacuum cleaner hose attachment to remove loose dust and dirt from interior brick walls. Rinse exterior brick walls with plain water from the garden hose.
  2. Fill a bucket with 3 gallons warm water. Add 1/2 cup clear dish soap to the water. Use your hands to mix up the soap and water. Fill a separate bucket with 3 gallons of plain, warm water if you are cleaning interior brick. Exterior brick cleaning does not require the use of the second bucket of plain water.
  3. Start cleaning at the top of the brick wall, working your way toward the bottom. Clean the wall in sections of about 3 to 5 feet.
  4. Dip a rag into the bucket of soapy water. Wring out the rag well.
  5. Scrub the bricks with the rag and soapy water. Rinse and wring out the rag often while cleaning. Use an old toothbrush dipped in the bucket of soapy water to clean the mortar between the bricks.
  6. Rinse interior brick walls with a rag dipped in a bucket of plain water. Rinse and wring out the rag often to avoid reapplying dirt and soap to the walls. Rinse exterior brick walls with plain water from your garden hose, rinsing from the top of the wall toward the bottom. Allow the brick walls to air dry.
  7. Use a salt and soap cream as an alternative method for cleaning brick walls. Mix equal parts liquid dish soap and table salt into a bowl. Stir the ingredients well with a spoon. Dip a rag into the bowl, and scrub the mixture onto the brick walls. Allow it to sit on the walls for 10 minutes, then rinse with a rag and plain water, or water from a garden hose if the walls are outside.


By Shelley Marie, eHow Contributor

Flagstone is a natural sandstone commonly used to make fireplaces, patios and walkways. Soot and ash can build up in your flagstone fireplace and ruin its appearance. Soot spreads when cleaned with water, so vacuum up most of it before washing the flagstone. Mild detergent or stone cleaner removes the remaining soot and ash without harming the stone. Clean your flagstone fireplace regularly to keep it looking its best.

Things You’ll Need

  • Wet/dry vacuum
  • Cloths
  • 2 buckets
  • Natural stone cleaner
  • Dish detergent
  • Soft-bristled scrub brush
  • Towel


  1. Remove any grates or wood from the fireplace and set them aside.
  2. Vacuum the stone fireplace with a wet/dry vacuum to remove any ashes from the walls and base.
  3. Dampen a cloth with warm water and wring it out.
  4. Wipe the stone fireplace with the cloth to remove soot and ash not cleaned away with the vacuum.
  5. Fill a bucket with 1 gallon of warm water and add 3 tsp. of dish detergent or natural stone cleaner according the to the manufacturer’s instructions. Fill another bucket with clean water.
  6. Dip a soft-bristled scrub brush into the soapy water and scrub the flagstone fireplace to remove all traces of soot. Clean one area at a time and rinse with a cloth dipped in the bucket of clean water.
  7. Wipe the stone fireplace with a towel to remove any excess water.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure the fireplace is cool before cleaning.


Flagstone provides a beautiful, natural-looking landscape and requires special care to protect it from damage. Here are some steps to get your flagstone looking new again and removing serious dirt and stains.

You Will Need:

Muriatic acid
Plastic bristled brush or broom
Flagstone sealer (optional)

Steps to Clean the Flagstone:

  1. Mix 1 quarts of muriatic acid with 2 gallons of water in a bucket.
  2. Use the brush to apply the mixture to the stone and scrub well.
  3. Rinse COMPLETELY with water. Allow the acid to sit on the surface will result in damage.
  4. Next, mix some bleach in with a bucket full of water. The amount of bleach needed will depend on the type of flagstone and the level of dirt build-up.
  5. Apply the mixture with the brush and scrub again until the surface is clean.
  6. Rinse again with clean water, ensuring that all of the bleach is removed.
  7. Allow the area to dry completely, at least 24 hours or more.
  8. Apply a good quality sealer to the surface following the manufacturer’s guidelines. This will protect the surface and make future cleanings much easier.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • For general cleanings, a power washer with plain water is best.
  • Avoid using any acidic or scouring cleansers as they can damage the surface of the stone.
  • To get rid of mold and mildew, apply boiling water to the surface and scrub with a plastic brush.


At Tile Doctor we don’t just provide services for residential property we also get asked to provide maintenance at commercial properties as well.  One such client was the Lexicon building which is a seven story office block in central Manchester.

The Lexicon Building, Manchester

Porcelain tiles were installed in the lift lobby on each of the seven floors and had started to suffer from the impact of constant foot traffic and regular cleaning.

Lexicon porcelain before restoration

Cleaning Porcelain Tiles

The process for cleaning the Porcelain Tiles was straightforward and involved using a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean agitated with a Green Buffing Pad fitted to a rotary machine.  Pro-Clean is an effective alkaline cleaner that’s ideal for all tiled surfaces, it made light work of lifting the dirt and soil from the tile.   We removed the dirty solution using a wet vacuum and then washed it down with clean water to neutralise the floor.

Sealing Porcelain Tiles

Generally porcelain doesn’t need to be sealed however some varieties are Micro Porous and it’s these pores in the tiles will trap dirt, the solution is to seal them.  To seal the porcelain tiles at the Lexicon building we used a single coat of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which penetrates into the tile and provide a natural look.

Lexicon porcelain after restoration

Floor cleaning in a commercial location has its own challenges as we had to work around the users of the building as well as complying with the general health and safety requirements.  The work went according to plan and the building manager left us the following comment:

“Steve came to The Lexicon with Risk Assessments and Method Statements and worked on a Permit to Work with regards to approximately 500 persons working within the building. He liaised with myself and the tenants and was highly praised by them. Steve is very professional and friendly and his time keeping impeccable. The standard of work achieved is excellent, I highly recommend him. Jack Standley, Building Manager, The Lexicon,Manchester.”

Source: Cleaning Porcelain Tiles

By Sarabeth Asaff, eHow Contributor

Like many floor tiles, marble tiles require grout to prevent water damage to the floor and to stop the tiles from rubbing against one another, potentially damaging them. Since marble is a natural stone, it is porous and may absorb some of the grout as it is being applied. To prevent this from happening, apply a sealer to the tiles before spreading the grout. This will help release the grout, enabling you to clean it up without damage to the floor.

Things You’ll Need

Marble sealer
Paintbrush or roller
Absorbent cotton cloth
Grout float or rubber grouting tool
Grout sponge


  1. Paint or roll a coat of marble sealer onto the floor tiles. Overlap the edges of each stroke, and cover each tile completely with the sealant so the marble appears wet. Apply additional sealer if dry spots are apparent.
  2. Wait 10 minutes for the sealer to fill the pores of the marble. Buff the tiles dry with an absorbent cotton cloth.
  3. Scoop some grout onto the marble floor with a grout float or rubber grouting tool. Hold the float at an angle to the marble. Push the grout across the surface of the tiles and direct it between the joints. Push the grout from each side of the joint to ensure even coverage. Hold the float flat to the marble as you push the grout into the joint to pack it in. Pay close attention to wide grout joints or broken corners on tumbled marble to ensure complete coverage.
  4. Wet a grout sponge with rounded corners. Squeeze out the excess water so the sponge is damp but not dripping. Wipe the surface of each marble tile by using one side of the sponge for one pass over the tile. Rinse and wring out the sponge after each side has collected grout.
  5. Repeat the wiping process until all the grout is gone. Hold a loose tile up to the finished tiles for comparison. The floor tiles should match the sheen of the loose tile; if a haze exists, rinse the installed tiles with clear water again.


By Sarabeth Asaff, eHow Contributor

Until very recently, tiles needed to be installed with a minimum of a 1/16-inch grout joint. This joint was required not only to help seal out moisture, but to prevent damage from tiles rubbing against one another and to make up for uneven tile sizes.

New technologies have helped to produce a method of tile production that uses compressed clay to produce tiles that are extremely even in size with crisp, straight edges. These tiles, known as vitrified tiles, can be installed with no gap or grout joint between them. If this is a dry-wall application, such as a kitchen backsplash, you may not wish to grout this tiles at all. If this area will be subject to water or moisture, you will still need to grout the tiles, despite their lack of joint. Unsanded grout can be used to pack these tiny gaps, sealing the tiles.

Things You’ll Need

Unsanded grout
Grout float
Damp sponge


  1. Mix the unsanded grout to the consistency of slightly runny peanut butter, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Unsanded grout is made up of extremely fine particles of cement and can be pushed into the space left between tiles that have been butted up against one another.
  2. Scoop up some grout with the flat of the grout float and begin to scrape it over the tiles’ edges. Press the grout float onto the tiles’ edges first on its edge, and then with the flat side of the float. This will pack the joints with the unsanded grout. Because there is not a large space, you will be able to scrape up the grout with the float and continue using the same scoopful for an extended period of time. The grout will seek out any gaps and fill them, no matter how small. Just be sure to use some pressure as you apply the float to push the grout in tightly.
  3. Wipe up the excess grout from the tiles with a damp sponge after about 10 minutes. This will give the grout time to set in the joints, but not enough time to dry on the tiles. Be sure not to use a lot of water, because this could wash the grout back out of the joints before it dries. Allow the grout to dry completely for 24-hours.


Mexican Terracotta tiled floor laid several years ago in the kitchen of a property in Wheathampstead near St Albans. It had originally been laid and sealed in the classic method with a wax and was becoming increasingly impossible to clean.

Mexican Terracotta before prepped for cleaning

Cleaning Mexican Terracotta Tiles

We started the cleaning process using a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean in order to remove excess dirt and soil from the surface of the tile. This was followed by the application of Tile Doctor Remove and Go combined 50/50 with NanoTech Ultra Clean agitated with a brush fitted to a scrubbing machine running at slow speed. This worked to breakdown and remove the remaining wax sealer returning the Mexican Terracotta back to its original condition. The resulting solution was rinsed off with water and a cleaned with Neutral Tile cleaner followed by two further water rinses. A wet vacuum comes in very useful at this point for removing the liquids from the floor.

Mexican Terracotta Cleaning and wax removal Mexican Terracotta After cleaning ready for sealing

Sealing Mexican Terracotta Tiles

We left the floor to dry and returned some days later to seal. We started this process with a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which really helps to bring out the colour in the tile followed by six to seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. Terracotta is by its nature a very porous tile and so it’s not unusual for it to need seven coats.

Cleaned and Sealed Mexican Terracotta floor

Cleaning Mexican Terracotta Tiles in St. Albans

By Tara Dooley, eHow Contributor

Granite floors are installed as tiles with a mortar below to attach them to the surface. A hollow place below the tile due to a lack or cement makes the surface susceptible to cracking. If heavy objects are slid over the surface, there is a risk of scratching it. In many cases these damages are repairable, while in others you will need to replace the tile.

Things You’ll Need

Power sander
New matching tile
Notched trowel
Different grades of polishing pads
Rotating sander that holds pads
Buffing pad


Broken Tile

  1. Place a chisel along the grout line of the broken tile and tap it with a hammer. Break the tile grout and then angle the chisel to 45 degrees and hammer under the tile to remove it. Use a power sander to get rid of the rest of the mortar below the tile, and the chisel to remove the grout.
  2. Spread new thinset in the open space with a notched trowel and place a new tile over it that matches the rest of the floor.
  3. Spread grout over the tile after it sets up for a day. Use a float to spread the grout. Work it into the gaps on the edges of the tile. Clean off the surface of the tile so the grout doesn’t dry on top.

Repair Scratches

  1. Rub the surface of the scratch with the medium grade polishing pad. Attach it to a rotating sander to help you sand without wearing out your arms. Sand the scratch until you smooth it out. Work out from the scratch as well so that you don’t create a dip in the floor.
  2. Replace the medium pad with a fine pad to smooth out the surface. Apply the sander in the same manner, moving out from the scratch to feather out the sanding.
  3. Put the buffing pad on last and polish the floor to bring out a shine.

Tips & Warnings

This process can be risky, and you could end up doing more damage. You might try practicing on a tile piece that you pick up at your home improvement store. Once you get down the process, attempt to remove a scratch in an unseen area first.


By Michelle Diane, eHow Contributor

The linoleum on your kitchen floor is worn, dated and ugly. You have been threatening to replace it for months, but the time has come; you have to do something now. Granite is one of the most attractive and durable flooring options available. The tiles are inexpensive and you can easily install your new granite floor in a weekend.

Things You’ll Need

Granite Floor Tiles
Plastic Spacers
Wet Saw
Backerboard Screws
Notched Trowel
Rubber Mallet
Grout Float
Grout Sponge
Penetrating Grout Sealer
Paper Towel


  1. Make sure the sub-floor is clean and dry. Remove peeling paint and residual sealant by sanding or scraping the floor; patch any imperfections with a waterproof compound.
  2. Know your plan. Start in a 90-degree corner and lay your floor tiles. Use plastic spacers to keep the granite tiles properly aligned. Trim to fit, as necessary, with a wet saw. Take your time; careful planning at this stage will ensure a smooth professional appearing install.
  3. Mix thinset according to package directions; use the trowel to spread an even layer of thinset on the sub-floor. Place the backerboard and screw it down. This creates a uniform surface and protects your granite from damage.
  4. Hold the trowel at a 45-degree angle to form consistent ridges and spread thinset. Cover only an area that you can complete in 10 to 15 minutes. Use a slight twisting motion to press the granite tile into the mortar and tap it down with a rubber mallet to force out any air pockets and ensure complete contact. Repeat the process until all tiles are laid; use plastic spacers to guarantee correct placement. Allow the mortar to cure for 24 hours. Stay off the tiles.
  5. Mix grout in small batches that can be used within 20 minutes. It should be the consistency of toothpaste; let it stand for 5 minutes before using. Work the grout into the tile joints with a grout float; clean off any excess with the edge of the float and a damp sponge.
  6. Allow the grout to cure for 72 hours before applying a penetrating grout sealant. Use paper towel to wipe any excess sealant off the tile immediately, as it will mar the granite’s surface. Step back and admire your new granite floor.

Tips & Warnings

  • Damaged tile may be hard to match later. Buy extra Granite flooring now to ensure you have a replacement in the future.
  • The quartz in the dirt and sand, often carried on shoe soles, scratches and dulls granite. Clean your new floor daily.
  • Granite dust can cause serious eye injury. Protect yourself; wear safety glasses.