Monthly Archives: October 2012

by Jenny Harrington, Demand Media

Corners become a magnet for dirt in the kitchen. Crumbs and dirt tend to get kicked into the corners, which aren’t always perfectly visible if the corners sit beneath cabinets or behind a table. By the time you notice the dirt, it may have built up to a thick layer of grime that doesn’t easily sweep or wipe up. Getting into the corners and washing the soil from both the floor and the baseboard without damage regularly prevents them from developing a heavy dirt layer and makes the entire kitchen look cleaner.

Things You Will Need
Whisk broom
White vinegar or ammonia
Spray bottle
Soft-bristle toothbrush

Sweep the entire kitchen floor. Use a small hand-held whisk broom to get into the corners if a standard broom is too large. Alternatively, use a vacuum baseboard attachment to get grime and dust from the corners that has worked between the flooring and the baseboard.
Combine 2 tablespoons white vinegar or ammonia with 1 quart water in a spray bottle. Spray the corner with this solution, which is safe for most flooring and for vinyl or painted baseboards.
Scrub the corner with an old soft-bristled toothbrush. Use the brush to access the tight corner and along the seam where the baseboard meets the floor.
Rinse the corner with clear water and wipe dry with a rag. Inspect the area for remaining dirt and scrub a second time if some remains.
Mop the rest of the kitchen after the corners are clean, using your preferred floor cleaner or the vinegar solution. Do not use a bleach-containing cleaner if you used ammonia to wash the corners. Rinse and dry the floor after mopping so water and dirt don’t accumulate in the corners again.

Sweeping or vacuuming the baseboards and corners of the kitchen at least twice a week prevents dirt from accumulating in kitchen corners.

Avoid harsh abrasive cleaners and brushes, because these can scratch kitchen floor tiles and baseboards.


This Red and Black Quarry Tiled floor in the West Yorkshire village of Otley was 90 years old and in serious need of the Tile Doctor treatment, you can see from the photographs that not only was it in need of a good clean there were a number of tiles missing and replacements had to be sourced and fitted.

Old Quarry Tiles Before Repair and cleaning Quarry Tiles in Otley with missing tile

Quarry Tile Cleaning

Fortunately Quarry Tiles are still popular so finding replacement wasn’t too much of a problem. We fitted the tiles and grouted them working carefully to ensure they would match the existing. Once this was done we were able to start the cleaning process which involved scrubbing the quarry tiles with a diluted solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong multi-purpose alkaline cleaning product specifically designed for cleaning tile, stone and grout. For the stubborn areas we mixed the Pro-Clean 50/50 with Tile Doctor Nanotech Ultra-Clean which provides extra cleaning power. The last step before sealing was to wash the floor down with clean water in order to remove any trace of cleaning products that could upset the sealer.

Old Quarry Tiles Repaired cleaned and sealed Old Quarry Tiles Otley Repaired cleaned and resealed

Quarry Tile Sealer

Once the Quarry Tile floor was dry we sealed it four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water based low sheen breathable sealer that will provide stain protection. You can see the difference from the photographs, quite a transformation I think you will agree,
Source: Quarry Tile Cleaning in Otley

by Michele M. Howard, Demand Media

Upgrading the appearance of your bathroom may include installing a new soap dish in the shower or repairing a damaged tile. In either case, you will most likely have to remove an existing tile. Forget hiring an expensive professional, this is a perfect project for the budget-minded, DIY homeowner. All you need, in addition to a few basic tools and supplies, are an inexpensive specialized handsaw and drill bit.

Things You Will Need

  • Drop cloth (optional)
  • Masking tape
  • Safety glasses
  • Carbide handheld grout saw
  • Nail set
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Putty knife
  • Cordless drill
  • Carbide-tipped masonry drill bit

Damaged Tile Removal
Spread a drop cloth below the work area if the damaged tile you plan to remove is a wall tile. Protect the tiles around the damaged tile. Tear off several strips of masking tape and adhere the pieces to the edges of the surrounding tiles. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes.
Remove the old grout in the joints around the tile with a carbide handheld grout saw. Use a back-and-forth sawing motion to cut away the old grout. Be careful not to cut into the drywall or underlayment behind the tile.
Position the tip of a nail set against the tile at the cracked or chipped area. Tap the end of the nail set with a hammer to shatter the tile and pry the pieces off with a chisel. Move the nail set to several areas on the surface of the tile and continue to shatter and chisel away the pieces until you remove the majority of the tile.
Chip away at the old tile adhesive with a chisel and hammer. Scrape and smooth the area clean with a stiff putty knife. Be careful not to gouge into the drywall or underlayment during this process. The area is now ready for the new soap dish or replacement tile.

Undamaged Tile Removal
Follow the instructions as outlined in Step 1 and Step 2 for the removal of a damaged tile.
Take your nail set and punch a series of holes in an “X” pattern along the surface of the tile. These holeshelp to keep the drill bit from wandering when drilling through the tile.
Drill through the tile at each hole with a drill equipped with a carbide-tipped masonry bit. Be careful not to drill through the drywall or underlayment behind the tile. Use your chisel and hammer and connect the “X” pattern of holes.
Shatter the tile and remove the pieces with your chisel and hammer. Follow the instructions in Step 4 for the removal of a damaged tile.


by M. Shayne Arcilla, Demand Media

Flooring sets the tone of every room. Select the type of flooring according to the room’s function, the desired effect, foot traffic and your budget. Installation is relatively easy for some flooring such as vinyl tile squares and laminate boards, but hiring a professional may be more economical in the long run, particularly for more complicated materials such as stone and wall-to-wall carpeting. The type of material you choose can increase the value of your home. Average costs are current as of August 2010.

Carpet and Rugs

Carpets and rugs provide a quiet, comfortable and slip-resistant surface that enhances the look of a room. Nylon is most commonly used for carpeting due to its ease of maintenance, durability and affordability. However, homeowners can now choose from a variety of natural fibers such as wool, linen and grass. Wool provides a flame-resistant surface that is soft and luxurious, as well as environmentally friendly. Linen fibers are durable, and grass-based carpeting provides a natural anti-static surface. Given the range of materials, consider carpets that have received the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label certification. These carpets emit lower levels of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that contribute to allergies and asthma, and promote a green and sustainable environment. Pricing for natural fiber flooring can be as low as $2 per square yard to over $100 for high-end custom designs. Homeowners can expect to pay between $14 and $30 per square yard for nylon-based carpeting and between $30 and $60 per square yard for wool carpeting.

Wood and Laminate

Homeowners can choose between two types of hardwood flooring: solid or engineered. Engineered wood boards consist of a wood veneer surface that covers layers of plywood. Unlike solid wood, these boards cannot be sanded down over the floor’s lifetime but are less susceptible to moisture and temperature changes. The existing sub floor determines the type of wood that may be used. Wood-like sub floors allow for glue down, staple, or floating installation methods of wood boards so both engineered and solid wood flooring may be installed. However, concrete and other hard sub floors limit the choice to engineered wood flooring. Pricing for hardwood floors average $8 to $14 per square foot for material and installation. Laminates imitate the look of natural materials such as wood and stone for a fraction of the real material‘s price. Laminates are comprised of a high resolution photographic image printed on a dense fiberboard with a moisture-resistant underlay. However, laminates do not add appreciably to the value of the home and are easily damaged by water. Laminate flooring ranges from $7 to $11 per square foot including installation. Bamboo flooring is gaining in popularity. Technically a grass, bamboo is a durable, resilient and moisture-resistant alternative to hardwood floors. Its rapid growth rate compared to hardwoods makes bamboo an environmentally friendly option for flooring. Bamboo flooring averages $4 to $6 per square foot for material only.

Stone and Tile

Stone flooring can make the right home look elegant while adding to its resale value. Use natural stone, which includes marble, granite and limestone, or choose agglomerates, which are manufactured by binding natural stone chips in cement, epoxy resin or polyester. They offer the natural look of stone with the advantage of being stain and scratch-resistant, and practically maintenance free. Ceramic tiles are primarily made of clay and fired to hardness. These tiles offer a durable, low-maintenance surface that is fire, water and scratch-resistant. Note that not all stones and tiles are equal; some stones and ceramic tiles can be porous, and will require extra care and attention, particularly if used in high-traffic areas. Ceramic tiles range from $1 to $20 per square foot; natural stone tiles cost more, starting at $2 per square foot and rising according to custom designs and special orders. For best results, these materials should be professional installed.


by Carole Oldroyd, Demand Media

Carpet tiles are a do-it-yourself home improvement project, but removing them from concrete can be challenging. If the tiles are newer, they may lift with little effort and leave almost no glue behind. A good scrubbing afterward is all you’ll need. If the tiles are older, or if spreadable adhesive was used, removing the tiles is an arduous process that requires at least a day, possibly a weekend. Remove a few tiles to determine whether the glue is stubborn.

Things You Will Need

  • Knee pads
  • Work gloves
  • Putty knife or metal scraper
  • Pliers
  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Long-handle floor scraper
  • Broom
  • Carpet tile adhesive remover
  • Painter’s tape
  • Chemical-resistant gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Respirator-style face mask
  • Sponge or paintbrush
  • Paint scraper
  • 2 buckets
  • Stiff scrub brush
  • Wide floor squeegee
  • Wet / dry utility vacuum

Pull Up Tiles

  1. Put on knee pads and work gloves.
  2. Pull up one corner of a carpet tile. The first tile is often the most difficult to lift. If you can’t lift any corner, push the edge of a putty knife or metal scraper under the edge to pry the tile loose.
  3. Peel the tile off the floor with gloved hands or pliers.
  4. Assess the adhesive. If it is clear and sticky with little remaining on the concrete, peel off the remainder of the tiles and scrub the concrete afterward with trisodium phosphate diluted in warm water according to the manufacturer’s directions. If the glue is hard and stuck to the concrete, peel off the tiles and proceed to scraping the floor.

Scrape the Concrete

  1. Push a long-handled floor scraper along the floor at an angle with the blade pointed away from you, removing as much glue as possible.
  2. Sweep the floor to remove the particles.
  3. Inspect the floor for stubborn glue. If you cannot scrape it off, proceed to dissolving it with carpet tile adhesive remover.

Remove Adhesive

  1. Apply painter’s tape across the baseboards.
  2. Put on chemical-resistant gloves, eye protection and a respirator-style face mask. If you took off the knee pads to scrape the floor, put them back on.
  3. Apply carpet tile adhesive remover to a 12-inch square area of the floor with a sponge or paintbrush.
  4. Let the adhesive remover sit on the concrete until the adhesive softens, then scrape it off the floor with a handheld paint scraper.
  5. Drop glue scrapings into an old bucket for disposal. Continue around the room until the glue is removed.
  6. Sweep the floor and proceed to cleaning it.


  1. Fill a bucket with warm water and trisodium phosphate, known as TSP, in a dilution that the TSP manufacturer recommends to clean floors.
  2. Dip a stiff scrub brush into the bucket to wet it, and scrub the floor with the solution. Mix more solution as necessary to scrub the whole floor.
  3. Pull a squeegee across the floor and deposit the residue in one location in the room.
  4. Vacuum up the liquid and residue with a wet / dry utility vacuum.
  5. Fill a bucket with plain warm water. Wet a sponge in the bucket and wipe the floor to remove the last traces of cleaning solution. Empty the bucket and refill it with clean water frequently until the floor is fully rinsed.


  • Aggressive scraping can break the floor scraper and chip the concrete.
  • Some flooring adhesive removers require a well-ventilated room.


By Lane Cummings, eHow Contributor

While tile is a sleek, durable material for kitchen floors and bathroom walls, it’s not indestructible and can chip or crack over time. It can also crack if the material underneath the tile is unstable and begins to shift slowly over time. While most experts believe that the best way to repair any size crack is by replacing the tile completely, there is at least one method to fix a small hairline crack. However, keep in mind that any crack in your tile is often a sign of a larger problem—namely, an unstable foundation.

Things You’ll Need

  • Two-part epoxy
  • Small plastic plate or bowl
  • Wooden stick
  • Two small brushes
  • Rag
  • Paint
  • One-coat sealer


  1. Squeeze the two-part epoxy out into a plastic plate or bowl and mix each component together with a wooden stick until they are well-blended.
  2. Dip your brush into the epoxy, dabbing the brush directly onto the hairline crack. Wait for the adhesive to dry and then wipe away any excess epoxy with a rag.
  3. Assess whether the tile could use a coat of paint so that it matches the other tiles better. Some hairline cracks are so small that paint isn’t necessary.
  4. If so, purchase paint that is suitable for tile. Try to find a shade that matches your original tile as closely as possible. While you’re there at the hardware store, purchase some clear coat sealer for after the paint dries.
  5. Brush some paint very lightly over the crack so that it’s layered, yet not too thick. Allow the paint to dry according to the directions on the can or package and then dab on a layer of one-coat sealer to protect the paint once it has dried.