Monthly Archives: December 2012

Painting your ceramic kitchen wall tiles is easy. All you have to remember is that you have to remove as much gloss from the surface of the ceramic tiles that you are painting on so that the paint adheres to the ceramic tiles well. Below are the materials that you need along with the instructions on how to paint ceramic kitchen wall tiles.

What you’ll need
Fine grit sandpaper
Orbital sander
Mild commercial tile cleaner
Oil-based paint
Urethane finish
Dust sheets or old newspapers
Cleaning cloth
Nail brush
Bristle brush

Step 1 – Use Dust Sheets

Place various dust sheets at the bottom of the kitchen walls that you are repainting. This is to make sure that all the dusts from the sanding that you will do later on will be collected and easily disposed off. You can purchase dust sheets at your local hardware but if you do not want to use dust sheets you can also use old newspapers.

Step 2 – Clean the Kitchen Wall Tiles

Using a sponge and a mild abrasive commercial tile cleaner, clean the kitchen wall tiles thoroughly. Rinse with water to remove the soap grime. The abrasive cleaner will remove the gloss of your kitchen ceramic tiles so that it can be painted over. With a nail grout and bleach, clean the kitchen floor tiles some more and rinse the bleach and nail grout away with warm water. Allow your kitchen wall tiles to dry before painting.

Step 3 – Use the Sandpaper

Using a fine grit sandpaper remove the remaining gloss in your ceramic kitchen wall tiles. An orbital sander is perfect for this job. Sanding your ceramic kitchen wall tiles is the most essential aspect of painting your kitchen wall tiles as the quality of the surface that you are painting on will determine the longevity and quality of your paint job. Painting over glossy ceramic kitchen wall tiles will result to pain peelings in as early as one week so make sure to sand your ceramic kitchen wall tiles thoroughly before applying any paint.

Step 4 – Apply the Primer

Check for any remaining dusts on your ceramic kitchen wall tiles and wipe away the remaining dusts using a cloth. Apply a single coat of oil-based primer using a clean paint brush on your ceramic kitchen wall tiles. Allow the first coat to dry and then add another coating. Read the recommended drying time between each coating in the manufacturer’s label of the oil-based primer that you are using.

Step 5 – Re-sand

Using the same fine grit sandpaper, slowly sand the coat of oil-based primer to remove the primer bumps and even the surface of your ceramic kitchen wall. Wipe the dust away using a slightly wet cloth.

Step 6 – Apply the Paint

With a clean paint brush, apply the first coating of the oil-based paint on your ceramic kitchen wall tiles. You can control the hue intensity of your paint job by the number of paint coats that you will apply on your ceramic kitchen wall tiles. The more coats of oil-based paint you apply the darker the hue of your ceramic kitchen wall tiles. Make sure to follow the recommended drying time between each coat of your oil-based primer. Allow at least 2 days for the last coating of your oil-based paint to adhere into the ceramic tiles before proceeding to the next step.

Step 7 – Finish

Apply a clear urethane finish at the grout of the ceramic kitchen wall tiles with a bristle brush and allow the urethane finish to dry in accordance to its ideal drying period. Allow the finish to dry overnight.


The passage of time can take its toll on the gloss paint on your ceramic tile counters, leaving you with dull, discolored surfaces. Since it is costly to replace the tiles on your countertop, you should consider repainting your tiles instead of replacing them. To finish your ceramic tiles with gloss paint, here is what you should do.

What you’ll need

  • Tile Cleaner
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Protective Mask and Garments
  • Painters Tape
  • Sponge
  • Scrubber
  • Sander
  • Rags
  • Quick Dry Adhesive
  • Caulk
  • Quick-Dying Epoxy
  • Paint Brush
  • Artist Brush
  • Paint Primer
  • High-Gloss Paint
  • Water-based Clear Urethane Paint

Step 1 – Clean the Tiles and Prepare the Area

Safety first: The materials you will be using are normally hazardous with prolonged exposure. Be sure to maintain good ventilation in the area where you work. Wear a face mask and rubber gloves.

Wet the area with a small amount of water and a heavy duty tile cleaner, then clean it briskly to remove grease, dirt, mold, etc. Ensure all areas are cleaned thoroughly to get rid of bacteria or fungus that would eat up the paint from below. Wash the area thoroughly and let it dry.

Use electric sander to remove the original “shiny” coating of the tile surface. Clean the area thoroughly again, to prevent dust and other small particles from causing ugly bubbles on your paint.

Step 2 – Rework Tile Imperfections

Rework imperfections on the tiles before starting to do the paint work. Use quick-drying epoxy on tile cracks and caulk on chipped portions of the tiles. Be sure to let the reworked area dry up completely. Re-apply grout to cracked places. Let these applications dry for 2 days. Secure painter’s tape as edging over areas not intended for painting.

Step 3 – Apply the Acrylic Paint Primer

Apply the acrylic paint primer using the paint brush. Cover all areas evenly with thin single strokes. Be sure to cover even the recessed portions occupied by grout. Let the paint primer dry overnight. Repeat this process one more time before you apply your gloss paint.

Step 4 – Apply the High Gloss Paint

Apply the high gloss paint the same way as you applied the primer. Use the artist brush to apply contrasting paint into the grout. Use the artist brush to make fine lines or shapes, if you desire, on the tile surface. Make this the fun part as you decide how your tile surface should appear. After applying the high gloss paint, let it dry completely.

Step 5 – Apply the Water-based Clear Urethane Paint

Apply the water-based urethane paint using paint brush. The urethane paint produces a hard coating on the surface that will make it last for years. Make thin layers, applying several applications to ensure a finer finish. Applying layers of paint on the surface of your tile can also help protect your tile.

Step 6 – Finishing up

After applying the gloss paint, keep whatever leftover paint you have in a safe place. If you have kids at home, make sure that you store your left-over paints in a place where your kids cannot reach them.


This was a very tough assignment to restore a Victorian Tiled floor in the village of Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire which had been stained with Bitumen. If you look closely at the photographs on this page you should be able to see it; although this may sound unusual Bitumen was used frequently as an adhesive for carpet or linoleum when tiled floors were not so fashionable.

Victorian Floor Before Cleaning

To solve the problem I applied Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is the strongest product we have for removing coatings from tiles, its ideal for removing sealers but it’s also good at removing adhesives, grout haze and paint as well. Once applied I left it to dwell for a while to allow it get to work on the problem before agitating with a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad and manually using a scrubbing brush. The dirty solution was removed using a wet vacuum and washed down with clean water; it was necessary to repeat this process a couple of times and although improved I have to admit although it made a great improvement it wasn’t 100% successful, I have tried some other products and methods on subsequent visits to shift the remaining bitumen staining but you have to be careful not to damage the tile.

Victorian Floor Before Cleaning Closeup

Sealing Victorian Floor Tiles

Tile Doctor Seal and Go was used to seal the floor, it gives a durable low sheen finish that brings a nice depth to the floor and will protect it going forward, Seal and Go is also a breathable sealer which is important on these older floors which may not be protected from damp.

Victorian Floor After Cleaning and sealing
Source: Victorian floor stained with Bitumen cleaned and sealed in West Yorkshire

Tile grout stain can give your bathroom, tub, shower enclosure, and even kitchen sink backsplash an unsightly appearance. Stains can happen in a variety of different ways. Cleaning the tile grout that has been stained can be done, but it is time consuming and labor intensive. In some instances, the stain is set in so deep that you will need to chisel out the grout and replace it with new grout. This, of course, would be the last resort.

Prevention Is Better than Replacement

One of the best ways to make sure that you do not have to go to the extreme and replace the grout on your tile is to prevent the stain in the first place. There are plenty of ways that you can be proactive with your tile and eliminate most of the stains that can occur. While you can not completely eliminate all of the stain causes, you can do a lot to give your tile a much better appearance for a long time.

Keep Clean

The first way to prevent tile grout stain is to keep it clean. Each time you use the tub, or the shower, give the tile a good rub down so the dirt and soap does not set into the grout. A dry sponge, or rag, will do the job quickly. You do not have to do a complete cleaning of the grout, just a good rub down after use.

Seal Tile

Another way to give some protection to the tile grout is to seal the tile with a quality sealer. There are plenty of sealers that you can choose from to protect not only the finish of the tile, but also the grout itself. The sealer is spread out over the entire tile surface with a squeegee. When using a sealer you want to keep it even so that there is not too much in one area and not enough in another.

Keep Heated Objects Away from Tile

When you have a tile countertop, it can be easily stained if something that is hot is placed on top of the tile without any buffer or insulation. The heat will actually burn the grout and leave a dark brown stain. This is impossible to remove as it is burned into the grout itself.

Use Placemat for Drinks and Food

One of the problems with having tile on a coutertop is that it can be easily stained through regular everyday use. By placing a glass on the tile and letting the condensation settle into the grout you will see a dark ring develop. Juice from food is also a notorious cause of stain on the grout. Always use a placement, or a cutting board to prepare foods.

Dye the Grout

While this is not actually a way of preventing stains it is a way to hide the presence of a lot of stains. You can dye the grout before you even put into on to the tiles with special dye packs. You can also dye the grout while it is already on the tile. However, there is a lot of risk in ruining the tile itself. Regrouting the tile is an option if you want to add dye to the grout.


It is necessary to seal your limestone before use to preserve and protect its beauty, and there are eco-friendly limestone sealers available. You must seal your limestone, as it is a very porous and soft stone. The sealant will fill the porous holes in the stone and prevent corrosion and decay of the stone.

Limestone Sealants

Limestone sealants enter the interior of the stone surfaces where they resist and prevent damage while allowing the porous stone to breathe and release moisture. Therefore, these sealants protect the stone from stains, the formation of mold or mildew and prevent discoloration. Sealing limestone is a vital process in maintenance and installation to preserve the integrity and protection of your stone.

Environmentally Friendly Sealants

There are numerous types and varieties of limestone sealants available for purchase. There are several varieties of eco-friendly sealants that offer the same level of stone protection as other sealants, while remaining safe and environmentally friendly as well. Some sealants are notably more environmentally friendly than other sealants. The more environmentally friendly sealants are water-based solutions and are free from solvents while remaining non-toxic as well. All eco-friendly sealants will, by nature, be non-hazardous and non-flammable due to the lack of added chemical that other sealants may contain. In addition, all environmentally friendly solvents will not release and VOC or noxious fumes.


A regular customer of mine in Beckenham was having some work done in his house and insisted the builder use my services to seal their newly laid travertine tiled floor. We do see a lot of installation problems at Tile Doctor so I can only commend his foresight.

Travertine Floor Beckenham

Cleaning Travertine Tile

Once the floor was laid I gave the Travertine tiles a thorough clean to remove dirt and grout residue using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean followed by a rinse with water. A rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad and wet vacuum come in very handy at this point.

Sealing Travertine Tile

When the Travertine tile was dry it was buffed up using a rotary machine fitted with a Green Twister pad before sealing with two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which is a no-sheen penetrating sealer which gives a natural look. Once the sealer was dry it was buffed again, this time using a white buffing pad.

The builder was surprised at how well it came out and the work involved, he now recommends me to other clients.

Travertine Floor Beckenham Travertine Floor Beckenham

My customer now has me back to buff the floor on a regular basis.
Source: Travertine floor in Beckenham Sealed and Buffed

A limestone sealer is usually advertised as a product that will prevent the entry of water and/or oil on the pores of a limestone tile or limestone slab. While it is ideal to seal limestone installed in certain areas, most limestone applications do not require a limestone sealer. Walkways or foot paths lined with limestone usually become dirty when unsealed. This is because dirt and other debris get into the pores of the stone material and turn into a nasty looking surface. However, limestone installed in walls and other areas that are not usually stained or dirtied can be left as is without using a limestone sealer. Here are some advantages of not using limestone sealer.

1. Preserves Natural Beauty and Color of Limestone

Limestone provides natural beauty that adds decorative quality to where it is installed. When a limestone sealer is used to coat the material, it will loose its natural color and look more artificial. Furthermore, sealers have a tendency to cause discoloration. Poor limestone sealer products cause the limestone to turn into a nasty yellowish color.

2. Preserves the Breathable Quality of Limestone

Unsealed limestone is breathable, meaning that it allows vapor to enter and escape its pores. When a sealer is applied, water may be repelled, but moisture may find its way into the pores of the limestone and escaping will not be easy. When moisture is trapped inside the stone, it increases the risk of damage. It can soften the stone and cause cracks especially when the temperature rises. However, an unsealed limestone will allow moisture to enter its pores, but will also allow it to easily escape, therefore decreasing the chances of damage.

3. Lessens Maintenance Costs

Limestone on walls does not really need to be sealed because it does not get in frequent contact with acids and other harmful contaminants. Therefore the cost is lessened because it does not require constant sealing. Remember that topical sealers need to be replaced every once in a while. If the limestone does get stained, it only requires a few natural cleaning agents to get the stain out.

In addition, some limestone sealers can be easily scratched because they are softer than the limestone itself. When scratch marks are produced in sealed limestone, this requires additional maintenance cost because the entire coating needs to be rebuffed or replaced.

4. It Makes the Limestone More Durable

Limestone in itself is durable. However, when treated with sealers, especially those that are permanent, it will require constant chemical treatment especially when the sealer needs to be replaced or removed. Constant chemical cleaning and sealer removal will definitely make the limestone more susceptible to damage.

5. Helps the Environment

Some chemicals used in limestone sealer products may have negative effects on the environment. Impregnators, for example, cause toxic vapors to be released in the environment after use.


These photographs were taken at a house in Forestdale near Croydon in Surrey where we were engaged to clean and buff a dull Marble tiled floor; we were also asked to re-colour the grout which had become stained.

Marble Floor Before Polishing

Marble Tiled Floor Polishing

We used a set of diamond encrusted Twister Burnishing Pads fitted to a rotary buffing machine to polish the floor. The pads come in a set of four; you start with the Red pad together with plain water and this cuts through and removes surface grime and any surface seal. You then progress through one by one until you get to the final Green polishing pad which provides a high polish.

After this I mixed some Tile Doctor Shine crystallising powder with water, the Shine product provides a very high shine and tough durable finish. I used a White |Buffing pad to work the Shine powder into the tiles. After five minutes the residue was removed using a wet vacuum and I used the opposite side of the white pad and some plain water and carried on for another five minutes. Once complete I vacuumed the remaining water off and then with a clean dry white pad buffed up the floor to leave a deep lasting shine.

Recolouring the Grout

The last step was to refresh the grout using a tube of White Grout Colour applied with a toothbrush and then left for a couple of hours before using a white scrubbing pad and a little water spray to remove excess colourant. When I had finished the owner of the house said the floor looked better than it did when it was first laid.

Marble Floor After Polishing and Grout Refresh
Source: Marble Floor polishing in Forestdale, Surrey

Installing a limestone tile floor in your home can provide you with a very old world look and a durable floor. Limestone has been used as a flooring material for hundreds of years now. Here are a few things to consider about the durability of a limestone tile floor.

Limestone Tile Durability

Limestone tile is a natural stone. Limestone is actually one of the softer natural stones available. Compared to granite or marble, limestone is going to be softer. This softness means that it is more susceptible to cracks or chips. However, it is still a natural stone and is much harder than other types of flooring materials.

With this in mind, you may want to stay away from using limestone in very high traffic areas. If you know that an area will have a lot of traffic, you may want to consider a harder material, such as porcelain, that can give you a similar look.

Sealing your limestone can also help protect it from any abuse that it might take. It will prevent dirt, soil and stains from getting into the limestone itself.

Try to make a conscious effort not to drop anything heavy on the limestone. This will help you prevent any breakage that might occur.


It is important to know the pros and cons of a travertine floor before determining the suitability of using it for any specific application. Travertine is a type of sedimentary stone, and is made of carbonate compounds. Because of its marble like look, it is very famous as flooring materials.


Travertine comes with wide range of beautiful colors. You can choose from cream, gold, ivory, walnut and many more. Travertine is easy to cut and shape, and allows you to form various patterns. You can go for different finishing options like brushed, shiny, matte with travertine. Travertine tiles do not crack easily; it is both beautiful and durable like marble. Polished travertine tiles allow easy removal of dirt.


There are some disadvantages to be kept in mind. Travertine is naturally porous and susceptible to acids. Even spillage of orange juice and vinegar can cause it to be discolored and etched, which is why many times people do not go for travertine tiles in kitchens and bathrooms. Normally the pores are filled in the factory for a smooth look, and maintenance of the tiles involves filling the pores whenever needed. Keep in mind that wet travertine tiles are slippery.