Monthly Archives: February 2013

Mexican Terracotta is a lot more porous than typical Spanish or Italian clays, because of this it’s more prone to trapping dirt and needs to be sealed to protect it. These Mexican Terracotta floor tiles installed in a house in Lewes, East Sussex were no different and were proving difficult to keep clean; apologies in advance for the photographs, on refection they are not my best.

Terracota Tiles Before Cleaning

Cleaning Mexican Terracotta Tiles

The dirt was quite engrained and so a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mixed one part Pro-Clean to ten parts water was applied to the terracotta tile and grout and left to soak in. The solution was then agitated using a floor buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. It’s important to make sure you use the right concentration of floor cleaning product, too little and if won’t be effective and too much will mean your having to wash the floor down more as if you leave any on the floor tile it can upset the sealer. It’s recommended therefore to do a small test before cleaning the entire floor. Once we were happy with the condition of the tiles we used stiff hand held brushes on the grout to give that also a scrub before removing the all the solution with a wet vacuum, rinsing the floor down and then left it dry overnight.

Sealing Mexican Terracotta floor tiles

Once cleaned and fully dried we came back and applied nine coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a durable low sheen sealer that will protect the grout and tile from staining. We advised the customer that due to its softer clay further top up coats may be necessary. We left what was remaining of the Seal and Go for this purpose and advised them that if the seal faded slightly then this was then the best time to apply a further coat.

Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning
Source: Mexican Terracotta in Lewes

Quarry tile is extremely popular and used for several different projects. If you are considering using quarry tile for your patio or next home project here is a little information to keep in mind.


Quarry tile is unglazed and not showy. It is natural as well as durable and is pretty course. It is made from shale and blended clays and are made to be extremely strong.


You can find quarry tile in many different colors, shades and designs. While it used to be used a lot in industrial settings, people are starting to use it a lot more in their homes and yards. Because of this, the designs and colors have expanded.

Using Quarry Tile

Since quarry tile is porous and not glazed, it makes it great to use with adhesive and grout. The downside though to this type of tile is that it also retains water so you will have to be concerned about molding. To ward off the mold and other problems, a layer of wax can be used as a sealant. It can be great to use in bathrooms or kitchens as anything that falls on them can blend in to the style and it is hard to crack or break.


This job involved removing and replacing five damaged Travertine floor tiles which can be tricky if you have under floor heating. The travertine floor was laid in the kitchen of a house in the town of Ascot which is famous for horse racing.

Removing the Damaged Travertine floor tiles

As you can see from the photograph below we set about marking up the damaged tiles and then proceeded to cut along the lines with an angle grinder which was fitted with a dust free extraction system. Once the bulk of the travertine was removed we used a hammer and chisel to carefully chop out the remaining edges, grout and tile adhesive. This left large holes to take the replacement tiles which were still available and were secured in place with tile adhesive and matching grout, we left the floor at this point to allow the adhesive and grout to dry.

Damaged Travertine Tile


Cleaning and Polishing Travertine Tiles

The next step was to strip and polish the entire floor using a set of diamond encrusted Burnishing Pads fitted to a rotary machine. You start with a Red stripper pad with water to remove any sealers, moving onto the White, Yellow and finally Green pad which polishes the floor to a high shine. The last step was to seal the floor using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which brings out the colour in natural stone as well as providing durable stain protection.

The re-polishing and sealing really helped to let the new Travertine tiles blend into the floor, take a look at the finished result in the photograph below and see if you can spot the replaced tiles.

Travertine Tile Replaced and Polished

 Source: Damaged Travertine Tile replacement

If you are considering installing a quarry tile floor, there are many different factors that you should look at. This type of floor can provide you with some advantages and disadvantages to be aware of. Here are some of the pros and cons of quarry tile floors.


One of the biggest advantages of this type of tile is that it is very inexpensive. Quarry tile is very basic and does not require any glaze on the top layer of the tile. This makes it fast and easy for tile manufacturers to produce which lowers the cost to the consumer.

Another advantage of this type of tile is that it is very durable. Quarry tile tends to be very thick and will not chip or break easily. This makes it an ideal solution in heavy traffic areas.


One of the disadvantages of quarry tile is that it is notorious for being stained. Since there is no glaze on the top of the tile, liquids can easily penetrate the tile and permanently stain it. Therefore, even though it is a durable solution, it might look bad after a very short period of time.

Installation of quarry tile is also more difficult because you will typically want to try and seal the top layer to help avoid problems.

As you can see from the photographs below the ceramic tiles and grout in this Shower Cubicle in East Sussex were in need of a deep clean. Ceramic tiles are very easy to clean however the grout was very discoloured and so we decided to apply a grout colourant.

Cleaning Shower Tile and Grout

To clean up the ceramic tiles and grout we sprayed on Tile Doctor Oxy-Pro which is a specialist Shower Tile and Grout Cleaner, the spray allows the cleaning agent to mix with air making it lighter and easier to stick to vertical surfaces. This is important as you need to let the cleaning agent dwell on the surface of the tile and grout for a few minutes before scrubbing it by hand with a stiff brush and then washing it off with clean water.

Re-Colouring Grout

The cleaning process managed to clean up the tiles and did make a difference on the grout but there was quite a few stains left on the grout so we proceeded with grout colouring starting with the application of the Pre-Treater which prepares the grout ensuring a good bond with the grout colouring product.

Once the Pre-Treater had dried I started the application of the white grout colourant which you work into the grout using a toothbrush, for best results you need to work it forwards and backwards to achieve an even coat. I used two coats of grout colourant in the end to ensure shadowing from some of the darker stains were not visible.

These grout colouring products are self sealing so after 24 hours it is fully cured and protected. Last step was to strip out the old silicone at the bottom of the shower, this had gone a bit mouldy and once mould gets a hold on silicone it’s impossible to get rid off, we replaced the sealant with a fresh White Mapeisil waterproof silicone.

The renovation was now complete, tiles cleaned, grout restored and sealant replaced; naturally the customer was very pleased with the results as the shower looked like new again.

Source: Shower Tile and Grout Cleaning in East Sussex

Cement floors have become a popular choice among some home decorators, searching for decorative and affordable flooring solutions. However, some people still prefer using concrete floors for their bathrooms. This is primarily because concrete surfaces offer more durability and a wider range of designs. Cement floors are not recommended for bathroom flooring as bathroom surfaces are continuously exposed to a high level of daily usage, making them vulnerable to constant weathering.

Concrete floors are known to remain intact even when continuously exposed to water, like in the shower area. Concrete floorings are used in their pure format or for creating finished surfaces areas, i.e. laying stone floors, incorporating the use marble or terrazzo. Whereas, the top surface of the cement floor is susceptible to the cascading force of overhead showers and tend to chip-away with extended usage. This leads to an erosion-like mechanism wherein a rough surface along the exposed layer of the cement is created. This roughened surface area tends to trap dust particles which increase in volume due to water absorption, causing further cracking of the concrete flooring. These microscopic holes also host many bacterial microorganisms, creating bathroom hygiene-related issues.

This problem is created due the cement mix that is a bit porous by nature and hence, is prone to water seepage. This also causes easy staining of the cement designs on the bathroom floor. The increased water seepage is a direct deterrent to the bathroom’s plumbing installations. The accumulating water vapor due to the absorption of moisture migrates through the cement mix, causing the floor to ‘sweat’. This creates increased pressure on the plumbing installations, often cracking them, causing internal leakages.

When choosing flooring for your home, do consider Marmaloeum. Marmaloeum is the new eco-friendly option that is now available for home and office flooring. Using this type of flooring can help minimize the environmental impact. This flooring has received the ISO 14001 and the SMART certification. Marmaloeum was earlier popularly known as linoleum.

Different Types of Flooring Options

Today most people are choosing Marmaloeum over two of the most used flooring options: vinyl and carpeting. Carpets attract millions of allergens like dust, pollen, animal dander, mildew, and mold in spite of proper cleaning. Vinyl flooring can off gas air pollutants like PVC, cadmium, lead, dioxins, and phthalate plasticizers in the home

Advantages of Using Marmaloeum

Marmaloeum is made using a combination of rosins, linseed oil, pine, limestone, cork flour, and wood flour. The product is available in the form of flooring sheets and tiles. The non-toxic ingredients, when put together result in a hard and durable material. Moreover, anti-bacteria and anti-static properties that are available naturally are added to the mixture. This helps the flooring to resist dust and inhibit bacteria.

Additionally, the flooring clicks together effectively. This means no adhesives are required to join the flooring tiles so no nasty fumes are emitted. Since the flooring is made using all natural materials, it does not off gas toxic VOCs. Many dangerous health concerns have been considered and linked to the type of flooring used. Fortunately, none have been found yet when using Marmaloeum. In fact, Marmaloeum does not result in any health concerns when disposed as it is 100 percent biodegradable.

Apart from being extremely eco-friendly, this flooring is very easy to clean, as stains cannot penetrate through the hard protective layer of Marmaloeum. The surface can be cleaned using a vacuum or a mop. The manufacturer suggests using its own cleaning solution, which is easily available. No water must be used to clean the surface.

The next advantage is the variety of designs that Marmaloeum offers. This flooring offers consumers a variety in terms of color and designs. The manufacturer gives a selection of almost twenty-four colors that can be chosen by the consumer. Thus, Marmaloeum can be used in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and corporate offices thanks to the variety available.

The last advantage of installing Marmaloeum is the price and its cost of replacement. Prices range from $5 to $8 per square foot with extra installation charges. However, the benefit is that these tiles can be replaced. The tiles can also be replaced partly if only few tiles are damaged.

Disadvantages of Marmaloeum

With so many advantages, just 2 disadvantages exist. The color of the Marmaloeum can be different from the sample chosen. This is because the ingredients used in this flooring are natural and can change over time. Secondly, unfortunately Marmaloeum cannot be recycled. However, it would decompose in a landfill without emitting any harmful chemicals. Thus, consumers can be sure their flooring, when dumped, will not release any harmful chemicals or materials in the ground, air and water.


You can see from the photographs how soiled this Sandstone tiled floor was, any sealer had pretty much been worn away and dirt had penetrated into the pores of the sandstone flagstones.

Sandstone Floor before Cleaning

Cleaning a Sandstone Tiled Floor

We cleaned the floor using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted with 10 parts warm water, Pro-Clean has an alkaline formula so it’s safe to use on natural stone, acidic cleaning products can eat away at protective coatings and even dissolve calcareous stone over time. The cleaning agent was worked into the stone surface using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad; we also used a stiff hand brush on the grout lines as the machine can struggle here. The soiled solution was rinsed off with clean water which was removed with a wet vacuum which is a great time saver when you need to suck water off a floor. There were a few areas that needed further attention so we repeated the process until we were satisfied, there were one or two areas where stains had penetrated through to the grit in the Sandstone but we had managed to lighten them significantly, we then left for the evening so the floor could dry overnight.

Sealing a Sandstone Tiled 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 sandstone was dry so we proceeded to seal the floor with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which gives a nice low sheen finish. Sandstone is fairly porous to it took five coats of sealer in the end, the sealer also reduced the appearance of the stains once it had fully dried and I think you will agree from the photographs there was quite an improvement.

Sandstone Floor after Cleaning and Sealing
Source: Sandstone Floor Cleaned and Sealed

A linoleum floor is an attractive and inexpensive option for your home. Linoleum has a high resistance to moisture, which contributes to its durability. This makes it an excellent choice for use in entry rooms, kitchens and bathrooms. However, linoleum is prone to scratches, especially if it is laid in high traffic areas. An accumulation of scratches reduces the aesthetic appeal of your floor. Fortunately, you can restore the fine appearance of your linoleum floor with the handy guide below.

What you’ll need

Linoleum floor polish
Lambs wool mop
Sandpaper, rough grade
Linoleum piece
Small bowl
Wood glue
Popsicle stick
Putty knife
Damp rag
Acrylic floor sealer
Paint roller

Step 1 – Clean the Floor

Vacuum your floor to remove dust and fine debris. Clear residual dirt with a wet mop. It is vital that you have a clean floor before you proceed with the repair. Use an old terrycloth to absorb moisture from the floor. Allow the floor a couple of hours to air-dry.

Step 2 – Small Scratches

Apply a thin coat of floor polish with a lamb’s wool mop. For best results, apply the polish in back and forth motions. Allow 1 hour for the polish to set before you apply another coat. This is sufficient to clear small scratches on linoleum. For bigger scratches, proceed to the next step.

Step 3 – Obtain Linoleum Powder

Look around your home for a leftover piece of linoleum. If you fail to get one, purchase a few pieces from a flooring dealer. Be sure to obtain as close to an exact match as possible. Use rough grade sandpaper to obtain some powder from the linoleum. Hold the linoleum over a large cardboard as you sand. You should aim to obtain enough powder to allow you to fill the scratches completely.

Step 4 – Create a Paste

Pour the linoleum dust into a small bowl. Add a small amount of wood glue into the bowl to make a thick paste. Mix the dust and glue thoroughly with a popsicle stick. Once you obtain a uniform color, the paste is ready to be used.

Step 5 – Fill the Scratches

Scoop a small amount of the paste with the tip of your putty knife. Apply the paste carefully inside the scratch. Firmly press the paste into the scratch. Use a damp rag to wipe away excess paste from the linoleum. Allow at least 24 to 48 hours for the paste to set completely.

Step 6 – Apply Sealer

It is a good idea to apply a sealer to complete your repairs. Obtain a suitable sealer for linoleum floors from a flooring store. Apply 2 thin coats of sealer onto the treated linoleum. Allow the first coat to dry for the specified amount of time before applying the second coat.

Step 7 – Protective Steps

It is best not to wear shoes as you walk on your linoleum floor. The abrasive action of the shoes contributes to frequent scratches and scuffs. Avoid dragging heavy items across the floor. Ask somebody to help you carry the items instead to avoid scratches on the floor.