Monthly Archives: April 2013

The owners of this house in Southampton called us in to breathe some life back into their slate floor which had become rather dull and had lost its shine. We took a look and could see the previous sealer had been worn down and it was in need of deep clean and re-seal, sealers will wear off over time and once they are gone dirt will start to get trapped in the pores of the tile.

Southampton Slate Floor Before

Cleaning the Slate Floor

To remove any remaining sealer and give the floor a deep clean we applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. This was left to dwell on the floor for a while before using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad to scrub the floor and get the slate floor really clean. The machine can struggle to reach the grout so it was necessary to get in with a stiff hand brush afterwards and scrub along the grout lines. Once I was satisfied with the condition of the stone floor it was given a wash down with clean water which was removed using a wet vacuum to make sure no chemical was left on the floor as this can affect the sealer later.

Sealing the Slate Floor

Sealing the Slate floor was a straight forward process once the floor was clean and free of any debris etc. The sealer chosen for this floor was Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds a low sheen finish whilst providing stain protection. Five coats were applied using a paint pad applicator before the floor was fully sealed , the number of coats you need depend on the porosity of the stone and each floor is different and you need to let each coat dry before proceeding to the next.

Southampton Slate Floor Finished
Source: Slate Floor Maintenance in Southampton, Hampshire

These photographs are from an Edwardian Quarry tiled porch at a house in central London. The tiles had previously been sealed with several layers of varnish which was now beginning to wear off in places and was making the entrance to the house look very untidy.

Cleaning Edwardian Quarry Tiles

I used a mixture of Tile Doctor Remove and Go and Nanotech Ultra Clean and left it to soak into the floor for an hour to break down the old varnish. The floor was then rinsed with clean water and steamed to remove any remaining residue. Following this I used a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean cleaner worked into the floor with a rotary machine fitted with a black buffing pad to machine clean the floor giving it another rinse to neutralise the floor of any chemicals before leaving for the day

Edwardian Quarry Tiled Porch Before Cleaning

Sealing Quarry Floor Tiles

The next day the tiles had dried out overnight and were ready for sealing for which we used three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a durable sealer that helps to lift the colour out of the tile.

Edwardian Quarry Tiled Porch After Cleaning and Sealing

You can see the difference in the floor from the photographs in fact the customer said that they had put up with the condition of the tiles in the porch for ten years and were very pleased to have found a solution with Tile Doctor.
Source: Cleaning and Sealing Edwardian Quarry Tiles in London

A patio made from flagstone pavers is a very sought after look because a flagstone patio is beautiful and timeless. Flagstone pavers are not inexpensive so it is important that you take proper care of them. Flagstone pavers come in rich earthy colors which can fade over time as the pavers are exposed to the elements. This is an unfortunate chemical reaction due to the flagstone pavers not yet acclimating to the surroundings. Sealing the flagstone pavers can help to prevent this fading. The following article will explain how this is done.

What you’ll need

  • Paint tray
  • Broom
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Hose
  • Oil-free dish detergent
  • Stiff-bristled scrub brush
  • Flagstone sealant

Step 1 – Remove Debris and Materials

Prior to sealing the flagstone pavers you will first need to remove debris and materials that are resting on top of them. Start by removing any furniture that may be present which would include patio chairs and tables as well as grills. You will also want to remove any planters or other smaller objects. Anything that can hinder the process has to be removed.

Step 2 – Clean the Flagstone Patio

Applying sealer to flagstone pavers is like painting a wall or staining wood. This can only successfully be done if the area to seal is clean. This means that the flagstone pavers need to free of all dirt, rubbish and oil. Either of these materials can create a bad seal. Use the broom to first brush away any loose dirt or leaves that may have accumulated on the patio. Once his is achieved you can then put a few drops of the dish detergent into a bucket of warm water. You want it to be somewhat sudsy but not completely foamy. Dip the scrub brush in the bucket and begin scrubbing the flagstone pavers clean. Once finished, you can then rinse the pavers clean with the hose. Allow the flagstone pavers to dry completely before moving forward.

Step 3 – Seal the Flagstone Pavers

Once the pavers have had time to fully dry you can then begin the job of sealing them. Choose a far corner to begin working so that when you are finished you will not have to walk over sealed flagstone pavers. Open the can of flagstone sealer you purchased and pour some of it in to the paint tray. Use the paint roller to apply the sealer to the flagstone pavers. Make certain that the flagstone pavers are fully painted. Continue to paint the pavers with the sealant until all of them are sufficiently and generously covered.

Step 4 – Finishing Up

Allow the sealant to dry completely. You will need to consult the can of sealant to determine how long that may be for the one that you used. Once the sealant is dry you can then apply a second coat of the sealant. Two coats of the sealant are enough to properly protect the flagstone pavers. If you happen to live in a climate that is warm more times out of the year than it is cool then a third coat is warranted. The sealer must be completely dry before replacing the furniture.

A flagstone wall is very easy to build and helps demarcate areas within your garden, enhancing the beauty of the landscape. Made from light flagstones, this type of wall resembles stacked slate and does not require any drainage system. A flagstone retaining wall is usually no more than 3 to 4 feet high and is used to retain soil in the garden.

Building a flagstone wall for your garden can be completed in a few hours. However, make sure you have adequate protection from the sun if the weather is hot, since you will be working outdoors.

What you’ll need

  • Flagstone
  • Shovel
  • Hat
  • Drinking water
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Gravel
  • Gloves
  • Sticks
  • Thread or rope
  • Rake
  • Cement
  • Mortar

Step 1 – Select Area and Insert Sticks

Select the area for your flagstone retaining wall. Insert two sticks in the soil, at both ends of the wall. Make sure the sticks are as high as your wall will be and tie a rope or string at both ends of the sticks. This will give you a general idea of how you wall will look, and will help keep it even.

Step 2 – Dig the Base for the Flagstone Wall

For a retaining stonewall, use a shovel that is roughly a foot wider than the height of your wall. Flagstones come in very large pieces, so one rock for the depth measurement will suffice. Dig the trench at least 10 to 12 inches in the soil.

Make sure the hill you want to retain slopes back gradually about an inch per rising foot, and add or remove dirt to it accordingly. Try to maintain the slope throughout the length of the flagstone wall.

Step 3 – Add Gravel to the Trench

Add gravel to the trench and rake it so it is aligned with the ground. The gravel will help secure the base of the flagstone wall.

Step 4 – Lay the Stones

Begin laying the stones, using the largest ones first, and cover the area of the gravel underneath. Make sure the stones are placed securely and do not wobble. Save some large stones for the top layer.

Step 5 – Cover the Joints

Step back to review the wall and make sure it does not wobble. You can leave the joints bare or insert small chips of the stone into them. You can also mix soil and water to achieve a mortar-like consistency and insert it into the gaps. This will allow small plants or grass to eventually grow there, thus enhancing the charm of your flagstone wall.

Step 6 – Finish the Top

You can leave your wall as it is, or add large stones to the top layer to make it sturdy and give it a finished look. Apply a layer of concrete or mortar to the next to last layer of stone and gently place the top stones on it. Insert small stones or soil into the gaps, or insert broken chips of flagstones. This will make your wall more secure along with giving it a more rustic look. Remove the sticks and thread or rope.

Your flagstone retaining wall is now complete.



Installed on an external balcony these black and white Marble Mosaic tiles had been exposed to the elements resulting in an accumulated of dirt.

Marble Mosaic Balcony Tile Before

Cleaning Marble Mosaic Balcony Tiles

Marble is a very tough product so for best results we recommend using a set of burnishing pads fitted to a rotary machine that can cut through the grime and re-polish the stone. There are four pads in the set and you start with the Red pad together with a little water, this removes any remaining sealer; next you move on to the White pad again with a little water and this will remove any ingrained dirt. The next two pads, Yellow then Green complete the polishing process and produce a high shine finish. Between pads you need to rinse the floor with clean water to remove loose dirt and grime, I can recommend the use of a Wet Vacuum for this they are excellent at removing surface water quickly.

Sealing Marble Mosaic Tiled Floor

We left the floor to dry overnight and came back the next day to seal the floor. Luckily the weather held out, being external we wouldn’t have been able to seal the Marble if it was wet and it was forecast to rain that day. We sealed the Marble Mosaic tiles using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which really does bring out the colour of natural stone, it’s also rated for external use and will provide strong and durable protection for the future.

Marble Mosaic Balcony Tile Finished
Source: Marble Tile Restoration in Hampshire

Marble tile installation is a process that is not extremely complicated, but it does take some care and patience. When you are installing marble for the first time, you want to be aware of how the process works and keep a few tips in mind. Your are some tips to remember when you are installing marble tile for the first time.

Subfloor Preparation

One of the most important aspects of your job is to prepare the subfloor before you start laying. If the subfloor is not in good condition, you are going to have to spend some time fixing it. If you are working with a floor that already has some type of flooring on it, you are going to want to remove the flooring. If the subfloor is concrete, you are going to need to level it out with self-leveling compound if there are problems with the floor. If you are working with a wood subfloor, you are going to need to install concrete board before you can put the marble tile in. Concrete board is going to provide you with a very strong surface to put the tile on. You will need to use adhesive under the concrete board and then use nails or screws to adhere it to the wood subfloor. Regardless of what type of subfloor you have, you want to make sure that it is completely level and smooth for your tile installation.

Wet Saw

When you are working with marble, you will definitely want to use a wet saw. When using other types of tile, you could potentially get by with other cutting methods. You could use tile snips or some other type of saw. However, with marble, you have to use a wet saw. Marble is somewhat brittle and it tends to break along the grain if you do not cut it with a wet saw. The wet saw sprays a stream of water on the marble while you cut it. This helps to make a clean cut and you will not have any rough edges when you are done.

Proper Adhesive

When you are installing marble tile, you will want to make sure that you use the proper type of adhesive. They make and adhesive that is specifically designed to work with marble and stone tiles. This type of adhesive works very well. However, you could also use traditional tile thinset if you do not have access to the marble adhesive. When you use regular thinset, you are going to want to make sure that you use white thinset. If you use a dark color, it could potentially get through the marble and you will start to see the color of the thinset underneath.

Buy Extra

Before you get started, you will want to make sure that you buy plenty of marble tile. If you are short, it can be very difficult to find tile from the same batch. This could result in you having to put tile down that does not necessarily match the tile on your floor.

These pictures are of a Sandstone floor installed in a house in Leyland, the dog seems quite content with the floor but the owner wasn’t; the trouble with Sandstone is that is a relatively soft sedimentary stone which doesn’t provide the best foundation for a sealer causing it to breakdown faster. To counteract this I usually apply as much sealer as the floor will accept and then leave any spare with the customer so they can top it up when the shine starts to wear off. I find this works better than to let the Sealer break down as this will allow dirt to get trapped in the stone and then you have to start all over again with the clean and seal. Applying a regular top up of sealer will keep the floor in good condition for several years before it needs to be done again saving the customer time and money in the long run.

Cleaning Sandstone flagged flooring

We cleaned the Sandstone flags with a 1 to 10 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and warm water agitated with a Black buffing pad attached to our floor scrubbing machine. The soiled solution was then removed using a wet vacuum and the floor rinsed off with water, judging by the colour of the dirty water it was clear we had managed to dislodge a large amount of dirt. The process was repeated a few times until we were confident the floor was as clean as it could be and then we left it to dry overnight.

Sandstone floor in leyland before

Sealing Sandstone floor tile

The next morning the floor had dried and we proceeded to seal the sandstone with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is highly recommended for this type of stone providing a good level of stain protection combined with a nice low sheen finish. Five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go were needed to cover the floor which can take some time to apply as each coat needs to dry first before you can apply the next.

Sandstone floor in leyland After
Source: Sandstone cleaning in Lancashire