Monthly Archives: November 2013

This Terrazzo tiled vestibule in Glasgow was completely dull and lacking colour when we arrived, this area probably see’s the most foot traffic in the house so it must of seen a fair amount of wear and abuse over the years.

Terrazzo tiled vestibule in Glasgow before cleaning

Cleaning Terrazzo Tiles

Terrazzo is a very hard surface and needs to be burnished in the same way as you would treat Marble or Travertine, before we could do that thought we needed to remove any loose debris etc. that could scratch the surface during the burnishing process to the first job was to sweep out the area with a brush and vacuum up any loose debris etc.

It was a very tight area so use of our large Bonnet machine was ruled out and we opted instead for a small handheld rotary machine fitted with the diamond encrusted burnishing pads. The burnishing pads come in a set of four and you start with a coarse pad with a little water and work your way through the set moving from a the coarse pads through to the less abrasive pads; this process polishes the stone more and more until you get a smooth finish. After each pad was used the area was thoroughly rinsed with clean water to remove any excess polish before moving onto the next, once we had gone through all four pads the floor was left clean ,smooth, and shiny.

Sealing Terrazzo Tile

Once the burnishing process was completed we proceeded to seal the stone with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing sealer designed to protect the stone whilst lifting the natural colours.

Terrazzo tiled vestibule in Glasgow after cleaning

Although quite intensive due to the space restriction it was quite a small area so it took just less than a day to complete.
Source: Tile cleaning problems solved.

This old Victorian Quarry Tiled Floor was discovered in the basement of a large house in Oxford where they had been covered up for years. There were a couple of dead tiles that have had the tops taken of for some reason but the rest were in a reasonable condition given their age.

Victorian Quarry Tiled Floor before Restoration in Oxford

Restoring Victorian Quarry Tiles

On the first day I used a mixture of Tile Doctor Remove and Go combined with Nanotech UltraClean which adds an abrasive element to a powerful coatings remover. I spread this on the Quarry tiled floor and left it for about an hour so it could soak into the tile and breakdown old sealers and soil etc.; I then used a commercial steamer on the floor to aid the cleaning process and bring the dirt and old sealant to the surface. When that was done I rinsed the floor with clean water which was then removed along with the soil using a wet vacuum. The next step was to give the floor a mild acid rinse using Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up to remove any mineral deposits from the surface of the tile and then rinse down again with clean water so all the chemicals were removed. The floor was quite damp at this stage and need to be dry so it could be sealed so I left a dehumidifier there and a damp meter so the customer could test the floor.

Sealing Victorian Quarry Tiles

After a couple of days I got the call from the customer that the floor was now dry so I went round to seal it with five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a recommended sealer for Quarry tiles providing good stain protection whilst adding a nice sheen.

Victorian Quarry Tiled Floor after Restoration in Oxford

This floor was 120 years old and the customer had no expectation of any significant improvement and had even considered covering it with wood before giving us a call; I was pleased therefore that we managed to exceed their expectations and breathe new life into this old floor.
Source: Help with Victorian Tile Restoration

Tumbled travertine tile is a lot like traditional travertine tiles except that they have more texture and depth. The tumbled travertine tile has been put through an intentional process to get this texture. They are also smoother to the touch and give a better look than normal travertine tiles. Grouting tumbled travertine tile is a more unique process than other tiles. The article below will share with you several tips and techniques on how to properly grout tumbled travertine tile.

Seal the Tile First

Tumbled travertine tile has many dips, curves, holes and natural surfaces which give it its character but also makes it more difficult to grout. Prior to even thinking of grouting tumbled travertine tile, you first need to apply a deep penetrating sealer. This will protect the tile from water and other liquids and solids that may get on the travertine tiles. It will also protect the tile from the grout and provide a better look. Due to the intricate details of tumbled travertine tile you need to apply the sealer in at least 2 coats and do so with a quality paintbrush. This will let the sealer get in and coat the tile properly. The sealer has to dry prior to being able to grout it.

Unsanded Grout

There are 2 types of grout that can be used when grouting. One is an epoxy-based grout while the other is cement. Either of these grouts will work with tumbled travertine tile. What you need to worry about is whether or not the grout is sanded or unsanded. Sand is often added to grout in order to strengthen it. While grout with sand in it is perfectly all right for most tiles, you should only use unsanded grout for tumbled travertine tile. The sand in the ground can inadvertently damage the tile.

Thin the Grout

When you mix the grout, the instructions want you to mix it so it is about as thick as peanut butter. This is not the case when you grout tumbled travertine tile. The holes and spaces that are naturally a part of the tile will easily become full of grout. You do not want this to happen because when it dries you will need to dig it out, which will ruin the tile and the sealer. Thin the grout out so that it is the consistency of jelly rather than peanut butter. This will allow you to quickly wipe up the grout from the craters.

Use a Grout Bag

Think of a grout bag as a pastry bag for tile. Essentially you want to thin out the grout slightly to a consistency more like jelly than peanut butter. The grout is spooned into the bag and then you use it to fill the gaps. The grout float is then used to press the grout down. You can then apply more grout and repeat the process until the grout has been sufficiently applied. Once the grout has dried (double the drying time) you can wipe the tumbled travertine tile off with a damp sponge. This technique prevents unnecessary mess.

Travertine tile floors can offer advantages not found in other types of flooring, such as a more unique appearance and a more secure footing than you may find with ceramic tile. But in the installation of this tile you should be aware of common pitfalls you’re likely to encounter if you’re not aware of them.

Spreading Glue

In spreading the thinset glue that is typically used for adherence of this tile, avoid using any trowel except one with ½ inch teeth. Using any other trowel will result in applying too much glue that could ooze up from beneath the tile. Too little glue could inhibit the tile from adhering properly to the floor.

Choosing the Right Grout

When your tile has been glued to the floor and has dried, you’ll need to use the proper grout to spread on it. A common mistake made in choosing grout is in assuming that there is a single, universal grout that should be used. Grout should be chosen according to the color that will match your tile, and the grout should be sanded.

Choosing the Right Sealer

Travertine tile, because it is porous, is easily stained by common household products that may be spilled on it. Choosing the wrong sealer will allow products such as coffee and wine to stain your tile, even after it is sealed.

If you’re passionate about tiled floors and easily upset I suggest you look away now as believe it or not the photographs below are from a recently laid Limestone tiled floor in Banbury. It had been left in a very poor state by the tiler who had managed to cover in Grout Haze and then in the process of trying to rectify the problem by cleaning it off with acid managed to etch the surface of the Limestone making the situation even worse. Limestone being a calcareous stone can in fact be dissolved by acids, in face it’s not unknown for mildly acidic cleaning products to cause holes to appear in the surface over time.

Restoring Limestone Tiles

To resolve we had to strip back the Limestone surface using a set of burnishing pads, these diamond encrusted pads come in a number of different colours each one does a different job from honing to polishing. I started with the coarse pad together with water and then carried on through the set until I got to the finer pad removing the soiled water with a wet vacuum along the way. Finally when I had dried the floor I used a finishing pad to buff the floor up. This activity took most of the day so left the floor to completely dry overnight.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

The following day I checked the floor to make sure it had dried, which it had and started to seal the floor which was done using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow Sealer which is an impregnating sealer which gets into the pores of the Limestone to prevent dirt being trapped, the formula as well as providing stain protection also enhances the natural colours in the stone.

I think you will agree we achieved a good result given the original condition of the tile. I should also mention that I also gave the customer a finishing pad as they owned a floor machine and using this on the floor even once a month will keep the honed surface tight and keep the seal working longer.
Source: Limestone Tile Maintenance Problems Solved

This job was a Travertine tiled Kitchen floor in West Disbury, the customer ask me to have a look at the tiles which had been down for three years and had quite a lot of cracks in, on top of that it had not been sealed very well when it had been laid which had allowed dirt to become ingrained into the tile leaving it looking dull.

Travertine Floor West Disbury Before Travertine Floor West Disbury Before

Maintaining Travertine Tiles

The first job was to wash the floor down to remove any grit from the floor and then remove what remained of the old sealer, now with Travertine being a very hard stone it has to be removed using of a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads fitted to a rotary machine. Once this was done all the cracks in the Travertine were filled in using a flexible grout which was a blend of three different grout colours in order to get a shade that matched the colour of the travertine. The tiled area was quite confined and tricky to work in so this process including the sealer removal took two days in all.

Polishing and Sealing Travertine Tile

On the third day I used the fine burnishing pad to give the final polish and then to protect the floor from stains it was sealed with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing sealer that brings out the colours in natural stone. Once the sealer was dry it was buffed using a white buffing pad to make sure that I hadn’t left any residues from the seal.

Travertine Floor West Disbury After Travertine Floor West Disbury After

The customer was very pleased with the finish and found it very hard to spot the cracks I had filled.
Source: Travertine Tile Maintenance Site