Monthly Archives: April 2014

Installing cork flooring underlayment is a necessary part of the process of installing floating cork flooring. The underlayment provides several benefits to the cork and those that walk on it, however, there are some drawbacks associated with it. Here are a few pros and cons of cork flooring underlayment.


Sound protection–One of the best things about cork flooring underlayment is that it makes the flooring even quieter to walk on. Cork is naturally quiet anyway, but this makes it that much better.
Prevents joint damage–The main purpose of putting underlayment under the cork is to prevent the joints between the boards from cracking. If you walked on cork without a pad underneath, it would soon break apart.
Softness–Underlayment also provides a slightly softer surface to walk on, which helps your joints over time.


Added expense–When you buy flooring, you will soon realize just how expensive it can get. Adding something else besides the flooring just adds more money to the total bill. While it is necessary, it can help increase the amount of money that you pay for the flooring project.
Added work–Another disadvantage of cork flooring underlayment is the extra work that it takes to install. While it is a simple process, it does add more time to the job.


This was a straight forward request to Power Wash Paving Slabs outside a house in Great Oakley. I wouldn’t normally add this to my blog however it occurred to me that a lot of my customers don’t realise Tile Doctor’s have invested in high pressure equipment that can be used externally as well as internally. In the photograph below you will see a picture of our van which contains a very high pressure truck mounted cleaning system which can generates pressures far in excess of a domestic system.

Tile Doctor Northamptonshire Truck Mounted Pressure Cleaning

Cleaning Paving Slabs

You can see from the photographs below that we were able to cut through the soil and grime built up on the surface of the tiles without too much trouble, fortunately these were large slabs as you do have to be careful around the joints where too much power can dislodge the mortar in-between the slabs. Also working outside does have the added advantage that there is a lot less preparation to do to protect other surfaces. It wasn’t necessary in this case but if you do struggle to clean paving slabs yourself you should apply a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean first and then let it soak in before scrubbing it in with a stiff brush, brick acid cleaners that you can buy in the DIY stores are very strong and you have to be very careful with them where as Pro-Clean is an alkaline product.

Cleaning Paving Slabs in Great Oakley Cleaning Paving Slabs in Great Oakley

Source: Internal and External Floor Cleaning Services

One reason people may shy away from installing their own in-floor heating coils is because they do not know how to lay tile. Follow the simple steps below to give your room a whole new look and feel.

What you’ll need
Self-leveling compound
Straight edge
Tile nippers
Wet saw
Grout float
Grout tool
Tile spacers
Scrap lumber

Step 1: Place Electric Mat

Follow instructions for the mat installation, keeping it at least 3 inches from drains, walls and fixtures. Keep it in place using staples or double-sided tape. If the power lead is thicker than the mat, sink it into the sub floor so the floor is level.

Step 2: Pick Your Starting Point

One of the most important parts of learning how to lay tile, is knowing where to start. You should start in a corner and work toward the center of the room.

Step 3: Level the Surface

Use self-leveling compound to level the floor. Pour the compound and spread it over the surface with a grout float. Then, follow the instructions from the manufacturer on allowing it to dry.

Step 4: Prepare to Install Tiles

In learning how to lay tile, make a guideline to help you apply your tile by measuring an even distance from your starting spot and marking a line on the floor. You can use a straight edge or a chalk line.

Step 4: Install Tile 1 Small Area at a Time

Be systematic in how to lay tile. Spread thin-set onto about a 3 square feet area at a time. Thin-set dries quickly, so only spread it over an area that you can apply tile to in 15 minutes. Start small if you are unsure. Use your guideline to apply tile. Place spacers at the corner of the tiles as you apply them. Lift a tile occasionally to make sure the whole back is covered with thin-set. Press harder on the tile when if needed. Use a piece of scrap wood and gently tap the tile with your hammer to even tiles. Now you know how to lay tile. Continue the process until all full tiles are applied.

Step 5: Clean Excess Thin-Set

Clean up any thin-set that has squeeze out between tiles while still wet; otherwise, it will interfere with your grout. After all full tiles have been set, allow to dry for a day.

Step 6: Apply Corner and Edge Tiles

Measure the spaces for each tile and make the necessary cuts. Use a wet saw or nippers to adjust your tiles. Your jagged edges from the cuts should be faced toward the wall. Apply thin-set to the back of the tile and press it into place.

Step 7: Apply Grout

After the thin-set has dried, remove tile spacers and spread grout across the tiles. Make sure you get it well into the spaces between tiles. Use a moist sponge to remove the excess, rinsing the sponge as you go. Use a grout tool to smooth the edges and joints. Let the grout dry, and then wipe the tile surface with a dry towel to remove residue.

This Porcelain tiled floor was located in Hampton, Middlesex. The floor had been newly laid a year ago and had not been sealed. The Porcelain was of the semi porous variety and this type of Porcelain needs to be sealed to maintain its appearance and make maintenance easier. To make things worse the tiler had left a lot of grout residue on the surface of the tile which made the tile rougher, trapping the dirt and making it difficult to clean effectively.

Cleaning Porcelain Tile and Grout

To remove the grout haze it was necessary to give the tile and wash with an acid product known as Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up, which is very effective at removing grout haze. Working in sections the product was diluted and then applied to the floor letting it soak in for a short while before being scrubbed in with a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. This action had the added bonus of cleaning the floor but you do have to be careful with acids no to leave them on the tile too long.

Porcelain Tiled Floor in Hampton Acid Scrubbed

The soiled solution was removed using a wet vacuum and the tile rinsed down with clean water. This process was repeated until I was satisfied the tile and grout was clear of grout residue.

Sealing Semi-Porous Porcelain Tiles

After allowing the floor to dry for 24 hours, we returned to seal the tiles with Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which is a solvent based impregnating sealer that’s ideally suited for semi porous Porcelain and provides a natural look.

I took the photograph above between sections so you could see the difference between the before and after and I think you will agree the treated tiles look much cleaner.
Source: Help with Porcelain tile maintenance

A tile grout sealer is a chemical it may have some undesirable effects on your health. If you have a project that will require you to use a sealer, consider the following tips below to protect you and your family from the ill consequences of its chemical contents.

Tip 1 – Research the Brand

Research the brand name of the sealer of choice. Know if the brand has not been recalled for health reasons. Stay away from brands that have negative reviews from users.

Tip 2 – Purchase a Brush-On and a Waterbase

It is easier and more convenient to use a spray-on sealer, especially if you are sealing a large tiled area. But this convenience comes with a price: fumes from a spray-on sealer can reach your respiratory tract more quickly as compared to a brush-on. Since a sprayer diffuses the chemical in vapor-like consistency, the chemical can travel in the air swifter, which the user and the people within the area can inhale.

A waterbase sealer is safer than the solvent-base, although the latter has a faster drying time as compared to the former. But solvent as carrier of the chemicals make it more hazardous to health. It carries with it in the air some of the chemical compounds of the sealer.

Tip 3 – Ventilate the Area

A grout sealer contains chemicals like propane and acetate so always provide proper ventilation on the working area. Open all windows, doors, and turn on the exhaust fan. Provide extra ventilation by placing an electric fan on the working area, with the fan facing the area being worked on and the nearest window or door.

When in an on-going project, make it a point to go outside the working area to get some fresh air and allow the chemical to evaporate.

Tip 4 – Wear Protective Clothing

Wear goggles to protect the eyes and gloves and long-sleeved shirt to protect the skin from direct contact with the chemicals. Even with proper ventilation, vapors from the sealer can still go in the air and pose risk of inhalation. Wear mask to protect your respiratory tract from fumes.

Tip 5 – Never Expose it to Heat

Always store the newly purchased sealer in a cool dry place. The chemical compound in a grout sealer makes it a very dangerous compound when it is exposed to heat. Heat can cause chemical reaction, with the sealer releasing fumes in the area. Fumes might just have a faint smell, and you and your family members might be inhaling the fumes without you noticing it at all.

These fumes are highly flammable. If the sealer is near a source of fire or even just a source of spark, it might start a fire.

It is best to throw away the remaining contents of the sealer or if you can, just use it all up in your current project. As much as possible, don’t store an opened grout sealer to ensure safety.

This beautiful Brazilian Slate tiled floor was installed in the cellar of a house in Urmston, Manchester; the slate has never been sealed as so as you would expect it dirt soon became ingrained into the pores of the tile and it lost its appearance.

Brasilian Slate Floor in Urmston before cleaning

Cleaning slate Floor Tiles

I gave the floor a good deep cleaning using a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-clean which is an alkaline cleaner safe to use on natural stone such as Slate; I should mention this is an industrial strength product and it’s very good at removing general dirt, grime and even grease. I let the product soak into the tile for five minutes before scrubbing it into the slate using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. Pro-Clean was also used along the grout lines to get them clean, although this had to be scrubbed by hand with a stiff brush. Finally I gave the floor a through rinse using hot water to make sure that no chemical remained on the tile before sealing and then left for the evening so the floor could dry.

Sealing Slate Floor Tiles

The next day I checked the floor was dry and then began to seal it using five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which provides stain protection and leaves a nice shiny finish.

Brasilian Slate Floor in Urmston after cleaning

I think you will agree the Brazilian slate tiles look much improved.
Source: Help Cleaning Slate floor tiles

You may find that applying shower tile grout is necessary as part of a bathroom refurbishment or when you are undertaking tile repair. To ensure that the result is as you want, it will be necessary to use the correct steps. By implementing some tips during the application process, you can ensure that the project is completed correctly.

1 – Dividers

The space between the tiles will need to be uniform to create a decent design and a polished end look. To achieve this, it is necessary to make use of dividers during the fitting of the tiles. These will help to keep the tiles properly positioned, especially when the tiles are on a vertical surface as they can prevent them from slipping. These will often take the form of small plastic crosses that will be placed in the cross junctions between the tiles. The shower tile grout will be applied atop the divider so that it cannot be seen.

2 – Mixture

When mixing shower tile grout yourself, you must ensure that you follow the instructions carefully to ensure it is the right consistency. Only use as much water as directed as deviating from this can lead to grout that crumbles away or slips from the gap before it cures.

Make sure the grout is mixed thoroughly to avoid any lumps and to ensure it is an even color. For this same reason, avoid using different brands of grout for one project. Use the grout as quickly as possible to avoid it from drying, but mix a new batch in the event that it does dry up.

3 – Technique

Choose a tool that is close to the size of the gap in which the shower tile grout is being applied. This will ensure that it is not spread out over a wider area than necessary, which will enable it to be localized to the gap. A putty knife with a rounded edge will help to keep the application neat, creating a smooth edge. This will allow you to apply the grout and smooth it at the same time with the use of only one tool. Your technique must involve gradually filling the gaps between the tiles until it all reaches the same level.

Decide from the outset whether you want the grout to be concave or level with the surface of the tiles. Start at the upper end of the tiled wall of the shower and gradually work your way down. Whether using a putty knife, a scraper or a sponge, smoothly slide it downward when applying or wiping to achieve a clean result.

Step 4 – Finish

Clean up any errant grout on the tile by gently wiping it away with sponge that has been dampened with water; do not use it when soaking with water. After the shower tile grout has been applied, leave it to cure for at least 24 hours without disturbing it. You must take particular care to avoid getting it wet, which can affect the quality of the grout.