Monthly Archives: June 2014

The photographs below are from a house in Lymington where the Travertine Tiled floor had become dull and were now in need of a re-polish. It’s a fact that depending on the amount of foot traffic they receive all polished stone floors will lose their shine over time and require a re-polish.

Polished Travertine Lymington Before Cleaining

Cleaning Travertine Floor Tiles

To get the shine back on the floor we use a process called burnishing which is done using a set of four diamond encrusted pads, each one has a different grade from coarse through to super fine.

We gave the floor a quick sweep and wash down first to ensure any surface grit and other detritus was removed and then stated the burnishing process with the coarse pad fitted to a rotary machine with a little water. The burnishing pads are very good at removing dirt and sealers from hard stone including Marble; the surface water and loose dirt was removed used a wet Vacuum. And the process was repeated using the Medium and Fine pads. Before moving onto the superfine polishing pad we gave the grout a good scrub using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean worked in using a stiff grout brush. The final Super Fine polishing pad was then applied and the floor given another wash down to ensure any dirt had been removed, the water being extracted from the floor using the wet vacuum.

Sealing Travertine Floor Tiles

The floor was still quite wet at this point so rather than sealing the floor we left it to dry naturally and came back the next day to seal it. It’s important the floor is dry before sealing so we test first using a damp meter in several locations to be sure. Once we were happy the floor was dry we proceeded to seal the Travertine tiles using two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is a natural look sealer that doesn’t alter the look of the tiles but provides the necessary surface protection by filling the pores in the tile so dirt cannot penetrate.

Polished Travertine Lymington After Cleaining and Polishing
Source: Expert Travertine Tile Maintenance Site

If you want to fit a basement subfloor over a drainage area, you will need to make sure that you take a lot of care. It is not just a matter of fitting a floor over your drain, as you need to make sure that you have carefully tilted flooring, in order to prevent dampness affecting the basement subfloor.

Use a Moisture Barrier

You could use a moisture barrier, which will protect your basement subfloor from water seepage. This material is very expensive, so you may choose a compromise where you fit the moisture barrier around the drain area, and then use other insulation material on the rest of the floor.

Add Channels

Another solution to the subfloor is to add channels. These channels will help to direct water moving around the basement subfloor toward the drain. Also, slightly tilt the floor, so that it points in the direction of the drain. This involves adding an extra inch to the raised side of the flooring, and then building the floor down to meet the drain.

Use Plastic Sheeting

Take a little of the plastic sheeting, which is used as a vapor barrier, and place it around the edges of the drain. You can then apply the basement subfloor over the surface.

A floor truss is a support that helps to keep your floor stable and even. Basically, it is made from intertwining pieces of wood that help to take some of the pressure and stress of the floors. To seal your floor truss, you will want to blow insulation into it. This will not only help to insulate and seal, but it will also keep bugs or animals from getting inside. Here are a few steps that can help you through this process.

What You’ll Need
Insulation blower
Plastic sealer
Staple gun

Step 1 – Dust

Use the rag to dust out the area before you fill it with insulation. Carefully go in and out of each opening to ensure that there is nothing left.

Step 2 – Blow Insulation

Put the end of the blower into the opening. Carefully fill the opening with insulation. Typically, you will be able to fill most of the space with one or two blows. However, if there is empty space in some openings, insert the blower into those and fill individually.

Step 3 – Apply Plastic Sealer

Use a staple gun to cover the floor truss with a plastic sealer. You can find some at many hardware stores that can be cut to size. Staple around the corners to keep it down.

This owner of this house built around 1900 in Cardiff had asked me if I could make their look any better following their attempt at renovating their original Victorian Tiled floor. I examined the floor and established that they had sealed the floor without testing for moisture also it seemed it had been sealed but not correctly cleaned and more importantly not rinsed thoroughly to eradicate any cleaning solutions first; the results as you can see has caused a terrible patchy mess .

Victorian Floor Before Cleaning in Cardiff Victorian Floor Before Cleaning in Cardiff

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Floor

The floor was tested for moisture first which established it was dry and also established a baseline as to what to look for later. The next step was to remove any sealers present which proved very difficult because the sealer had only been applied 6 months earlier and applied thickly with a roller. I used three litres of Tile Doctor Remove and Go in total to strip 6 m2 applying it, letting it soak in and then scrubbing it in to get the sealer off. It took multiple rounds of scrubbing but once the sealer was removed I then went over the floor with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up to remove any grout smears and mineral deposits and then gave the floor a thorough rinse with plenty of clean water. To make sure I had given the floor a thorough clean the floor was then finished off more Remove and Go mixed with Tile Doctor NanoTech Ultra-Clean to make it more effective and then steam cleaned. The floor was then rinsed again with another two rinses with fresh cold clean water which was then removed with a wet vacuum I worked.

Victorian Floor After Cleaning in Cardiff Victorian Floor After Cleaning in Cardiff

Sealing a Victorian Floor Sealing

The floor was left to dry out and I came back on two occasions to check if it was dry enough to seal. The first time I visited was three days later and the floor had a high moisture level, I tested again after five days and the readings were ok to carry on with the sealing stage. The customer wanted a satin finish so I went ahead and sealed the floor with several coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go with great results as you can see.

Victorian Floor After Cleaning in Cardiff
Source: Expert Victorian Tile Maintenance Site

When you want to remove or replace carpet or tile sheets on your subflooring, you will most likely find a nasty trace of glue residue. This will make it almost impossible to lay down new carpet or tile correctly. You most definitely have to remove the glue residue in order to replace your flooring. The surface of the subfloor must first be smoothed out to make the new flooring adhere correctly.

What You’ll Need
Floor scraper
Wet/Dry vacuum
Dishwashing soap

Step 1: Scrape the Glue

Scrape the glue using a floor scraper. Do this by firmly holding the scraper by its handle and attacking the glue at an angle. Use a forward-downward motion to get as much adhesive as possible off the subflooring. Use short and swift strokes in order to apply some force in removing the stubborn glue. By doing this, most of the glue should come off and flakes of it will now be lying free on the subfloor. Do this to the entire surface to remove the majority of the glue.

Step 2: Clean the Removed Glue

Use the wet/dry vacuum to get all of the glue that you were able to scrape off. Be sure not to miss any spots on the surface so you can get everything into the vacuum. Do a systematic approach, vacuuming in straight and overlapping lines. Do another pass of the surface of the subflooring just to make sure.

Step 3: Soak Leftover Glue

At this point, you will still see some portions of glue that would not come off with the scraper. In order to loosen them from their bond to the subflooring, drench them in a solution of warm water and dishwashing soap. In order to make the solution, mix about half a cup of soap to a pail of warm water and mix it well. Pour the solution onto the floor and make sure that the entire surface is covered with it, especially the parts with the most glue residue. Let the glue soak and soften.

Step 4: Clean Leftover Glue

Once the glue has softened, it will now be easier to scrape off and most, if not all of it, should come off the subflooring at this point. Use the vacuum again to clean the glue that has been freed. Make sure that your vacuum is capable of taking in wet debris since an ordinary vacuum will get damaged if it sucks in wet components.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Even though you have soaked the entire floor, some glue may still be present and the scraper might not be fine enough to do the job. There will still be some sticky remnants of the glue that can make the surface rough and finely uneven. In order to smooth out these rough patches, get fine sandpaper and sand the portions of stubborn glue that wouldn’t come off. Be careful not to sand too much as you may damage your subflooring (especially if it’s wood) and you could create an uneven surface.

Commercial buildings, and larger homes, use steel floor joists in order to handle the load of the structure. These steel floor joists are especially important for the ground floor of the structure as they have the most load upon them. Many homeowners are finding that they can eliminate sagging and bouncing floor problems by replacing their wood joists with steel floor joists. Even though this might seem like a large project, it is easily done with the right instruction, the right tools, plenty of help, and taking your time.

What You’ll Need
  • Steel floor joists
  • Hydraulic jack
  • Joist brackets
  • Level
  • Drill
  • Bolts

Step 1 – Measure Joists for Length

Making sure you have the right size floor joists is the most important part of the installation. Steel floor joists are thick steel and are not easily cut without specialized equipment. Before ordering the steel floor joists make sure you take accurate measurements. It is highly recommended that you take several measurements along the floor area to ensure accurate lengths of the steel floor joists.

Step 2 – Purchase Correct Steel Floor Joists

There are different grades to steel floor joists that give the amount of load they can handle. When ordering the floor joists, make sure that you purchase the joists that are strong enough for your home.

Step 3 – Install Joist Brackets

In order for the steel floor joists to be installed properly, you will need to first install the joist brackets on the ledger boards. Hold the joist bracket up to the ledger boards and predrill the holes for the bolts. Drive in carriage bolts to secure the joist brackets to the ledger board. Continue to install the joist brackets beside each of the wooden joists.

Step 4: Install First Steel Floor Joist

The steel floor joists are going to be heavy. In order to install them without any injury or damage to your home you will need to have some help carrying them in your home. Also, have some hydraulic jacks ready to lift the steel floor joists into position to negate the need to hold them for a long period of time. Line up the first steel floor joist with the joist brackets. Secure the joist to the bracket with the use of nuts and bolts. Tighten the bolts with a ratchet wrench.

Step 5 – Remove Wood Joist

Once the steel floor joist is installed next to the wood joist, you can remove the old joist. Keep the hydraulic jacks under the steel joist for added support while the wood joist is removed.

Step 6 – Continue Installing Steel Floor Joists

Following the same installation method, continue to install the individual steel joists. It is important to keep a hydraulic jack under each new joist while you complete the installation process. This will allow the home to settle on the steel joists without causing a lot of stress.

Step 7 – Remove Jacks

To finish off the installation of the steel floor joists you will need to wait a few weeks. After 2 or 3 weeks have passed, remove the hydraulic jacks slowly to make sure that the house has settled upon the joists. Remove every other jack first, then go back and remove the rest.

A customer contacted us regarding a Ceramic Tiled Shower Cubicle problem they had with their house in Glasgow. The grout and mastic sealant had started to discolour and there was staining on both from mould which is quite a common problem in modern houses and our busy lifestyles and insulated homes with insufficient ventilation.

Cleaning Ceramic Tile and Grout

We started by giving the tiles a good scrub with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean then focusing on the grout we thoroughly scrubbed it with more Pro-Clean and a stiff grout brush, this process did well to clean up the tile and grout but unfortunately the grout had become too badly stained to be satisfactory. It’s a fact that the top layer of grout is actually porous and this is where the staining from the dyes in shampoos etc. will occur.

The next step was to cut out all the old and mouldy mastic and seal around the shower using a sharp knife taking care not to scratch the shower tray.

Glasgow Ceramic Shower Refresh Before Cleaning Glasgow Ceramic Shower Refresh After Cleaning

Recolouring Grout

To overcome the stained grout issue we gave the whole of the grout two coats of white Grout Colourant which is a very effective treatment that forms an epoxy barrier over the gout protecting it from future staining. Normally when you do this we recommend using a pre-treater product that provides a chemical key that allows the colourant to latch on to, in this case however I was happy that the scrubbing we gave the grout with Pro-Clean would have the same effect. The tiles were then wiped down using Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner to remove any excess colourant from the tiles and give them a finishing shine.

The last step was to Shower was finished off by applying new silicone sealant to the areas that were removed. The final result was a shower cubicle that looked recently installed.
Source: Expert Tile Cleaning Site

A squeaky floor can be very annoying, and the noise can indicate a problem with the floor. Usually, the squeak develops when a wooden floor is very old or gets heavy traffic. Often, you don’t need to do any major floor renovation. You can follow the simple steps below to effectively treat and eliminate the noise with regular baby powder.

What You’ll Need
Baby Powder
Wood Stapler
Paper Towel or Cloth
Thin Plastic Card

Step 1 – Determine the Location of the Noise

As wood gets dry, it shrinks. This results in small gaps between the wooden boards, thus causing them to become loose. When someone steps on top of the wood, one of the boards sinks lower, causing friction with the other boards. This friction is the cause of the noise.

Usually, the boards are fastened to a plywood subfloor, thus making it harder to spot which boards go up or down when stepped on. In order to spot the squeaky spots, have an assistant walk on the wood boards while you listen for the source of the squeak.

If the squeaky floor is located on a level other than the first floor, go downstairs and check if the undersides of the boards are visible from below. Ask your assistant to walk on the floor, and check if some of the wooden boards shift up and down while being walked on. Whichever floorboards move are causing the squeaks.

Step 2 – Securing Loose Wooden Boards

Check if the loose boards are fastened correctly. If the nails or the staples are not secured correctly, are loose or are corroded, it is best to replace them with new nails or staples first, before applying the baby powder. Remove the loose nails or staples and re-secure the boards to the subfloor, by hammering new nails or punching new staples. Walk on the boards once again to check for squeaks.

Step 3 – Applying Baby Powder

Apply a good amount of baby powder between the boards causing the squeaks. Force the powder into the seams using paper towel and a push of a finger. Make sure that it enters the seams entirely. Walk on the floorboards a couple of times as well until it gets through. Let the friction spread the powder on the side edges of the floorboards until the squeaks are no more.

If the seams are too tight to permit the powder to go through, use a thin plastic card to force it into the point of entry. If it is not sufficient to silence the noise, add more and continue stepping on and off the floorboards until the squeaks are fixed. Do the same with all squeaky spots.

After a certain period of time, the fixed areas will need to be replenished with baby powder once again, especially if the floor receives a lot of traffic. Locate the sources of the noise and follow the same process to get rid of the annoyance.

A floating subfloor is the layer of flooring installed above concrete and under the finished flooring. The floating subfloor may get moisture trapped and cause cracks in the cement flooring. In order to prevent damage to the concrete and the finished flooring, follow the steps below to remove any trapped moisture.

What You’ll Need
Plywood or OSB Sheets (Floating Subfloor)
Moisture Barrier
Stapler or Nailer
Pencil and Marker

Step 1 – Inspecting for Trapped Moisture

Moisture usually gets trapped inside the floating subfloor when the concrete below the structure has a high moisture content and has not been coated with a moisture barrier. Usually, the trapped moisture in the subfloor can be spotted easily because of the darker coloring it has compared to the normal color of the concrete. If some areas of the subfloor do have trapped moisture in it, then make sure to take action before installing the finished flooring above it.

Step 2 – Removing the Affected Subfloor

It is best to remove all the subfloor if this does not cause an issue. The reason is that if the concrete has a high moisture content, it needs to be coated with a moisture barrier first to prevent any moisture issues in the future. When the subfloor has been removed, mix the moisture barrier product in a container and apply it to the concrete floor using a notched trowel. Install a dehumidifier in the room to allow the moisture to evaporate quickly. This will also be useful in creating a moist-free space.

Step 3 – Allow the Floating Subfloor to Dry

While waiting for the moisture barrier to dry, place the subfloor material in a well-ventilated area in order to allow the trapped moisture to evaporate. Sometimes, the affected parts of the subfloor may warp or distort. In this case, make sure to have replacements ready. It is not a good idea to have the subfloor dry under the sun when the moisture is still fresh. The reason is that the quick drying process will distort the size and shape of the material, especially if the moisture is quite high. Therefore, just let the material dry out naturally in a well-ventilated room.

Step 4 – Reinstalling the Subfloor

When the subfloor material has dried out, check for parts that need to be replaced with new ones. Use a pencil and a marker to mark areas that need to be cut. Cut these areas and prepare replacements. Afterwards, reinstall the floating subfloor on top of the coated concrete. Lay the pieces carefully and staple them together to form the subfloor. As long as the concrete is coated properly with the moisture barrier, the subfloor will never have issues again with trapped moisture. Just to make sure that the moisture does not become an issue in the future, make sure to install exhaust fans, dehumidifiers or ventilation materials in order to keep the area free from high humidity.

I was recently asked to pop over to a large house on the Wynyard estate near Wolviston where a customer with a beautiful Travertine Tiled Kitchen floor needed some help to put the shine back on their tiles.

It seems their cleaner had been using the wrong cleaning product on the tiles and it being mildly acidic had started to dull the lustre. Naturally I can’t name the product in this post but you do see it advertised on TV quite a lot and if you read the label at the back it clearly states for use on Ceramic tiles and unfortunately will eat into the sealer with frequent use and will eventually cause holes to appear in natural stone.

Travertine Tile in Wynyard Before

Cleaning Travertine Tile

To restore the shine I first give the floor a quick clean with Neutral Cleaner to remove any debris that might get trapped under the rotary machine and scratch the floor, Neutral Cleaner is a frequent use cleaning product designed for use on sealed stone.

The next step was to burnish the floor using the diamond encrusted burnishing pad system starting with the red pad and water to clean the tiles and remove any topical sealers that may have been present. This was continued with the white and yellow pads using nothing but water and then with a stiff grout cleaning brush and a weak solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean along the grout lines to make sure all the grout was thoroughly cleaned. The last step of the cleaning process was to rinse the floor of any dirt picked up by the pads and then when the floor was dry I used a green polishing pad to add more shine to the floor.

Sealing Travertine Tile

To protect the travertine it was sealed using a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that brings out the natural colour in stone and in this case it definitely brought up the brown shades in the travertine tile. Once it was all dry again I buffed it up again using a soft white buffing pad.

Travertine Tile in Wynyard After

We maintain all types of tiled floors from Ceramic and Porcelain through to Marble, Terracotta and Travertine so if you live in the Teesside and surrounding areas do get in touch for a free evaluation of your floor.
Source: Help Maintaining Travertine Tiles