Monthly Archives: July 2014

When finishing your ceramic tile floors there are at least 2 mistakes that you should look to avoid. These 2 mistakes are unavoidable if you pay close attention to the application process when finishing the flooring in order to complete the job in as professional manner as possible.

Using the Incorrect Type of Finish

The first mistake when finishing your ceramic is applying the incorrect type of finish on your ceramic tile floor. This mistake can be easily avoided by selecting the correct type of floor finish for your ceramic tile. This will ensure that the finish that you are looking for is correct and that the ceramic floor tile does not become damaged as a result of the application of the incorrect finish.

Applying Too Much Finish to the Ceramic Tile

The second mistake that you should avoid when finishing your ceramic tile floor is not to apply too much finish to the ceramic tile. Applying too much tile will cause the tile to look different from the other tiles that are being finished. This will affect the overall look of your ceramic tile and give it a very unprofessional look upon installation.

These photographs of a Terracotta tiled floor came from a house in Melbourne Market Harborough, as you can see the tile was looking tired and the grout had gone dark with staining.

Terracotta Tile Cleaining in Market Harborough Before Cleaning

Cleaning Kitchen Terracotta Tiles

Before starting work the tile perimeter was protected using plastic sheet. Next I could see the floor had been sealed previously but was now looking patching where the sealer had worn off in the high traffic areas and so to get a consistent look to the tile it would be necessary to remove it and strip the floor back to its original condition. To remove the old sealer I used a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was left to soak into the tiles for about 10 minutes before being worked in with a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The grout also needed attention so this was scrubbed by hand using a grout brush. The soiled cleaning solution was then removed using a wet vacuum and the floor rinsed; it was apparent at this stage more work was need so the stubborn areas were re-treated using the same process and when I was finally happy with the results the floor was rinsed thoroughly and the wet vacuum was used to get the floor as dry as possible.

Sealing Kitchen Terracotta Tiles

The floor was left to dry overnight and we returned the next day to re-seal the tiles. After discussing the options with the house owner we went with Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a penetrating sealer that fills the pores of the tiles enhances the colour in the process. The grout cleaned well and that combined with the new natural look to the Terracotta the floor looks new again.

Terracotta Tile Cleaining in Market Harborough After Cleaning and Sealing

The toughest household duty is shower grout mildew removal. The black mildew is difficult to prevent and even more difficult to clean. With the right cleansers and some elbow grease, the mildew can be removed.

Different ways to remove mildew from shower grout use the same basic process; apply the cleansing agent, scrub and rinse. Some methods use natural household products and others use commercial products. Whichever method is used, a nylon tile and grout brush or similar tool is necessary for scrubbing the grout.

Natural Cleaning Method

To clean tile mildew using natural ingredients baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar can be used. Sprinkle baking soda onto the grout. Pour white vinegar on the baking soda. Let set for 5 minutes. The combination will produce a bubbling and fizzing reaction that will loosen mildew and dirt for easier removal. Scrub the grout with a tile brush to remove the mildew. Note that vinegar should never be used on marble tiles because it will cause damage to the surface. After scrubbing, rinse the area with clean warm water and repeat until the mildew is gone.

Another effective natural cleaning method is to mix baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar together to make a paste. Mix equal parts vinegar and lemon juice then add a little baking soda at a time while stirring until a paste consistency is formed. Using a brush or gloved hand, rub the paste on the tile grout. et set for 5 minutes, then scrub with the tile brush. The benefit to using paste is it will stay on the grout without dripping. After scrubbing the grout thoroughly rinse with warm water and repeat.

Between heavy cleanings the same natural ingredients can be used in other ways. Half a lemon can be dipped in vinegar, then scrubbed over the tile grout. Vinegar and water can be combined in a spray bottle and applied to the tile grout. For either method apply the cleanser, wipe vigorously with a large damp sponge then rinse.

Commercial Cleaning Products

Commercially available mildew removers are plentiful at grocery, department and hardware stores. Most are antibacterial and require room ventilation during use because of the strong chemical smell. Chemicals often used as ingredients include ammonia, bleach or alcohol.

Commercial cleaning products require the same scrubbing technique as other methods. Generally, the directions on these products advise the user to spray the product on the tile and grout, let set for a specified period of time then scrub and rinse.

Commercial cleaning products that do not have harsh chemicals included are powdered mild detergents. The powdered detergents are labeled for multiple uses including use as a laundry additive, counter top cleaner and general hard surface cleaner. These detergents can be as effective as other methods, but also require a great deal of scrubbing.

Remember mildew stains took months or years to develop and it may take a few hours or days to completely remove. Removing mildew from tile grout can be exhausting, but once removed, regular cleaning every few weeks can prevent the mildew from returning.

Grout paint provides an easy and economical way to change a floor’s existing grout color, as well as to protect, refresh and restore the beauty of aging or stained tile floor grout. The traditional approach to changing a floor’s grout by removing and replacing old grout is an expensive and labor intensive project. Grout paints and stains offer similar results, but at a much lower investment of time, money and effort.

Grout Paints

Grout paints, also known as grout colorants, are available in a wide variety of colors, including white, premixed colors and custom color blends. These products are easy to apply and can last up to 15 years. Many grout paints are sold as complete project kits at home improvement stores and online retailers. The kits include detailed instructions, brushes, tools and pre-treatment cleaners.

Grout Stains

Grout stains are available in both oil and water based formulas. Oil-based stains typically produce better results as they allow the color pigments to penetrate deeper into the cement based grouts. Choose a grout color that is similar to or lighter than your existing grout. Staining dark grout to a lighter color is generally not recommended as satisfactory results are very difficult to achieve.

The photographs below are from a Yorkstone flagged floor at a house in the market town of Devizes in Wiltshire. The customer had contacted me as the floor was quite dirty and was overdue for a deep clean.

Cleaning Yorkstone Flagstone Floor in Devizes Before

Cleaning Yorkstone Paving Flags

The floor was quite dirty so I started by making a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-clean mixed 50/50 with NanoTech Ultraclean to add more abrasive power; the solution was spread liberally all over the floor and was left to soak into the stone for a good ten to fifteen minutes. Next using a strong poly brush attached to a rotary machine I scrubbed to floor to bring out all the dirt trapped in the riven areas. Next I attached a black scrubbing pad to give the floor an extra aggressive clean.

I then used a wet vacuum to remove the by now very dirty cleaning solution and then rinsed the floor tiles using clean water and a stiff deck brush several times to ensure that all the product and dirt was removed thoroughly.

At this point it became evident that there were several paint blemishes and spots probably from decorating all over the flagstones so I applied Tile Doctor Remove and Go to the affected areas giving it ten minutes to dwell before agitating all the solution with a stiff deck brush and a floor scraper. Once all the paint was removed I then rinsed the floor again several times with clean water and a stiff deck brush to thoroughly remove any product.

Upon completion I advised the customer that it would be beneficial to seal the stone as it would protect it from staining and make it easier to clean however the house was due to be rented out and having little control over what would be used to maintain the floor going forward he was adamant that he only wanted it cleaned.

Cleaning Yorkstone Flagstone Floor in Devizes After
Source: Expert Flagstone Tile Maintenance site

When you step into a kitchen, it is not just the wall paint and gadgets that call for attention but also the kitchen floor tiles under your feet. They can transform the space and add to the kitchen’s appeal.

Luckily, if you are planning to give your kitchen a makeover or if you are designing a brand new kitchen, there are plenty of design ideas to help you.

The Ideal Kitchen Tile

  • Before selecting floor tiles for kitchen, consider its durability
  • The ideal kitchen floor tile is low maintenance, sturdy, non-porous and stain resistant
  • Make sure it has a good grip and is not too slippery
  • Cleaning it should be an uncomplicated affair
  • It should be easy to install and replace


  • There are plenty of kitchen tile ideas to play with as there are a variety of tiles available in the market like ceramic, glass, porcelain, metal and stone.
  • You can experiment with the textures. The tiles can be of glazed and unglazed finish. Glazed tiles are slippery and that is a drawback.
  • Glass kitchen tiles are not practical to use as kitchen floor tiles but can be used as accents.
  • Ceramic kitchen tiles are popular as they have many designs and styles from which to choose. They are also affordable and easy to maintain. The size of the tiles varies from twelve to eighteen inches. Using a tile of a smaller size gives the room a more spacious look.
  • Mosaic kitchen tiles are also a favourite. Not only are they available in many designs, they don’t absorb moisture which makes it ideal for use in the kitchen.
  • Quarry tiles look attractive but they are hard to clean once they fall victim to stains.
  • Porcelain tiles score points for their durability. You don’t have to worry too much about the scrapes showing.
  • Bamboo tiles are perfect for you if you are an eco warrior. They give the kitchen a trendy feel.
  • Granite tiles are heat resistant, water resistant, and strong and can handle spills which are a regular feature in kitchens. Sweeping the floor daily and using warm water to mop it will keep it looking its best.
  • To give your kitchen a rustic ambience, use slate tiles. They come in many colors and stains can’t get them.
  • If you want a distinctive look for your kitchen, you can go for hand painted tiles and opt for a one of a kind design.


  • The color of the kitchen floor tiles needs to be taken into consideration to achieve an appealing effect.
  • Instead of trying to match the color of the tile to those of the walls and cabinets, the use of contrasts is more effective.
  • To achieve a spacious feel, use tiles of darker shades on the floor.
  • The grout that is used to keep the tiles together while installing must be close to the color of the tile to avoid a shoddy look.


This was an unusual problem; a customer contacted us regarding their Marble shower room at a house in Marlborough where the customer had sprayed Vikal Limescale remover onto the Marble tiles to clean them which unfortunately etched the surface. I’ve downloaded the MSDS sheet from the Inernet for this product and can verify it contains a combination of Etidronic, Formic and Phosphoric acids so not a very safe product to use on Marble or any sealed stone surface.

Marble Shower Wall Tiles Marlborough Before Cleaning

Cleaning Marble Wall Tiles

To remove the etching the Marble tiles were burnished using a 6inch coarse diamond encrusted burnishing pad fixed to a hand held rotary machine and lubricated with a spray bottle of water to help keep tiles wet. Burnishing pads come in a set of four from Coarse, Medium, Fine and Super Fine so once we had removed the etching using the coarse pad we then applied the next pads in turn which re-polish the area back to its original shine. Between pads we rinsed the tiles down to remove any soiled water away; after the final super fine pad was applied the shower tiles were given a thorough rinse down ready for sealing.

Sealing the Marble Wall Tiles

The wall was wiped down and left to dry overnight and we returned the next day to seal the Marble tiles using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which will protect the tile against water marking and staining from toiletries. I explained to the customer that the best way to protect the sealer was to simply use the shower head to rinse the walls every time you shower; Tile Doctor also sell an everyday cleaning product for use with showers called Aqua-Pro which is a mild alkaline cleaner that can remove body fats and stains from shampoo and soap products etc.

Marble Shower Wall Tiles Marlborough After Cleaning

Burnishing the Marble tiles resolved the problem so all is well however if you have a natural stone or sealed tiled surface in your house be warned and always read the label of cleaning products before you use them; if in any doubt do give Tile Doctor a call we are always ready to advise.
Source: Expert Marble Tile Maintenance Site