Monthly Archives: September 2014

This Edwardian tiled stone floor was installed in the hallway of a house in Richmond, Surrey. It had not been deep cleaned for a number of years and a number of layers of old sealer were visible causing a yellowing of the tile. The old sealant needed to be stripped off before cleaning could take place and leave the Edwardian floor in a state ready to receive a new seal.

Edwardian tiled floor Richmond before cleaning

Cleaning Edwardian Tiles

To remove the old sealer a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a solvent based stripper was applied to the floor, left to dwell for a while and then steamed into the tile which helps to break up the old sealers. The tiles were then scrubbed using a rotary machine and a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong alkaline product and the residue pressure rinsed away. The soiled residue was then removed using a wet vacuum and the floor rinsed thoroughly.

Sealing Edwardian Tiles

After leaving the Edwardian floor for 24 hours to dry, we then applied seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go topical sealer. This not only gives the floor a high level of protection but it also enhances the contrast of the tiles and gives a nice shine,

Edwardian tiled floor Richmond after cleaning

Hopefully you can appreciate the difference from the photographs and how the appearance of the tiles now looks much fresher.
Source: Expert Edwardian and Victorian tile maintenance advice

A self leveling compound is a concrete type floor underlayment that is applied to subflooring prior to the installation of tile or wood. Using a self leveling compound is easier than other types of subfloor compounds because it will fill in low spots to make sure that a more complete coverage of the floor takes place. The best time to use a self leveling compound is in conditions that are not too humid or cold in order to allow the compound to set up properly and work as designed.

What Is Self Leveling Compound?

The self leveling compound is a type of quick setting concrete. It is mixed with water into a compound that has a watery consistency. Unlike concrete that is mixed to a consistency of toothpaste or peanut butter, self leveling compound has a consistency that is more like pea soup. This consistency allows you to pour it on the floor and apply it with little work or intervention once the mixture has been prepared.

Working in Too Hot a Room

If the temperature in the room where the self leveling compound is being poured is too hot, it may not properly cure. This may result in a soupy mess on the floor that does not properly level and may need to be cleaned up and poured again. This can be avoided by waiting until the temperatures in the room are less humid or cooler. You may consider using floor fans as a way to bring the temperature down and make the room easier to work in.

Working in Too Cold a Room

If the temperature in the room where the self leveling compound is being poured is too cold, the compound may freeze during the application. This will prevent it from reaching the lower areas of the floor and creating the self leveling effect that you desire. The resulting floor will not be level and you will again find yourself having to remove the material and starting over to achieve a more even or level pour. You can consider using floor heaters and turning up the heat in the room as a way to raise the temperature to a more moderate temperature climate.

How to Best Use Self Leveling Compound

When you purchase the self leveling compound for use on the subfloor prior to the laying of a new tile or wood floor, you should check with the manufacturer for any hints or directions on how best to use the material. Following the manufacturer’s advice will yield the best results when working with their brand of self leveling compound. Each manufacturer may have specific instructions or directions that should be followed in order to properly use their self leveling compound. Following this advice will help you avoid having to pour the floor again or waste any of the compound because of improper use.

If necessary, ask for advice when purchasing the self leveling compound from the retailer.

The drying time for self-leveling compound varies greatly from one package to the next. The easiest way to check this time would be to look at the installation instructions that accompanied the self-leveling compound. On average, you might have to wait anywhere from 1 to 6 hours for the compound to cure. You must give it ample time to dry completely so it lays flat and remains strong. To speed up drying time and avoid any possible problems, consider some of the tips below.

Leave It Overnight

If you have the chance, just let the self-leveling compound sit overnight. That way you won’t have to constantly check if it is dry or not, and the time will seemingly pass a lot faster.

Avoid Moisture

Try to let everything dry in an area that isn’t too moist. Humidity will make the process take longer. Obviously you can’t control the weather, but try to keep as much moisture out of the area as possible.

Use Fans

Don’t blow a fan directly on the self-leveling compound, but you should use one in the room for air circulation. A clean ceiling fan will work fine, as will a fan that sits above the ground. Set it on low or medium speed.

This Milled Sandstone tiled floor was installed in the kitchen of a house in the village of Warsash on the south coast. The floor was looking washed out and lost most of its colour and the owner wanted it looking its best.

Milled Sandstone 26 Begin Warsash

Cleaning a Sandstone Tiled Floor

The first job was to remove the kick boards from around base of the kitchen units a followed by the application of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted with 10 parts warm water. This was left to soak into the stone and then worked in using a black scrubbing pad. This action gave the floor a good clean and the now dirty cleaning solution was removed using a wet vacuum, the floor was rinsed down with water and the process repeated in the areas where further attention was required until we were happy the tiles were clean. The final cleaning action was to wash down the tiles with clean water a final time to remove any cleaning product and neutralise the floor before the next step of sealing. The wet vacuum was used again to remove as much water from the floor as possible and we then left for the evening so the floor could fully dry overnight.

Milled Sandstone 26 Cleaning

Sealing a Sandstone Tiled Floor

We came back the next day and tested the floor with a damp meter in a few different locations to make sure no dampness remained in the stone. The sandstone was dry so we proceeded to seal the floor with Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that occupies the pores in the stone preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there, it also as its name suggests brings out the colour in the stone and it certainly worked well on this floor and brought out the brown colours of the Sandstone, two coats were sufficient.

Milled Sandstone 26 Finished
Source: Expert Sandstone Maintenance Advice

Joist hangers are an important part of the construction of the floor and deck. The hangers reinforce the strength of the joists, keeping the floor strong even as damage sets in over time. Installing masonry joist hangers is not a tasking job, and with the right materials and instructions, you can do it by yourself. At the same time, you need to be careful to avoid mistakes that would compromise the function of your joist hangers. One such mistake is using the wrong size of joist hanger for the joist. Always ensure that you get the right size of hanger guided by the size of the joist. Joist hangers should also not be re-used as this lowers the capacity of load they can support.

What You’ll Need
  • Joist
  • Joist hangers
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil

Step 1—Purchase Correct Materials

Purchasing the right size of joist hangers is the first step in strengthening your floor or deck. Joist hangers are available in different sizes depending on the size of joists. Nails are another important material that you should buy in the right size. Joist hangers usually come with the recommended size of nails that ensure added strength. The nails are long enough to attach to the frame behind the beam for added strength. Galvanized deck screws are unsuitable for joist hangers because they are not of the proper size and strength needed to support joist loads.

Step 2—Take Measurements

Use the tape measure to get the distance across the outer beam. This will help in locating the areas to install the joist hangers. Use the pencil and mark the spacing of the hangers on the beam, which should be spaced 16 inches apart and a ½-inch from the end of the beam.

Step 3—Install Hangers

Take the joist hangers one at a time and put them astride the marks on the beam so that the marks are at the middle of the hangers. Ensure that the hanger is well aligned onto the beam guided by the mark. Then take the hammer together with the nails and firmly fix the hangers onto the beam on both sides.

Step 4—Fix the Joist

Since joists usually vary in width, you need to measure the width of each joist first. Depending on the varying width, place each joist hanger at the right height to ensure that the joists are level. Take your joists and fit them into the joist hangers firmly by placing the end of the joists onto the hangers. Take the galvanized nails and use the hammer to drive the nails through the outer beam into the end of the joist.

Step 5—Fill Nail Holes

After securing all the joists with nails, fill in all the nail holes. Leaving the holes unfilled allows the weakening of the joist hangers.

When winter rolls around and your floors turn stone cold, use floor heating mats to take the chill out of going barefoot. Not only will you see heating bills reduced, but you will also get rid of dust and particles that traditional forced air systems spread around the house. There are many pros to electric floor heating mats. Floor mats work like a big electric blanket underfoot.

Energy efficient
Adds additional insulation
Reduces allergens
Easy installation

Installation can be pricey
Sometimes cannot be retrofitted

In the past, it was difficult to install radiant flooring under existing wood or carpet. Usually, heated floor mats were added during construction. Older models often required cement to be installed with the electrical system, but not today. Most floor heating mats on the market are easily installed directly underneath carpet and floating wood.

Note, however, that certain types of tiled flooring will have to be replaced if you want to install heated floor mats. If you are doing a remodel, it would be the perfect time to add radiant flooring under your tile. For the rest of your house, installation should be quick and easy.

The grout on this Quarry tiled floor in the kitchen of a house in Livingston near Edinburgh was proving impossible to clean effectively and had now become badly stained with dirt and grime and had gone dark in the process making it obviously dirty when compared with the clean areas.

Quarry Tiles Before Cleaning and Colouring

Cleaning Tile and Grout

The first step when cleaning grout is to apply a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong alkaline cleaning agent. The solution is mopped onto the tile and grout and then scrubbed in by hand with a stiff brush along the grout lines, Pro-Clean is also a good general tile cleaner so it worked well on the Quarry Tiles as well. The soiled cleaning solution was rinsed away with water and as much water as possible was removed using a wet vacuum. Next we left the floor to allow it to dry leaving a turbo air mover in help to speed up the process.

Quarry Tiles Before Cleaning and Colouring

Sealing Quarry Tiles

When the floor was dry it was clear that the grout would never be clean enough to match with the areas that were still white so we agreed to apply a white epoxy Grout Colourant to resolve the problem. The group colourant is applied by hand and is painted onto the grout using a small brush; any excess is then wiped off the tile. Two coats were required on this floor.

Quarry Tiles After Cleaning and Colouring

The floor now looks like it has come back to life and as you can see all the grout now has a uniform colour and should stay that way for a long time as the added advantage of an epoxy grout colourant is it forms a barrier over the grout that will seal and protected it.

Quarry Tiles After Cleaning and Colouring
Source: Expert Grout Maintenance Advice

If you’ve removed an old floor to replace it only to find that the subfloor underneath is damaged, you will have to replace the subfloor before installing a new floor. While this is not an easy task, a do-it-yourselfer can complete the job with a few pointers. Here’s what you need to know.

What You’ll Need
1/4 -inch plywood
Tape measure
Hand Saw
Straight ruler
Jig Saw
Circular Saw

Step 1: Remove Old Baseboards

The baseboards will be replaced after you install the new subfloor, but in the meantime you will need to get the baseboards off the wall. Place them aside if you plan on reusing the same boards.

Step 2: Take Measurements

Measure the dimensions of the room you are installing the floor in. You will want to allow a 1/8-inch gap for natural expansion at each edge. Sketch the dimensions on a piece of paper as you measure. This will help you create a diagram to scale to use as a guide for the materials.

Step 3: Orientation

You need to figure out what way you will want to lay the flooring. Remember you need to use the least number of plywood sheets you can. So use your diagram to figure out which direction will give you the most coverage.

Step 4: Start Laying the Plywood

Start by laying one piece of plywood down on the old floor starting in the corner. Remember to leave your 1/8-inch for expansion. Nail this piece down using plenty of nails. They are cheap and will make the floor quieter once it’s finished.

Step 5: Lay Subsequent Pieces

You can now use your jig saw or circular saw to make cuts to the next few pieces and lay them out so they fit snugly. Lay them out in one row from wall to wall.

Once you have finished the first row you can move on to the second row. You will want to use a plywood piece that’s about half the length of the first one. This will create the seams that you need for the subfloor. It should look similar to what a bricklayer would do.

Step 6: Keep Working Until It’s Finished

You will want to continue laying the flooring down in this manner until you have completed the entire area. Go back over and make sure all the pieces are nailed down securely and the seams are even.

You’ve just finished your new subfloor, and can now start working on laying the new floor down. Once the floor is done you can go back and reattach your baseboards and add any finishing touches.

Replacing missing or warped raised floor panels is a very easy project for anyone to complete. Raised floor systems are those which are lifted slightly off the floor to allow cables and pipes to pass easily underneath. They tend to be susceptible to damage. With the right tools and materials, you will be able to easily replace raised floor panels.

What You’ll Need
Replacement Panels
Cleaning Solutions

Step 1 – Inspecting the Floor

The first thing that you will need to do is inspect the state of your raised floor. Decide whether individual floor panels need to be replaced or if the whole floor needs some attention. Move the furniture out of the room so that you can decide exactly how many panels need replacing. Replacing more than one panel now will be much easier, as you are already lifting up one of the panels anyway.

Step 2 – Lifting up the Floor Panels

Once you have identified which panels need to be lifted, it’s then time to remove them. The method of doing this will vary, depending on the type of raised floor you are using in your room. Sometimes these panels simply lift out, whereas other times they need to be unscrewed or unbolted before they can be removed.

If you’re not sure how to do this you need to spend time figuring it out. Perhaps you can find the answer in your installation manual, assuming you still have it.

Step 2 – Buying Replacement Panels

Now you need to buy replacement floor panels. You will find this easiest when replacing like for like. Measure the floor panels so that you can buy the right type to fit the floor. Concentrate on not only the measurements, but also the thickness.

Replacement panels can be purchased from many sources. If you are having trouble locating a supplier you could always make your own.

Step 3 – Replacing Panels

Now it’s time to replace the panels in the floor. Do this by following the same procedure you used to remove them in the first place. Repeat this as many times as necessary until the damaged panels have been removed and replaced.

Step 4 – Cleaning the Floor

Once your new raised floor panels are in place it’s time to give the whole floor a good clean up. This will make the rest of the floor look as good as new. It will also help to remove any finger prints that you may have accidentally left on the tiles when you picked them up.

The cleaning materials that you will use will depend on the material of your flooring tile. Stainless steel raised flooring tiles, for example, should not be cleaned with an abrasive cleaner. Specialist stainless steel cleaners are available for this task.

This was a large 60m2 Limestone tiled floor installed in the entrance hall and kitchen of a residence in the town of Gainsborough. The Limestone tiles had lost their shine and cracks had appeared in a number of tiles which was due to the floor settling after it had been built, any previous sealer was failing and the tiles were getting very dirty with visible staining.

Limestone Tile Before Cleaning Gainsborough Limestone Tile Before Cleaning Gainsborough

Burnishing Limestone Tiles

To clean the floor and remove the stains Limestone needs to be stripped back to the original tile with burnishing pads removing the old sealer along the way. To do this a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads are applied in sequence along with a little water. The pads come is a setup of four and you start with the coarse pad which fitted to a buffing machine running on slow speed, the coarse pad removes old sealers and then you move onto the medium, fine and very fine pads until the Limestone is cleaned and polished again. In-between pads we filled in the cracks that needed attention with Limestone flexible filler which does a great job of hiding the unsightly lines, the burnishing of the tile then makes the filler blend in and become invisible. Once the burnishing was finished the floor was rinsed down with clean water and then left to dry.

Limestone Tile During Cleaning Gainsborough

Limestone Tile Sealing

On the 2nd day the floor was dry and we applied the two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer to the tiles, the sealer fills the pores of the stone making it water and resistant and will protect it from stains in the years to come, this particular sealer has a natural matt finish and as its name suggests add a subtle lift to the natural colours in the stone.

Limestone Tile After Burnishing Gainsborough Limestone Tile After Burnishing Gainsborough

To demonstrate the floor was sealed we carried out a small test in front of the customer where she could choose any tile on which to pour water and simply watch the water form a bead and dance across the tile surface and not mark or be absorbed into the tile in any way. Even after a few minutes it just simply wipes away with no sign of a darker area visible. This shows the seal is doing its job of sealing and protecting the Limestone. She was delighted with the result so much that she is now reconsidering putting the house up for sale and staying there for another year.
Source: Expert Limestone Tile Maintenance