Monthly Archives: October 2014

This fireplace at a house at Canford Cliffs near Poole, Dorset and was constructed from a mixture of Limestone and Sandstone, both of which had suffered from ingrained soot damage in the forty plus years since in had been installed. The owners of the property wanted it cleaning up and although we tend to focus on tiles the methods and products we use work equally well on stone fireplaces so I was happy to take it on.

Canford Cliffs Stone Fireplace Before Cleaning

Removing Sealer from Limestone Floor Tiles

The first task was to protect the carpet in from of the fireplace from splashing and any potential mess and then I applied a strong mixture of Tile Doctor “Pro Clean” in warm water. It was left to soak in for a short while before being scrubbed into the stone by hand with a grout brush and a brass coated Spid wire brush which helped to brush away the more ingrained dirt. This took off the majority of the soil from the stone and a further application of Pro Clean was applied which I steamed off using an Earlex steamer and then rinsed thoroughly always taking care to minimise any run off.

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

Any stone needs to be bone dry before sealing so I left the Fireplace to dry for two days before returning to seal it using a number of coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which sank into the porous stones and enriched their colour as well as protecting them from further staining.

Canford Cliffs Stone Fireplace After Cleaning

The fireplace is now looking like new again and has become a really attractive feature.
Source: Tile, Grout and Stone cleaning tips and information

Linoleum tiles can be an amazing asset to any home. They look great, but are also inexpensive and easy to install. Linoleum is great for the kitchen or the bathroom. One big problem though is that they will sometimes come unglued after years of wear and tear. If you have had trouble with your linoleum tiles coming unglued, here are a few steps that you can take to remedy it:

What You’ll Need
Linoleum tiles
Adhesive remover
Utility knife

Step 1 – Prepare

Before trying to reglue the linoleum, you will want to remove the old adhesive. You can layer on adhesive remover and then use a utility knife to scrape it off. Once you have gotten the adhesive off, you can use a rag to wipe it down. This step may have to be repeated several times, depending on how much glue there is on the old linoleum tiles and also how long it has been on there. Many times if the tiles are older and the glue has been on there for several years, you will have a problem removing it from the actual tile. You will also want to remove the glue from the floor as well. This can be done the same way as the back of the tile, but you will want to do this with much more care. You can always replace the tile, but the floor is much harder to fix if you nick or damage it in any serious way. Apply the adhesive remover directly to the floor and allow it to sit for a few minutes or the allotted time on the instructions. Then, use the knife to try to remove or pry the glue off. Again, you may have to repeat this step a few times, depending on how bad the glue is. Once it is off completely, take a warm damp rag and wipe down the floor. Allow both the floor and the tile to dry completely before trying to re glue it as you may run into problems if you don’t.

Step 2 – Glue

Once the back of the tile has dried, you can simply paint on a layer of adhesive making sure that it isn’t too thick in any one spot. You want to make sure that you are painting the layer of glue on it evenly so that the tiles does not end up lopsided or uneven when you are finished.

Strep 3 – Press

Now that you have added the adhesive to the back of the linoleum tile, you will want to press it back to the floor and hold it. Be sure to give it a firm press for about 1 minute. Do one tile at a time, otherwise the adhesive may dry on the back before you get a chance to adhere it to the floor. Allow about 24 hours or so before walking regularly on the flooring and a few days before mopping.

Many people choose engineered floor joists for their homes because of the environmentally friendly way they are built. The engineered floor joists are built by utilizing scrap pieces of wood, and other unused portions of lumber, instead of having to use up more of the natural resources. They add a lot of strength to the floors, and are easily installed. If you are thinking about installing engineered floor joists in your home, here are some tips to help you.

1 – Handle with Care

Engineered floor joists are very tender. They need to be handled with great care in order to retain their strength. When storing the floor joists in your home make sure that they do not come in contact with any type of moisture. They should also be stored in an upright position without any leaning. This can cause the joists to have a slight bow in them. Also, they must be blocked up so that they do not fall over and crack.

2 – Do Not Cut into Top and Bottom Flange

The strength of the engineered floor joists comes solely from the top and bottom flanges of the I joist. These flanges should not be cut into for any reason. The only situation in which you would cut an engineered floor joist is when you are cutting them to length.

3 – Do Not Carry Flat

This type of floor joist is very weak when it is carried in a flat position. This is because the entire weight of the joist is pulling it down with great stress on the middle. The joist should be carried to the job site by keeping the top and bottom flange upright.

4 – Block Joist to Prevent Rollover

When the engineered floor joists are used on a foundation wall, you must use some blocking on either side of the joist. This will help to prevent the ends from rolling over and warping the joist.

5 – Do Not Install in Exterior Applications

Since the engineered floor joists can not get wet, they must not be used for any type of exterior applications.

6 – Center All Holes

There will be times when you need to drill through the floor joists for running wires or pipes. When you do, make sure to center the holes in the web of the joist. This will help to distribute the weight and balance out the forces on the joist. Some engineered floor joists have holes already in them. If so, then you should use these instead of making new ones.

7 – Keep Holes Circular

Whenever drilling, or cutting, a hole into the engineered floor joists they must be completely circular. Always use the necessary tool to create the holes before cutting. It is also important to keep in mind that you should only cut a hole the exact size that you need.

8 – Determine Load Bearing

When setting the engineered floor joists into position you must take into account the span, and the amount of load stress it will be under. Generally, these floor joists have 1 3/4 inches of bearing on each end of the span. For larger spans, there should be at 3 1/2 inches.

Details below of a Victorian Tiled floor I renovated in Penrith earlier this year. The floor had previously been hidden under laminate flooring and the mat well had been concreted over and other tiles were missing and replaced with concrete infill.

Victorian Tile Renovation Penrith Before

Restoring Victorian Floor Tiles

I carried out a damp test and started by removing the concrete infill and levelling the mat well with a self-levelling compound. Fortunately I had been able to source reproduction tiles that were a pretty good match to the originals which is amazing bearing in mind that the floor was originally laid in 1831 (pre Victorian in fact).

Before replacing the missing tiles I cleaned the existing floor with a diluted mixture of Tile Doctor Remove and Go and NanoTech UltraClean; Remove and Go is a coatings remover so as well as cleaning the floor it also removed the traces of adhesive that was used to stick down the line. I washed down the floor and found there were still some stubborn marks which I tackled with neat Remove and Go and a steam cleaner. Once I was happy with the floor I gave it another rinse and then set about fixing the replacement tiles.

Victorian Tile Renovation Penrith After

Sealing Victorian Floor Tiles

I needed the floor bone dry before sealing so I allowed it to dry out for a couple of days before returning. I sealed the tiles with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds a nice subtle shine however I did find the Victorian tiles to be extremely absorbent and so needed seven coats of sealant in total which took much of the day. The sealer did well to bring out the deep colours in the tile as well as brought out the colour in the tiles as well as providing the lovely satin finish. The customers were extremely satisfied with the final result

Victorian Tile Renovation Penrith After
Source: Expert Victorian tile restoration tips and information

Carpeted floors can add beauty, warmth and comfort to your home, but a squeaking carpeted floor may indicate a serious problem. Not only is a squeaking floor annoying to live with, it can also significantly affect the value of the house. This is especially troublesome if you are planning to put your house on the market or have recently bought your home and found it to have defective carpeted flooring. There are several solutions you can do to fix your carpeted floor problem, but you have to identify the cause behind it first. Here, are several possible causes of squeaking carpeted floors.

Shrunken Floorboards

Several factors can cause floorboards to shrink. If the wooden boards had not been dried sufficiently before they were installed, shrinkage could occur. Floorboards can also shrink when they are not properly seasoned. When floorboards shrink, the boards can easily come lose and go out of place when someone walks on the carpeted floor or whenever pressure is applied. The movement of the boards rubbing against each other can cause the squeaking noise.

The Floors are Cramped Improperly

The cramping process for floorboards is ideal for wooden floors. The process also helps make sure that the wooden joints are tight and will not easily move. Unfortunately, there are some cases where the floorboards are not cramped tightly or are not cramped in the proper way. This causes the boards to move and rub against each other and produce the squeaking noise.

Floorboards are too Dry when Installed

When wooden boards are too dry, there is a possibility that they will accumulate and retain some of the moisture from the air or its surrounding areas. When this happens, the floorboards could expand and later spring up from their place. The squeaking noise occurs when the boards spring up. This is quite difficult to repair as it could involve removing the carpet and floorboards and relaying them again.

Wooden Floor Moves Away from the Subfloor

The common way of installing hardwood floors is to nail the wooden floorboards onto a plywood subfloor. The joists or support beams hold the subfloor. The nails that fasten the floorboards to the subfloor can come loose over time or the subfloor itself can warp. This can cause the wooden floor to move away from the subfloor and consequently become squeaky.

Gaps in the Floor or in Between the Joists

It could also be possible that there is a gap or space in between the subfloor and the joists. The gaps can cause the floorboards to wobble or rub against each other. This will then result in squeaking sounds.

Bearers Are Not Properly Supported

The piers of the house need to be able to give ample support to the bearers. Weak support can cause gaps and extra spaces to occur in the bearers which can later cause floorboards to squeak when they move against each other.

The problem of squeaking carpeted floors can be solved more easily and effectively once you have identified the cause behind it.

An isolation membrane is used when ceramic tile is going to be laid over where there is a hairline crack in the floor that will be under the tiles.


If there are hairline cracks in the floor under the tiles, they could result in the horizontal movement of the floor along the cracks. There could also be movement from expansion joints, cold joints, or any other type of joints. The isolation membrane forms a barrier between these and the tiles.

Purpose of Isolation Membrane

The aim of the isolation membrane is to ensure that problems in the floor don’t transmit themselves to the tiles when they’re put down. Failure to do so could cause the grout to crack, and possibly cracking in the tiles themselves.


Once the isolation membrane has been put on the floor surface, the tile is installed on top of it in the normal way. Be aware than in many cases an isolation membrane will also offer other kinds of protection for the tile floor that will go over it. As ceramic tile becomes thinner and more prone to reacting to cracks in the floor below it, the isolation membrane will become more and more important.

This customer in Warninglid, near Cuckfield asked me to clean a Quarry tiled floor that had been hidden for years under carpet. The carpet had been thoroughly stuck down with glue and sticky gripper rods so the tiles were in quite a mess. Whilst I thought that most of the floor could be greatly improved I voiced my reservations about several patches of heavy glue and some blackened area where burning logs appeared to have rolled from the hearth onto the stone.

Old Quarry Tile Floor Warninglid Before Restoration Old Quarry Tile Floor Warninglid Before Restoration

Deep Cleaning Quarry Tiles

I spent several hours stripping and cleaning the floor using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean first with hand brush then buffer, but struggled to remove the glue around the edges which wouldn’t shift. The solution appeared to be using a hand scrapper and so after a full day of scrapping and rubbing the floor was clean and before I left I gave it a good rinse with water to remove any product. I left it to dry for a couple of days and then the day before I was meant to return to seal the tiles I got a call from the customer who was concerned that the glue marks were more apparent now the floor was dry. I was between jobs so I popped round to have a look and had to agree it seemed there was still evidence of glue on the floor. Something stronger was clearly needed so I spot cleaned with Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a strong coatings remover that is safe to use on Tile and Stone. Whilst not removing the glue entirely it made a huge improvement and the customer was happy with the result. I washed the impacted areas and used a heat gun to get the tiles dry so I was still able to return the next day to seal them.

Sealing Quarry Tiles

I sealed the Quarry tiles with three coats of Tile Doctor Pro-Seal which adds a subtle finish to the floor and will provide the tiles with long lasting protection. Luckily the next day was quite warm and the room was well ventilated by several windows and a double door so the tiles dried quickly.

Old Quarry Tile Floor Warninglid After Restoration Old Quarry Tile Floor Warninglid After Restoration

As you can see from the photographs on this page, the floor was really transformed and needless to say the customer was very satisfied with the result.
Source: Expert Quarry tile maintenance site

A hardwood subfloor is vital to give a good surface for the hardwood floor. The subfloor itself doesn’t have to be made of hardwood.

Douglas Fir

The ideal subfloor is Douglas fir. It should be boards that are nailed down at 90 degrees to the joists. Having them at an angle holds everything much more firmly. You should use sold #2 or a better grade of Douglas fir.


Frame grade pine boards also make a good hardwood subfloor. Like fir, the wood is tight in grain. In both cases the boards should be 1 inch by 6 inches.


Plywood is the most common hardwood subfloor. It’s cheaper than boards and quicker to install. The best plywood subfloor will be ¾ inch thick. This will give ample strength to support the floor and people. A Sturdi Floor plywood subfloor is recommended most highly by hardwood associations.

It’s followed by ¾ inch OSB, or oriented strand board, plywood. Like all subfloors it should be attached at 90 degrees to the joists for strength and tightness.

Among the recommended subfloors, the lowest on the list is 5/8 inch plywood. This is cheaper but not as thick and, therefore, not as strong as a hardwood subfloor.

If you have a floating subfloor, you will need to give it a check up once in a while to be sure there is not damage. There are a few signs that you may have a problem, which we will explore here.

1 – Check From Underneath

First, the best way to check your subfloor is from the underside. If you have a basement, you can inspect the subfloor from below by using a ladder and a flashlight to inspect it for damage. If you do not have a basement, you will have to go into your crawl space to check. You need to see the subfloor in order to make a determination as to whether you have a problem. If you are unable to access from underneath or from your crawl space, you will have no choice than to pull up an area where you can inspect it to see if there is an issue.

2 – Staining

You will check for stains on the subfloor. This can indicate that you have, or have had a water problem, which is a definite sign the subfloor is or will be rotting in that spot. This area will have to be repaired to stop further damage.

3 – Sagging

If you see that the floor is sagging, or feel sagging while walking on the floor, most likely you have a rot issue. Stepping on the floating floor you should not feel it give way, or feel springy, in a specific area. This is a definite sign that there is a rot issue under that area of the flooring.

4 – Spots On The Flooring

Look at the floor surface in the room. If there is an area that has not had a spill which caused a spot, then it is likely that the wood in the subfloor is rotting. You will need to pull up the flooring and repair, or the spot will continue to not only spread on the subflooring, but also damage the flooring itself.

5 – Mold Or Mildew

If you find that you are having a mold or mildew issue in your room, and cannot find where it is coming from, many times it is caused by moisture in the subflooring which causes the wood to rot quickly, not to mention the health concerns. This will have to be dealt with by a professional.

6 – Cracked Drywall

Look around the bottom of your drywall, for cracks or an uneven surface. If you have obvious damage occurring just at the bottom, it is a sign that your subfloor has rot. This can mean that there is also rot in the joists which is causing a shift in the drywall. If this happens, you will not only need to replace the subfloor but also repair the joists and drywall. Keep in mind that any visible damage on the interior floor means that it is much worse underneath and needs to be addressed promptly.

These photographs were from earlier in the year at a residence in Achurch which had a number of paved areas and patios which like any patio in the UK had discoloured over winter and the colours in the stone had become grey and un-inviting. Being a Tile Doctor and Carpet Cleaner requires an investment in high pressure cleaning equipment which lends itself well to external patio cleaning.

Paving Slabs in Achurch Before Cleaning Paving Slabs in Achurch Before Cleaning

Patio Pressure Washing

With less preparation required when working outside to protect other surfaces I was soon setup and started by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a multi-purpose cleaner and stripper which being an alkaline rather than acidic product is safe to use on stone, tile and grout. The solution was left to soak into slabs for a while so it could get to work the grime and it was then scrubbed in using a yard brush. The next step was to use a high pressure washer running at a medium pressure so as not to blow out the mortar between the slabs. The pressures available on the truck mounted pressure washer are much higher than those available on domestic machines so you do have to be careful.

Paving Slabs in Achurch After Cleaning Paving Slabs in Achurch After Cleaning

The job took half a day and I think you will agree the patio now looks newly laid.
Source: Expert Quarry Tile Maintenance