Monthly Archives: July 2019

If you want to add a rustic charm to your kitchen, garage, or floors as a whole, consider installing a terracotta floor. This design choice works well in country homes or those looking for a Spanish flair. Terracotta is a warm copper color that complements most decor, and it can add a touch of elegance to any space. If you think you want to add this look to your home, consider some of the benefits below.

It’s Unique
Since terracotta is made of clay, you never get two tiles that look just alike. They all provide a slight variance in color and pattern that looks great, no matter where you put it. People often use terracotta backsplashes because of this unique look, but flooring is the most popular application. In a rustic setting, this unpredictable pattern works very well with the natural looking design.

It’s Easy to Install
Terracotta is very easy to install if you know what you are doing. It works just like any other tile. You simply provide a surface to adhere the tile to, allow it to set, and then grout it. Because of the porous nature of this material, it is actually very easy to cut for awkward corners. It is these pores, however, that also hurt the durability of the terracotta. If you add a sealant to the surface of the tile though, you should have no issues at all.

It’s Easy to Clean
Since you have to put a sealant over the terracotta tiles, cleanup is a breeze. Most liquid beads up on the surface, so all you have to do is wipe up a mess with a paper towel or mop. These floors don’t show stains or dirt easily either, so they can still make your rustic space look good, even if they are dirty. Oftentimes a little dirt actually helps to add some charm to the tiles. Thus you may not have to clean as often as you may think.

It’s Comfortable
Even though a lot of rustic furniture is made from wood, most people manage to find comfort in that material. Terracotta flooring is no different. It may be a hard tile, but it is not as hard as a lot of other tiles on the market. Thus you may find walking on terracotta to be a comfortable option for your home, especially if you have small children. This floor doesn’t get cold as easily as some other materials, so you should be fine to walk on it in winter months.

It’s Ageless
As time goes by, your rustic terracotta floor will look better and better. The unique patterns on each tile start to reveal themselves after years of wear. The tiles themselves lose some of the artificial smooth texture, and they start to become more realistic. If you are looking for a set of tiles to grow with you, these are definitely it. You should have a beautiful floor for years to come.



A member of the limestone family, a travertine floor tile is reputed to be a durable and aesthetic flooring option. Grouting of travertine tiles is usually sealed during the installation process to ensure their durability and protect them from getting dirty. This makes the grout lines very resilient. This is why removing old grout from travertine tiles is a bit tricky. Commercial grout-removal chemical solutions might help to cleanse the grout and loosen it but they cannot displace the hardened, old grout, i.e. they are more suited for removing recently-laid grout. These chemical solutions can also cause discoloration of the tiles. Further, these solvents contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment. An eco-friendly and more effective way of removing old grout is explained below.

What you’ll need

  • Water
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Drill bit (with diamond-edged drilling disk)
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Grout scraper
  • Grout saw
  • Rotary tool
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Dremel tool
  • Razor blade
  • Steel wool

Step 1 – Preparing Travertine Tile Surface
Start by cleaning the travertine tiles. Thorough cleaning with warm water helps to moisten and soften the old grout to some extent. You can also use a soft-bristled brush for rubbing the very thin grout lines. This is critical since the blades of the drill cannot access the very small crevices. The scrubbing ensures better grout removal in such a scenario.

Step 2 – Weakening Old Grout
Using a grout saw or a rotary tool, chisel a thin groove within the old grout line. It is better to start chiseling immediately after the cleaning, since moistened grout is easier-to-penetrate. Once a thin line has been established along the grout, expand it using the grout scraper. The scraper is very useful for scooping-out small sections of the old grout. If any section of the old grout seems impervious to this method, you can use the conventional combination of a hammer and chisel to tap and loosen the old grout.

Step 3 – Drilling Out Old Grout
You can use a Dremel tool or a power drill for this step. However, a power drill ensures better results since its blades offer deeper incision into old grout lines. Load the drill with the diamond-edged disk. Position the disk’s edge within the weakened groove of the old grout and turn-on the drill. The spinning blade effectively digs-out the old grout. Slowly, move the drill ahead, i.e. towards the opposite end of the tile. You need to be very careful while using the drill since lowering it too much can harm the edges of the travertine tiles. You can repeat the drilling until most of the grout lines are comprehensively removed.

Step 4 – Finishing Drilled Grout Lines
You need to remove the loose debris and grout dust from the drilled grout line. This is best done with a handheld vacuum. Please note that among very old travertine tile surfaces, miniscule deposits of grout might still be visible. You can use a razor blade to scrape-away these grout bits. To ensure that the travertine tiles are properly prepared for re-grouting, clean the emptied grout lines with steel wool.



The pictures below are of a multi coloured sandstone floor installed at a property in East Keswick which is a village approximately halfway between Harrogate and Leeds. (Not to be confused with the more famous Keswick in the Lake District)

Multicoloured Sandstone Floor Before Cleaning East Keswick Multicoloured Sandstone Floor Before Cleaning East Keswick

The stone floor had not been cleaned professionally for ten years and although the grout looked clean It was clear that any sealer that was once present had long since worn off leaving the stone unprotected. The result was dirt had become deeply ingrained in the Sandstone leading causing the stone to darken and hide its true beauty and rich colouring. The client had tried lots of different products to clean the floor but had not had any luck.

I visited the property and carried out a few successful patch tests resulting in the floor becoming much cleaner. They were happy to go ahead with my quote and we arranged a time to return and complete the work.

Deep Cleaning a Multi-Coloured Sandstone Hallway Floor

I prepared the area before starting, taping up the skirting boards and doors to protect them from the splashing that can happen during the intensive cleaning process.

To get the sandstone clean I applied a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to the floor and allowed it to soak in for ten minutes. The solution was then worked into the Sandstone using a rotary floor machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. More Pro-Clean was applied with a hand-held scrubbing brush to get deep into the grout lines and to reach into the corners.

Once done the floor was rinsed with water and the soil extracted with a wet vacuum. The floor was inspected, and the process repeated until I was satisfied that the stone and grout had released all the trapped dirt. After a final rinse, the wet vacuum was used to get as much moisture out of the stone as possible and then the floor left to dry out fully overnight.

Sealing a Multi Coloured Sandstone Tiled Hallway Floor

Returning the following morning, I first checked that the floor was dry using a damp meter. The sealer won’t cure if there is any moisture in the stone and I’ve been known to reschedule sealing a floor if the readings are too high. On this occasion I was satisfied that the floor was within acceptable levels, so I was ready to seal the floor.

I used three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow to seal the floor, this is an impregnating sealer which intensifies natural colours whilst providing durable protection against stains, an essential feature in an area such as a hallway which is subject to constant foot traffic.

Multicoloured Sandstone Floor After Cleaning East Keswick Multicoloured Sandstone Floor After Cleaning East Keswick

As you can see from the photos the transformation was quite impressive, the floor became much lighter and almost unrecognisable, the natural colours of the stone were now visible, and the floor looked beautiful. The client was very happy with the end result and has said they would not hesitate to recommend me to others.


Source: Sandstone Tile Renovation and Restoration Service in North West Yorkshire

An outdoor tile will not only beautify the surface of your patio but will also help prevent unwanted accidents due to slipping. Anyone can lay outdoor tiles and this project can be done without the help of a professional. Here are steps for you to follow if you want to try it.

What you’ll need

  • Grout mix
  • Measuring tape
  • Tile glue
  • sponge
  • Tile cutter
  • Outdoor tiles of your choice

Step 1 – Measure the Area to be covered with Tiles
To identify how many tiles you will need, you have to measure first the area to be covered with it. Make sure to include space in between the tiles where you will be putting the grout. You also have to decide whether you will use small or big tiles to help you find out how many tiles you have purchase.

Step 2 – Prepare the Surface for Installation
For better adherence, make sure to clean the surface where you will install the tiles. This should be devoid of dust, grime, or anything that may interfere with adhesion of tiles to the surface.

Step 3 – Installation of the Tile and Grouting
Put adhesive glue on the back part of the tile and place each tile according to the desired pattern. Leave equal spaces in between tiles for grouting. Cut tiles whenever there is a need to do so. After this, apply grouting mixture in between the tile, enough to cover the spaces. Remove excess grout mixture using a wet sponge. Allow the grout to cure and tiles to fully adhere to the ground.



A property developer contacted me about an old Victorian Quarry tiled floor that they needed to make good at their customers house in Harborne following renovations. The work needed to be done professionally and more work was anticipated restoring the original Victorian tiled floor in the adjacent hallway which I’ll detail in a separate article.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Renovation Harborne

I went over to survey the floors and provide a quote for completing the work. The house dated from the 1800’s and the Quarry tiles in the front room were black and buff coloured. In fact, after I did a test clean the buff coloured tiles turned out to be deep red in colour, but the floor was that dirty you would never know it. There were also areas of missing tiles where replacements would be needed to match the rest of the floor. We discussed a price for the work, which was readily agreed, and the work booked in.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Renovation Harborne

Cleaning and Repairing a Quarry Tiled Living Room Floor

Before starting work, I managed to source approximately 90 replacement tiles from a reclamation yard which were delivered to site. Once they had arrived, I began the tiling work by building up the sub floor with some levelling cement. When this had hardened, I started laying the tiles with a quick setting adhesive. Some needed cutting to size which was carefully completed. Once the tiles had been positioned, I grouted the area and the floor was then allowed to dry.

Quarry Tiled Floor During Renovation Harborne Quarry Tiled Floor During Renovation Harborne

The floor was then cleaned using a combination of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and Remove and Go, scrubbed in with a black scrubbing pad. The floor needed a couple of goes to get it completely clean, and there were also some screed areas which were treated with Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up. The floor was then rinsed, next we applied more of the Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up this time to the whole floor to give it an acid rinse. The floor was then rinsed again and then allowed to dry for a couple of days.

Quarry Tiled Floor During Renovation Harborne

Sealing a Quarry Tiled Living Room Floor

On return the was sealed with three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which was left to soak in and then buffed off. This product impregnates the pores if the Quarry tiles enhancing the red and black colours whilst proving protection from staining going forward.

Quarry Tiled Floor After Renovation Harborne

You can see from the photographs the transformation that was achieved. If you look closely you can notice a difference between the original and reclaimed tiles but this will be less noticeable over time.

Quarry Tiled Floor After Renovation Harborne

Before leaving I left the client with a complimentary bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner to help maintain the tiles appearance and protect the seal. He was over the moon with the job.


Source: Quarry Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Harborne, Birmingham

Mosaic tiles are a fantastic way to add character and flair to your bathroom tile design. These mosaics are comprised of smaller tiles arranged in a variety of patterns in 12 inch by 12 inch sheets. The size of the tiles can vary and the entire pattern is held together by a mesh backing.

The unique layout of mosaic tiles produces many grout lines, so grouting is an important step in achieving a clean look. Fortunately, all you need for a successful grout job is clean water, a clean sponge, a steady hand, and plenty of patience. The following will provide you some tips to help you grout your mosaic tiles.

What you’ll need
Grout float
Tile sponge
Latex gloves

Step 1 –Mix the Grout
Properly mixing the grout is an important step that is often overlooked. There are two types of grout: sanded and un-sanded. Sanded grout is stronger than un-sanded grout and is recommended for tile floors. Un-sanded grout is commonly used for tile walls. Grout that has too much water is difficult to control and work into the grout lines. Grout with not enough water becomes thick and pasty and dries out quickly, making it difficult to remove. Make sure you don’t mix all of the grout at once, since it will dry out in your bucket. Instead, mix smaller portions based on the size of the area you have to grout. Add the grout mix into a bucket an gradually mix in water until the grout is the consistency of cake batter. You can ether mix the grout by hand or use a special attachment that will fit on most drills.

Step 2 – Lay the Grout
Installing the grout for mosaic tiles requires a little more care and attention than grouting traditional tile. The layout of these tiles means there are numerous grout lines to fill, so spreading the grout evenly across the entire surface is important. Scoop out a portion of the grout using the rubber float. If the grout was properly mixed, it should hold to the wall. Next, turn the float on a 45° angle and use the edge to spread the grout over the tile. The grout can be worked into the lines using the edge of the float. When you’re finished, all that should be left on the wall is a thin file of grout residue. Let the grout sit for about 15 minutes before you begin wiping it down.

Step 3 –Wipe-Down the Tile
Wiping down the mosaic tile will require a bucket of clean water, a tile sponge, a squeegee, and some latex gloves. Fill the bucket with clean water and dip the sponge into the water, taking care to wring out the excess water. The sponge should be damp, not sopping wet. Carefully wipe down each of the lines making sure they’re even. Switch the side of the sponge after the first wipe and rinse the entire sponge after the second wipe. It’s important to remember to constantly clean the sponge and water to achieve the best results. After you’ve cleaned the grout lines and removed the excess grout, give the wall a once over to remove grout film.



After having their hallway carpeted for several years the owner of this Edwardian property in Finchley, North London decided they would like to restore their original tiled hallway floor. They asked me to visit and help lift the carpet to see whether restoring would be feasible. They knew from before that a few areas of tiles were damaged and did not know if replacements could be sourced.

Edwardian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration Finchley

As requested, I went over to have a look at the newly revealed floor and make some recommendations. After carefully removing the hallway carpet we found the floor to be very dirty but importantly intact with only a few sections of loose or missing tiles. It would certainly be possible to restore it and given the length of the hallway I was confident it would look impressive when finished and be a great addition to the property.

We discussed the process and after confirming that sourcing matching reclaimed tiles as replacements was possible, we agreed a price and arranged a date to carry out the work.

Cleaning/Repairing a Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor

The carpet had left quite a lot of residue on the tiles as well as adhesive from the carpet glue, so our first task was to get the Edwardian tiles clean. We carried out a detailed clean over the whole floor using Tile Doctor Remove & Go to treat the adhesive followed by a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean to remove all the dirt and old sealers. The floor was rinsed off afterwards and the soils extracted using a wet vacuum.

The next job was to begin the repairs starting with a complete inspection of the floor to lift the loose, broken and fractured tiles. The good ones were individually cleaned ready for re use. This left about 150-200 broken missing tiles that needed to be replaced. We had a number of reclaimed tiles and a selection of new style Victorian tiles we could cut to fit.

Edwardian Tiled Hallway During Restoration Finchley Edwardian Tiled Hallway During Restoration Finchley

Prior to relaying we prepared the base with new cement and levelled the floor to give a good surface. The tiles were carefully laid to the quick set adhesive, once this was dry the floor was re grouted. Once all the tiles were re-grouted the floor was cleaned of any excess grout with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up which is great for removing grout smears.

Edwardian Tiled Hallway During Restoration Finchley

Sealing an Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor

The floor was then sealed with a coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing sealer that impregnates the tile and protects it from within. The floor was left to dry overnight, and we returned the next day to apply five coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go to give a natural satin finish, leaving each coat to dry prior to applying the next.

Edwardian Tiled Hallway After Restoration Finchley

The whole project took three and a half days to complete.

The client was very happy with the result, in fact it was even better than they had expected. For aftercare I recommended that they use Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner to keep the floor clean as it is pH balanced and will ensure the seal is not undermined which can happen with other household cleaners.

Edwardian Tiled Hallway After Restoration Finchley


Source: Victorian Tile and Grout Cleaning Service in Lancashire