Terracotta Tiles Ingrained with Dirt Cleaned and Sealed in the Forest of Dean

Terracotta may be one of the most aesthetically pleasing types of tiled floor, but as many of our customers will tell you can be particularly difficult to keep clean. This is due to the naturally high porosity of clay, which allows dirt to become very easily trapped. Quite commonly this situation is made worse by a lack of an adequate sealer to block the intrusion of muck. Of course, poor quality cleaning products also make it difficult for property owners to keep their Terracotta tiles clean, and a combination of the two problems can leave these floors looking a lot like this one, located in the kitchen of a house in the beautiful Forest of Dean.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Forest of Dean Before
The property owner was keen to have me restore some character to her dull Terracotta tiles. It was proving increasingly difficult for her to keep them clean due to the reasons described before, and the grout had also become very dirty. So, the customer turned to me for some professional assistance.

Cleaning a Dirty Terracotta Tiled Floor in the Forest of Dean

While these Terracotta tiles had been sealed previously it had, over time, lost its ability to protect the stone against ingrained dirt. To remove the old excess sealer my product of choice was the heavy duty soil remover and stripper, Tile Doctor Remove & Go, which I applied liberally across the surface and scrubbed in to the tile used a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. This also helped to remove the trapped dirt and left the stone looking fresher.

Once the old sealer was removed – to be replaced with a fresh sealer once cleaning was complete – I was free to focus on the troublesome grout lines with Tile Doctor Pro Clean, an alkaline cleaner that reliably breaks down dirt. When cleaning the grout, I opted to use a handheld grout brush that allowed for more precise, careful application of the product.

As per usual, the floor was given a good rinse and left to dry for 24 hours.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

Upon returning to the property I checked the floor was completely dry, ready for sealing. My process for sealing actually involved the application of two different kinds of sealer; initially I applied a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which has soaks into the pores of the tile and has the added bonus of enhancing its natural colours.

Once this had dried I then applied ix coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, a product which forms a durable layer of protection of the surface of the tiles and at the same time provides a lovely sheen finish.

Terracotta Kitchen Floor Forest of Dean After
The combination of the two sealers will certainly offer a long-term solution to the ingrained dirt problem, and the appearance-enhancing properties in the products really helped to transform the tiles from dull and dirty to lively and eye-catching. Nonetheless, before departing the property, I also left my very pleased customer with some cleaning advice for the future.

Professional Terracotta Floor Cleaning and Sealing in Monmouthshire

Lifeless Victorian Tiled Hallway Rejuvenated in the Forest of Dean

This Victorian tiled hallway at a house in the Forest of Dean had a very interesting pattern, consisting of an array of different colours, including shades of red, yellow and blue. Unfortunately, as you can see from the first photograph below, the tiles had lost all life, with the colours largely masked by months’ – or maybe even years’ – worth of ingrained dirt and muck. The floor as a whole was also suffering from a number of loose tiles that needed to be reset before it could be cleaned.

The property owner was keen to employ some professional assistance to restore the appearance of the floor and prevent it from getting in an even wrote state, and so contacted Tile Doctor who have a lot of experience working with Victorian tiled floors.

Victorian Floor Forest of Dean Before

Repairing and Cleaning Dirty Victorian Tiles

As mentioned, the loose tiles had to be repaired before the cleaning process could be started. I removed the tiles and extracted excess grout and old adhesive from the exposed concrete substrate using a vacuum, before putting the original tiles back into place and fixing them back into position carefully using fresh adhesive and matching grout.

Once happy the replaced tiles had set, I started the process of cleaning the entire area of hallway tiles using a combination of Tile Doctor Remove and Go to strip away the old sealer and Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU (formerly Ultra Clean) remover to get the tiles as clean as possible. The latter product contains nano-sized cleaning particles (hence the name) to reach difficult areas of trapped dirt, making it more effective than your run-of-the-mill tile cleaner. These two products were scrubbed into the tiles using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The floor was then rinsed with water and the soiled residue was extracted with a wet vacuum.

I then paid particular attention to the grout, applying our alkaline-based multi-purpose cleaner Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to the grout lines, before scrubbing them with a narrow grout brush. This quickly had the grout looking clean again: I’d even go as far as to say that it matched it seamlessly with the fresh grout that had just been laid.

With the tile and grout as clean as it was possible to get it, I gave the whole floor a final rinse to neutralise the excess chemicals. I extracted as much water as possible with a wet vacuum and left the floor to dry overnight.

Sealing Victorian Tiles

My first task upon returning to the property the next day was to check for any dampness. If you neglect to remove all excess moisture from the surface of the tiles before sealing it is more than likely going to cloud the sealer, rendering it less effective I’m protecting the stone against ingrained dirt and stains.

Once satisfied that the floor was completely dry, I proceeded to seal the tiles using multiple costs of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. Seal and Go is what we would classify as a topical sealer, meaning it rests on the surface of the tiles to act as a durable layer of protection against all kinds of muck. While providing surface protection, Seal and Go also adds a nice subtle sheen to the tiles, as per the customer’s request.

Victorian Floor Forest of Dean After
The customer was quite amazed at how quickly the appearance of the tiles had been restored. It was fantastic to see the colours we both knew were hidden in the tiles come to life once again. Another satisfied customer for sure!

Professional Victorian Tiled Floor Restoration in the Monmouthshire

Glue and Paint Stained Quarry Tiled Hallway Restored in Abergavenny

It’s almost inevitable that tiled floors which have been covered by carpet, paint, or linoleum for many years will be in a sorry state when they are finally unveiled. However, many property owners and renovators are keen to restore original tiled features, and in the majority of cases require assistance which is where we step in.

Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor Before Cleaning
These Quarry tiles were in particularly bad condition: the property owner had been unable to remove the old red paint and carpet which had stuck to the tiles with what appeared to be Grip Fill adhesive. While the owner had already booked a carpet fitter to change the carpet on the nearby staircase, they asked me to clean and seal the Quarry tiles on the same day, meaning the job would have to be carried out quickly and efficiently. The house was located in the Monmouthshire village of Abergavenny, which is sometimes promoted as the “Gateway to Wales”.

Cleaning a Dirty Quarry Tiled Floor

My first concern when cleaning these tiles was removing as much of the old glue and carpet as possible. I did this manually using a six-inch handheld scrapper together with wire wool. Then, to take the cleaning process one step further, I followed up by applying a 50/50 mixture of Tile Doctor Remove and Go and Tile Doctor Pro Clean, before scrubbing these into the tiles with a pad fitted to a rotary machine.

While this achieved some good results, there were still some stubborn areas left over. To tackle these, I applied Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU, a remover specially designed for heavy soil buildup. It utilises nano-sized particles to get beneath tough stains and dissolve them, and did exactly that with the difficult adhesive staining here.

Once the floor was clean I gave it a thorough rinse and removed any soiled cleaning residue using a wet vacuum. I then left it to dry off completely for a few hours.

Sealing a Quarry Tiled Floor

Since this was quite a small area it soon dried and with the carpet fitter now out of the way I was able to complete the sealing later that afternoon. I did this using seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which is a water-based sealer (so no smell as it dries) that builds up a durable layer of protection on the surface of the tiles. It is a more cost-effective sealer for hard wearing internal surfaces like Quarry, Victorian tiles and Slate and the result is a durable and aesthetically pleasing low-sheen finish.

Quarry Tiled Hallway Floor After Cleaning
As you can see from the photograph, the newly restored Quarry tiles work very nicely in tandem with the new staircase carpet. Considering the very poor condition of the tiles before this work was carried out, it’s safe to say the customer was very pleased with the transformation.

Professional Quarry Tiled Hallway Renovation in Monmouthsire

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