Grout Cleaning

Unsealed Terracotta Kitchen Tiles Treated for Grout Haze in Malvern

Newly built properties are not without their problems and often take a while to resolve all the snagging which occasionally extends to resolving problems with newly laid tiled floors. At this new property in the village of Malvern, and overlooked by the Malvern hills, the builders had left the Terracotta tiled kitchen floor covered in grout smears (also known as Grout Haze) following installation. They had also neglected to seal the tiles, which was actually quite fortunate in this case as they would have sealed in the grout haze, making it more difficult to remove.

Naturally, the property owner wanted the problem to be resolved as soon as possible, and for me to make the tiles easy to keep clean in future, which can be achieved by sealing the tile.

Grout Haze Removed from new Terracotta Tiles at Malvern Village

Removing Grout Haze from a Terracotta Tiled Floor

Before starting work, I made sure to fully protect any exposed woodwork with a plastic sheet covering to protect them from potential damage. I then proceeded to give the floor a thorough clean, using Tile Doctor Remove and Go to clean the floor and eradicate some stains that had been left behind as a result of the building work.

Grout Haze Removed from new Terracotta Tiles at Malvern Village Grout Haze Removed from new Terracotta Tiles at Malvern Village

Next, I paid special attention to the grout, where the very visible problem of grout haze had arisen. To neutralise these smears I used Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, a concentrated phosphoric acid cleaner that can also remove alkaline mineral deposits and efflorescence. Grout Clean Up is only to be used on acid resistant stone, as sensitive stone can suffer from irreparable etching if it comes into contact with the product.

Once completely clean and free of grout smears the floor was thoroughly rinsed with water to remove any trace of product and then dried as much as possible with a wet vacuum, afterwards an air mover was installed to speed up the drying process.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

Later that afternoon the floor was dry and I was able to apply a sealer. To do this I opted to use several coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra, a topical, fully breathable sealer that works really well on Terracotta.

Grout Haze Removed from new Terracotta Tiles at Malvern Village
The sealer builds up a layer of protection on the surface of the tiles, protecting against ingrained dirt and stains. Seal and Go Extra also provides a high quality sheen finish which really did well to enhance the look of the Terracotta.

Grout Haze Removed from new Terracotta Tiles at Malvern Village
The property owner was exceptionally pleased with the results, and to have this problem dealt with quickly and efficiently, additionally the sealer will ensure the Kitchen floor is easy to keep clean in the future.

Grout Haze Removal on Terracotta Tiles in Worcestershire

Travertine Tiled Floor Polished in Stratford upon Avon

Following on from a referral I agreed to travel down to Stratford upon Avon and deep clean this Travertine tiled floor which had not been professionally cleaned for over eight years and was now looking rather dull as you can see in the photograph below, additionally the holes in the travertine had not been filled and was allowing dirt to get trapped into the tile.

Travertine Stratford upon Avon Before Cleaning

Cleaning, Filling and Polishing Travertine Tiles

The first job was to wash the floor down with Pro-Clean to give it a general clean and remove any surface dirt and grit from the floor and then fill the holes with a colour matching grout; there were quite a few holes to fill so this task took some time to complete. Polished Travertine is a very hard stone so restore its finish it needs to be cut back and polished using of a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads fitted to a rotary machine. You start with a coarse pad with a little water, then a medium pad, fine pad and finish with a very fine polishing pad, this takes some time but the effect it quite transforming, it does build up slurry on the floor so it all needs to be washed down again at the end.

Sealing and Buffing Travertine Tile

To keep the floor looking good for longer and protect it from stains it does need to be sealed so once it was dry it was sealed using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing sealer that brings out the colours in natural stone. Then once the sealer was dry it was buffed using a white buffing pad to make sure that I hadn’t left any residues from the seal.

Travertine Stratford upon Avon After Cleaning
The job took three days to complete in total and I think you will agree it’s now looking much healthier.

Travertine tiled floor maintained by Greater Manchester Tile Doctor

Milled Slate Tiled Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Broadwell

These mixed milled slate floor tiles were installed in the Kitchen, Hall and toilet of a house in Broadwell, Warwickshire. The Slate was staining easily from drink spills and proving hard to clean; on top of that all the tiles were covered in a slight grout haze and had not been sealed or cleaned properly after installation. The customer needed the floor to be easy to clean and manage and was keen to bring out the rich colour and texture of the floor but keep a matt finish.

Slate Tiles Before Cleaning in Broadwell1 Slate Tiles Before Cleaning in Broadwell2

Cleaning black slate floor tiles

The first job was to give the floor a deep clean using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was worked into the pores of the Slate tile and grout using a slow speed rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. I then used a wet vacuum to remove the resultant soiled solution and rinsed the floor down with water.

Removing Grout Haze from Slate

The next step was to tackle the grout haze which was evident across the tiles; for this we used Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up which is an acidic product that you allow to dwell on the tile for a one to two minutes and then agitate with a scrubbing pad and then remove shortly afterwards with a wet vacuum washing the floor down quickly to ensure the acid is removed.

Further cleaning was required to some areas which had proven stubborn to clean earlier and for this we used Pro-Clean again mixed 50/50 with NanoTech UltraClean which adds tiny abrasive particles to make a more effective cleaning product; again this was scrubbed in and then once we were happy with the result the floor was washed down with clean water in order to neutralise it before sealing.

Sealing Slate floor tiles

I left the floor overnight to dry then came back next day and used a damp test meter to verify the floor was dry and ready for sealing. Once happy I proceed to apply four coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which matched their requirements in a sealer exactly as it provides a matt finish brings out the colour in the stone and offers great stain protection.

Slate Tiles After Cleaning in Broadwell1 Slate Tiles After Cleaning in Broadwell5

 

Slate tiled floor cleaned and sealed in Warwickshire

Resolving installation issues with a black Limestone tiled floor

This client had recently had a black limestone tiled floor installed in the kitchen and dining area in his home on the northern border of Warwickshire. Unfortunately however the tiler had not sealed the tiles prior and struggled to remove the grout smears from the Limestone surface. The tiles were then sealed trapping the grout haze under the sealer; naturally the client was far from happy and was instructed to remove the grout using an acid wash.

Black Limestone Tiles Before Black Limestone Tiles Before

The acid things turned the floor grey removing the oils in the floor from the factory and also caused the natural salts within the tile to rise to the surface. The tiles were then sealed with an external patio sealant without removing the existing surface sealer. All this compounded the problems in the floor causing it to mark easily and lose its colour; on top of that it had big cloudy white patches all over from the trapped salts.

Stripping sealer from a Limestone Floor Tiles

To resolve the problems with the floor it had to be fully stripped back and cleaned of all sealants and salt etc. which was done by applying a solution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go combined with Nanotech UltraClean mopped on to the floor in two square metres at a time. The solution was allowed to soak into the floor for thirty minutes to allow the chemicals break down and then scrubbed using a rotary machine fitted with a black pad. The soiled solution was then extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum. This process was repeated across the entire floor until all the sealer had been removed.

Limestone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning

Removing Salts from Limestone Tiles

To remove the salts and remaining grout haze the floor was treated with Grout Clean-up which is an acid based cleaning product that is designed to penetrate below the surface and remove light grout smears (grout haze) as well as mineral deposits such as salts and efflorescence, again this treatment was applied two square meters at a time, quickly worked into the floor and removed with the wet vacuum. Once this process was complete the whole floor was washed at high pressure rinse three times to ensure all trace of chemicals had been removed.

The floor was left to dry and when we came back the second day it was noticed that there were still some salts coming through to the surface of the Limestone, these areas were re-treated and the floor washed down again and left to dry as before.

Limestone Kitchen Part Sealed

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

The floor looked much improved on the third day although it was still looking washed out. To put the colour back into the black limestone it was treated with stone oil with turns the floor back to black and then sealed with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which will protect the tile going forward.

The floor now looks how it was intended and certainly the customer was pleased and left the following comment on our feedback system.

“We are so pleased with the work carried out by the tile doctor to our kitchen, utility and family room. The floor now looks exactly how we hoped it would look when we originally purchased it. We’ve struggled to get it looking right since then and now we feel we finally have a floor we can enjoy at last! We also found Mick to be professional and highly knowledgeable on our floor. He has given us really good advice and has been really easy to contact and has also been happy to give us further help and advice over the phone even when the job’s been completed. L. Nash”

Limestone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning and Sealing Limestone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning and Sealing

Limestone installation problems resolved in Warwickshire

Removing Grout Haze from Slate Tile Flooring

You may remember a previous Limestone floor job we did for a Mrs Schwartz from Stourbridge, well true to her word she invited us back to clean and seal the slate tile flooring in her hallway which had been left with grout smears (aka grout haze) on the surface after tiling. Grout smears can be removed however if the floor is sealed it’s necessary to remove the sealer first.

Slate Hallway Before Cleaning

Cleaning Grout Haze off Slate Tile Flooring

To remove the sealer and clean off the grout smears we used a 50/50 mix of Tile Doctor Remove and Go combined with Nanotech Ultra-Clean for added effect, the solution was left to dwell on the surface of the slate for 15 minutes to break down the polymers in the grout. The next step was to turn on a high pressure spinner tool which is a very effective cleaning tool on its own; the water from the spinner tool also washes away any chemicals and neutralises the floor ready for sealing.

Slate Hallway Before Cleaning

Sealing Slate Tiles

We speed dried the slate tile flooring using a number of industrial fans and applied three coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which offers a good combination of stain resistance with a low sheen finish that brings out the natural colours in the slate.

Slate Hallway After Cleaning and Sealing Slate Hallway After Cleaning and Sealing

 

Cleaning and Sealing Slate Tile Flooring in Stourbridge

Limestone Floor Tiles Polished

Limestone Floor Tiles Polished to a deep shine

Great photograph below of a Limestone floor in the kitchen of a house near Coventry. The Limestone had lost it’s shine after the application of a surface sealing “Clean and Shine” type product; the problem was akin to the application of a wax finish which in turn had been contaminated with cleaning product and soil underneath. The grout line has also become heavily soiled through everyday use.

Cleaning Limestone Floor Tile

First the Limestone tiled floor was dry vacuumed to remove loose grit; we also took to opportunity to remove the kitchen unit kick boards. This was followed by a good clean with a 1:5 mix of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to dwell for 15 minutes before the application of a stiff grout brush on on the grout lines followed by the use of a slow speed buffing machine to break up the surface wax on the tile. The whole are was rinsed down using high pressure clean water via a spinner tool which removed any left over dirt from the grout lines.

The next step was to use the diamond encrusted burnishing pads system to prepare and condition the limestone floor tiles prior to polishing.

Before and After photos of a Polished Limestone Floor Tiles
Before and After

Adding that deep shine to Limestone Tiled Floors

We then applied Tile Doctor Shine Powder using a White buffing pad to provide that extra deep shine you can see in the photograph, it also provides and tough durable finish.

Limestone Tiled Floor Cleaning and Polishing

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Warwickshire Tile Doctor

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