Carrara Marble Orangery Floor Harrogate

These photographs are of a large Black Carrara Marble floor at customers house in nearby Harrogate, a North Yorkshire spa town which is steeped in history. In-fact the town became known as ‘The English Spa’ in the Georgian era, after its waters were discovered in the 16th century. In the 17th and 18th centuries its ‘chalybeate’ waters (containing iron) were a popular health treatment and the influx of wealthy but sickly visitors contributed significantly to the wealth of the town.

Black Carrara Marble Orangery floor Harrogate Before Polishing

When I reached the clients’ property she showed me to the Orangery. This was a lovely garden room and it had a large and expensive Black Carrara Marble tiled floor installed. The floor was installed some time ago and had since lost some of its shine and lustre which is not unusual as foot traffic on the floor will wear down the shine over time particularly as it was a dark black colour.

Black Carrara Marble Orangery floor Harrogate Before Polishing

Polishing a Black Carrera Marble Orangery Floor

I was aware that Carrara Marble is usually polished at the factory and re polishing to achieve the same high-end finish requires the use of some very expensive machinery which most Tile Doctors including myself don’t carry.

However, I am always up for a challenge and not to be beaten there were a couple of things we could do to improve the appearance of the floor. Carrara Marble by the way gets its name from the city where it’s quarried which is in the province of Massa and Carrara in the Lunigiana, the northernmost tip of modern-day Tuscany, Italy. It is not surprising that such a beautiful material comes from such a lovely place! In use since Roman times Carrara Marble is an expensive, high quality marble used in sculptures and building décor.

So, after discussing all this with the customer and a little history, l set about giving the tiles a spray burnish with a very fine 3000-grit diamond burnishing pad and a little water sprayed onto the Marble. The 3000-grit pad is a very fine grade that would not damage the surface of the marble, simply restore the shine. This pad had the desired effect and did a good job of bringing back the deep polished look of the floor.

Sealing a Black Carrera Marble Orangery Floor

Once I had finished the spray burnish and ensured the floor was dry, I applied two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, this product is an impregnating colour intensifying sealer that provides durable stain protection by occupying the pores in the stone thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there. I chose to use this primarily to seal and protect the stone but also to enhance the beautiful natural colours.

Black Carrara Marble Orangery floor Harrogate After Polishing

The job was completed in a single day and the result was a big improvement on the dull Marble tiles I had come across that morning. It’s probably difficult to tell from the photographs but I felt the combination of spray burnishing and sealing had completely changed the appearance of the floor.

The customer was very happy indeed, the floor looked much brighter and with the sun shining through the huge area of glass, the highly polished look had definitely been restored.

Black Carrara Marble Orangery floor Harrogate After Polishing

 

Polishing Black Carrara Marble Floor Tiles in North Yorkshire

Renovating a Sandstone Tiled Floor at a 12th-Century Undercroft Near Bedale

When I was asked to visit this job, I understood that the property was Grade One Listed and I was in for a treat when I arrived. The property is an undercroft which is traditionally a cellar or storage room, often brick-lined and vaulted and used for storage in buildings since medieval times. In modern usage, an undercroft is generally a ground (street-level) area which is relatively open to the sides but covered by the building above.

Sandstone Floor Before Cleaning 12th Century Undercroft Bedale

This example was part of a large 12th Century building near Bedale which is halfway between Harrogate and Middlesbrough, that had been converted into luxury apartments. It was truly impressive, by far one of my favourite jobs to date.

Sandstone Floor Before Cleaning 12th Century Undercroft Bedale

The magnificent building had been tastefully restored and renovated some years ago. You will see from the photos how unique it is, although it is hard to do it justice in photos. Since that time the huge 60sqm Sandstone flagstones had become dirty and now needed to be deep cleaned and restored to its’ former self.

Sandstone Floor Before Cleaning 12th Century Undercroft Bedale

I discussed what was required with the owner and went through the cleaning procedure I felt would be most appropriate. This was well received, and we agreed my quote and arranged a suitable time to return and complete the work. I must say I felt honoured and privileged to be asked to work on the floor as this is not something you would trust many people with.

Cleaning a Large Sandstone Floor in an Undercroft

I returned on the agreed date to start the cleaning and I was a bit apprehensive at first, as naturally with such an old building I wanted to be confident that the methods I was going to use would work without issue. Also, there was some very, very expensive Marble statues scattered about near the edge of the floor which I was very mindful of. It was clear that the utmost care was required to restore this beautiful floor. In the end I did not need to worry as it was quite straightforward. The floor was nice and flat and graded sandstone, in pretty good physical condition.

I cleaned the floor by applying a strong dilution Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to remove old sealers and break down the dirt. I left this on the floor for ten minutes before scrubbing it in with what turned out to be several black scrubbing pads to get the dirt out of the stone. Pro-Clean is a highly effective Tile and Grout cleaner which can deal with all sorts of issues including grease, grime and general dirt build up.

Sandstone Floor During Cleaning 12th Century Undercroft Bedale

I worked in sections and found some of the flagstones quite challenging to clean due to their sharp edges which tore into the pads and destroyed a few during the process. Luckily, I had bought plenty of replacements along and with a bit of perseverance, I was able to give the floor a very thorough clean. The floor was then rinsed with water and the soil extracted using a wet vacuum.

Sandstone Floor During Cleaning 12th Century Undercroft Bedale

After cleaning and rinsing the whole floor I left it for a few days, so it could dry out thoroughly before I returned to seal it.

Sealing a 60m2 Sandstone Floor in a 12th Century Undercroft

When I returned I checked that the floor was completely dry by taking some moisture readings. All was well, but I noticed that the room became dusty very quickly from all the exposed stone, so l vacuumed the floor first.

Sandstone Floor After Cleaning 12th Century Undercroft Bedale

I chose to use Tile Doctor Ultra Seal for this floor, main reasons being it’s an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the pores in the stone thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there also, it leaves a natural look finish that doesn’t darken the stone which was ideal for use in the Undercroft where there isn’t much natural light. I applied a couple of coats to the floor and it was soon looking good.

Sandstone Floor After Sealing 12th Century Undercroft Bedale

It was a massive transformation and the clean floor really lightened up the whole room. The client was very pleased with the result. I think you will agree this is a very special room!

 

Professional Clean of a Sandstone Undercroft Floor in North Yorkshire

Deep Cleaning Lapicida Sandstone Flagstones in Bedale

This customer who lived in the old North Yorkshire market town of Bedale, had a Lapicida Sandstone floor installed many years prior and over the years the sealer had worn off and dirt had become ingrained into the pores of the stone making it dull and difficult to clean effectively. Based in Harrogate, where they have Europe’s largest stone gallery, Lapicida are a premier Tile and Stone company that specialise in reclaimed Sandstone with prices that range from £79 to £594 per square metre.

Dirty Lapicida Sandstone Floor Before Cleaning Bedale

Naturally having such an expensive stone floor installed my customer wanted it to look its best however when your living with a stone floor day in, day out you fail to notice the gradual decline in its overall appearance. Then one day you suddenly realise the floor is overdue a deep clean and reseal and call in Tile Doctor; there is an alternative however, simply speak to Tile Doctor about setting up an annual Maintenance Plan whereby we pop by once a year to clean the floor and top up the sealer.

Dirty Lapicida Sandstone Floor Before Cleaning Bedale

Deep Cleaning a Lapicida Sandstone Floor

To deep clean the floor the sandstone flagstones were covered in a strong 1:3 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to dwell and soak into the stone for ten minutes before being scrubbed clean using a rotary buffing machine fitted with a black pad. The now dirty cleaning solution was then removed using a wet vacuum and then the whole floor washed down with water and stubborn areas re-treated until I was satisfied. Unusually for Sandstone it was all graded and uniformly flat which made cleaning a lot easier.

With the floor clean and all the dirt removed it revealed some black marks, most of which were from candle wax which is very difficult to get off. To tackle this problem a heat gun was used to melt the wax and then it was dappled with a clean cloth. This process was mostly successful, but some still left a faint Mark which the customer was ok with.

After giving the floor a final rinse and drying it as much as possible with a wet vacuum it was left to dry off fully overnight.

Sealing a Lapicida Sandstone Floor

I returned the next day to seal the floor first checking it for dampness using a damp meter. The flagstones were dry. I was going to seal the Stone with Tile Doctor Colour Grow which would have enhanced the natural colours in the stone, but the customer liked the light appearance of the cleaned stone, so l used Tile Doctor Ultra Seal instead; Ultra-seal is a natural look sealer, so it doesn’t darken the stone. Both sealers are what we call impregnators which work by soaking into the pores of stone protecting it from within by preventing dirt from becoming ingrained.

Dirty Lapicida Sandstone Floor After Cleaning Bedale

I’m sure you will agree the floor looks much improved, certainly the customer and myself were both very pleased with the transformation of the floor; my customer even left the following testimonial on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

Nigel Stoker was knowledgeable, efficient and very pleasant. My floors are looking amazing. Claire G, Bedale

Dirty Lapicida Sandstone Floor After Cleaning Bedale

 
 

Deep Cleaning a Lapicida Sandstone Flagstone Floor in North Yorkshire

Yellow Stained Bullnose Travertine Tiles Rejuvenated in Pateley Bridge

The photos below show a beautiful Bullnose Travertine tiled kitchen floor at a property in Pateley Bridge which needed professional attention as a consequence of being protected by a cheap and ineffectual sealer.

The problem was that sealer that had been applied did not provide resistance to UV rays, and the exposure to the sunlight had turned the Travertine tiles an unnatural yellow colour. Over time the sealer had gradually worn away in the busiest areas, so it was less noticeable but of course without the protection of the sealer the stone then became exposed to ingrained dirt and stains.

Bullnose Travertine Before Cleaning Patley Bridge Bullnose Travertine Before Cleaning Patley Bridge

I took some pictures however they don’t really show the problems that well but needless to say, the property owner was very keen to have the situation rectified – which of course is where I came in. I travelled to Pateley Bridge, a small market town in Nidderdale in the Borough of Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

What is a ‘Bullnose’ tile, you say? Well, it simply refers to the trim of the tile. While traditional tiles will have a straight edge, a Bullnose tile will have a slightly rounded or curved edge.

Cleaning Yellow Stained Travertine Tiles

To begin the restoration, I deep cleaned the tiles mechanically using Tile Doctor diamond burnishing pads starting with a coarse grit. These pads served the purpose of grinding away the very top damaged layer of the stone, effectively removing the yellow staining, grease marks and any old sealer. You use a little water to help lubricate the process and this soon becomes soiled and needs to be rinsed away and removed after each pad is applied.

Next, I cleaned all of the stained grout lines by hand. I did this using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a reliable, alkaline-based cleaner for use on both natural stone tiles and grout. I mixed the Pro Clean into a solution of one part cleaner to three parts fresh water and worked it in by hand using a stiff brush along the grout lines. Once done the now dirty cleaning solution was rinsed off the floor and extracted leaving the grout fresh and clean.

Bullnose Travertine During Cleaning Patley Bridge

To finish the cleaning process, I polished the floor with a 3000 grit (very fine) burnishing pad to leave the tiles with a silky satin finish. This pad is applied mechanically with a little water in a technique we often call a spray burnish.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor

Once the floor was dry it needed protecting to ensure that dirt could no longer penetrate the pores of the stone. So to guarantee that this wonderful satin finish would last, I sealed the tiles with two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal.

Ultra-Seal is Tile Doctor’s premium impregnating sealer which is formulated to provide maximum stain protection, especially in food preparation and serving areas such as the kitchen.

Bullnose Travertine After Cleaning Patley Bridge Bullnose Travertine After Cleaning Patley Bridge

The photos above show the outcome of the restoration, I appreciate my photograph skills are not the best but hopefully you can notice how much healthier the stone looks now, compared to the yellow, sickly appearance of the stone before.
 
 

Professional Renovation of a Bullnose Travertine Tiled Floor in North Yorkshire

Travertine Wet Room with Leakage Problem Restored in Harrogate

Travertine is a distinct and highly aesthetic material which offers unique characteristics and colouring that not many other types of stone can offer. It looks great when used on tiled floors and in this case shower cubicles however like any natural stone it does need maintenance.

Travertine WetRoom Harrogate Before Cleaning

A good example of this point was this Travertine wet room in Harrogate, which comprised of large format Travertine tiles on the floor and Travertine mosaic tiles on the walls. It was in poor condition and to make things worse had been leaking for years. A local plumber had tried to resolve the leak, but to no avail. At this point, the property owner was desperately searching for a solution, and decided to contact me to see what could be done both to restore the appearance of the wet room and fix the leakage.

Travertine WetRoom Harrogate Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Travertine Tiled Wet Room

On first inspection of the wet room, l couldn’t see any obvious problems that might be causing the leak, however the white silicon did look a bit questionable and had already decided that would need replacing. To start I turned my attention to cleaning the whole shower cubicle, including the tile and grout.

I did this by applying Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a high alkaline cleaner, to remove the mould, soap scum and dyes caused by daily exposure to acidic soap and shampoos. These issues can build up exceptionally quickly if care is not taken to regularly rinse down the shower after each use.

During this process, I noticed grout haze had been left on the surface of the tiles following installation and so treated the problem with Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a blend of hydrochloric and phosphoric acid in gel form. Being a gel, this product works particularly well on vertical surfaces because it is easier to control.

The next step was to resolve the leakage problem, starting by removing all the old and unattractive white silicon. When l removed the silicon, I could see that it was black with mould at the back. It was clear to me then that water was getting behind it and this was the cause of the leak. Also, this revealed a 2-3mm gap between the wall and the base of the shower. The gap was damp and mould had collected there, so this needed to be scraped out manually and the gap dried with a heat gun. Finally, l filled the gap with grout to seal it and left the wet room to dry overnight.

Travertine WetRoom Harrogate Before Cleaning

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Wet Room

The next day, I returned to the property and sealed the grout with Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal. This is a premium, natural-look, penetrating sealer formulated to provide maximum stain protection and allow moisture vapour transmission. To finish the restoration, I applied fresh, clear silicon around the base.

Travertine WetRoom Harrogate After Cleaning

In my opinion, white silicon should never have been used with stone, as clear silicon is far more suitable and more pleasing to the eye. Certainly, my customer agreed – and she was very pleased with the result and no more leak.

Travertine WetRoom Harrogate After Cleaning

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Travertine Tiled Wet Room in North Yorkshire

Burnishing and Sealing Works Wonders for Limestone Tiles in Harrogate

I was recently at a property in the North Yorkshire town of Harrogate, undertaking what I initially thought would be the cleaning and polishing of a Cream Limestone tiled kitchen. However, as I began the cleaning process I quickly discovered that under the dirty grout lines someone had taken a lot of effort to paint with a small brush directly onto the grout using varnish!

Cream limestone floor before cleaning Harrogate Cream limestone floor before cleaning Harrogate

Removing Varnish from Grout

In a normal situation, I would have covered the whole floor with Tile Doctor Remove & Go to solve the problem, however compared to, say, adhesive or paint staining, varnish is very difficult to remove. So instead I opted for the long, yet necessary process of cleaning the grout manually with several thin wire brushes. Over the course of two days I managed to remove approximately 90% of the stubborn varnish – and could finally move onto cleaning and polishing the Limestone as originally planned.

Burnishing and Sealing a Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

The polish had been lost from the Limestone kitchen tiles over time, so I set about restoring it using a type of polishing known as burnishing. This involves the application of diamond encrusted pads of varying grit to the floor to gradually buff the stone and achieve an aesthetic and durable shine. Burnishing is most commonly used on high-end stone such as Marble, Travertine and, of course, Limestone.

At Tile Doctor, our burnishing system comprises four burnishing pads, ranging from a Coarse grit to a Very Fine grit. After applying the first three pads (Coarse, Medium and Fine), I gave the tiles a further clean with Tile a Doctor Pro Clean, which is our alkaline cleaner, to remove any residue from the burnishing process. I then rinsed the floor with clean water and soaked up the residue with a wet vacuum, before leaving it to dry.

The floor was then polished to a satin finish using the fourth and final Extra Fine burnishing pad. I sealed it using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, an impregnating sealer designed to provide maximum protection against dirt and stains.

Cream limestone floor after cleaning Harrogate Cream limestone floor after cleaning Harrogate

The combination of burnishing and sealing always makes a huge difference to Limestone tiles. Here, the finished result was almost like a new floor! The customer was both amazed and very pleased with the transformation.
 
 

Professional Maintenance of Polished Limestone Tiles in North Yorkshire