Kendal Tile Cleaning

Tired Black Flagstone Floor Restored in Kendal Basement

I was contacted by a client in Kendal to see if I could help with their Black Flagstone basement floor. As you can see from the photographs it was in a bit of a state and the stone looked mostly White rather than Black.

Black Flagstone Floor Before Renovation Kendal

I carried out a site visit, to survey the floor and work out the best approach to restore its appearance. After testing a few different products and techniques I worked out an effective restoration plan and discussed this with the owner. Happy with my plan and costing’s we agreed a date to start the work. Being in the basement of the property had its challenges but it would mean we could work socially distanced from the owner.

Black Flagstone Floor Before Renovation Kendal Black Flagstone Floor Before Renovation Kendal

Cleaning a Tired Black Flagstone Tiled Basement Floor

To restore the floors appearance, I started with a set of coarse wire (60 and 120 grit) brushes lubricated with Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a strong coatings remover. I had considered using milling pads on the tiles to reveal a new surface underneath but that does involve the use of an expensive set of coarse pads and given it was a basement the owners didn’t feel the extra expense would be justified.

The wire grits work well on rough stone floors when attached to a weighted buffing machine and we add some Tile Doctor Remove and Go to the mix. Once clean the floor was rinsed with water and the slurry extracted using an industrial wet vacuum. After cleaning the floor, it looked transformed, some pointing was required so we carried this out after the main clean.

Sealing a Black Flagstone Tiled Basement Floor

The stone was left to dry out for a few days before returning to apply a sealer. For this floor I felt Tile Doctor X-Tra seal would be the best product and applied two coats. I chose X-Tra seal for this job as it ticks a lot of boxes, it’s a breathable oil-based resin sealer which being breathable will allow moisture to rise through the floor. Old floors like this don’t have a damp proof membrane so it is important to choose a sealer that can allow the floor to breath and not let damp build up under the floor where it can reach out to the walls and cause rising damp.

I also chose X-Tra Seal as it has a great ability to bring out the colour of the darker stone due to its high oil content, the oil will deter salts from forming if efflorescence is an issue. This is a unique property of this sealer as we never know if efflorescent salts are going to form or not so having this in place as a sealer is a great plus for a Tile Doctor, it is new to the market and is already proving popular on floors like this and for protecting external stone.

Black Flagstone Floor After Renovation Kendal Black Flagstone Floor After Renovation Kendal

If the tiles are smooth Tile Doctor X-Tra Seal adds a bit of a sheen to the appearance of the stone however this stone was very rough, so we didn’t manage a shine, but the customer was happy with the matt finish and the slightly honed effect.

The floor looked great and much more appealing making the space more attractive and likely to be used. For aftercare I recommended Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which will clean the floor without impacting the sealer which can be a problem with many of the stronger products you find in supermarkets.

Black Flagstone Floor After Renovation Kendal


Professional Restoration of a Black Flagstone Basement in Cumbria

Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Floor in Prizet, Kendal

The photos below are of a 1.7 metre by 3 metre Victorian tiled floor at the entrance to a property in Prizet, south of Kendal. As you can see the hallway and porch was in a poor state due to old age and neglect. Some tiles were cracked, missing and stained with cement, and what I suspect was carpet adhesive. One of the tiles had a four-inch hole down to the cellar where a soil pipe was installed previously when the room was used as a downstairs W.C. The client was doubtful that we would be able to restore the floor but thought it would be worth contacting us just in case.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Floor Before Rebuild Prizet Kendal Victorian Tiled Entrance Floor Before Rebuild Prizet Kendal

I visited the property to take a proper look and found their description of the floor was accurate and clearly overdue some serious attention. I also noticed that some point in the past cracked tiles had been removed and replaced with cement. However, I was confident the floor could be restored and gave them a price for the restoration which they were happy to proceed with.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Floor Before Rebuild Prizet Kendal

Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Work started by rebuilding the worst part of the floor which would require the services of my partner Russell. This involved removing the existing tiles, then preparing the concrete base which needed to be level and smooth before we started tiling.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Floor During Rebuild Prizet Kendal

We had previously managed to source very similar tiles which would be needed to replace those that were missing or damaged. Once the floor was prepped, the replacements were cut to fit taking care to ensure they matched the original pattern. Once cut they were fixed in place with flexible adhesive. We recommend the use of flexible floor adhesive on old floors due to the potential movement and the flexible floor adhesive doubles up as a grout as well. The floor was then left overnight to dry.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Floor During Rebuild Prizet Kendal

Deep Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

On day two the floor was deep cleaned using a 100-grit resurfacing pad followed by a 200-grit pad and then a 400-grit burnishing pad. The pads are attached to a rotary machine and the floor is rinsed with water and the soil extracted with a wet vacuum in-between.

We then finished the clean with an acid rinse using Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up. This is needed to remove the cement stains from the surface of the Victorian tiles and neutralise any potential efflorescent salt issues in the tiles. Another advantage is the acid slightly etches the tiles making a better bond with the sealer.

The floor was given another rinse with water and then the wet vacuum was pressed into surface again to extract the fluids and get the floor as dry as possible before leaving for the day.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

We returned on the third day and first checked the floor was fully dry using a moisture meter. Four coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow were applied to achieve a strong enduring seal that will cope well with the traffic coming through the entrance.

Colour Grow is a colour intensifying sealer that provides durable surface protection to the tiles, but at the same time allows the surface to breath which is important in a floor such as this where no damp proof membrane is present. The results speak for themselves I was particularly happy with the area where we had repaired the hole, it was barely noticeable.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Floor After Rebuild Prizet Kendal

Many thanks to my customer for sending over the before photos and for leaving the following testimonial.

“Great restoration job done on our Victorian hall and porch tiles including replacing broken tiles and cleaning. Now looking better than ever. Russell was very professional and knowledgeable. Nicola F. Kendal”


Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in South Cumbria

Restoring and Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Vestibule in Kendal

I often get asked to do small jobs as well as large kitchens, conservatories and hallways, and there is something especially satisfying about restoring a small entrance like this lovely Victorian tessellated tile floor. The property was in the historic market town of Kendal just to the south of the Lake District and famous for making Kendal Mint Cake.

Being at the entrance to the property the floor had seen some wear over the years and the once beautiful colours in the original tiles had become dull and dreary, and some of the smaller tiles along the edge of the floor had become loose over the years and were now missing. I was asked to repair the damage, clean the floor and restore the colours to their original glory!

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Before Cleaning Kendal

Deep Cleaning an Intricate Victorian Tessellated Tile Floor

My first task was to thoroughly clean the tiles and given these old Victorian floors have no damp proof membrane I was wary of potential damp problems which can be exacerbated by the excessive use of water. I decided the best approach would be to apply a coarse Tile Doctor 200-Grit Milling Pad fitted to a slow speed Victor burnishing machine. To lubricate the process, I used 500 ml of water and then added a little more as needed. I carefully went over the whole floor, then vacuumed up the excess water which was now saturated with dirt and grime!

I then went over the whole floor again, replacing the coarse Milling Pad with a Black scrubbing pad. This is designed to deal with heavily built up grime and dirt. I also applied Tile Doctor Acid Gel, a specially formulated PH1 blend of Phosphoric and Hydrochloric acids. This slow release gel works by breaking down any mineral salt deposits that might have built on tiled surfaces up over the years and removes grout smears. The final stage in this part of the project was to scrub the floor with a deck brush, rinse with water and extract immediately with a wet vacuum to leave the floor as dry as possible.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule After Acid Wash Kendal

Repairing a Victorian Tiled Vestibule Floor

Once the tiles had been deep cleaned I moved on to repairing the floor. Reproduction tessellated tiles in a design like this one can cost anything up to £300+ per square metre, so restoration is nearly always a cost-effective solution. It is, however, a precise process. The original floor would have been laid by highly skilled tilers who had to accurately position each element of the intricate mosaic pattern. The grout lines were also very fine to allow for tiny dimensional differences without spoiling the beautiful pattern.

Sometimes new tiles can be a shade lighter or darker than the original tiles which are usually well over 100 years old! I always explain this to customers before taking on a job like this because sometimes it is just not possible to find an acceptable match and it is then the customer’s choice whether or not to go ahead. In this case, luckily, I was able to find replacement tiles that were going to work, so I took out all the damaged tiles and carefully replaced them with new ones.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule During Repair Kendal
The last stage for that day was to carefully grout the restored areas to secure the tiles and then clean off the excess grout haze. I left the floor over night to dry out completely.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Vestibule Floor

The next day I checked the floor for damp with a damp meter as too much moisture in the floor can affect the sealer. All was well, so I sealed the now clean and restored floor with Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour intensifying sealer that brings out the amazing colours in the tiles. The sealer will provide durable surface protection and Colour Grow is what we call a breathable sealer that will allows any damp or mineral salts to rise up through the tile. The acid wash we gave the floor during cleaning should counter any efflorescence salt issues however if they do appear they can be easily washed off with clean water.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule After Cleaning Kendal
This may have been a small vestibule, but the restored floor now makes a real statement as you enter the customer’s house!

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Vestibule in Kendal

Original Victorian Hallway with Loose Tiles Restored in Kendal

A customer who lives in Kendal recently called us out to examine their Victorian tiled hallway which when walked upon, sounded like it was a making a crunching noise. This may seem like an odd phenomenon, but it can be reasonably easily explained. These tiles, being made of Victorian-style encaustic cement, are very hard-wearing. However, the cement screed upon which they were laid had lost its bond with the tiles and the tiles were now loose.

Most other types of tile would crack under the pressure of being walked upon, but since Victorian tiles are quite small and hard-wearing, they don’t seem to suffer this problem. Instead, they just make this crunching noise when walked upon.

So, what would we need to do to resolve the situation? In theory, it should be the simple matter of taking up the loose tiles and relaying them. Yet this takes a lot of preparation, including removing the old cement from the back and sides of the individual tiles and then smoothening the floor so that the tiles can be re-laid flat. This is easier said than done with a floor of this age.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Being Relaid in Kendal

Repairing and Cleaning Loose Victorian Tiles

We began the restoration by lifting the loose tiles, cleaning the old cement off and then re-laying them using a suitable tile adhesive. Once the adhesive had set, we grouted the tiles with a grout that matched the original.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Being Relaid and Grouted in Kendal
The floor was left to set overnight, and we returned to the property the next day. The floor was checked and then we carried out a full deep clean of tiles using Tile Doctor Pro Clean, our go-to cleaning product for tile, stone and grout. The product, which is alkaline-based, was worked into the tiles using a black buffing pad fitted to a rotary machine.

In some of the harder to reach areas and corners of the room – those which the buffing rotary machine struggles to reach – we used diamond-encrusted handheld blocks to grind away the stubborn dirt and stains.

The soiled cleaning solution was rinsed off the tiles with water and extracted using a wet vacuum to get the as much moisture off the tiles as possible.

Sealing Victorian Tiles

After the cleaning process was complete, we left the floor for another few days to dry off completely. A suitable drying period is especially important for Victorian tiles, since most of these old properties do not have a damp proof membrane installed.

We then returned to seal the tiles with several coats of a breathable, impregnating sealer called Tile Doctor Colour Grow that not only protects it also enhances the natural colours in the tile. Now, much to the customer’s pleasure the tiles are fully functional again with there’s no crunching noise when you walk on them. They also look amazing as well.

You will see in the photos below the level of work that goes into a job like this but, as this is an original Victorian floor, a restoration will add great value to the house upon re-sale.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Full Restoration in Kendal

Professional Restoration of a Loose Victorian Tiled Hallway in Cumbria

Shower Room Tile and Grout Restoration in Kendal

One of the first issues people have with shower rooms is the Silicone needs to be replaced, even a good quality Silicone like Mapei Ultra-seal which is fully waterproof and stain and mould resistant can still succumb to persistent damp issues. In fact it can get so humid in these areas the warm atmosphere is akin to a tropical rain forest.

To avoid the build-up of mould I recommend you rinse the wall tile and silicone down with plain water from the shower head after every shower and then leave the tiles to dry. Open the window and door to let out the warm condensation and after 5 to 10 minutes partly close the window (to the security setting) and then partly close the door, this then normalizes the room temperature thus inhibiting mould spores from blooming, as mould wont start to Spore on a cold room.

Shower Room Before Restoration Kendal

The pictures were taken from a shower room at a house a few miles up the road in Kendal where mould had caused a lot of staining to the silicone sealant and to the tile and grout both inside the shower cubicle and in the bathroom itself. There were also a couple of loose tiles around the base of the shower cubicle which needed to be re-fixed.

Shower Cubicle Before Restoration Kendal

Cleaning Ceramic Tile and Grout

We started by spraying the tile and grout down with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong alkaline cleaner, spraying it on mixes it air which helps it to stick to Vertical surfaces allowing it to get to work on the dirt. We left it to dwell for ten minutes before scrubbing it in by hand using a stiff grout brush; this process certainly improved the grout but unfortunately it had become too badly stained to be satisfactory so we decided to recolour the grout using a white grout colourant.

Once the shower tile was dry the loose tiles were removed and the damp plaster board behind chopped out and replaced. The tiles were then cleaned up, fixed back into position, then grouted and the silicone sealant around the base of the shower cubicle was stripped out and replaced with new.

Shower Cubicle During Restoration Kendal Shower Cubicle During Restoration Kendal

Colouring Grout

One to two coats of white colourant were applied to the grout throughout the shower cubicle and shower room in order to get a uniform appearance and this final touch completed the transformation.

Shower Cubicle After Restoration Kendal

The other advantage of these particular colourant products is that they are epoxy based and form a barrier of the grout preventing future staining and making it very easy to clean going forward.

Shower Cubicle After Restoration Kendal

I think you will agree bathroom now looks like it was recently installed.

Restoring the Appearance of Shower Cubicles in South Cumbria

Quarry Tile Cleaning in Kendal Utility Room

A customer from Kendal (famous for its Kendal Mintcake) called me in to look at their Quarry Tiled Utility floor, which was looking very dirty and stained. On inspection the sealer had broken down and was no longer protecting the tile resulting in dirt getting ingrained into the pores of the tile resulting in discolouration. We agreed what short of finish was required and the customer booked me in to do the work.

Quarry Tile Cleaning Kendal Before

Cleaning Quarry Floor Tiles

My first job was to protect the surrounding areas from splashes so on my arrival I covered the wooden floor in the hallway before starting to remove the old sealer with Tile Doctor Remove and Go, I sprayed it on working in small areas leaving it to dwell for a while before scrubbing it in with a stiff brush making sure I scrubbed it in well before removing the soiled solution with a wet vacuum. I scrubbed all the grout joints at this point to make sure they were all clean and then washed the floor down to remove any chemical and neutralise the floor. It was a relatively small floor so I left it to dry and returned a few house later to seal it.

Quarry Tile Sealing Kendal

Sealing Quarry Floor Tiles

On my return I used a damp tester to make sure the floor was dry, which it was, so I sealed it with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a as well as protecting the floor brings the natural colours out in the tile. Naturally if the damp tester had showed that it was damp I would not have sealed the floor that day as the sealer would not have taken properly.

Quarry Tile Cleaning Kendal After
This job took me one day as it was only a very small floor and I was able to seal it in the same day the customer were happy with the result I went through the maintenance program and explained how to clean the floor.

To source Quarry tiles similar to these visit

Restoration of Quarry Tiles in Kendal

Changing the Grout Colour used on Porcelain tiles in Kendal

A customer in Kendal requested that the colour of grout installed on 20m2 newly laid textured Porcelain tile floor was changed; the tiler had used a Sandstone coloured grout and they were not happy with the colour or the grouting in general which looked patchy. I recommended the use of an epoxy Grout Colouring product that re-colours, seals and rejuvenates existing grout joints and comes in twelve different colours and after showing the customer the different colour options they picked Charcoal Grey.

Textured Porcelain Tile with Limestone Grout in Kendal

Applying Grout Colourant

I did a test area so they could see how it might look under the lights which went well and so I started to apply the grout colouring to the whole kitchen floor completing small areas until the entire floor was covered and taking care not to get any on the Porcelain tile as the textured surface makes it difficult to remove and requires the use of an white abrasive scouring pad. Normally you have to use a Pre-Treater product on the grout before Grout Colouring however this grout was new and so this step was unnecessary.

Textured Porcelain Tile with Charcoal Grey Grout in Kendal Textured Porcelain Tile with Charcoal Grey Grout in Kendal

This job took me one day and only required one tube of Grout Colourant. The owner was extremely happy with the result will now have a fairly maintenance free tiled floor as Porcelain tiles are very hard wearing and the epoxy grout colourant acts as a barrier and therefore unlikely to discolour.

To source similar Quarry tiles visit

Changing the colour of grout in Kendal


South Cumbria Tile Doctor

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