Grout Cleaning

Semi Riven Green Slate Floor in Keswick

The owner of this property in Keswick requested a visit to take a look at their Green Slate kitchen floor. The Slate tile was the Semi Riven variety which works well in a Kitchen due to the rough surface being anti-slip however that rough surface can also trap dirt.

Some areas needed a deep clean and other areas were still in good order but because the client was not sure of which sealer, they had used in the past it would be necessary to treat all three floors with the same process and strip off the original sealer first. All were interconnected and if we only covered one room and not the next there would be a difference in the finish between the floor areas.

Semi Riven Green Slate Before Cleaning Keswick

Although the Green Slate floor was the main issue, I noticed that they had a small Quarry tiled hallway at the front of the property which looked tired, so I offered to renovate that as well. The process for cleaning and sealing Quarry tiles is virtually the same as Slate so it made sense.

Quarry Tiled Hall Floor Before Cleaning Keswick

Cleaning a Semi Riven Green Slate Tiled Kitchen Diner Floor

Before we do any work at all you will notice on one of the pictures that we apply a thin coat of clear silicone to the bottom of the units where it meets the slate, this stops water getting underneath and causing a capillary action forming and blowing the wood, or in this case MDF which is very absorbent more so than standard wood and will blow within 10 to 15 minutes of water being left to stand underneath it. Using the silicone stops this problem completely (assuming no gaps have been left for water to seep into).

Semi Riven Green Slate Before Cleaning Keswick

Working in three separate zones I started by removing the original sealer with the application of a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go. This product is a sealer and coatings remover. My method was to let the solution soak into the tiles for about ten minutes and then work it in using a coarse 200-grit milling pad fitted to a rotary buffer. These pads really get into the rough surface of the slate stripping off the old sealer and getting the tile clean at the same time. The slurry generated was rinsed away with water and then extracted with a wet vacuum.

Next the Slate was treated to an acid rinse using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up. This process removes mineral deposits including old grout smears and really shows the tile at its best. The acidic nature of the product will also serve to neutralise the alkalinity in the tile caused by the application of Remove and Go earlier. Additionally Remove and Go is designed to strip off sealers, so I didn’t want any trace of it hanging around in the pores of the stone.

After a thorough rinse and extraction, the floor was left to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Semi Riven Green Slate Tiled Kitchen Diner Floor

I came back the next day to apply a fresh sealer to the floor checking first it was dry by taking a few moisture readings with a damp meter. Slate and Quarry tiles are porous, as it’s the top layer of Grout and without a sealer in place dirt can become lodged in the pores making it very difficult to lean.

The moisture readings confirmed the floor was dry enough to be sealed however my client was still unsure of the finish they wanted so before starting different sealers were applied on different parts of the floor so they could get an idea of how it would look.

Semi Riven Green Slate After Cleaning Keswick Semi Riven Green Slate After Cleaning Keswick

After reviewing the results Tile Doctor Colour Grow was chosen, it’s a matt effect sealer which lifts the overall finish of the stone by enhancing its natural colours, it also worked well on the Quarry tiles and will provide many years of protection.

Quarry Tiled Hall Floor After Cleaning Keswick

The client was very happy with the finished floor and especially how improved the grout looked which was an additional bonus. Before leaving I took time to explain how to maintain the floors going forward for which I always recommend a mild tile cleaner such as Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner. Many of the products you find in supermarkets are simply too strong for cleaning a sealed floor and will strip the sealer off prematurely.


Professional Restoration of a Semi Riven Green Slate Tiled Kitchen diner in North Cumbria

Textured Ceramic Tile and Grout Clean and Colouring in a Keswick Kitchen

The owner of this property in Keswick had twenty-year-old Textured Ceramic Tiles installed in the Kitchen which have the advantage of increasing grip. However, the textured nature of the tile has the disadvantage of trapping dirt, making them difficult to keep clean.

Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Grout Colouring Keswick

More importantly the Grout which was originally white had also trapped turned causing it to darken over the years and it had now turned black as you can see in the photos. Although waterproof the top layer of grout is cementitious and slightly porous and so it does attract dirt over time.

Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Grout Colouring Keswick

The floor now needed a thorough clean to remove the trapped dirt from the textured tile and the grout. Whilst we can deep clean the grout using products like Tile Doctor Pro-Clean it won’t prevent the problem from happening again. We therefore recommended applying a grout colourant to the floor which adds a protective epoxy barrier over the grout in the colour of the client’s choice. This makes the grout look new and fresh and of course protects the grout going forward, its also much easier to keep clean.

Deep Cleaning Textured Ceramic Tile and Grout

To start we used Tile Doctor Grout Colourant Pre-Treat Cleaner which was scrubbed into the floor with a particular focus on the grout. This cleaned up the ceramic tiles and grout and being slightly acidic etches the surface of the grout to improve the bond with the colourant. I always recommend doing this as it does achieve a superior bond with the colourant helping it to last.

After the grout was pre-treated, cleaned, and dried using air blowers and a heat gun I started the lengthy process of applying the grout colourant. The kitchen was a good size and there were lots of grout lines that needed colouring, so it did take some time.

Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor During Grout Colouring Keswick

The colourant comes in ten different popular colours and on this occasion, I advised the client that Sandstone Grout colourant would work best. To prove my point, I demonstrated how it would look on a few of the grout lines so they could get a better idea of how it would look.

They agreed with my choice and I spent the rest of the day meticulously applying two coats of Sandstone Grout Colorant, which is tedious work but very rewarding. You can see the progress we made during the day on the pictures below, the only issue encountered was a free flying Quaker parrot which had a habit of dive bombing every time someone stood up!

Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor Grout Colouring Quaker Parrot Keswick

We finished the clean and left the client with a bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner for future cleaning of the floor. It’s very important not to use bleaching agents on the grout colourant or it will fade, you will find bleaching agents in all types of household products.

Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor After Grout Colouring Keswick

My client was very happy with the completed work and left the following feedback:

“Russell and his mate (sorry I didn’t catch his name) arrived on time and made an excellent job of rejuvenating our kitchen floor in the day even though this required a late finish for them. They were no trouble to have in the house.”

It is always nice to get positive feedback from a customer, feedback is like icing on the cake.

Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor After Grout Colouring Keswick


Professional Restoration of a Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor in North Cumbria

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.


North Cumbria Tile Doctor

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