This Ceramic tiled floor was installed in the Kitchen of a house in Melton Mowbray, as you can see from the photographs the tiles were in reasonable condition it was mainly the grout had become discoloured and in need of a deep clean. We do find this with Ceramic and Porcelain tiles, they are very hard wearing and unless you drop an Iron on one they are usually good for a long time; the top layer of grout however is porous and will attract dirt over time if it’s not sealed.
Cleaning Ceramic Tile and Grout
I used a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted with hot water and applied it to the floor letting it dwell and soak into the tile and grout before being agitated using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. This worked well to clean the tile but the grout needed more work so we got our knee pads on and hand scrubbed along the grout lines with a stiff brush. The soiled solution was removed using a wet vacuum and floor rinsed with clean water so we could see if there were any areas in need of further attention and repeated the process until we were happy the whole floor.
I then left the floor to dry out and came back to seal the grout using Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will protect the grout from staining in the future by adding a barrier to the surface of the grout.
I think you will agree from the photographs the floor has been transformed and looks like a new installation.
This customer from Greenhithe, Kent contacted Tile Doctor to have the tiles in her bathroom refreshed; the tiles which were looking tired and poor ventilation had caused her grouting to go black. This is not uncommon in the UK due to the inclement weather and tighter building regulations designed to promote draught proofing and insulation leaving moisture trapped in the house.
Bathroom Tile and Grout Cleaning
I first started off by cleaning all the tiles down with a weak solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a multi-purpose cleaning product; there wasn’t a large amount of grime on the tiles and just general wear and tear on the floor with Limescale and water marks on the wall tiles. I then set about cleaning up the blackened grout with a steam cleaner followed by Tile Doctor Grout Colourant Pre-Treat cleaner, an acid based cleaner that etches the grout in order for it to accept the grout colourant. After cleaning and etching the grout joints they were rinsed down with plenty of water to remove any trace of chemical and then dried them out to receive the grout colourant.
Removing Grout Haze from Quarry Tiles
The grouting to the wall tiling in the bathroom was white, and the customer wanted it looking the same only fresher, so white grout colourant was applied. The grouting to the kitchen floor was originally a sand colour, but the customer wanted something more contrasting this time, so natural grey was used. Once the grout colourant was applied, it was allowed to set for 30mins before the edges were cleaned up. I finished by renewing the mastic sealant around the edges of the bath.
The job took a day and as you can see from the photographs made a huge difference to the bathroom and kitchen, needless to say the customer was really happy with the end result.
The surface of grout is porous and as a result it can get so dirty it becomes impossible to clean it successfully, even our most powerful cleaners struggle if it gets to this stage. If you get to this point you could use the flat end of a screwdriver to scrape out the grout and re-grout the whole floor to ensure a consistent colour, naturally this is arduous work and can be time consuming however there is a second option and that is to apply a Grout Colourant instead. The grout colouring products we use not only change the colour but it also provides a protective barrier that seals the grout as well ensuring it keeps it appearance well into the future.
Preparing the Grout
Before applying a Grout Colour it’s important to ensure the grout is clean of grease and any sealer that may have been applied to the adjacent tile; Tile Doctor Pro-Clean is a strong alkaline cleaner that’s good for this purpose, for best results you should allow the cleaner to dwell for a while and then get into the grout joints by hand with a stiff brush. Last step is to rinse the floor down with clean water to remove any chemical that might upset the colourant, I recommend the use of a wet vacuum at this point to remove liquids from the floor.
Applying the Grout Colour
Once the grout has dried you can start applying the colourant which is a relatively straightforward process of squeezing the product onto a toothbrush and running it onto the grout. Don’t be tempted to use an old toothbrush for this purpose as it may contaminate the colourant leading to discolouration in the finish. The product sets in a couple of hours so I was able to do the whole floor in a day.
This job was completed to resolve an Insurance claim for a lady who lives in Warlingham whose bathroom tiles and grout had been damaged from smoke and soot. A building company had attempted to clean the tiles however the lady was not satisfied and told the insurance company it was to be done properly. On inspection the grout was still a bit dirty but I told her it was possible to clean it up, but could not guarantee it would be a uniform finish. I suggested that she could have the grout re-coloured at the same cost and gave her a small demonstration, she was happy with this and contacted the insurance company to get the go ahead; a week later she called me to book it in.
Preparing the Tile and Grout for Re-colouring
When I started the job I went over it with the lady to make sure she was happy with the colour and if there were any other issues. She pointed out that on the border tiles had discoloured and on closer inspection I found that they were a marble tile and the builders had put a topcoat seal on them to make them shiny but because it was the wrong type of seal and it had started to peel.
As a result it was necessary to the sealer as so I put a coat of remove and go on the border tiles and left it to dwell; I also sprayed a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean onto the ceramic wall tiles and scrubbed the tiles and grout before washing then down with warm water. By this time I could then scrub the border tiles in order to remove the old topcoat sealer. I dried the border tiles using my heat gun and the applied a coat of Ultra-Seal; the marble tiles had to be sealed before I could colour the grout.
Applying Grout Colourant
Once everything had been rinsed and the grout had dried I was able to apply the grout colourant using my colour applicator (toothbrush). Its meticulous work so it took a couple of hours to apply and by then I could go round to remove any excess colourant by spraying plain water and scrubbing with a white pad. I use a white pad, because if I used a coloured pad I could transfer the dye from the coloured pad to the seal.
Once I had completed the whole room I checked to make sure everything was okay and found I needed to touch up a couple of areas. I then buffed all the tiles up and cleaned the bath, sink and floor and asked the lady to check it all before putting all my equipment and dust sheets back into the van. The lady was really happy with the result (see comment below) and has asked me to do the same work in her kitchen.
Bill worked continually throughout the day without a break. He was very polite and courteous He was full of knowledge and yes I would use again.
Shower problems must be the most common problem we come across at Tile Doctor where we often here of issues with discoloured shower tile and grout usually combined with a build up of mould. Discolouration problems tend to come from the dyes in bathroom products such as body washes and shampoo, where as mould is due to inadequate ventilation or extraction magnified by our cold damp climate as we keep the windows shut and increase insulation to reduce drafts and keep warm.
Removing Mould and Discolouration from Shower Grout
The photographs shown on this page come from a ceramic tiled shower cubicle in the Surrey town of Caterham which you may have heard of as it’s where they make the Caterham Sports Car. You should be able to see from the photographs areas of discoloration and mould on the grout and silicone sealant which unlike the glazed ceramic tiles are slightly porous and have allowed the dyes and mould to taken a hold.
To resolve the problems with the tile and grout a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean was mixed in a spray bottle and then sprayed on; mixing the product with air allows it to stick better onto the vertical surface otherwise gravity causes it to run off. The Pro-Clean was allowed to dwell onto the surface for a few minutes before being worked in with a grout brush. The next step was to rinse the Pro-Clean down and then re-apply the process to areas which we had missed or needed further attention.
The tile was then left to dry before replacing the silicone sealant between the tile and shower tray; whilst Tile and Grout can normally be treated once mould gets a hold on the silicone the only thing you can do is to replace it. In some cases I’ve come across the grout becomes too stained to treat and in that case the only thing you can do is scrape the top layer of grout back using a screwdriver head sized to fit into the grout line.
Shower Grout Sealing
The last step was to seal the grout for which we used Tile Doctor Pro-Seal which is a penetrating sealer rather than one that sits in the surface. The sealer should prefect staining in future however given the location it will need to be re-applied more frequently than usual.