marble tiles

Restoration of Famous Palm Court Marble Tiled Floor in Felixstowe

Earlier this year I was asked to restore a large 290m2 Marble tiled floor in a room known as Palm Court at the famous clifftop Grade II listed Felix Hotel in Felixstowe which has now been redeveloped into 61 retirement apartments with communal areas. The Felix Hotel was originally opened in Felixstowe in 1903 and was advertised as the Finest Hotel on the East Coast. It is said that Ms Simpson stayed at the Hotel during her divorce proceedings In Ipswich to allow her free to marry King Edward VIII.

Marble Floor Before Renovation Palm Court Harvest House Felixstowe Marble Floor Before Renovation Palm Court Harvest House Felixstowe

The building was taken over by Fisons in 1952 who used it as their HQ and it is believed that they covered the Marble floor with carpet so they could use it for office space.
Our task was to remove all the carpet glue and restore the Marble tiles of Palm Court back to its original glory. The room is used for wedding ceremonies and the company that runs the property wanted to restore the floor as an original feature. There are some photos below of the room as it used to be when it was opened.

Original Poster 1903 at Palm Court Harvest House Felixstowe Palm Court 1903 Harvest House Felixstowe

With 290m2 of Marble flooring to restore it was clearly large project however having worked on numerous stone floor restorations previously I was confident we could restore it and was able to bring Dean who runs the North Essex Tile Doctor to assist.

To provide an accurate price for the work however I visited the property to survey the floor and ran a test clean in one section. This allows me to work out the best method and products to use on the floor and ensure there are no surprises, the test worked out very well and transformed that small section of Marble remarkably well. The quote was agreed, and a suitable time was arranged to start the restoration which would take place over a few weeks.

Marble Floor Before Renovation Palm Court Harvest House Felixstowe - TestClean

Removing Carpet Adhesive from a Marble Tiled Floor

I started the work by tackling the old carpet adhesive which covered the entire floor. The method I used involved applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove & Go which is a coatings remover that is safe to use on stone. Working in sections the product was applied to the surface and then covered with plastic sheeting to prevent the solution from drying out. It took the best part of a day to achieve this as the area was so large.

The following day we started removing the plastic in small sections and got to work scrubbing the Marble clean using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. Scraper blades were also used by hand to remove stubborn areas of glue and carpet backing. The floor was rinsed with water and the slurry extracted using an industrial wet vacuum. This part of the job took four days in total to complete but we could now see the beautiful marble that had been hidden beneath.

Marble Floor During Cleaning Palm Court Harvest House Felixstowe Marble Floor During Cleaning Palm Court Harvest House Felixstowe

Restoring the Appearance of Polished Marble Tiles

The next step was to restore the appearance of the Marble using a process we call Burnishing but is also referred to as Honing. This involves applying diamond encrusted pads of increasingly finer grits to the Marble tiles to grind off the dirt and polish the surface. We started with a very coarse 200-grit pad which was run over every tile three times using water to lubricate the process. This generated a fine slurry which is then rinsed off with water and then extracted with the wet vacuum The 200-grit pad was then followed using a sequence of 400, 800 grit pads rinsing each time between pads and extracting the slurry as before using the wet vacuum.

Marble Floor During Burnishing 400-grit Palm Court Harvest House Felixstowe Marble Floor During Burnishing 800-grit Palm Court Harvest House Felixstowe

Re-grouting a Large Marble Tiled Floor

Burnishing the stone tiles took care of renovating the appearance of the Marble but did little for the grout which had been badly stained and over the years and now needed to be removed and replaced. Removing the old grout and replacing with new was a mammoth job but I knew it would make all the difference to the final appearance of the floor

With the grouting redone the floor was given a further polish with the application of a 1500-grit pad, again the floor was rinsed with water and extracted afterwards. This stage of re-grouting and polishing took another four days to complete.

Marble Floor During Regrouting Palm Court Harvest House Felixstowe Marble Floor During Burnishing 1500-grit Palm Court Harvest House Felixstowe

Sealing a Large Marble Tiled Floor

The last stage was to seal the marble. To do this, two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal were applied which took a further two days to apply and that’s with two of us doing the work. Tile Doctor Ultra Seal provides a protective seal and gives a no sheen natural look finish, so the floor is not left too shiny and slippery. The natural beauty of the marble was then allowed to shine through.

Marble Floor After Restoration Palm Court Harvest House Felixstowe

Once finished the floor looked amazing, the stone looked lighter in colour and overall, it gave the impression it has only recently been installed. I was incredibly pleased with the result and most importantly the Directors of Harvest House Ltd were delighted with the outcome. It had been hard work to bring such a large Marble floor back to life but a real pleasure to restore a historic 117-year-old floor back to its former glory.

Marble Floor After Sealing Palm Court Harvest House Felixstowe Marble Floor After Sealing Palm Court Harvest House Felixstowe


Professional Restoration of a Large Marble Tiled Floor in Suffolk

Cleaning, Polishing and Sealing a Marble floor and Wall Tiles in Elmswell

Not too long ago I was called down to a house in the small village of Elmswell, Suffolk. I was asked to take a look at a Marble floor and wall tiles which had become dull and lifeless over time, especially in high traffic areas and now need to be burnished to bring the polish back. In addition, my client was unhappy with the beige colour of the grout lines, requesting that I change the colour to white following the clean and polish.

Polished Marble Floor Elmswell Before Cleaning Polished Marble Floor Elmswell Before Cleaning

Cleaning and Polishing a Marble tiles

To get the floor clean and bring back the polish I used a set of four diamond encrusted burnishing pads which have different levels of grit, applied to the Marble tiles with a small amount of water. I started with a Coarse pad, before moving on to a Medium pad, a Fine pad, and finally a Very Fine pad to achieve the desired polished look. The floor was given a thorough rinse between each pad in order to remove any excess residue that had resulted from the burnishing process.

Once I had finished the floors I moved onto the Marble wall tiles in the bathroom where the same process was repeated, for wall tiles however you need to use the smaller six inch burnishing pads fitted to a hand held buffer.

Sealing Marble Floor Tiles

I left the floor to dry for a few days before returning to seal it for which I used Tile Doctor Shine Powder. This is a crystallising powder that offers a very high shine and tough durable finish. It it ground directly into the tiles, and can be used to seal all natural stone, including Marble, Granite, Limestone, Slate and Travertine, for both interior and exterior floors.

Changing the Grout Colour

My final task was to change the colour of the grout, as per my client’s request. I did this using a couple of tubes of Tile Doctor Grout Colourant in white. The colourant is painted onto the grout with any excess wiped off the tile before it gets chance to harden. It’s an epoxy product that looks completely natural and additionally provides excellent stain protection for the future.

Polished Marble Floor Elmswell After Cleaning Polished Marble Floor Elmswell After Cleaning

My client was very pleased with the results of my work and took the time to leave the following comment on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

“I cannot praise the standard of Bruce Copping’s work enough. He completely transformed the marble floors and shower room walls in my home and made them look brand new. His attention to detail was excellent, plus no mess, just a perfect finish and valuable advice on maintaining the walls and floors. I’m so relieved I was able to find Tile Doctor online; I’d almost given up hope of finding someone to sort out the problems with my marble, but Bruce Copping was superb. I’m absolutely delighted with the results and have no hesitation in recommending him.”

Marble Tiles Refurbished in Suffolk

Marble Tiled Wet Room in Great Bricett, Suffolk

Details below of a wet room lined with 10m2 of Marble in old cottage on the outskirts of the medieval village of Great Bricett in the heart of Suffolk. You can see from the photographs staining of the Marble Tiled wall and floor which was left in a mess after a friend of the family had tried to remove the limescale during a visit.

Marble Shower Cubicle Before Cleaning Marble Shower Cubicle Before Cleaning

Cleaning and Sealing Marble Tile

The Marble tiles were cleaned and polished using a set of mini Twister burnishing pads. The pads are encrusted in diamonds are brilliant at restoring hard stone surfaces such as Marble. You start with the red pad to remove the existing sealer followed by the white and yellow pads to clean and hone the stone. The wall and floor tiles were then rinsed with water to clean and neutralise the floor ready for sealing.

The room had under floor heating which helped to dry out the tile and so it was soon possible to use the final green pad to polish the tiles and move onto sealing. To seal we used two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour intensifying breathable sealer that enhances colour as well as providing durable surface protection, a one litre bottle of sealer was sufficient.

Thanks to the under floor heating we managed to complete the job in a single day and as you can see from the final set of photographs below the stains have been removed and the tiles restored to their original appearance.

Marble Shower Cubicle After Cleaning Marble Shower Cubicle After Cleaning


Limescale removed from Marble Tiled Shower in Suffolk

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