From Victorian spas and the stairwells of Scottish tenements, to modern day kitchens and high spec office interiors, ceramic tiles have been a constant feature to our country’s architectural heritage; and therefore regularly appear on the worksheets of our Finishers as they help Plastic Surgeon’s many clients address tile repair issues.
What sets Plastic Surgeon apart from other repair companies is not merely our national coverage and sophisticated approach to contract administration, but also the amount of effort we put into developing repair techniques appropriate to different substrates.
For although ceramic tiles might be a ubiquitous interior finish seen in properties from the most humble to the totally palatial, they vary enormously in their size, colour, pattern, format, method of fixing and their hardness or composition.
With over a hundred highly trained Finishers on the road across the regions, it is little surprise then that contracts over the past year have seen Plastic Surgeon involved with repairing antique, Art Deco and Victorian tiles, together with the glazed bricks which appear in so many old schools and municipal buildings.
The situations vary almost as much in location as in their appearance – often causing the Finishers extra headaches in terms of access or the need for extra protection – finding them laid in hallways and across kitchen counters, or very large format tiles used in the smallest room. And of course, along with the location come subtle changes in the level or angle at which natural and artificial light fall on them.
In a lot of cases our Finishers employ cold weld gel to effect repairs to modern ceramic tiles which tend to be extremely hard. For repairs to floor tiles or other tiling in high traffic areas it may not always be possible to apply a protective glaze – so the Finisher will probably mix the right pigments with the cold weld gel ; then level , abrade and finally polish it to attain a high gloss finish.
It is the older tiles which tend to have a softer composition due to the clay type, the temperature at which they were fired, or the conditions they have endured during a long lifespan.
So as to avoid creating an interface which could cause fresh damage, the Finisher will utilize our Ultra Premium Filler to make good the crack or chips; often masking off the damaged area from its surroundings. This can also be pre-coloured, but generally the detail common on older tiles will be painted in using fine artists brushes before a protective coating is applied to seal and preserve the tile repair.
Some minor problems such as light stains or surface scratching can be polished out using a gradation of abrasives.
In one case last year where Plastic Surgeon was called in by one of the UK’s biggest insurance companies with which we have a national agreement, a plumbing leak while the householders were on holiday had led to the dining room furniture standing on flooded limestone floor tiles for a period of weeks. The very bad staining which resulted actually threatened to require the whole kitchen/diner floor to need replacement. Fortunately, though, a few days’ work for two of our Finishers saw the tiled floor saved and everyone happy with the outcome.
One of the reasons Plastic Surgeon has come out of the recession stronger than it went in has been our diversification into facilities management work, particularly in hotels and offices: often involving repairing areas of tiling that have suffered quite heavy damage. With our multi-skilled Finishers and wide armoury of techniques there are rarely any tile repair challenges which we cannot crack.