Cleaning a Limestone Floor in a 14th Century Oxfordshire House

I was asked to clean the Limestone tiled floor of a very old house in the Village of Radcot which is close to the River Thames and dates to the 14th Century. Being close to a river is very scenic but can be problematic and I was told the house had experienced flooding in recent years.

Whilst the Limestone floor clearly wasn’t as old as the house it was definitely in need of some attention to remove the dirty that had become ingrained into the pores of the stone and restore its appearance.

Limestone Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Radcot

Cleaning Limestone Floor Tiles

My first step was to let the floor soak for ten minutes in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a strong Tile and Grout cleaner. The product was then scrubbed into the floor using a deck brush to remove any surface dirt. I also took the opportunity to clean up the grout before rinsing off the now soiled cleaning solution with water and extracting it with a wet vacuum.

Next I turned my attention to the stone tiles which would need to be stripped back, re-honed and then sealed to protect them. I find the best way to achieve this on stone is through the application of a set of Diamond encrusted burnishing pads.

I started the burnishing process by fitting a coarse 400 grit no.1 burnishing pad to a floor buffer and running at a slow speed, applied the pad over the whole floor. This coarse pad is designed to strip off old coatings and dirt from the tile. You use a little water to help lubricate and once complete it’s necessary to rinse the area with water to remove the soil that is generated. The next step is to start building back the polished surface with the 800 and then 1500 grit pads which are applied in the same manner.

This floor was left to dry before moving onto the final stage of the polishing process which is to apply the very fine 3000 grit which further restores the appearance of the Limestone tile. This last pad is applied dry with a small amount of water sprayed onto the surface to help bring up the shine.

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

With the floor dry I moved onto sealing the tiles in-order to protect them from dirt and staining. I used a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow for this purpose as this particular sealer enhances the natural colours in the stone. It’s also an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the pores in the stone thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained in the stone.

My pictures of the floor are not brilliant but hopefully you can see how much more colourful the floor now looks.

Limestone Tiled Floor After Cleaning Radcot

 
 
Source: Limestone Tile Cleaning and Polishing Service in Oxfordshire

Limestone Floor Sealer Damaged by Dog Urine in Weybridge

Weybridge is an affluent commuter town with good train connections into London Waterloo, as a result, there are some impressive houses here, many of which feature beautiful polished stone floors. This particular residence in Weybridge had a very large Limestone tiled floor installed in their Kitchen/Dinning Room, the floor had been cleaned and sealed about a year prior, so it was still in good condition however the customers ageing dog had a few accidents which had damaged the sealer.

Limestone Tiled Floor Before Cleaning in Weybridge

Urine contains Uric Acid which being an acid can damage the sealer, this is why for daily cleaning we always recommend using pH neutral cleaning product such as Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner or Stone Soap if the floor is polished. Limestone and Travertine are especially vulnerable to acids due to their high levels of calcium carbonate and often results in pock marks or small holes forming in the stone.

Resealing a Polished Limestone Floor

Once we’d moved the furniture to another room I started with a deep grout clean. I ran a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean along the grout lines then left it to dwell for five minutes while I got the wet vacuum from the van. When ready I cleaned the grout by hand with a hard nylon brush and then extracted the soiled cleaning solution with the wet vacuum.

With the grout now clean and the soil removed I set up my rotary floor cleaning machine ready to burnish the stone tile and restore the finish with a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads.

The first pad in the set to be applied is a coarse 400 grit pad that is designed to remove existing sealers and dirt and is run over the tiles with water for lubrication. During the following hours the process was repeated with the medium 800 grit and fine 1500 grit pads which gradually polish the stone and return the shine. The floor is rinsed between each pad to remove the soil which is generated from burnishing.

This process took up much of the day so after rinsing the floor after the 1500 grit pad and extracting the soil with the wet vacuum I left the customer strict instructions not to spill anything on the unsealed floor. The tiles need to be dry before re-applying the sealer and any remaining moisture from the rinsing should evaporate overnight.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

Returning the next day, I tested the floor was dry the applied the first coat of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which is a natural look impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone protecting it from within. Once I’d wiped away any excess I left it to dry for half an hour before applying a second coat.

Breaking for lunch allowed sufficient time for the sealer to dry and I was able to complete the floor with a final polish.

Limestone Tiled Floor After Cleaning in Weybridge

 
 
Source: Limestone Tile Cleaning and polishing Service in Weybridge, Surrey

Putting the Polish back on a Dull Limestone Floor in Gloucestershire

The photographs below are of a Polished limestone floor that had been installed in the Kitchen of a house in Cheltenham approximately eight years prior. The polish and sealer had worn off over that time allowing dirt to become ingrained into the pores of the stone making it difficult to clean.

This is a common problem with all types of porous stone and tile which need to be sealed to maintain their appearance. Sealers do wear down over time with use however and need to be maintained, this is why Tile Doctor have created a maintenance program whereby we pop by every 12 months to give the floor a light clean and top-up the sealer, it only takes a few hours, but it keeps your sealer in good condition.

Polished Limestone Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning in Cheltenham Polished Limestone Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning in Cheltenham

Cheltenham by the way is a lovely town situated on the edge of the Cotswolds which is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It has a racecourse and is well known for the mineral springs which were discovered here in 1716.

Burnishing a Dull and Dirty Limestone Tiled Floor

My first job was to protect the wooden kitchen units from any splashes by covering them some cotton sheets. Next, I set about restoring the Limestone’s appearance using a set of Burnishing Pads which is a form of polishing which involves the sequential application of four diamond encrusted pads of different grit levels.

The first pad applied is a Coarse 400 grit pad which is applied to the floor with a buffing machine and lubricated with water. This process grinds away the top layer of dirt and staining from the stone, along with any old sealer, the floor is then rinsed to remove the soil that is generated. I then move through the system, applying the Medium and then Fine pads using less and less water as you go but rinsing in-between and extracting the water with a wet-vac machine.

Once I was happy with the stone I scrubbed the grout lines to remove any soiling that the pads had failed to pick up. The floor was then given a final rinse and the wet vacuum used to extract as much moisture as possible. The floor was then left to dry out completely overnight.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Floor

The next day I gave the floor a polish with the Very Fine 3,000 grit diamond burnishing pad, this is applied using a technique we call a “spray burnish” due to the fact that very little water is used during its application.

The next step was to seal the stone using for which I used Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that protects the stone from within by occupying its pores. Colour Grow also has the added benefit of intensifying the natural colours in the stone. The floor was then left to dry for an hour before I gave it one final dry polish using the Very Fine burnishing pad.

Polished Limestone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning in Cheltenham

My customer was very happy with the final result and made the comment that they thought the floor looked brand new.

Polished Limestone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning in Cheltenham

 
 
Source: Limestone Tile Cleaning and Polishing Service in Cheltenham, Gloucester

Putting the Shine Back on Polished Limestone Kitchen Tiles in Cheshire

Getting the best out of a natural stone floor isn’t straight forward and we often get calls from customers who have come to the realisation they need help. An example of this being a lady from the village of Helsby who got in touch after her husband had given up following spending two days cleaning their Limestone tiled kitchen floor but actually making it worse.

Limestone Kitchen Floor Tiled Before Cleaning

Burnishing and Cleaning a Limestone Tiled Floor

On arrival the first step was to give the floor a general clean with a focus on cleaning the grout lines and removing any grit from the floor. I used a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an alkaline tile cleaning product that is safe to use on grout and stone. The cleaning solution was applied by sponge mop and left to soak for ten to twenty minutes before being scrubbed in along the grout line using a stiff narrow brush to get them really clean. Once done the floor was then rinsed with clean water and the now soiled cleaning solution removed with a wet vacuum.

Limestone Kitchen Floor Tiled During Cleaning

The next step was to use a set of Tile Doctor burnishing pads to polish the stone back to a deep shine. The pads which are encrusted with industrial diamonds are applied with a rotary floor buffer in sequence from coarse to extra fine. The first pad has a Coarse 400 grit which is applied with only water for lubrication, removes minor scratches, sealers, and the top surface dirt. Working in small areas, I applied the pad across the Limestone, rinsing in between and picking up the soiled solution with a wet-vac machine. I then repeated this same procedure with the Medium 800 grit pad which is the first stage polishing pad again rinsing with water after use. The next two pads are a Fine 1500 grit and Extra Fine 3,000 grit which really build up a high-quality polish on the stone.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Floor

The floor was left to dry off fully overnight and I returned the next day to seal the Limestone first checking with a damp meter that the stone was dry. The customer wanted a natural look finish to the Limestone, so to seal the tiles I applied two coasts of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is an impregnating sealer doesn’t change the look of the stone in anyway. Ultra Seal is an impregnating sealer that works under the surface by occupying the pores in the stone thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained.

Limestone Kitchen Floor Tiled After Cleaning Limestone Kitchen Floor Tiled After Cleaning

Once the sealer had dried the floor was treated to a gentle buff with a white pad to bring up the shine even further. Once complete the stone looked a lot healthier and the grout looked much cleaner.
 
 
Source: Limestone Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Cheshire

Putting the Polish back on Limestone Floor Tiles in Gloucestershire

This customer was looking to rent out his property in the East Gloucestershire town of Cirencester, the largest in the Cotswold District. However, he found that many prospective tenants were put off by the condition of the Limestone floor tiles on the ground floor.

Limestone Bathroom Floor Before Cleaning Cirencester

Over the years, the sealer had worn away and that had allowed for dirt and stains to become ingrained in the pores of the stone, leaving the Limestone tiles looking very dull, unclean and generally undesirable. To boost his chance of finding a tenant for the property, the customer asked me to come in to restore the Limestone tiles to their best possible condition.

Limestone Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Cirencester

I arrived at the property and conducted a survey to assess the situation. The customer – not wanting to waste any more time – asked if I could complete the restoration straight away, fortunately I was able to shuffle a few things around and was able to make a start two days later.

Limestone Floor Before Cleaning Cirencester

Burnishing a Dull and Dirty Limestone Tiled Floor

With Limestone, as well as other high-end stone like Marble and Travertine, we find that the best method for restoration is burnishing. This is a form of polishing which involves the sequential application of diamond encrusted pads of different grit levels.

We work with a system of four pads fitted to a buffing machine. The first is a Coarse pad, which grinds away the top layer of dirt and staining from the stone, along with any old sealer. I then moved through the system, applying each in turn the Medium, Fine, and Very Fine burnishing pads to gradually refine the polish on the floor. A small amount of water was used as lubricant between each pad, and I hoovered up any resulting slurry with a wet-vac machine.

Having finished polishing the stone, I paid attention to cleaning the grout lines, applying Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which draws out any ingrained stains and heavy grease build-up, and scrubbing it in with a specialised grout brush. The floor was then left to dry out completely overnight.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Floor

Upon returning to the property the next day, I checked the floor was completely dry and quickly vacuumed up any leftover debris from the previous day’s work. Next, I gave the floor another polish with the Very Fine 3000 grit diamond burnishing pad, vacuumed it again, and it was then ready to be sealed.

Limestone Floor Sealing Cirencester

To do this I used Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is an impregnating sealer that not only acts to protect the stone, but also intensify its natural colours. The floor was then left to dry for an hour, before I subsequently gave it one final dry polish using the Very Fine burnishing pa fitted to the buffing machine. After vacuuming up any debris, I applied a second coat of Colour Grow, left it to dry, and finally buffed it with a soft white pad.

Limestone Kitchen Floor After Polishing Cirencester

The customer was really pleased with the results, having never expected for the restoration to turn out so well. Undoubtedly there will a queue of prospective tenants hoping to see the property now that the Limestone tiled floor looks so great!

Limestone Bathroom Floor After Polishing Cirencester

 
 
Source: Limestone Floor Tile Polishing Service in Gloucestershire

Polishing Blue Moleanos Limestone Floor in Yorkshire

It’s not too common that you find two very different natural stone tiled floors in the same property. However, this is exactly what I discovered on a recent visit to a farmhouse property in Ripley, near Harrogate in North Yorkshire. The owner wanted to restore both their Westmorland Green Slate tiled entranceway and a Blue Moleanos Limestone tiled floor.

Westmorland Green Slate originates from the Lake District in Cumbria – where it has been quarried for many centuries – and is known to be a high quality and popular choice for flooring due to its subtle and pleasant green shades. By contrast, Moleanos Limestone originates from Portugal and is one of more commonly found types of Limestone used in buildings across the world.

But while the two floors were very different, the customer’s objective was the same for both – to restore the appearance of the tiles and return the shine to the stone. Here’s how I did it.

Cleaning and Sealing Westmorland Green Slate Tiles

The first floor I tackled was the Westmorland Green Slate, situated at the entrance to the property. Naturally, given that the tiles are situated in a high traffic area, they were very dirty and required a deep clean.

Westmorland Green Slate Floor Before Cleaning in Ripley

To do this, I applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is our high alkaline, multi-purpose cleaner, stripper, and degreaser. The product was scrubbed into the tiles using a scrubbing pad fitted to a heavy-weight rotary machine to strip away any old sealer and remove the ingrained dirt. One I was satisfied with the condition of the floor it was rinsed with water and a wet vacuum used to remove the now soiled cleaning solution.

Once the floor had been left to dry completely, I was able to give the floor a fresh seal in the form of four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This sealer is specially formulated to provide both a stain resistant surface seal and a durable low-sheen finish.

Westmorland Green Slate Floor After Cleaning in Ripley

Cleaning and Sealing Blue Moleanos Limestone Tiles

Whilst waiting for the slate floor to dry I moved on to restore the Blue Moleanos Limestone tiles, which covered a floor area of 20 square metres, but were looking very sad, tired, and lifeless.

Blue Moleanos Limestone Floor Before Cleaning in Ripley

To clean polished Limestone tiles, we typically use a process known as burnishing, which involves the direct application of four different diamond encrusted burnishing pads to grind away old sealers, dirt and stains, before polishing the stone to restore lustre.

First, I used a Coarse 400 grit burnishing pad to strip the floor of the old sealer and remove all grease marks and stains. I had to go over the floor with the pad twice to get rid of some particularly stubborn grease spots.

Having done that, I moved on to focus on building back up the polished appearance of the Limestone by applying the Medium 800 grit, Fine 1500 grit, and Very Fine 3000 grit burnishing pads, with a light spray of water to act as a lubricant with each. This achieved a high-quality satin finish, which I ensured will be protected for the long-term by sealing the stone with Tile Doctor Colour Grow – an impregnating and colour enhancing sealant.

Blue Moleanos Limestone Floor After Polishing in Ripley

It took me three full days of work to clean, polish and seal both floors – and the hard work paid off, as the customer was absolutely delighted with their rejuvenated tiles!
 
 
Source: Limestone Tile and Grout Polishing and Restoration in Yorkshire