Limestone Patio Maintenance

Earlier in the year I was contacted by a client down in Broadstone (a town supposedly named after a local legend) to revamp 100 square metres of black Limestone patio, which hadn’t looked right ever since it was first laid. The main problem was water ingress where water had been allowed to seep into the stone due to a poor sealing job. This had caused natural salts to form, and the resulting rough surface had collected grout haze at installation. I decided to run a test on a small patch of the patio to determine the best methods for cleaning and removing the grout haze.

Cleaning Limestone patio with water ingress and grout haze

I decided to conduct my test on just one square metre of the Limestone patio. First of all, I used Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up on the grout, a cleaner which helped to remove the grout haze by penetrating beneath the surface and lifting the muck out.

After cleaning the grout I moved onto cleaning the tile itself, using a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and clean water in combination with a black buffing pad. After achieving some great results with this cleaning method, I left the test area to dry completely before the seal, as any excess moisture left on the surface could potentially affect the performance of the sealer.

Sealing the Limestone patio

My choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow is a multi-use product which works well on both internal and external unpolished surfaces. One of the great things about Colour Grow is that it is a colour intensifying sealer, meaning it really helped to bring out the black colour in the Limestone which had previously been affected by dirt and water ingress. The sealer will also provide durable protection against these types of problems in the future.

black limestone patio test clean patch in Broadstone

As you can see from the photos, the result of my test was very good – the stone became almost completely black once again, and the defects in the grout were successfully removed. Nonetheless, I decided to leave the test patch for a month to see how well it withstood the effects of the weather. The test patch proved very durable – proving that the sealing had been done properly this time – and my client subsequently hired me to restore the remaining 99 square metres of patio!
 
 
Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout cleaning services in Dorset

Removing Glue from a Portland Limestone Patio

This Portland Limestone patio on Round Island in Poole Harbour had, together with a sun room indoors, been covered in a thick layer of carpet glue which had set hard in the warm sun over the years and the owner had found it impossible to remove themselves. There’s no bridge so the island is serviced via a boat from the mainland, which as you can imagine made it a bit of a task getting all my equipment over there.

Cleaning Portland Limestone Flagstones

I began by using 17″ Starke Silicone carbide discs which at 24 grit are much coarser that the burnishing pads we usually use. To get the right level of traction I used the disks on a Numatic buffing machine that had been weighted down and the combination worked well to cut through the glue and turn as much as possible of it to dust.

Portland limestone patio round island begin

To remove the remaining glue I soaked the Limestone in a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go and left on the glue overnight under sheets of plastic and dust sheets so it wouldn’t dry out it. It also ensures the product remains in contact with the glue and kept it away from any wildlife which might use the patio when I wasn’t there.

The next day the remaining glue had softened and I removed as much as I could using a black buffing pad attached to the buffing machine together with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean before applying more Remove and Go again and steaming each tile in turn whilst brushing with a brass coated Spid wire brush.

Portland limestone patio round island during

This was quite a lot of work and as the stone was not dense and had wide pores the glue had sunk in deep when it was applied and I had to repeat this process several times before the stone was clean. Finally I used a pressure washer to thoroughly rinse and clean the stone before re-pointing where necessary.

Portland limestone patio round island finished

 
 
Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout maintenance service in Dorset

Restoring Old Portland Limestone Flagstones

Apologies in advance for the quality of the photographs below, they were taken in the sitting room of an old 18th century cottage near Weymouth and the lighting was not its best, although I’m sure fans of the TV series Poldark would have loved it. The floor was 20m2 Portland Limestone flags which hopefully you can see was not looking its best and I suspect it had been some time before it had been given a thorough deep clean as it was now grey, grimy and generally tired.

This type of floor is quite common in houses before the 19th century and usually consisted of the beaten earth being covered with thick slabs of stone. When left over time it becomes grey and dry and flaky but when cleaned and sealed it turns almost as black as its near relative Purbeck marble and even shines when polished.

Portland Limestone Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Weymouth

Cleaning Portland Limestone Flagstones

To get the floor clean I applied a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to soak into the floor for about ten minutes before being scrubbed in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a Numatic buffing machine. I also ran a stiff narrow brush along the grout lines to get them clean.

The floor was rinsed down with water to dilute the now soiled cleaning solution and this was extracted using a wet vacuum. To add a little polish to the Limestone I ran over the stone using a fine diamond encrusted burnishing pad, the floor was still a little damp which helped lubricate the process. Once done the floor was given another rinse again using the wet vacuum to remove as much liquids as possible before leaving it to dry off fully overnight.

Portland Limestone Tiled Floor After Cleaning Weymouth

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

The next day I sealed the floor using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer which impregnates the pores of the stone to provide lasting protection. The floor now looks clean and bright and a lot closer to the near-black colour that it should be.

Portland Limestone Tiled Floor After Sealing Weymouth

 
 
Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout maintenance service in Dorset

Renovating old Limestone Flagstones in Dorset

This Georgian house in the beautiful historic town of Sherbourne, Dorset still had its original floor of black limestone flagstones. These were in a sorry condition, having been smoothed over with a cement screed to make it level for a carpet and, before that, painted at various times with both red and green floor paint.
A combination of cement, hardened carpet glue and old floor paints all needed to be completely removed before I could even begin to clean the original stone beneath.

Black Limestone Sherbourne Before Cleaning

Removing Sealer from Limestone Floor Tiles

After chipping away the areas of cement with a chisel I used an application of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was left to soak into the stone for a while in order to loosen the old floor paint before steaming and wire-brushing the entire floor. This I followed with an application of Tile Doctor “Pro Clean” scrubbed in with a black buffing pad under fitted to a Numatic buffing machine to further clean the slabs.

Next step was to cut back and re-polish the Limestone flagstone using of a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads fitted to a rotary machine. You start with a coarse pad with a little water, then a medium pad, fine pad and finish with a very fine polishing pad rinsing the floor between each pad.

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

Following all this treatment the flagstones needed a few days to thoroughly dry out after which I returned to seal them with Tile Doctor “Colour Grow”, a long lasting impregnating sealer which enhanced the natural colour of the tiles and turned them from a drab grey to a rich and shining black.

Black Limestone Sherbourne After Cleaning

 
 
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Restoration Service in Dorset

Solving Limestone Sealer Problems

Slightly unusual job this one involving a Limestone tiled floor at a house in Canford Cliffs which is a beautiful part of Dorset near Poole overlooking the sea. The tiles had only recently been laid and then sealed by a tiler, unfortunately however too much sealer had been applied and it had been allowed to dry on the surface of the tiles causing a smeared and messy appearance.

Limestone Tiled Floor Canford Cliffs Before

Removing Sealer from Limestone Floor Tiles

To remove the sealer from the floor the surface needs to be cut back and re-polished using of a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads fitted to a rotary machine. You start with a coarse pad with a little water, then a medium pad, fine pad and finish with a very fine polishing pad, this takes some time but the effect it quite transforming, it does build up slurry on the floor so it all needs to be rinsed down using water and a wet vacuum to remove the liquids the wet vacuum also helps to get the floor dry.

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

The floor was left to fully dry overnight and I returned the next day to seal the Limestone tiles using a coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow carefully applied using a B&Q paint pad. Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that fills the pores in the Limestone to prevent other contaminates staining the stone; it’s also a colour enhancing sealer that lifts the natural colours in the Limestone. Once dry the floor was buffed using a Numatic buffing machine fitted with a soft white pad to give a perfect finish to the floor.

Limestone Tiled Floor Canford Cliffs After

The floor is now looking as it should and the customer was delighted with the result, needless to say the tiler was very relieved.
 
 
Source: Residential and Commercial Tile and Stone Maintenance in Dorset