Removing Grout Haze from Limestone Kitchen Floor Tiles in Clipston, Northamptonshire

These photos are of a Limestone tiled floor which was installed in the Kitchen approximately at a property in the small parish of Clipston, which is close to the towns of Market Harborough and Daventry, three years ago. The customer was never very happy with it since it was laid as it never seemed to look clean asked me to cover over and work out what could be done.

On my initial visit I soon realised that the installer had not cleaned off all the grout from the tiles before applying the sealer. This effectively trapped the grout under the sealer and gave the whole floor a dirty appearance, this explained the problem the customer was frustrated with as she could never ever seem to get the floor looking clean.

Limestone Floor With Grout Haze Before Cleaing Clipston

This issue is known as Grout Haze or Grout Smears and is a problem we often come across where the floor has been laid without the excess grout residue being completely polished off the tiles after the grouting. Some manufacturers recommend the tiles are sealed before grouting to make it easier to polish the grout off later. After discussing how we could remedy this I issued a quote which the customer accepted, and we scheduled the work to be done.

Limestone Floor With Grout Haze Before Cleaning Clipston

Removing Grout Haze from Limestone Kitchen Tiles

I arrived on site on the arranged date, as it was a painted kitchen it was not possible to mask up the units, so I used a small hand-held polishing machine fitted with a six inch 400-grit burnishing pad to carefully clean around the edges and break through the sealant. This process was then repeated with a larger seventeen inch 400-grit burnishing pad fitted to a floor polishing machine throughout the rest of the area.

Once the original sealant had been removed using the burnishing pad the next step was to remove the Grout Haze by given the floor an acid wash with Tile Doctor Acid Gel. Being a gel, this product is easier to control than a liquid and sits on the surface where it’s needed to break down the unsightly Grout Haze. It’s left to dwell for a short period before being worked in with a special brush that is designed for this purpose. The resulting slurry is then removed with a professional wet pick up machine and the floor given a rinse with water to remove any trace of the product.

After treating the Grout Haze my next step was to refine the surface of the Limestone using a medium 800-grit and fine 1500-grit diamond encrusted burnishing pad which are applied with water and restore the polished appearance of the stone. The floor is rinsed with more water between the application of each pad to remove the slurry that is generated and then dried with the wet pickup machine.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

I returned the following day to buff the tiles with a white polishing pad as the customer didn’t want a high shine finish which is normally achieved with the 3000-grit diamond burnishing pad, this gave a low sheen honed look as the customer had requested. The floor was then sealed with two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which is a natural look sealer that and will protect the newly restored and polished tiles going forward.

Limestone Floor With Grout Haze After Cleaning Clipston

The customer was very happy with the results and has left the following positive feedback on our website.

‘Professional, floor looks much better’ – Vicki S, Clipston

I gave the customer some tips on maintenance and a complimentary bottle of Tile Doctor Stone Soap to enable her to keep the floor looking its best, this product is designed for the regular cleaning of polished stone floors and is pH neutral, so it won’t prematurely degrade the sealer.

Limestone Floor With Grout Haze After Cleaning Clipston

 

Source: Limestone Flagstone Cleaning and Sealing Service in Clipston, Northamptonshire

Resolving Limestone Installation Problems

Details below of a recently laid Ca Pietra Hazlebury Tumbled Limestone tiled floor that retails at £180m2 and should have been stunning however the fitter had ruined it and left it covered in grout haze. The owner of the house in Shipley was unable to get the problem resolved and asked us to take a look.

Ca Pietra Hazlebury Tumbled Limestone in shipley covered in Grout Haze

Removing Grout Haze from Tumbled Limestone Tiles

To restore the appearance of the stone it was necessary to wash the surface in an acid based product called Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up which is diluted with water and left to dwell on the surface for 1 to 2 minutes before being scrubbed in. Limestone is especially sensitive to acids so you really do have to work fast and wash it off as soon as it’s done its job followed by a thorough rinse with fresh water.

Once the floor was free of the grout it was given a thorough clean with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong alkaline cleaner and sealer remover. This was worked into the floor using a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine and the resultant soiled solution removed with a wet vacuum. After this the floor was given another thorough rinse and then left for two days so it could dry out.

Polishing and Sealing Tumbled Limestone Tiles

With the grout haze removed we were able to bring back the polish on the Limestone using a very fine 3000 grit burnishing pad attached to a rotary machine.

Ca Pietra Hazlebury Tumbled Limestone in shipley After Polishing

The tiles were then sealed using coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is a penetrating sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone filling them so dirt can’t penetrate below the surface but without changing the appearance of the stone. It’s highly recommended for Polished Limestone and will provide on-going stain protection.

Ca Pietra Hazlebury Tumbled Limestone in shipley After Polishing

The resulting transformation was remarkable and as you can image the customer was highly delighted.
 
 
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Problems Resolved in North West Yorkshire

Dealing with Grout Haze on honed Limestone

The photographs below are of a honed Limestone floor in the kitchen/diner of a house in Bingham, Nottinghamshire which had been contaminated with heavy grout haze from dark grout that had penetrated into the surface of the natural stone tiles due to the face that they had not been properly sealed prior to grouting. The customer had asked the tiler to rectify the issue, but without the proper equipment and knowledge he was unable make any impact on the problem and so we got the call.

Honed Limestone Tiled Floor in Bingham Before Cleaning Honed Limestone Tiled Floor in Bingham Before Cleaning

Milling a Limestone Tiled Floor

Before starting we cleared any furniture from the area and masked skirting boards and kitchen units. We then set about rectifying the problem with a set of Milling Pads that which remove a layer off the surface of the stone; this also has the added advantage of removing any lippage issues between the tiles.

Milling natural stone flooring is a controlled process using water, and specially manufactured diamond milling pads. We have a special low speed rotary floor machine for this purpose which is weighted with 65kg to ensure the right level of tension on the floor.

A rotary hand polisher and oscillating multi-tool fitted with smaller milling pads were used to remove the grout haze from the wall edges and wall corners of the tiled kitchen. Once satisfied the contamination had been removed, then the floor was thoroughly rinsed with fresh water to remove the resulting slurry created by the milling process and then left to dry off overnight.

Sealing the Limestone Floor

The next morning I arrived to find the floor had dried out enough for me to seal it which was done using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an advanced sealer from the Tile Doctor range that impregnates into the stone and lifts the natural colours in the Limestone floor as well as providing stain protection from both water and oils spills. Once the sealer had dried I then finished it all off with a quick buff using a white buffing pad.

Honed Limestone Tiled Floor in Bingham After Cleaning

After an hour of sealing the floor can be walked on, but impregnating sealers take up to 48 hours to fully care so care should be taken before the floor is subjected to normal use. For maintenance I recommended regular cleaning with a damp mop using a diluted solution (1:100) of Tile Doctors Stone Soap which is PH neutral and won’t affect the sealer.
 
 
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Problems resolved in Nottinghamshire