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

New Ruined Limestone floor restored

This client had recently had a black limestone tiled floor installed in the kitchen and dining area in his home on the northern border of Warwickshire. Unfortunately however the tiler had not sealed the tiles prior and struggled to remove the grout smears from the Limestone surface. The tiles were then sealed trapping the grout haze under the sealer; naturally the client was far from happy and was instructed to remove the grout using an acid wash.

Black Limestone Tiles Before Black Limestone Tiles Before

The acid things turned the floor grey removing the oils in the floor from the factory and also caused the natural salts within the tile to rise to the surface. The tiles were then sealed with an external patio sealant without removing the existing surface sealer. All this compounded the problems in the floor causing it to mark easily and lose its colour; on top of that it had big cloudy white patches all over from the trapped salts.

Stripping sealer from a Limestone Floor Tiles

To resolve the problems with the floor it had to be fully stripped back and cleaned of all sealants and salt etc. which was done by applying a solution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go combined with Nanotech UltraClean mopped on to the floor in two square metres at a time. The solution was allowed to soak into the floor for thirty minutes to allow the chemicals break down and then scrubbed using a rotary machine fitted with a black pad. The soiled solution was then extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum. This process was repeated across the entire floor until all the sealer had been removed.

Limestone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning

Removing Salts from Limestone Tiles

To remove the salts and remaining grout haze the floor was treated with Grout Clean-up which is an acid based cleaning product that is designed to penetrate below the surface and remove light grout smears (grout haze) as well as mineral deposits such as salts and efflorescence, again this treatment was applied two square meters at a time, quickly worked into the floor and removed with the wet vacuum. Once this process was complete the whole floor was washed at high pressure rinse three times to ensure all trace of chemicals had been removed.

The floor was left to dry and when we came back the second day it was noticed that there were still some salts coming through to the surface of the Limestone, these areas were re-treated and the floor washed down again and left to dry as before.

Limestone Kitchen Part Sealed

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

The floor looked much improved on the third day although it was still looking washed out. To put the colour back into the black limestone it was treated with stone oil with turns the floor back to black and then sealed with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which will protect the tile going forward.

The floor now looks how it was intended and certainly the customer was pleased and left the following comment on our feedback system.

“We are so pleased with the work carried out by the tile doctor to our kitchen, utility and family room. The floor now looks exactly how we hoped it would look when we originally purchased it. We’ve struggled to get it looking right since then and now we feel we finally have a floor we can enjoy at last! We also found Mick to be professional and highly knowledgeable on our floor. He has given us really good advice and has been really easy to contact and has also been happy to give us further help and advice over the phone even when the job’s been completed. L. Nash”

Limestone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning and Sealing Limestone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning and Sealing

Source: Resolving Limestone tile installation problems in Warwickshire