Renovating a Soot Stained Limestone Fireplace in Oxford

A stone fireplace adds a classic and period look to any home but like the stone floors we deal with its only a matter of time before the appearance degrades, however not from foot traffic but from soot. This process happens so gradually it goes without being noticed until one day you realise it really does need a good clean and the dirtier it gets, the harder it is to clean.

I recently visited a customer living in the historic city of Oxford who had never once cleaned their black Limestone fireplace. One day, they decided to finally clean it but found that it would take a lot more than just a light scrub with some soapy water!

As you can see from the photograph below, the Limestone was extremely dirty, dusty and stained. Upon examining the situation, I decided that the best way to restore the stone to its original condition would be to use a polishing process known as burnishing. Keen to see the natural beauty of the Limestone again, the customer was more than happy to book in the job.

Limestone Fireplace Before Cleaning Oxford

Cleaning and Burnishing a Limestone Fireplace

As I would be focusing solely on the Fireplace, it was necessary for me to start by protecting the surrounding area with tape. I then began the process of burnishing, starting with a 200-grit diamond encrusted handheld burnishing block. I sprayed a small amount of water onto the fireplace to act as a lubricant and rubbed the diamond encrusted block onto the stone.

This coarse grit pad helps to grind away the thick layers of dirt on the surface of the Limestone and starts to gradually polish the surface beneath. I completed the burnishing working in small sections at a time, rinsing with fresh water and wiping excess off regularly as I progressed.

After finishing with the 200-grit block I then repeated the process using a 400-grit block. This block possesses a finer grit and really helped to achieve a high-quality polished effect.
While the Limestone was drying, I treated the black fire grate with the correct grate paste (or polish) which cleaned it and recoloured it.

To complete the cleaning process, I paid attention to the black tiles on the floor. These were cleaned using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted with water, and scrubbed into the stone and grout using a small specialised brush. Finally, I rinsed the area with fresh water and dried it with a towel.

Sealing a Limestone Fireplace

I then had to leave the fireplace to dry for about an hour so it would be ready to seal. To seal the Limestone, I used Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, which offers the natural looking finish that the customer wanted. This sealer is formulated to provide maximum protection against stains and dirt, and is suitable for use on all types of natural stone.

The customer has decided that although this will no longer be used as a working fireplace it, will certainly give the room a focal point – so she was very happy to have it back to looking its best!

Limestone Fireplace After Cleaning Oxford

 
 
Source: Fireplace Tile Cleaning and Renovation Service in Oxfordshire

Deep Cleaning a Polished Limestone Kitchen Floor in Northamptonshire

It’s always nice when one of our former customers refers their family and friends to Tile Doctor as it’s a testament to the great work we do. As the Tile Doctor for Northamptonshire, I often carry out tile cleaning and restoration jobs in the Oundle area.

Recently, a customer from the nearby village of Ashton was referred to me by a friend. Her friend has the same type of floor in the same type of barn conversion in the area, and had chosen to use our services both last year and this year for their annual maintenance clean.

This new customer had a polished Limestone kitchen floor that was proving difficult to keep clean. The grout had become extremely dirty and – in the absence of an effective sealer – dirt and general muck had easily penetrated the pores of the Limestone itself. The result was a very dull appearance – not one that any property owner wants to suffer!

Polished Limestone Floor Before Cleaning Ashton Polished Limestone Floor Before Cleaning Ashton

On our initial inspection visit, we always carry out a test clean within a small area of the floor to give the customer an idea of the final results they can expect. Upon my first visit to this property, I carried out the test clean and the customer couldn’t believe the difference made to the appearance of the grout lines. In fact, she had even forgotten their original colour!

Cleaning and Burnishing Polished Limestone Kitchen Tiles


When I next visited the property, it was time to carry out the full restoration. The work was carried out in sections of around 10m2 each, with two Tile Doctor technicians on site using the latest Tile Doctor products and machinery.

The issue of the extremely dirty grout lines was tackled first. We cleaned them with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a high alkaline tile and grout cleaner. We will use Tile Doctor Pro-Clean on all types of natural stone – it’s just that reliable for cutting through the grime. The product was applied using specialised grout brushes and the resulting chemical slurry was rinsed away using fresh water and extracted with a wet vacuum.

Polished Limestone Floor During Cleaning Ashton

Satisfied with the cleanliness of the grout lines, we moved onto improving the appearance of the polished Limestone tiles. When it comes to restoring polished stone, including Limestone, Travertine and Marble, we typically use a process we have developed known as ‘burnishing’. Burnishing involves both cleaning the tile and gradually polishing it to achieve a high-quality, long-lasting sheen finish.

We use a set of four diamond-encrusted burnishing pads fitted to a rotary machine to do this. The first to be applied is a pad with a Coarse grit, which breaks down any old sealer and shaves off the very top layer of the dirty stone, leaving a fresh surface beneath.

Next, burnishing pads with Medium, Fine and Very Fine grits are applied to slowly but surely polish the stone, achieving a very pleasant and shiny appearance. In most cases, the tiles come out looking better than they did when they were originally installed!

Once burnished, the floor was left overnight.

Sealing Polished Limestone Kitchen Tiles


The following day, we returned to seal the tiles. We did this using two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, a sealant which is formulated to protect the floor and grout lines against dirt build-up and staining.

Polished Limestone Floor After Cleaning Ashton

The very happy customer was given a complimentary bottle of Tile Doctor Stone Soap, which is a highly concentrated neutral stone cleaner that helps to maintain the patina on polished stone. This will help her keep the appearance of the floor maintained until her next maintenance clean with Tile Doctor.

Polished Limestone Floor After Cleaning Ashton

 
 
Source: Limestone Tile Cleaning, Polishing and Sealing Service in Northamptonshire

Putting the Shine Back on a Limestone Floor in a Surrey Kitchen

This customer, who lives in the small village of Cobham had the unique situation of having been abroad for six months, leaving her adult children in charge of the house. During this time, the fantastic Limestone tiled floor in the kitchen had not received adequate maintenance and its appearance had rapidly degraded. To make the situation worse, it seemed to me that the wrong products had been used on the rare occasions that it had been cleaned.

With the customer now back in the UK and living in the house again, he was keen to have the Limestone tiles restored to their original condition. He contacted me to get the job done.

Limestone Floor Tiles Cobham Before Cleaning Limestone Floor Tiles Cobham Before Cleaning

Cleaning and Polishing Dirty Limestone Kitchen Tiles

My first task was to tackle the dirty grout lines between the Limestone tiles, which were brown and stained. Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which is our reliable alkaline-based tile cleaner, was applied with a grout brush and the stains immediately vanished.

The next stage of the restoration involved polishing the Limestone using our four-pad Tile Doctor diamond-encrusted burnishing pad system. Firstly, I applied a Coarse 400 grit pad to strip away what remained of the old sealer which had been worn down in the high traffic areas of the floor. I then applied the Medium 800 grit and Fine 1500 grit pad to gradually close the pores of the stone which, in turn, restores the polished effect.

Each pad is used in combination with a small amount of water and any excess moisture is removed with a wet vacuum. To end the first day of work, I left the floor to dry and arranged to return in 48 hours to finish the job with sealing.

Sealing Limestone Kitchen Tiles

Upon my return, I ran some quick damp tests to check the floor could be sealed and quickly polished the surface again using a soft white nylon pad to remove the paw prints caused by the customer’s dog in the interim period!

Next, using a small quantity of water, I used the Very Fine 3000 grit burnishing pad to hone the stone to its highest possible quality. Once dry, I applied to the floor two coats of Ultra- Seal, which is a penetrating sealer designed to provide maximum stain protection while providing a natural look finish. One final polish later and the restoration was complete.

Limestone Floor Tiles Cobham After Cleaning Limestone Floor Tiles Cobham After Cleaning

Here’s what the customer said:

“Very professional service, very thorough, and careful with moving furniture. Very informative about the ongoing care and treatment of the flooring. Would most certainly recommend Rupert.”

Source: Limestone Tile Cleaning and Polishing Service in Surrey