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.
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.
Photographs below of a White Limestone tiled kitchen floor at a house in Wallingford that was proving difficult for the owner to clean effectively. I went around to inspect the floor and could see that the sealer had worn off leaving the tiles vulnerable to dirt becoming ingrained in the pores of the stone. Once this happens it makes the job of keeping the floor clean quite difficult as you really need to get the dirt out of the pores of the stone to do it right and of course once you do dirt will soon become trapped again without a sealer in place.
Given these Limestone tiles were White the dirt was more visible than usual, so the customer was keen to have the floor deep cleaned to remove the ingrained dirt and then sealed to prevent the problem reoccurring.
Cleaning White Limestone Kitchen Floor Tiles
To restore the floor back to its original condition I used a set of burnishing pads which are encrusted with industrial diamonds and come in different grades from coarse to very fine. Applied with a little water the coarse 400 grit pad is designed to strip the floor of dirt and old sealers whilst the remaining pads which are a finer restore the polished surface. Between each pad you need to rinse the floor with fresh water which is removed with a wet vacuum before finally being left to dry overnight.
On this occasion I found when I started with the 400 grit pad it wasn’t having the effect I was expecting and quickly established that this floor would need grinding back with a much coarser milling pad first. Fortunately I have numerous different types of pads available and was able to switch to a 50 grit milling pad which not only got rid of any remaining seal but also grinded out the ground in dirt. This does leave the stone in a rough condition so to restore the final finish I followed up with the 400 and 800 grit pads and finished with the 1500 grit pad, rinsing with water between each pad to remove the soil that is generated. It was quote a large floor, so it took two days to complete the process over every Limestone tile.
Sealing White Limestone Kitchen Floor Tiles
To seal the floor, I used Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which works by impregnates the stone occupying its pores and thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained in there. This particular sealer doesn’t change the appearance of the stone and so leaves it with a natural look. Again, it was a large area, so it took two days to apply two coats. I then returned on day 5 to go over the whole floor with a 3000 grit polishing pad to give the floor a slight sheen.
This was a job I did earlier in May this year where I was asked to clean this lovely Limestone patio installed at the rear of a house in Haddenham near Thame on the Oxfordshore borders which had succumbed to the ravages of the English winter weather and was far from looking its best.
As a Tile Doctor and carpet technician I have invested a lot in powerful high pressure machinery that can make light work of interior and exterior installations so taking on this patio was not a problem and it was nice to work outside for a change.
Power washing a Limestone Patio
On arrival I set-up the high pressure equipment and then proceeded to pressure wash the patio in order to get the worst of the dirt out of the tile. Then I soaked the tiles in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to dwell for thirty minutes. The next process was to use a deck brush to scrub the cleaner into the stubborn areas and then rinse the patio with clean water which was then removed using a wet vacuum. After letting it dry I then had to re clean the worst areas again following the same process until I was satisfied with the condition of the tile.
Sealing a Limestone patio
The patio soon dried in the warm sun and later that day I was able to seal it using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing impregnating sealer that can be used internally and externally, it works really on Limestone and did well to bring out the natural colours in the stone.
This call actually came from a cleaning company where one of their cleaners had been to a customer in the village of West Hanney near Wantage and tried to clean the walls of this Limestone Shower using a supermarket Limescale remover, which as you can see from the photograph below didn’t work out very well.
I should point out that Limescale removers contain some strong acids which should never be used on stone or sealed surfaces as the acid will etch the surface. Even weak acid cleaners used over time will have an effect so do take care and always read the label.
Resurfacing Limestone Shower Tiles
To restore the surface I realised it would need to be treated like a polished stone floor and burnished. So with this in mind I started burning the tiles with a little water and a coarse 6 inch diamond burnishing pad fitted to a hand held rotary machine before moving onto a medium pad. Normally to bring up the polish you would move onto the fine and super-fine pads but it was evident that the other shower walls had a matt finish so there was no need.
Sealing Limestone Shower Tiles
I waited for the Limestone tiles to dry and applied two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is a penetrating sealer that will protect the stone from staining.
The owners of the house were very pleased that the wall was not ruined and the cleaning company relieved that the problem had been resolved.
Photograph below of a very dirty Limestone tiled kitchen floor at a house in Henley on Thames, the sealer had worn off some time ago and now the tile was trapping dirt that was proving very difficult for the home owner to remove. I do love floors in this condition as they make great adverts for how well Tile Doctors can restore your floors.
Cleaning Limestone Floor Tiles
To restore the floor back to its original condition I used a set of burnishing pads which are encrusted with industrial diamonds and come in four different grades from coarse to very fine. Applied with a little water the coarse pad strips the floor of dirt and old sealer whilst the remaining pads which are a finer restore the polished surface. Between each pad you need to rinse the floor with fresh water which is removed with a wet vacuum before finally being left to dry overnight.
Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles
The next day I check the floor was dry which it was and then proceeded to seal the Limestone with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing impregnating sealer which occupies the pores in the natural stone to provide maximum stain protection.
This Limestone tiled floor was located in the entrance hall of a residential property in Burford. I popped round following a cleaning enquiry to provide a quote and did a sample clean on a test area, I was then asked if I could do the whole floor there and then and not wanting to disappoint I managed to shuffle a few appointments round and got on with it.
Cleaning Limestone Floor Tiles
To get the best from this floor I used a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads which if you have read any of my previous posts you will remember we always recommend these for hard stone floors such as Limestone, Travertine and Marble. They come in four different grades from coarse to very fine and you work your way through them starting off with the coarse stripper pad with a little just water and then carry on with the remaining pads which are a finer and finer grade until the floor is thoroughly cleaned, polished and any previous sealer removed. Next step was to use Tile Doctor Pro-Clean along the grout lines with a stiff brush to get the grout clean. When done the floor was washed down with water which was then removed from the tile using a wet vacuum and then left to dry.
Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles
Once the floor was dry it was sealed using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing sealer which provides maximum stain protection on natural stone floors whilst bringing out the deep colour in the stone. The last step was to buff the floor to a nice shine with a rotary machine fitted with a white buffing pad.
The customer was very pleased with the results so much so she booked me to clean the grout on her kitchen floor.
If you’re passionate about tiled floors and easily upset I suggest you look away now as believe it or not the photographs below are from a recently laid Limestone tiled floor in Banbury. It had been left in a very poor state by the tiler who had managed to cover in Grout Haze and then in the process of trying to rectify the problem by cleaning it off with acid managed to etch the surface of the Limestone making the situation even worse. Limestone being a calcareous stone can in fact be dissolved by acids, in face it’s not unknown for mildly acidic cleaning products to cause holes to appear in the surface over time.
Restoring Limestone Tiles
To resolve we had to strip back the Limestone surface using a set of burnishing pads, these diamond encrusted pads come in a number of different colours each one does a different job from honing to polishing. I started with the coarse pad together with water and then carried on through the set until I got to the finer pad removing the soiled water with a wet vacuum along the way. Finally when I had dried the floor I used a finishing pad to buff the floor up. This activity took most of the day so left the floor to completely dry overnight.
Sealing Limestone Tiles
The following day I checked the floor to make sure it had dried, which it had and started to seal the floor which was done using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow Sealer which is an impregnating sealer which gets into the pores of the Limestone to prevent dirt being trapped, the formula as well as providing stain protection also enhances the natural colours in the stone.
I think you will agree we achieved a good result given the original condition of the tile. I should also mention that I also gave the customer a finishing pad as they owned a floor machine and using this on the floor even once a month will keep the honed surface tight and keep the seal working longer.