Achieving a Deep Durable Polish on Limestone Floor Tiles in Boxworth

Boxworth is a very small village situated to the north-west of Cambridge. In the Middle Ages, it had a significant population, but in the modern day there are only around 100 houses in the area including one belonging to my customer.

I was there to take a look at a large installation of Polished Limestone floor tiles which had been laid throughout the ground floor including the Kitchen, Dining, Utility room and hallway.

Limestone Tiled Kitchen Before Polishing Boxworth Limestone Tiled Dining Room Before Polishing Boxworth

Many people will already know that Limestone is a premium, yet somewhat sensitive natural stone. It’s also porous, meaning that dirt can easily become ingrained if the tiles are not sealed properly, or if the sealant has worn away. This leads eventually to a very unappealing, dirty, and dull appearance which often happens so slowly it hardly get’s noticed until one day you think, “I’m sure my floor looked better than that before!”.

Limestone Tiled Hallway Before Polishing Boxworth Limestone Tiled Utility Before Polishing Boxworth

In this case the sealer had degraded over time and my customer had called me in because she was now no longer happy with the appearance of the tiles. The lustre the tiles once had eventually disappeared and there was also damage in some areas caused by the placement of table and chair legs. I was asked to restore a high-quality polished finish to the tiles.

Cleaning and Burnishing Limestone Tiles

Before beginning the restoration, I took the necessary precaution of covering the walls and kitchen units to protect them from exposure to any cleaning products or mess.

To begin, I applied Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which is a high-performance stripping agent, to break down any old sealant remaining of the tiles. This product can also be used to clean the stone itself, as well as the grout lines.

After completing the initial cleaning process, I moved on to restoring the polish to the tiles. At Tile Doctor, we do this using a system we have developed called Burnishing. This system involves the application of Diamond encrusted pads – each possessing a different level of grit – to grind away the dirt from the stone, which is often stained or damaged. The process effectively resurfaces the stone leaving it looking new and fresh.

Firstly, I applied the Coarse 400 grit pad, fitted to a rotary machine, to grind away any excess muck and sealant lubricated with a little water. The resultant slurry was rinsed away and I followed up with the application of the Medium 800 grit pad to start the restoration of the polish again with a small amount of water, followed by the Fine 1500 grit pad for the second polish.

Finally, I applied the Very Fine 3000 grit pad to achieve the most refined and highest quality polish possible. The process of burnishing is a gradual but highly effective means of achieving this kind of finish.

Any slurry that was created through this process was removed using my truck-mounted hot water cleaning and extraction machine, resulting in minimum mess.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

After burnishing the tiles and to achieve a really hard wearing and high polish I covered the floor in Tile Doctor Shine Powder crystals and buffed them into the Limestone tiles using a White buffing pad. Then to give the floor extra protection I applied a coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which impregnates the pores of the stone to prevent ingrained dirt.

Colour Grow also intensifies the natural colours in the Limestone, thus improving the appearance of the stone to an even greater extent. Following the application of Colour Grow, I gave the tiles a final light buffing with a soft red pad.

Limestone Tiled Kitchen After Polishing Boxworth Limestone Tiled Utility After Polishing Boxworth

The customer was extremely happy with the outcome, remarking that the work was carried “quickly and efficiently with no fuss.” I took lots of photographs of the process, so you can really appreciate the difference that was made.

Limestone Tiled Hallway After Polishing Boxworth Limestone Tiled Dining Room After Polishing Boxworth

 
 
Source: Limestone Tile Cleaning and Polishing Service in Cambridgeshire

Resolving uneven Limestone Kitchen Floor Tiles

This customer had recently bought a house in Shrewsbury and was in the process of refurbishing it including replacing the kitchen which when I arrived had been removed leaving an area of flooring which was a different shade to the rest. Additionally the floor has been very badly laid resulting in lippage problems between the tiles and in some places there was a 3mm difference in the level between adjacent tiles. To make things worse there had a leak in the bathroom above which caused the ceiling to come down leaving a big mess in the utility room.

Limestone Floor in Shrewsbury Kitchen Before Limestone Floor in Shrewsbury Utility Before

Cleaning Limestone Tiles

The polished Limestone tiles needed to be cut back and refinished with a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads however my first task was to clean the grout lines by applying a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and scrubbing it into the Kitchen and Utility grout with a stiff narrow brush. I gave the grout a rinse with hot water and removed the now soiled water with a wet vacuum.

I had spoken to the customer earlier about the lippage problem and recommended that we could resolve it with a set of very coarse milling pads which effectively grind away at the Limestone until the whole floor is completely flat. The customer was not keen on this and after discussing the options I agreed to treat the most problematic edges with a handheld machine and set of six inch burnishing pads which gave a fairly good result.

The burnishing process requires the application of four different grades of diamond pad fitted to my rotary floor machine and lubricated with a little water. You start with the coarse pad which removes the dirt from the Limestone and you move onto the medium, fine and superfine polishing pads until the surface is restored. The process requires the floor to be rinsed between the application of each pad and this needs to be removed using a wet vacuum.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

Once I had finished polishing and the floor was dry I applied a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which impregnates into the pores of the tile to prevent other contaminates getting in there; Colour Grow also does a great job of bringing out the natural colours in the stone.

Limestone Floor in Shrewsbury Kitchen After Limestone Floor in Shrewsbury Utility After

The customer was very happy with the end result and left the following feedback:

” Jozsef was really excellent, professional and very polite. The limestone tiles in our new home were dreadful, we thought they would have to be removed, but Joe somehow managed to get them clean again. He left everywhere clean and tidy and we would wholeheartedly recommend him. Mr & Mrs Leech, Shrewsbury.”
 
 
Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout maintenance service in Shropshire

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