Restoring the Colour in Limestone Tiles

This is the second black limestone tiled floor we have dealt with this year where the tiler struggled to get the right finish. In this case the floor tiles were newly fitted but unfortunately the tiler had decided not to seal the tiles prior to grouting which resulted in grout becoming trapped on the tile surface (aka Grout Haze). To remedy this problem brick acid was used which removed the grout but this stripped off the black finish turning the tiles grey then in a further attempt to improve the appearance the tiles were covered in boiled linseed oil which just sat on top locking in the grout haze. Linseed oil is a traditional method of sealing stone tiles and is normally used with Terracotta tiles but it’s not ideal and does not have the performance of a modern sealer, certainly in this case it didn’t help at all.

Black Limestone Before Cleaning Pillerton Hersay Black Limestone Before Cleaning Pillerton Hersay

Removing Oil and Grout from Limestone Tiles

To resolve the problems with the floor it had to be fully stripped back to remove the linseed oil so the grout haze problem could be tackled. This was done by applying a solution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was mopped on to the floor and left to soak in for a while before being scrubbed using a rotary machine fitted with a black pad. This process lifted the linseed oil off the tiles and was removed using a wet vacuum.

Once the Linseed oil was gone I could get to work on the grout haze and for that we have a special product called Grout Clean-Up, it’s a very strong acid based product and normally you would need to be very careful using it on stone as it can damage the stone, in this case however the surface of the Limestone had already been damaged by the brick acid. Once the floor was free of coatings and the grout haze problem had been treated I gave the floor a thorough rinse down to make sure all trace of products had been removed from the floor before the next step.

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

There was a lot of Limestone to cover so on the first day I focused on the kitchen and on day two the lounge, hallway and toilet. On the third day I went over the whole area applying Tile Doctor Stone Oil to restore the black colour of the Limestone that had been damaged by the brick acid.

Black Limestone During Cleaning Pillerton Hersay
By the third day the Grout Haze was gone but was still looking washed out. To restore the colour back into the black limestone it was treated with stone oil which as you can see turned the tiles back to their original colour. Stone Oil is an interesting product, if you check the tin it will tell you it’s “an easy to apply pre-polish impregnating sealer, ideal for low porosity stone and terracotta designed to enhance the colour and texture of floors and improve mechanical strength once cured”. Certainly from the customer’s point of view the floor now looks how it was intended and they were much relieved.

Black Limestone After Cleaning Pillerton Hersay Black Limestone After Cleaning Pillerton Hersay

Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Cleaning Service in Warwickshire

Solving Limestone Sealer Problems

Slightly unusual job this one involving a Limestone tiled floor at a house in Canford Cliffs which is a beautiful part of Dorset near Poole overlooking the sea. The tiles had only recently been laid and then sealed by a tiler, unfortunately however too much sealer had been applied and it had been allowed to dry on the surface of the tiles causing a smeared and messy appearance.

Limestone Tiled Floor Canford Cliffs Before

Removing Sealer from Limestone Floor Tiles

To remove the sealer from the floor the surface needs to be cut back and re-polished using of a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads fitted to a rotary machine. You start with a coarse pad with a little water, then a medium pad, fine pad and finish with a very fine polishing pad, this takes some time but the effect it quite transforming, it does build up slurry on the floor so it all needs to be rinsed down using water and a wet vacuum to remove the liquids the wet vacuum also helps to get the floor dry.

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

The floor was left to fully dry overnight and I returned the next day to seal the Limestone tiles using a coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow carefully applied using a B&Q paint pad. Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that fills the pores in the Limestone to prevent other contaminates staining the stone; it’s also a colour enhancing sealer that lifts the natural colours in the Limestone. Once dry the floor was buffed using a Numatic buffing machine fitted with a soft white pad to give a perfect finish to the floor.

Limestone Tiled Floor Canford Cliffs After

The floor is now looking as it should and the customer was delighted with the result, needless to say the tiler was very relieved.
Source: Residential and Commercial Tile and Stone Maintenance in Dorset