Renovating old Limestone Flagstones in Dorset

This Georgian house in the beautiful historic town of Sherbourne, Dorset still had its original floor of black limestone flagstones. These were in a sorry condition, having been smoothed over with a cement screed to make it level for a carpet and, before that, painted at various times with both red and green floor paint.
A combination of cement, hardened carpet glue and old floor paints all needed to be completely removed before I could even begin to clean the original stone beneath.

Black Limestone Sherbourne Before Cleaning

Removing Sealer from Limestone Floor Tiles

After chipping away the areas of cement with a chisel I used an application of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was left to soak into the stone for a while in order to loosen the old floor paint before steaming and wire-brushing the entire floor. This I followed with an application of Tile Doctor “Pro Clean” scrubbed in with a black buffing pad under fitted to a Numatic buffing machine to further clean the slabs.

Next step was to cut back and re-polish the Limestone flagstone 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 rinsing the floor between each pad.

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

Following all this treatment the flagstones needed a few days to thoroughly dry out after which I returned to seal them with Tile Doctor “Colour Grow”, a long lasting impregnating sealer which enhanced the natural colour of the tiles and turned them from a drab grey to a rich and shining black.

Black Limestone Sherbourne After Cleaning

 
 
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Restoration Service in Dorset

Cleaning ingrained dirt from a Crushed Edge Limestone Tiled Floor

Limestone is a natural stone with a lot of unique character and surface features with each tile being uniquely different from the last. These surface characteristics however can however make a stone very difficult to clean and unless sealed can result in dirt becoming trapped and ingrained. These particular Limestone tiles installed throughout the downstairs floor of a house in Corby are known as Crushed Edge Limestone and have an increased susceptibility to this issue. As you can see from the photographs below the crevices in the tile have become black with trapped dirt which has proved very difficult to clean.

Crushed Edge Limestone Corby Before Crushed Edge Limestone Corby Before

Cleaning Crushed Edge Limestone

Limestone is a very hard surface that has to be burnished with diamond encrusted pads to restore the finish so we set about this task using a set of Tile Doctor Burnishing Pads. Before starting however we soaked the floor in Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and scrubbed this into the tile surface spending particular attention on the grout lines; this process gets a head start on the cleaning and also remove any grit etc. that might cause problems before burnishing. The soiled solution was then rinsed away using water and all was removed using a wet vacuum.

Burnishing Crushed Edge Limestone

The burnishing pads come in a set of four, you start with the coarse pad together with a little water and this cut’s through and removes surface grime and any remaining surface sealer. The resultant slurry is washed away and you then progress through the other finer pads one by one until you get to the final polishing pad which provides a nice shine. You need to rinse the tiles in-between and use a wet vacuum to remove the slurry.

Sealing Crushed Edge Limestone

When we came back the next day we tested a few areas for dampness before starting to seal the floor, this is an important step for this type of tile as it can easily trap dirt. We chose Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal for this, it’s a natural look impregnating sealer that occupies the tiny pores in the stone preventing dirt and other contaminates from becoming ingrained, two coats were sufficient. Once the sealer had fully dried we went over it with a white buffing pad to finish.

Crushed Edge Limestone Corby After Crushed Edge Limestone Corby After

 
 
Source: Tile and Stone Cleaning Service in Northamptonshire

Putting the Shine Back on Water Damaged Limestone Tiles

This 50 m2 Limestone tiled floor at an old thatched cottage in Slough had unfortunately been stained following a radiator system leak which covered the tiles in dirty radiator water and sludge. The limestone tiles had been laid on a floor without a screed damp proofing membrane which resulted in the release of efflorescent mineral salts rising up through the stone from the soil beneath. This left a constant layer of reforming fine salt on the surface of the stone which looked like fine dust. The water had also damaged the surface of the stone leaving patches of dull etched stone next to clean polished areas.

Waterleak Stains on Limestone Tiles Slough Before Cleaning Waterleak Stains on Limestone Tiles Slough Before Cleaning

Stripping the Limestone Tiled Floor

To encourage the stone to dry out thoroughly we left a number of dehumidifiers in the room for a week and increased the room temperature. Once the stone was dry, it stopped releasing effloresce salts and we were able to restore the surface polish by burnishing the floor.

Waterleak Stains on Limestone Tiles Slough During Cleaning
Burnishing involves stripping back the Limestone surface using a set of burnishing pads, these diamond encrusted pads come in a number of grades and each one does a different job. I started with the coarse pad together with water removed the slurry with a wet vacuum, rinsed the floor and then carried on with the medium, fine and super fine pads using the same processes until the surface was polished again. Finally when I had dried the floor I used a green buffing pad to buff the floor up.

Sealing the Limestone Floor

The next step was to seal the Limestone with a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which will provide a durable protective sealer against future staining. The result was an even, polished limestone tiled floor with a durable sealing to protect against future soiling and staining.

Waterleak Stains on Limestone Tiles Slough After Cleaning Waterleak Stains on Limestone Tiles Slough After Cleaning

Source: Residential and Commercial Tile Cleaning Services in Berkshire