How to Restore the Appearance of Black Limestone Flooring

This client called Tile Doctor to see if anything could be done about the colour of their limestone patio which was laid about 6 months prior at their house in Cheltenham. It and had always looked grey rather than the black they had expected and with summer on the way felt it was time to get it resolved.

Black Limestone Patio Before Renovation Cheltenham

I went over to survey the Limestone paving and could see straight away that whoever had installed it had not cleaned off the cement and grout residue afterwards. Add on top of that the green algae and dirt build-up you get over winter and the Patio was now looking very sorry for itself.

I conducted a test clean on a small area to work out the best method for restoring the appearance of the stone. The Limestone responded well to the test and it gave the customer the results he was looking for. Happy with the potential result and my quotation a date was booked for the work, although this was weather dependent. The job would take 3 days to complete.

Black Limestone Patio Before Renovation Cheltenham Black Limestone Patio Before Renovation Cheltenham

Removing Cement and Grout from a Black Limestone Patio

We were quite fortunate with the weather and managed to find a few days without rain. Arriving on day one, the client had moved all the patio furniture out of the way, so we were able to get to work immediately starting with the application of a coarse 200 grit diamond pad fitted to a large buffing machine. The pad is applied to each paving stone in turn and lubricated with plenty of water. This action slightly mills the Limestone to remove all the old cement and grout that had been left of the surface. After rinsing with water and extracting the soil the process was repeated using a 400 and 800-grit burnishing pad to hone the stone and bring up its appearance. The area was quite large, so this took most of the first day.

Returning the following morning, we moved onto cleaning the grout lines using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. Then the whole patio was rinsed with water and scrubbed using a wet vacuum to extract all the soil generated. The patio was left overnight to dry out, the weather remained good, so we were able to come back the next day to seal it and complete the job.

Sealing a Black Limestone Tiled Patio

To seal the Limestone and restore colour I selected to use Tile Doctor Stone Oil, this is an easy to apply impregnating sealer, ideal for low porosity stone such as Limestone. Stone Oil is designed to enhance the colour and texture of stone, it also improves mechanical strength once it is cured.

One coat was applied to get the colour back in the stone, giving it the nice rich black it should have been. The stone was left to dry for two hours and then followed up with a coat of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal to further seal the stone. Ultra-Seal is a no-sheen, natural-look, penetrating sealer formulated to provide maximum stain protection. It is also an excellent grout sealer.

Black Limestone Patio After Renovation Cheltenham

As you can see from the pictures the results were fantastic and the customer was very happy that the patio now looked how they had expected it to when it was installed. The sealant should give it adequate protection from the elements but would need to be reapplied in future years. They were looking forward to making the most of the sunny weather and getting the barbeque out to make use of their lovely newly restored patio.

Black Limestone Patio After Renovation Cheltenham

 

Source: Black Limestone Patio Cleaning Service in Gloucestershire

Renovating Honed Limestone Flooring in Ecton, Northampton

I was contacted by the owner of a property in the picturesque village of Ecton who was concerned that her Limestone floor spanning the kitchen and open plan breakfast area was starting to lose its natural appeal and was finding it harder to clean and maintain.

Limestone Tiled Dining Room Floor Before Renovation Ecton

I went over to take a closer look at the floor and carry out a survey. In order determine the best cleaning method I conducted a test on a small area of the floor. This gives the clients confidence in my abilities and a good idea of what result we they can expect. The Limestone was honed smooth but was not polished and the customers were keen not to add too much of an unnatural shine to the floor. The grout lines in some of the more heavily used areas, such as by the sink, were also discoloured and would require a decent scrub with an appropriate cleaning product.

I spoke to the clients about options for the finish to be applied after cleaning and they decided that they wanted to keep the tiles as light as possible with a slight shine. With the clients impressed with the test area I prepared I went away and produced a detailed quote which was e mailed to them along with our general T&Cs and the work was booked in to be completed shortly after.

Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Renovation Ecton

Cleaning a Limestone Tiled Floor

The floor covered quite a large area, some 38m2, and had some larger items of furniture that needed to be moved before starting. The first task was to scrub the grout lines with a specialist grout brush, designed to work the product into the grout. Limestone is an acid-sensitive stone, so a strong alkaline cleaner was required. I used Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mixed with warm water at a ratio of 3:1 which was left to dwell for around twenty minutes.

The area was then rinsed with water and the soil extracted before applying a series of diamond impregnated burnishing pads attached to a rotary scrubbing machine, ranging from a coarse 400 grit (200 in some of the more stubborn areas), a medium 800-grit and finishing with a fine 1500 grit to clean the stone. The whole area was then rinsed again and extracted using a wet pick up vacuum. The floor was then left to dry overnight.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Floor

The following day a very fine 3000 grit diamond pad was used to ‘spray burnish’ the floor which uses very little water and ensures that any remaining residues are lifted as well as finishing the floor in the highest level of mechanical polishing possible prior to sealing.

If the clients desired a higher level of shine a powdered high shine sealer would have been worked into the tiles to achieve a highly reflective surface, however the mechanical polish was the highest level of shine wanted.

My client requested a completely natural finish so to seal the stone after cleaning I applied an impregnating sealer called Tile Doctor Ultra Seal. Impregnating sealers soak into the pores of the tile protecting them from within and Ultra-Seal doesn’t alter the appearance of the floor and so maintained the natural appearance of the stone keeping it as light as possible.

Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor After Renovation Ecton

Aftercare instructions along with a bottle of suitable pH Neutral Tile Cleaner were supplied.
The customer was thrilled with the result and was surprised at the transformation of the floor, they even left the following feedback on the Tile Doctor website.

“Thank you so much Phil for a professional service resulting in my floor looking just as I wanted it too. You were attentive to all detail. I would strongly recommend Phil as a trustworthy, honest person to anyone who is considering work done. See you again in the Summer Phil to clean my patio. Natalie W, Northampton”

Limestone Tiled Dining Room Floor After Renovation Ecton

 

Source: Limestone Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Ecton, Northampton

Putting the Polish back on a Dull Limestone Floor in Gloucestershire

The photographs below are of a Polished limestone floor that had been installed in the Kitchen of a house in Cheltenham approximately eight years prior. The polish and sealer had worn off over that time allowing dirt to become ingrained into the pores of the stone making it difficult to clean.

This is a common problem with all types of porous stone and tile which need to be sealed to maintain their appearance. Sealers do wear down over time with use however and need to be maintained, this is why Tile Doctor have created a maintenance program whereby we pop by every 12 months to give the floor a light clean and top-up the sealer, it only takes a few hours, but it keeps your sealer in good condition.

Polished Limestone Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning in Cheltenham Polished Limestone Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning in Cheltenham

Cheltenham by the way is a lovely town situated on the edge of the Cotswolds which is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It has a racecourse and is well known for the mineral springs which were discovered here in 1716.

Burnishing a Dull and Dirty Limestone Tiled Floor

My first job was to protect the wooden kitchen units from any splashes by covering them some cotton sheets. Next, I set about restoring the Limestone’s appearance using a set of Burnishing Pads which is a form of polishing which involves the sequential application of four diamond encrusted pads of different grit levels.

The first pad applied is a Coarse 400 grit pad which is applied to the floor with a buffing machine and lubricated with water. This process grinds away the top layer of dirt and staining from the stone, along with any old sealer, the floor is then rinsed to remove the soil that is generated. I then move through the system, applying the Medium and then Fine pads using less and less water as you go but rinsing in-between and extracting the water with a wet-vac machine.

Once I was happy with the stone I scrubbed the grout lines to remove any soiling that the pads had failed to pick up. The floor was then given a final rinse and the wet vacuum used to extract as much moisture as possible. The floor was then left to dry out completely overnight.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Floor

The next day I gave the floor a polish with the Very Fine 3,000 grit diamond burnishing pad, this is applied using a technique we call a “spray burnish” due to the fact that very little water is used during its application.

The next step was to seal the stone using for which I used Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that protects the stone from within by occupying its pores. Colour Grow also has the added benefit of intensifying the natural colours in the stone. The floor was then left to dry for an hour before I gave it one final dry polish using the Very Fine burnishing pad.

Polished Limestone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning in Cheltenham

My customer was very happy with the final result and made the comment that they thought the floor looked brand new.

Polished Limestone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning in Cheltenham

 
 
Source: Limestone Tile Cleaning and Polishing Service in Cheltenham, Gloucester

Limestone Tiles Polished in Burton Upon Trent

This Limestone tiled floor was installed in a Kitchen at a house near Burton on Trent. You can see from the photographs below that the Limestone had lost its polished appearance and was trapping dirt on the surface including a few stubborn marks; the grout was also looking grubby and dark.

Limestone Floor Before Limestone Floor Before

Cleaning a Limestone Tiled Floor

Restoring the shine on a polished stone such as Limestone, Travertine or Marble requires the surface to be stripped back and then buffed, which we did by using a set of burnishing pads. These diamond encrusted pads come in different grade sand each one does a different job from scrubbing to polishing. I started with the course red pad together with a little water and then carried on with the white, then yellow pads again using a little water removing the soiled water along the way. Finally when I had dried the floor I used a green pad to buff the floor up. This activity took most of the day so left the floor to dry off overnight.

Sealing Limestone Tile

On our return the next day the floor was given a quick wipe with a damp mop to get remove any debris or dust that may have landed on the floor overnight. This soon dried and we were able to apply two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a specially designed stone sealer that brings out the deep colour of the stone. Once this had dried it was given a quick once over with a white buffing pad fitted to a rotary machine on a slow speed, this step ensures any excess sealant is removed off the tiles.

The floor was then left for about one hour to dry before working in Tile Doctor Shine powder with a buffing pad to give a really deep finish. We were still not finished however; the grout was still looking grubby so we agreed with the customer to pop back the next day and apply Tile Doctor Grout Colourant in a Sandstone colour.

Limestone Floor After Limestone Floor After

When we had finished the customer was very happy with the work we done and even commented that it looked better than when they first had the floor laid. I recommended that for future maintenance and to extend the life of the sealer they should use Tile Doctor neutral cleaner, it’s a PH neutral cleaner and so is safe to use on sealed stone.
 
 
Source: Polishing Limestone Floor tiles in Staffordshire