Below are photographs of a Limestone tiled kitchen floor at a house in Knotty Green near Beaconsfield. The stone floor had lost its polish with use and now appeared flat and unattractive additionally the grout had darkened severely with dirt and was overdue a good scrub to get it clean.
Natural stone is actually a porous material that needs to be sealed in order to prevent dirt from becoming ingrained however unless its maintained constant foot traffic on floor tiles wears down the sealer leaving the stone vulnerable and difficult to clean effectively.
Burnishing and Cleaning a Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor
If you have read other posts on my website, you will know that we find the best way to restore the appearance of polished stone is through the application of a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads of varying grits to grind away dirt and slowly build the polish on the stone.
You start with the application of the coarse 400-grit pad which is fitted to a rotary buffer machine and applied to the floor with water to lubricate the process, the resultant slurry is then rinsed off with water and extracted with a wet vacuum. Next is the Medium 800-grit pad and then the Fine 1500-grit pad, both applied in exactly the same way.
Once I had completed the whole floor with three of the four pads I got to work cleaning the grout. For this, I used a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean, our reliable alkaline cleaner, in combination with a handheld scrubbing brush. Once the grout was clean I gave the floor another rinse with water and then removed as much liquids and moisture as possible using the wet vacuum leaving it to dry off fully overnight.
Sealing a Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor
The following day I returned to complete the floor starting with the application of the fourth diamond encrusted pad in the set of four which is a Very fine 3000-grit using a method we call a spray burnish which essentially involves applying the pad dry to the floor with a small amount of water sprayed on the stone. This process closes the pores in the floor and adds a good quality sheen to the tile.
Finally, I applied two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is an impregnating sealer that penetrates into the pores of the stone to provide maximum stain protection from within. This sealer is also completely transparent, so it does not affect the natural look of the stone.
The Limestone responded really well to the treatment and the floor now looks like new.
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.
Slightly different story for you below; this time from the medieval town of Tewksbury which dates all the way back to the 8th century. A customer there had asked if there was anything that could be done to restore the appearance of their polished Limestone kitchen floor on which he had previously applied a wood sealer which had turned the tiles brown.
I inspected the floor and ran a test clean on a small section of tile which successfully removed the wood seal. This gave the customer the confidence to book me into to complete the job which I estimated would take three days to strip off the old sealer, deep clean and reseal with a more appropriate product.
You probably can’t appreciate how bad the tiles looked from the photograph above but if you look at the indicated area under the kitchen units where the kick boards have been removed you can really see how the brown stain in the wood sealer has darkened the look of the tile.
Removing Old Sealers from Limestone Kitchen Floor
On the first day I prepared the area by removing the kick boards from the underneath the kitchen units so they wouldn’t get affected by the cleaning process and started wetting the floor with water. The water lubricates the burnishing process whereby coarse diamond encrusted pads are applied to the floor with a buffing machine. We started the process using a very coarse 100 grit milling pad to remove the wood sealer before moving onto the finer pads from 200 grit, 400 grit, 800 grit and finally 1500 grit pad building the finish of the floor as we progressed. The floor is rinsed with water between pads and the slurry is removed using a wet vacuum.
This burnishing process took up all of the first day so the next day I returned to focus on the edges I had missed and the grout lines, being a relatively small format tile for Limestone there was a lot of grout to cover. I tacked the grout lines with Remove and Go which is a powerful stripper and cleaning agent which is applied along the grout line and then scrubbed in with a narrow stiff brush before being rinsed away with water. The edges were treated with a set of small six inch milling pads fitted to a hand held buffing machine in a similar process as on the first day.
Sealing a Limestone Tiled Floor
On the third and final day the floor was spray burnished which a process is involving a very fine 3,000 grit floor burnishing pad and a little water spayed onto the floor during the application. This process really tightens up the pores in the stone and restores its appearance.
After making sure the floor was free of any lose grit I then proceeded to seal the Limestone with Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is a natural look sealer that doesn’t alter the appearance of the stone but penetrates into the pores of the stone to protect it from within. I left it to dry for an hour then buffed the floor with a white buffing pad before apply a second coat. This was also left to dry for an hour before running the buffing pad over for a last time.
It took a fair amount of work to get the floor looking back the way it was meant to be but I’m very pleased with the outcome and more importantly my customer was really happy.
This Limestone tiled floor in Twickenham, Middlesex had only been laid eighteen month earlier. However, due to an in-effectual seal on the floor, the soil had accumulated and embedded into the pores of the stone. Limestone like many types of natural stone is a very porous stone and it doesn’t take much for the dirt to build up and start to discolour the floor.
The tile had been laid through out the Kitchen and adjacent dinning area and the solution was quite straight forward and simply required and a good clean and re-seal as detailed below.
Cleaning Limestone Tiles
We started with an application of a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was sprayed onto the floor and allowed to dwell for five to ten minutes. Following this, we used a heavy duty floor scrubbing machine in order to break the soil away and existing sealer from the stone.
Once we were happy that the soil and sealer had been dislodged, we then removed all of the chemical and soil via our extraction machine. This applies pressured water onto the stone whilst vacuuming all of the waste away, leaving the floor as clean and fresh as it could possibly be.
Sealing Limestone Tiles
After allowing the floor to dry out overnight, we returned the next morning to apply the seal. Two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer were applied to give the best protection possible. Colour Grow penetrates into the pores of the stone protecting it from within whilst also enhancing its natural colours and contrast.
Once done the floor looked like it had just been laid and the customer was extremely happy with the end result.
This post comes from the kitchen of a house in the village of Odcombe, which is a few miles west of Yeovil, where the Blue Lias Flagstone floor which dated back to 1780 was far from looking its best. With the exception of ingrained dirt the Flagstones were in good physical condition considering their age but the some of the grouting had come loose and would need replacing as part of the restoration process.
If left unprotected dirt becomes ingrained into the pores of stone and once this happens it can become very difficult to keep it clean. A sealer will add that layer of protection but does wear off over time and in this case I suspect it had been quite some time since the floor had been given a deep clean and re-seal.
Deep Cleaning Blue Lias Flagstones
To deep clean the floor we spent two days scrubbing the floor with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a multi-purpose cleaner/sealer remover that’s designed for use on Tile, Stone and Grout. The product is diluted with water and then applied to the floor where it is left to soak into the stone for ten to twenty minutes before scrubbing the floor with a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. This process released the dirt from within the pores of the stone and we were able to rinse it away with more water which was extracted using a wet vacuum.
The process was repeated a couple of times to ensure the stone was as clean as it could be and we used stiff brushes along the grout lines where the pad struggled to reach to ensure the grout was also clean.
One done our attention turned to raking out loose grout and replacing it with new in a matching colour to ensure it blended in with the old.
Sealing Blue Lias Flagstones Floor Tiles
We left the floor to dry for a further two days before returning to apply a sealer, it’s important that the floor is dry before sealing as applying a sealer to a damp floor will can have undesirable results.
After the deep cleaning process, the Flagstones were looking cleaning but rather grey so before sealing and to bring the colour back two coats of Stone oil were applied and left to soak in.
Once the Stone Oil had dried it was followed by sealing the floor with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water based sealer (so no smell as it dries) that leaves an appealing satin sheen lifting the appearance as well as protecting the stone.
It took some time to do but I think you will agree this two-hundred-year-old floor has been transformed by the process.