Resolving Limestone Floor Lippage issues in Wickham, Hampshire

The client in the small village of Wickham had recently had a new Limestone tiled floor laid in his kitchen/conservatory on top of electric underfloor heating or UFH as its commonly known. Although the Limestone looked great the tiler had not laid the tiles very level and there were many tiles with 2 to 5 mm lippage between them. Not only was this unsightly it also created a tripping hazard. It was unacceptable to the client and they were very disappointed with the new floor.

Uneven limestone tiled floor Wickham before levelling

Wickham is a small village close to Fareham and actually only ten miles from our base in Portsmouth, so it wasn’t long before I was able to head over and survey the floor and come up with solutions.

As I saw it, we had three options,

  1. Live with it as is.
  2. Rip it all up and damage the electric underfloor heating matt, which would then also need replacing.
  3. Mill the stone with abrasive pads to grind down the lippage.

We discussed all three options and the cost implications; they really were not happy to live with it so that option was out and taking the floor up was going to cause huge disruption and cost. He chose wisely and went for option 3! We confirmed the price and arranged a time to return to carry out the work.

Uneven limestone tiled floor Wickham before levelling

Levelling an Uneven Stone Floor with Milling Pads

We returned a few weeks later to carry out the work. We used two technicians who very slowly they started grinding the floor level with a heavy rotary machine fitted with milling pads. The pads are applied in sequence with water from 50-grit, 100-grit, 200-grit, 400-grit, 800-grit and then finally 1500-grit. The floor is rinsed with more water in between each pad to remove the fine slurry that is generated. This can be a messy job, but we make use of a wet vacuum to extract the slurry and try hard to keep the dust created to a minimum.

The 50, 100 and 200 grit milling pads are very coarse and grind down the stone flattening the lippage difference between the tiles, the 400, 800 and 1500 grit burnishing pads then refine and hone the stone bringing back its polished appearance. Once we were satisfied that the floor had been milled successfully and the level of the floor was now acceptable, we gave the floor a final rinse and extraction, then left it to dry out.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

After a couple of days, we came back to seal it with Tile Doctor Colour Grow. The floor was checked before sealing with a moisture meter to ensure it was nice and dry. The seal would not cure property otherwise.

Three coats of the Tile Doctor Colour Grow product were applied to the Limestones. This product is an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the pores in the stone thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there. Colour Grow enhances the natural colours in the stone and works well on Limestone where it brings out the cream and brown shades and really enhances the appearance of the stone.

Uneven limestone tiled floor Wickham after levelling Uneven limestone tiled floor Wickham after levelling

After completion the floor was completely level and it looked lighter and cleaner. You can see the results in the pictures, the floor was transformed, and the kitchen now looks stunning. The client was ecstatic and recommended Tile Doctor to the shop where he had purchased the stone as they had felt he would never get the finish he had hoped for. He also left the following testimonial on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

We had a new limestone floor installed in a large and difficult area but the result was not satisfactory in that there was too much “lippage” from stone to stone in many parts of the floor. All the advice we received was that it would not be feasible to mill the floor level and that we would either have to live with it or lift and replace it – a terrible prospect. However, Charles persuaded us that it could be done and his team managed to mill it and polish it such that it now looks superb. The process was relatively quick and very clean. The team was thorough, professional and a pleasure to have around. We are delighted with the result and would recommend them strongly for any similar work
Philip G., Wickham

 

Source: Uneven Limestone Floor Levelled and Polished in Wickham, Hampshire

Limestone Floor Restored in Plymouth Listed Building

Hidden underneath a lot of grime and staining in the basement of a building of special interest (Grade II-listed) in Plymouth is a fantastic Limestone tiled floor that was originally sourced from a local quarry near the city.

The floor had been hidden under a covering at some point in its history, but for at least the last decade it had been used to house dogs. As far as the new owner of the building could tell, the floor had never once been cleaned! To worsen the situation, the floor had also suffered from damp during winters and periods of heavy rain.

The customer got in touch because the suggested solution that was accepted by the council was to install an expensive floating floor on top of the limestone and hide this lovely feature. I produced a report on the floor about how the design of the traditional floors worked, plus my findings and recommendations which was passed to the council. The recommendations to re-grout in a natural lime mortar, mill the stones to lift any grime and improve any mild undulation and lippage to help with any pooling issues and to seal the floor in a breathable sealer were endorsed.

Plymouth Limestone Floor Plymouth Before Restoration

Milling a Stained Limestone Tiled Floor

The first job was to rake out all the existing grout, an inappropriate patchwork of cement and lime which had been completely scuffed away in parts and was contributing to the damp issues by preventing the floor from working how it was designed to (moisture permeates evenly through the lime-based grout and evaporates into the house due to the heat of the people living there). The grout, or pointing, was then replaced with lime mixed with a ratio of 1:3 with sand which is what would have been used originally, allowing the floor to ‘breathe’.

Following this, a process called milling was used which uses diamond-impregnated discs to cut the surface of the stone back and strip the stone, opening the pores to remove any stains as well as flatten any stones out where necessary.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Floor

After successfully removing the grime and stains on the surface of the floor, it was necessary to seal the stone to protect it against ingrained muck in the future.

To do this, I used Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is our colour-enhancing, breathable sealer which prevents moisture from becoming trapped. Additionally Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that penetrates and fills the pores of the stone to block dirt and stains becoming trapper there, it also leaves an aesthetically pleasing natural look finish which really suited the character of this Limestone tiled floor.

Plymouth Limestone Floor Plymouth After Restoration

It took some work and once done the floor looked fantastic, certainly the new property owner seemed to think so – he was exceptionally happy to have this fantastic feature back to looking its absolute best and left the following feedback.

“Stuart completed the restoration of a stone floor within a Grade II listed building. He completed milling and polishing of the 200 year old stones over around 50m2. The outcome of the work was amazing; the floor was transformed from a dull grey colour to a finish like marble. Great service provided and looking forward to working with you on again on the next project.”
Mr J. Yorke, Plymouth
 
 
Source: Limestone Tile Cleaning and Restoration in Devon