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

Maintaining Honed Limestone Tiles

The photographs below of a Honed Limestone tiles fitted in the living room of a house in Marlborough. The tiles were proving difficult to keep clean especially around the high traffic areas such as the doorway, I suspect the sealer had worn down and dirt was now becoming ingrained in the pores of the stone.

Honed Limestone Before Cleaning in Marlborough

Cleaning Limestone Floor Tiles

The first job was to remove any surface dirt and get the grout clean so a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean was mopped onto the floor and left to dwell for around ten minutes before being scrubbed into the tile and grout lines with a stiff brush. We then removed the dirty cleaning solution with a wet vacuum and rinsed the floor with clean water.

The next step was to burnish the Limestone tiles using a set of diamond burnishing pads starting with the coarse or number 1 pad as it’s known. This is run over the stone in conjunction with a little water and is designed to remove old sealers and other surface coatings and clean at the same time. The resultant milky slurry is the removed using a wet vacuum and the floor rinsed before repeating the whole process with the medium (number 2) pad and fine grade (number 3) pad. The Limestone tiles were then given a final rinse and left to dry overnight. I should point out the Limestone was honed as opposed to polished so there was no need to apply the final pad which is used to bring up the polish on stone.

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

I returned the next day to seal the floor checking first that it was dry by taking multiple readings with a damp meter. The result were fine so I was able to move quickly onto sealing the floor for which I used two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a versatile impregnating sealer that occupies the pores in the stone preventing contaminates from lodging there and enhancing the colours in natural stone.

Honed Limestone After Cleaning and Sealing in Marlborough

Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Maintenance in Wiltshire

Dealing with Grout Haze on honed Limestone

The photographs below are of a honed Limestone floor in the kitchen/diner of a house in Bingham, Nottinghamshire which had been contaminated with heavy grout haze from dark grout that had penetrated into the surface of the natural stone tiles due to the face that they had not been properly sealed prior to grouting. The customer had asked the tiler to rectify the issue, but without the proper equipment and knowledge he was unable make any impact on the problem and so we got the call.

Honed Limestone Tiled Floor in Bingham Before Cleaning Honed Limestone Tiled Floor in Bingham Before Cleaning

Milling a Limestone Tiled Floor

Before starting we cleared any furniture from the area and masked skirting boards and kitchen units. We then set about rectifying the problem with a set of Milling Pads that which remove a layer off the surface of the stone; this also has the added advantage of removing any lippage issues between the tiles.

Milling natural stone flooring is a controlled process using water, and specially manufactured diamond milling pads. We have a special low speed rotary floor machine for this purpose which is weighted with 65kg to ensure the right level of tension on the floor.

A rotary hand polisher and oscillating multi-tool fitted with smaller milling pads were used to remove the grout haze from the wall edges and wall corners of the tiled kitchen. Once satisfied the contamination had been removed, then the floor was thoroughly rinsed with fresh water to remove the resulting slurry created by the milling process and then left to dry off overnight.

Sealing the Limestone Floor

The next morning I arrived to find the floor had dried out enough for me to seal it which was done using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an advanced sealer from the Tile Doctor range that impregnates into the stone and lifts the natural colours in the Limestone floor as well as providing stain protection from both water and oils spills. Once the sealer had dried I then finished it all off with a quick buff using a white buffing pad.

Honed Limestone Tiled Floor in Bingham After Cleaning

After an hour of sealing the floor can be walked on, but impregnating sealers take up to 48 hours to fully care so care should be taken before the floor is subjected to normal use. For maintenance I recommended regular cleaning with a damp mop using a diluted solution (1:100) of Tile Doctors Stone Soap which is PH neutral and won’t affect the sealer.
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Problems resolved in Nottinghamshire

Refreshing a Limestone Tiled Floor

These Limestone tiles, installed in a lovely residence in the ancient market town of Oswestry close to the English/Welsh border, had become dull and dirty over the years and I was asked to get them looking their best again. When I arrived to do the quotation the customer’s main concern was that the grout lines had become dirty, but when I completed a test clean on one tile and the grout around it they realised the tiles themselves were dirty and had lost their shine to become a mat finish.

Limestone Floor Before Cleaning and Polishing Oswestry Limestone Floor Before Cleaning and Polishing Oswestry

Cleaning Limestone Tiles

It was a large floor so working in sections I gave the floor a general clean using a mild dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was spread over the floor with particular attention paid to getting the solution into the grout lines. The solution was left to soak in and eat through any dirt and a stiff grout brush was run along each grout line giving it a good scrub along the way. Next we removed any trace of product by using a wet vacuum to extract the now dirty cleaning solution and rinsed thoroughly with clean water.

There were a couple of holes in the Limestone that needed attention so these were filled with a matching colour. The next step was to use a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads which attach to a rotary machine and burnish the floor with four different grits from coarse to super fine. To remove any remaining sealer and dirt the floor is burnished using a course pad and a little water to help lubricate passing over each tile around four times in the process. The resultant soiled water is rinsed away with clean water which in turn is removed using a wet vacuum. This process is then repeated with the remaining pads, rinsing between each pad until a nice polish is built up on the tile. I managed to finish with the 2nd and 3rd pads but it was getting late to completely finish the polishing so called it a day.

Cleaning Limestone and Limestone Tiles

When I arrived on the second day to finish the polishing process with the fourth super fine polishing pad and seal the floor the customer thought I had already finished polishing and was already happy with the shine we had achieved so far, so you can imagine how happy she when I told her there was more to do. Once I had finished polishing I applied a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which impregnates the pores in the stone to prevent other contaminates getting in there; Colour Grow also does a great job of bringing out the natural colours in the stone.

Limestone Floor After Cleaning and Polishing Oswestry Limestone Floor After Cleaning and Polishing Oswestry

The customer was very happy with the end result and left the following feedback:

“Joe’s work is excellent. He planned the work accurately and arrived punctually, and he works without leaving any mess. Our limestone floor is now as beautiful as when new. Highly recommended.”
Source: Tile and Stone Cleaning, Polishing and Sealing Service in Shropshire

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

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

Burnishing and Sealing Limestone Tiles in Gainsborough

This was a large 60m2 Limestone tiled floor installed in the entrance hall and kitchen of a residence in the town of Gainsborough. The Limestone tiles had lost their shine and cracks had appeared in a number of tiles which was due to the floor settling after it had been built, any previous sealer was failing and the tiles were getting very dirty with visible staining.

Limestone Tile Before Cleaning Gainsborough Limestone Tile Before Cleaning Gainsborough

Burnishing Limestone Tiles

To clean the floor and remove the stains Limestone needs to be stripped back to the original tile with burnishing pads removing the old sealer along the way. To do this a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads are applied in sequence along with a little water. The pads come is a setup of four and you start with the coarse pad which fitted to a buffing machine running on slow speed, the coarse pad removes old sealers and then you move onto the medium, fine and very fine pads until the Limestone is cleaned and polished again. In-between pads we filled in the cracks that needed attention with Limestone flexible filler which does a great job of hiding the unsightly lines, the burnishing of the tile then makes the filler blend in and become invisible. Once the burnishing was finished the floor was rinsed down with clean water and then left to dry.

Limestone Tile During Cleaning Gainsborough

Limestone Tile Sealing

On the 2nd day the floor was dry and we applied the two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer to the tiles, the sealer fills the pores of the stone making it water and resistant and will protect it from stains in the years to come, this particular sealer has a natural matt finish and as its name suggests add a subtle lift to the natural colours in the stone.

Limestone Tile After Burnishing Gainsborough Limestone Tile After Burnishing Gainsborough

To demonstrate the floor was sealed we carried out a small test in front of the customer where she could choose any tile on which to pour water and simply watch the water form a bead and dance across the tile surface and not mark or be absorbed into the tile in any way. Even after a few minutes it just simply wipes away with no sign of a darker area visible. This shows the seal is doing its job of sealing and protecting the Limestone. She was delighted with the result so much that she is now reconsidering putting the house up for sale and staying there for another year.
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Cleaning and Sealing in Lincolnshire

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