Removing Grout Haze from a large Mottled Brown Limestone Floor in Norfolk

Now here’s a problem we regularly come across with natural stone floors such as this Mottled Brown Limestone floor installed at a house in Hindolveston; it should have a deep rich shine but without regular maintenance the polish wears off and it becomes dull and uninviting.

Hindolveston is a small village near the North Norfolk coast east of Fakenham. There are several large old houses in the area, and we had been invited by the owner of one of them to advise on the renovation of their recently laid and hugely expensive Brown Limestone floor. Measuring approximately 110 square metres the Limestone tiles had been installed throughout the lounge, dining area and spacious kitchen which featured an enormous AGA range.

Limestone Tiled Floor Before Renovation in Hindolveston

The floor tiles themselves had been very well laid but had an odd milky film across the surface which completely masked the beautiful deep brown mottled nature of the stone. A builder had put down some protective coverings during renovations which became damp and had left a distinct pattern in the film when they were removed. After carrying out appropriate testing to determine what this was, we found that the grout haze had not been completely removed before the floor was sealed and allowed to cure across the whole surface. This combination resulted in the milky film which was impervious to all the cleaning and stripping chemicals the builder had tried.

Removing Grout Haze and Cleaning a Brown Limestone Floor

Our solution to the problem was to burnish and re-polish the stone with a 4-piece set of Tile Doctor Burnishing Pads which with the addition of a coarser grade 200-grit pad when we found the thick film to be extremely tenacious.

The pads were applied with a 17″ rotary floor machine in sequence from 400-grit to 1500-grit. No chemicals are needed for this only water to lubricate, rinsing and extracting after each pad. We make use of a Ninja high-pressure cleaning machine to rinse and extra the soil released from the floor; it runs at 400psi so its very effective.

The pads struggle to reach into the internal corners so the last step of the cleaning process was to treat them by hand using Tile Doctor burnishing blocks. The whole floor was then left to dry off thoroughly overnight with assistance from our large capacity dehumidifier.

Sealing Brown Limestone Floor Tiling

On our return, we checked across the whole floor with a moisture meter to ensure that there was no significant moisture left in the tiles which would adversely affect the performance of the sealer before it had time to cure fully.

Satisfied that this was the case, we vacuumed the floor to remove any dust and grit before spray burnishing the surface with the last of the four burnishing pads which is a very fine 3000-grit diamond pad. Again, this is applied using the rotary floor machine and run over the Limestone floor to produce a deep shine, much to the delight of the client.

Finally, the tiles were sealed using Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which is a no-sheen penetrating sealer which provides excellent fluid resistance without altering the appearance of the stone itself. One last vacuuming and the job was done!

Limestone Tiled Floor After Renovation in Hindolveston

A very relieved and happy client who then promptly booked us in to renovate the limestone and encaustic tiled floors in all her bathrooms.

 

Source: Limestone Tile Cleaning, Sealing and Renovation Service in Norfolk

Pitted Jerusalem Limestone Floor Renovated in York

Jerusalem Stone is a pale variety of Limestone that comes from Israel and is available in different colours. It’s a high-quality material that has been used in construction for thousands of years however like all Stone used as flooring, it benefits from being sealed to prevent dirt from becoming ingrained in the stone.

Jerusalem Limestone Before Cleaning York

This ground floor of this house in the historic walled city of York had around 60 metres of Jerusalem Limestone installed throughout the kitchen area and some adjacent steps. Its appearance had degraded with use and was now looking flat, dirty and generally uninviting. Additionally, the customer didn’t like the natural pitting in the stone which proved to be a trap where dirt became ingrained making it more difficult to clean.

Jerusalem Limestone Before Cleaning York

I surveyed the floor and discussed the process required to restore the floor including restoration work to fill the pitting. I also worked out a price which was agreed and booked a date in the diary for the work to be done.

Cleaning and Filling a Jerusalem Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

My first task was to fill the holes using three different colours of grout. The floor was a mixture of shades, so I chose the best match based on the different colours in the stone. This work was tedious and a little slow but worked well and I was very pleased with the result. I come from a Tiling background so am quite used to working with grout in this manner.

Jerusalem Limestone Before Filling York Jerusalem Limestone After Filling York

Next the floor was deep cleaned with the 400, 800 and 1500 grit diamond burnishing pads fitted to a weighted floor buffer and lubricated with water. The pads are applied in sequence starting with the 400-grit pad first and the soil generated is rinsed off with water in-between. This process removes grease marks, old sealers, ingrained dirt and builds the polished finish of the limestone. I also used a hand-held burnishing block on the steps to get into the intricate corners.

The grout was particularly dirty and was cleaned by hand using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean scrubbed in with a narrow stiff brush and the soil rinsed off with water and extracted with a wet vacuum. This product is a multi-purpose cleaner and degreaser and it really gets to work on the hard to shift build-up of dirt, grime and grease.

The floor was left to dry off overnight, the lovely warm weather was a blessing as the floor was pretty large, thankfully we didn’t need to install any driers on this occasion.

Jerusalem Limestone During Grout Cleaning York

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

I returned the next day to finish the polishing with the final 3000-grit pad applied with a little water sprayed onto the tile. once done I tested the floor with a damp meter to make sure it was nice and dry and ready for sealing. The filled areas were looking particularly good, eliminating the issue the customer was having with dirt getting stuck in them.

To seal the Jerusalem Limestone and protect it from ingrained dirt I used two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which is a natural look sealer that doesn’t alter the appearance of the stone. As well as providing the natural no-sheen look that the customer wanted it will provide stain protection and is recommended for food preparation areas such as kitchens. It also was excellent for sealing the grout and the areas I had filled.

Jerusalem Limestone After Cleaning York

The customer was very happy with the result and couldn’t believe how fast we had worked to restore the floor. She was relieved it would now be much easier to clean and maintain.

Jerusalem Limestone After Cleaning York

 

Source: Limestone Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in York

London White Stone Cleaned and Sealed in Leyburn, North Yorkshire

This floor is London White Limestone which is a very expensive but stunning stone that costs around £60 per square metre. It’s a pale stone that has a wonderful texture and aged appearance that makes it quite unique. Unfortunately, however being a pale stone, it didn’t photograph well, especially in low light so apologies in advance for the poor photographs.

The stone was installed in a very large area across much of the ground floor of this stunning house in the North Yorkshire spa town of Leyburn. The property was in the centre of the town which is just 13 miles from the Yorkshire Dales National Park. There were four areas in total that needed attention, two of which were still quite clean, the main areas that needed attention were the high traffic areas around the entrance hall and kitchen which needed a full clean. The sealant had started to break down and with the stone being white, the floors were looking a bit dirty and drab.

London White Limestone Before Cleaning Leyburn London White Limestone Before Cleaning Leyburn

The two other rooms were only laid around a year ago and were still clean and unmarked however due to the state of the other floors the customer was concerned about the original sealer that had been used and so I agreed to top up the seal in these rooms with a different product to add more protection. Lithofin Stain-Stop had been used previously which from my experience isn’t up to sealing Limestone properly, so l said l could apply a more effective sealer which would penetrate the existing and provide more protection. To make matters worse the client had been using household cleaners which weren’t suitable for cleaning a sealed floor. We agreed a price for the work to be carried out, which the client was happy with, the work was scheduled in for a few weeks later.

Cleaning a London White Limestone Tiled Ground Floor

After adding protection to the skirting boards, I started cleaning the stone in the entrance and kitchen areas. I find you get the best results on Limestone by applying a series of Diamond encrusted honing pads which clean and hone the stone. They are applied in sequence starting with a coarse 400-grit pad followed by the medium 800-grit and then fine 1500-grit pad. The pads are applied with water to provide lubrication and the floor rinsed in between the application of each pad with the soil being extracted with a wet vacuum.

If you have read any of my other posts, you are would probably be expecting me to follow-up the burnishing process with a 3000-grit polishing pad however that wasn’t required in this case as we only use that on polished stone to achieve a deeper shine. The immediate result was a lightly polished floor which looked much brighter than before.

Sealing a London White Limestone tiled Ground Floor

The floor was left overnight to dry off, I double checked with the moisture meter that the previously cleaned area was dry and then all four areas were sealed the next day using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal. This is a premium, no-sheen, natural-look, solvent-based penetrating sealer which is created to provide maximum stain protection without changing the appearance of the beautiful stone floor.

London White Limestone After Cleaning Leyburn London White Limestone After Cleaning Leyburn

For after care I recommended to my customer the use of Tile Doctor Stone Soap which will clean the floor without prematurely eroding the sealer. The client was very happy with the finish and thankful for the maintenance advice that will help them maintain their beautiful stone floor in good condition.

 

Source: Limestone Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Leyburn, North Yorkshire

Renovating a Stained Limestone Fireplace in Chelmsford

The UK has been experiencing an increasing amount of rain over the last few years and this has resulted in quite a few areas being flooded. One of those areas is the old city of Chelmsford in the middle of Essex which is prone to flooding due to the rivers Cam and Chelmer that run through the town.

Limestone Fireplace Before Flood Stain Removal Chelmsford

I was asked to visit a property in the town that had been flooded over winter and the red dye in the carpet that was lying on the floor adjacent to their lovely Limestone Fireplace had stained the hearth in several places but primarily around the edges.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Red Dye Staining Chelmsford

The fire place had never been sealed and because of this the stone had sucked up the flood water like a sponge. They had drying equipment installed and as the moisture evaporated the red staining became more and more evident. Since then several companies had been to try and remedy the problem and each one was unsuccessful. The couple contacted us, and we went to assess the problem fully equipped to carry out the work.

Cleaning a Dye Stained Limestone Fireplace Hearth

Had the Fireplace been sealed we our first task would have been to remove to ensure we would have no issues sealing the fireplace later. In this case however that wasn’t an issue, so we were able to move straight onto cleaning up the stone using a set of diamond encrusted hand-held burnishing blocks. We started with the coarsest block (50 grit) and rubbed the stone with a bit of added water as lubrication, before wet vacuuming away the excess residue. This process was then repeated with progressively finer blocks (100, 200 and 400 grit), and the hearths were given a final rinse with fresh water.

The burnishing blocks are excellent tools to remove scratches and marks from tile and stone and did a good job of removing the red dye from around the hearth. They also took care of some marks that had appeared where the owner had placed a couple of slate tiles on the flat part of the hearth.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Rust Stain Spots Chelmsford

Along with these marks were some corrosion spots where a metal ornament had been sitting on the hearth for several years. I treated these with Tile Doctor Rust Away which is a specialist product for removing rust stains from tile and stone after a few applications the stain was gone.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Rust Stain Spots Chelmsford

Sealing a Limestone Fireplace Hearth

After we had cleaned the fireplace up to the satisfaction of the client we used a smail dryer to dry everything out so that we could finish the job and seal the fireplace the same day. Once the stone moisture levels were at the correct level the Limestone Fireplace was sealed using three coats of Tile doctor Ultra-Seal leaving twenty minutes between coats.

Ultra-Seal is a no-sheen product that impregnates the pores of the stone protecting from within without changing the look of the stone thereby leaving it with a natural appearance. I’m please to say our efforts paid off and the Limestone Fireplace and Hearth is now stain free and looking like new.

Limestone Fireplace After Rust Stain Removal Chelmsford Limestone Fireplace After Flood Stain Removal Chelmsford

 

Source: Limestone Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Chelmsford

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

Dealing with Wine Stains on Limestone in Woking

Here at Tile Doctor we have developed numerous products and techniques for dealing with all types of situations related to the cleaning of stone, tile and grout. Whilst the most popular work we do relates to the cleaning and sealing of floors sometimes we get asked to resolve more unusual issues such as this Wine Stained Limestone Fireplace at a house in the London commuter town of Woking.

Unfortunately for the customer their teenage son had knocked a glass of red wine from the dining table onto the carpet and over his parent’s adjacent limestone fireplace which despite early attention left noticeable dark spots in the stone. The customer was keen to have the stains removed and had even resigned himself to the possibility of replacing the whole fixture. Naturally this would’ve cost hundreds of pounds; fortunately, however he discovered Tile Doctor on the internet and realised the staining could be remedied reasonably easily with the correct knowledge and products.

Limestone Fireplace Before Wine Stain Removal Woking

Cleaning a Wine Stained Limestone Fireplace

I mentioned earlier Tile Doctor have developed numerous products and techniques and this includes Tile Doctor Reduxa which is designed to lift the stains out of stone, so I decided to try that first.

My method of application was to spray the stain with Reduxa and leave it to soak into the stone for about twenty seconds. Then I worked the solution into the surface of the stain lightly using a smooth 400 grit diamond block. The next step involves using a heat gun to dry out the area. This process is repeated five or six times until the stain completely disappears. The process works by dissolving the stain into the Reduxa which is then evaporated by the heat.

Limestone Fireplace After Wine Stain Removal Woking

I’m pleased to report that the stain was completely removed by the process and no other treatment was required to resolve the problem further. The customer still has to decide however what to do with the carpet…
 
 
Source: Limestone Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Woking