Protecting Limestone Patios from the Elements

This beautiful Limestone patio had been installed in the back garden of a house in Nuneaton and then covered with some form of acrylic coating to protect it. Unfortunately the coating wasn’t able to defend against the ravages of the UK weather and had become loose leaving the Limestone exposed to the elements where it soon became very grimy.

Limestone Patio Before Cleaning Nuneaton

Stripping acrylic coatings from Limestone tiles

The acrylic coating had to be removed which was done using a combination of manual scraping using a fine blade and then with a 1:4 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean was mopped onto the tiles and left for ten minutes to dwell before being scrubbed with a buffing machine fitted with a black pad. This process brought out the dirt that had become ingrained into the stone, there were some stubborn areas and these were treated with Tile Doctor Remove and Gof which is a stronger product. The resultant slurry was removed using a wet vacuum and the patio left to dry overnight.

Limestone Patio During Cleaning Nuneaton Limestone Patio During Cleaning Nuneaton

Sealing a Limestone patio

I came back the second day to seal the patio checking first that it was suitably dry. Two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow were applied which is a colour enhancing impregnating sealer that can be used internally and externally, it works really on Limestone and did well to bring out the natural colours in the stone.

Limestone Patio After Cleaning Nuneaton Limestone Patio After Cleaning Nuneaton

 
 
Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout maintenance service in Warwickshire

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

Limestone Floor Maintained in Coventry

This Limestone Tiled Floor was installed in the hall and kitchen of a residence in Coventry. The floor had scratch damage in the middle of the kitchen and was dull from the previous use of the wrong cleaning products, the house had recently been sold and the new owners wanted the damage removed and Limestone sealed and polished so it looked new again.

Limstone Tiled Floor Before cleaning Limstone Tiled Floor showing scratch

Cleaning Limestone and Grout

The first task was to give the floor a general clean using a dilution Tile Doctor Pro-Clean with the focus on the ensuring the grout lines were given a good scrub to get them looking clean again. The dirty solution was then removed from the floor using a wet vacuum and rinsed with clean water.

Limestone like Marble and Granite is a very hard stone and needs to be cutback with burnishing pads to get it looking good again; the pads fit a rotary buffing machine and applied with a little water. Tile Doctor supplies a four pad Burnishing set for this purpose and you start off using a coarse pad to cut back the dirt from the floor and then move through the pads until you get to the last one which is very fine and polishes up the stone.

Limstone Tiled Floor Burnishing Pad

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

To protect the floor it was sealed with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is designed to lift the natural colours in the stone and will protect the tile from stains in future.

Limstone Tiled Floor After Cleaning and Polishing3 Limstone Tiled Floor After Cleaning and Polishing

In total the floor took eight hours to clean and re-polish, the scratch was gone and the floor now looks new again, just what the customer wanted.
 
 
Source: Limestone Tiled Floors Maitained in Warwickshire

New Ruined Limestone floor restored

This client had recently had a black limestone tiled floor installed in the kitchen and dining area in his home on the northern border of Warwickshire. Unfortunately however the tiler had not sealed the tiles prior and struggled to remove the grout smears from the Limestone surface. The tiles were then sealed trapping the grout haze under the sealer; naturally the client was far from happy and was instructed to remove the grout using an acid wash.

Black Limestone Tiles Before Black Limestone Tiles Before

The acid things turned the floor grey removing the oils in the floor from the factory and also caused the natural salts within the tile to rise to the surface. The tiles were then sealed with an external patio sealant without removing the existing surface sealer. All this compounded the problems in the floor causing it to mark easily and lose its colour; on top of that it had big cloudy white patches all over from the trapped salts.

Stripping sealer from a Limestone Floor Tiles

To resolve the problems with the floor it had to be fully stripped back and cleaned of all sealants and salt etc. which was done by applying a solution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go combined with Nanotech UltraClean mopped on to the floor in two square metres at a time. The solution was allowed to soak into the floor for thirty minutes to allow the chemicals break down and then scrubbed using a rotary machine fitted with a black pad. The soiled solution was then extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum. This process was repeated across the entire floor until all the sealer had been removed.

Limestone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning

Removing Salts from Limestone Tiles

To remove the salts and remaining grout haze the floor was treated with Grout Clean-up which is an acid based cleaning product that is designed to penetrate below the surface and remove light grout smears (grout haze) as well as mineral deposits such as salts and efflorescence, again this treatment was applied two square meters at a time, quickly worked into the floor and removed with the wet vacuum. Once this process was complete the whole floor was washed at high pressure rinse three times to ensure all trace of chemicals had been removed.

The floor was left to dry and when we came back the second day it was noticed that there were still some salts coming through to the surface of the Limestone, these areas were re-treated and the floor washed down again and left to dry as before.

Limestone Kitchen Part Sealed

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

The floor looked much improved on the third day although it was still looking washed out. To put the colour back into the black limestone it was treated with stone oil with turns the floor back to black and then sealed with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which will protect the tile going forward.

The floor now looks how it was intended and certainly the customer was pleased and left the following comment on our feedback system.

“We are so pleased with the work carried out by the tile doctor to our kitchen, utility and family room. The floor now looks exactly how we hoped it would look when we originally purchased it. We’ve struggled to get it looking right since then and now we feel we finally have a floor we can enjoy at last! We also found Mick to be professional and highly knowledgeable on our floor. He has given us really good advice and has been really easy to contact and has also been happy to give us further help and advice over the phone even when the job’s been completed. L. Nash”

Limestone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning and Sealing Limestone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning and Sealing

Source: Resolving Limestone tile installation problems in Warwickshire