Deep Clean and Seal for Dirty Slate Kitchen Tiles in Honiton

Honiton is an old market town in East Devon with some interesting history. Most of the main buildings in the centre town are Georgian – dating back to the 18th century – and the town has been the site of the annual Honiton Agricultural Show since 1890.

I visited this quaint area not too long ago to visit a customer. The customer’s Slate tiled kitchen floor, as you can see from the photograph below, was looking worst for wear. The sealer had worn off and dirt and grime had penetrated the pores of the stone, this made the tiles difficult to clean and the new owners of the house were having trouble improving the appearance of the floor. They thought that the tiles were laid about eight years previously but that there had been no real cleaning or maintenance on it.

Sealers are the sacrificial-lamb for tiles and stone floors and do a great job of protecting and enhancing the floor but only last around 2-4 years on normal-traffic floors such as this. Regular maintenance can extend this and topping up of the sealer once a year can see this continue indefinitely. Tile Doctor can help with any maintenance plans and can be discussed as part of any visit

Kitchen Slate Tiled Floor Honiton Before

I was called in to get this Slate tiled kitchen floor back to looking its best and easy to clean.

Cleaning a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

In this case the sealer that had been used was past its best and was attracting dirt and holding it in, so the only option would be to completely strip the floor and re-seal. The grout had also been discoloured over the years and there are a few options to get grout looking its best again.

Grout is more prone to discolouration than the tiles but usually comes up well using Tile Doctor products Remove and Go, Pro Clean or Duo Clean. If the grout is discoloured beyond repair a grout recolour is the best way forward and a variety of colours are available.

This floor was stripped of old sealers using Tile Doctor’s Remove and Go, a strong alkaline stripper and degreaser plus coarse buffing pad on a rotary scrubber to remove any traces of previous sealers plus normal kitchen oils and stains. The grout was also scrubbed for good measure using a special grout brush and the floor was thoroughly rinsed with water and a wet vac to ensure that any remaining chemicals were neutralised and removed.

This process left the floor fresh and clean – and ready to be left to dry completely overnight.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

After leaving the floor to dry overnight, I returned to the property to seal it. Before doing so, I ran a few damp tests – aware that the property is reasonably old and may not have a damp proof membrane installed. Any excess moisture can cloud the sealant and damage its performance, but thankfully this floor proved to be dry.

I proceeded then to seal the tiles using Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This is our impregnating sealer which enhances the dark natural shades in the Slate, as you can clearly see from the photo below. As an impregnating sealer, it penetrates the pores of the stone to fill them and block dirt and stains from becoming ingrained.

Kitchen Slate Tiled Floor Honiton After

The restoration was truly transformative and as you can see from the picture above the grout came up very well so a recolour wasn’t necessary.
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Dirty Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor in Devon

Dirty Travertine Kitchen Tiles Burnished and Sealed in Exeter

This Travertine kitchen floor in Exeter was mistakenly bought unfilled so there were deep holes on the surface of the stone that attracted grime and dirt in addition the floor had not been sealed to protect the stone and the whole floor was now in need of a deep clean and seal. The owners had installed the floor about five years before and were disappointed by the appearance from the onset. In fact, the floor had never lived up to their expectations and were close to ripping it up and starting again.

Unfilled Travertine Floor Exeter Before Burnishing

Travertine is a lovely stone and really adds to the appearance of any room however being a form of Limestone and acid sensitive it naturally suffers from pitting corrosion which leads to the creation of small holes in the stone. These small holes rapidly become ingrained with dirt and this ruins the appearance of the floor. Typically, Travertine tiles will be bought with the pitted holes pre-filled with a resin to avoid this problem.

After an initial visit to test the floor to identify the best products to use and a chat with the owners to talk through options, duration and processes involved a quote was produced along with standard T&Cs and the work was booked in to be completed shortly after.

Unfilled Travertine Floor Exeter Before Burnishing

Burnishing a Dirty Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor

Burnishing is our tried and tested process for restoring polished stone such as Travertine, Limestone and Marble which has become stained and dirty. It involves the application of four diamond encrusted burnishing pads of varying grit levels from 100 to 1500.

The first pad, which is Coarse, was applied to the stone together with a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go, a strong stripper/degreaser to get into the pitting and lift the grime and completely strip away the top layer of dirt, exposing the clean layer underneath.

The floor is rinsed with water and the soil extracted before the application of the Medium, Fine, and eventually the Very Fine pad to build up the polished appearance of the stone.

As well as using the burnishing pad system, I also applied to the floor Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which removes any old sealer and penetrates the pitted holes to lift out and dissolve the ingrained dirt.

At the end of the first day the floor was thoroughly rinsed to remove the dirt and chemicals from the now clean floor and the majority of the pitting was filled with a suitable filler.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Floor

The floor was left to dry off overnight with the assistance of underfloor heating and then the following day a 3,000 grit extra fine diamond pad was used to clear off any remaining residue and give the tiles a slight shine before moving onto the next step of sealing the tiles.

I sealed the floor using Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, which is a natural look penetrating sealer that leaves a matt finish. The sealer will ensure the tiles are more resistant to staining and allow the floor to look as the customer originally wanted it to look for a lot longer.

Unfilled Travertine Floor Exeter After Burnishing

For after care I left the customer with a bottle of Tile Doctor Stone Soap which is a very easy to use, neutral pH cleaner for natural, sealed stone which not only cleans the tiles but continues to add to the natural patina so the more you use it the better the floor continues to look.

Unfilled Travertine Floor Exeter After Burnishing

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Dirty and Un-Filled Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor in Exeter

Dirty and Damaged Quarry Tiled Farmhouse Kitchen Tiles Rejuvenated in Rackenford

Rackenford is a tiny village in North Devon, with a population of approximately 400 people, and is surrounded by many farms as agriculture is the main source of employment in the area.

I recently visited one of the farmhouses in the area at the request of the property owner who needed help restoring an area of Victorian quarry tiles which were around one hundred and twenty years old. The floor had been extended with a new batch of tiles which ran into a later extension about ten years prior. Both areas were dirty and attracting grime and the older tiles had some heavy damage to some tiles and had lost the colour which was indicative of being covered by carpet for a long period and salts had dried in to the tiles, damaging them and creating an orange peel type of surface.

In the past, the floor had been sealed with a topical sealer i.e. one that sits on top of the tile rather than being absorbed into it. In most areas, the sealer had long since worn off but in a few areas that it remained it had been scratched by the chairs near the large inglenook fire at one end of the room.

The customer was looking to clean and re-seal the whole floor to try to improve the look of the damaged tiles but also to make the floor easier to keep clean and maintain and were hoping that the divide between old and new tiles was less striking.

Old Quarry Tiled Farmhouse Floor Rackenford Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Dirty Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor

When it comes to cleaning natural stone tiles, our go-to cleaning product is Tile Doctor Pro Clean. Pro Clean is a multi-purpose, high alkaline cleaner that serves to both strip away any old and ineffectual sealer, and clean heavily soiled stone. The product is suitable for use on all types of natural stone and tiled floors.

I mixed a strong dilution of Pro Clean and water before spreading it liberally across the whole floor. I then left it to dwell for roughly 10 minutes before proceeding to agitate it with a scrubbing brush fitted to a heavy rotary machine. This helped to eradicate the soil build-up. Any resulting cleaning slurry was promptly removed using a wet vacuum, before the floor was left to dry completely overnight.

Sealing a Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor

Returning to the property the next day, I immediately ran some damp tests to see if there was any excess moisture present on the floor. Knowing that this was an old property, I expected that there would be no damp proof membrane installed and this would increase the chances of damp issues.

Thankfully, the floor proved to be completely dry and I was able to seal the floor using eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. Seal and Go is a water-based acrylic polymer sealer that provides both a stain resistant surface seal and a durable, aesthetically pleasing low-sheen finish that helped to return the natural reddish colours to the Quarry tiles. Although the top layer of the damaged tiles had been lost the colour had returned and were now looking much healthier.

With a fresh seal in place, the floor will now be much easier to clean and maintain. The customer was really pleased with the outcome of the restoration, which you can see in the photos below. Another satisfied customer!

Old Quarry Tiled Farmhouse Floor Rackenford After Cleaning

Although nothing can really replicate a hundred years of patina, the difference between the old and new tiles was reduced with a good clean and a consistent finish throughout. Certainly, the customer was happy and left the following feedback:

We are very pleased with this refurbishment of old quarry tiles, which have regained colour and texture. The overall slight gloss added to both these and the newer tiles next to them makes a huge difference to the whole picture. The cleaning and maintenance guide is also very useful. The bill was also very reasonable for two intensive days work – many thanks

Old Quarry Tiled Farmhouse Floor Rackenford After Cleaning Panorama

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor in Devon

Restoring a Stained Limestone Tiled Floor in a Plymouth Basement

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
 
 

Professional Restoration of Limestone Floor in a Listed Building in Plymouth