Slate Tile Cleaning

Rescuing a 200-Year-Old 45m2 Slate Flagstone Floor in Bideford, Devon

Whilst surveying this 200+ year old floor at a cottage in Bideford the owners told me that they were quite set on pulling up their original Slate flagstone floor and replacing with new stone, but they wanted to make sure they had explored every option before making that decision.

Slate Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Bideford

The floor, which is around 45m2, had previously been covered in old underlay and carpet for some time. There were damp issues, some relatively significant shale in areas where the moisture had sat and enough paint stains on the floor to give the walls another coat 😊

I reassured them that the floor had plenty of life left and could be rescued, and once done it would be a real feature of the property that matched its age. Removing and replacing at huge cost would not be necessary. They accepted my quote and we set a date for the work to start.

Resurfacing and Cleaning a 200-Year-Old Slate Flagstone Floor

Day 1 started with resurfacing the old Slate flags using a coarse 50-grit diamond pads which was fitted to a weighted rotary floor machine. These pads cut back the old, tired surface of the stone and reveal a new untainted surface removing the shaling stone and paint marks stains,

This process also opens the pores in the stone allow the long-standing moisture to finally evaporate overnight. Although the machine does most of the hard work its meticulous work and requires rinsing and extracting to remove the soiling.

It’s slow meticulous work and once the whole floor had been completed, I moved on to a 100-grit and then a 200-grit pad to slowly close the pores in the stone and restore the appearance of the Slate.

To fully restore the appearance of the Slate I then applied a finer 400-grit diamond burnishing pad which removed the remaining scratches and swirl marks. At the end of day 3 I knocked out a few troublesome joints and re-pointed these areas with a German Resin based jointing mortar called VDW800.

Sealing Old Slate Flagstones

By day 5 the Slate floor was ready to be sealed for which I applied two coats of Tile Doctor X-Tra Seal which is a premium oil-based product that works well on old stone floors like this one.

The natural stone colours and mineral patterns soon began to pop out again leaving a stunning and freshly restored Slate flagstone floor. The owners were over the moon with the results. They had not only saved the largest internal original feature in the cottage but had also saved money as well. A great result.

Slate Flagstone Floor After Restoration Bideford

For aftercare I recommended the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which is a mild pH neutral tile cleaning product that will ensure the integrity of the newly applied seal and will keep the floor looking in this great condition for years to come.


Professional Restoration of a Slate Flagstone Tiled Ground Floor in Devon

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


Devon Tile Doctor

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