Restoring a Riven Slate Patio Suffering from Grout Haze in Wollaston

This customer, who lives in Wollaston, a small village in Northamptonshire, called me to look at the unfortunate condition of her Riven Slate tiled patio. She had hired a builder to install it, but he had neglected to remove the grout haze which had occurred quickly enough, allowing it to set. He was subsequently unable to remove the haze because he had already sealed over it. This had left it looking very unsightly, as you can see in the photo below.

Newly Laid Riven Slate Patio Wollaston Before Cleaning

The customer initially contacted me back in December 2016. At that time, I did explain to the customer that the Winter wouldn’t be an ideal time to restore the patio, and that it would be best to carry out the work in the Spring. However, she was so unhappy with the appearance of the patio and – knowing she had guests coming over for Christmas – wanted something to be done to improve the condition of the tiles as soon as possible.

It was agreed that I would immediately carry out the removal of the old sealer and the grout haze beneath, but leave the re-sealing until the Spring of the following year when the weather was dry. The customer understood that when I returned in the Spring, the patio would require another light clean and brush to prepare it for sealing.

To put the customer’s mind at rest somewhat, I carried out a test clean on one slab of the patio using Tile Doctor impregnating, colour intensifying sealer, known as Colour Grow. This darkened the tile and provided a natural look finish, which was preferred by the customer. I also returned to the property several days later to carry out a water repellency test, but as you can see from the photo below, the rain beat me to it. Thankfully, the repellency test had positive results.

Newly Laid Riven Slate Patio Wollaston Testi Cleaning

I was then able to begin the cleaning process.

Cleaning and Sealing a Riven Slate Tiled Patio

To begin, I removed the old sealer using a strong mix of Tile Doctor Remove & Go, which is a stripper and cleaner. This product was scrubbed into the tiles with a rotary brush machine. Net, I rinsed away the resulting slurry and soaked up the water with a wet vax machine.

This initial clean exposed the true extent of the grout haze – it was over all every tile! My next course of action was therefore to remove this using Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a gel cleaner specially formulated to neutralise grout haze. This was allowed to dwell for a short period before I brushed it in.

Newly Laid Riven Slate Patio Wollaston During Cleaning

Following this, I gave the whole area a second brush with a small amount of water, before using a wet vax machine once again to make sure all cleaning chemicals were removed. I used the customer’s hosepipe to rinse down the entire patio as there was good drainage.

Newly Laid Riven Slate Patio Wollaston After 2nd Cleaning

I allowed the tiles to dry out naturally, before waited for a dry day in April this year to return to the property. During this day, I sealed the entire area with Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer to really deepen the colour in the stone and provide the whole patio long-lasting protection against the elements.

Newly Laid Riven Slate Patio Wollaston After 1st Coat

The customer was exceptionally happy to have the patio restored to perfect condition. I’m sure she’ll make great use of it over the Summer!

Newly Laid Riven Slate Patio Wollaston Completed

 
 

Professional Riven Slate Tiled Patio Restoration in Northants

Dull and Dirty Slate Tiles Deep Cleaned and Sealed in Little Harrowden

The problems with not maintaining a natural stone floor properly are manifold. The build-up of ingrained dirt and muck is not just unhygienic, it also makes the stone appear dull and discoloured – and for many property owners, this can completely ruin the character of a room.

Here’s an example of a very dull and lacklustre Slate tiled floor at a small cottage in Little Harrowden, which is tiny village of less than 1,000 people situated roughly three miles north-west of Wellingborough in Northamptonshire. The owner was concerned that the poor condition of the floor was making the feel kitchen narrow and confined, and so she called me to help with brightening it up with a deep clean and seal. Achieving a sheen finish would help to reflect the natural light that comes into the room.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning in Little Harrowden Wellingborough

Cleaning a Dirty Slate Tiled Floor

I began the restoration by masking up the edges of the room and applying a clear silicon to the base boards of the kitchen units to prevent any water damage.

My choice of cleaner was Tile Doctor Oxy Gel, which is a strong alkaline-based gel cleaner. It’s like Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which is also alkaline-based, except it sticks to the tile due to its consistency and so it’s excellent for cleaning vertical surfaces such as bathroom walls. On this occasion, I wanted to use Oxy Gel to keep the amount of water I needed to use to a minimum. Since this was an old cottage there were a few damp issues that I wanted to avoid exacerbating.

I spread the Oxy Gel out evenly over half of the floor, before agitating it with rotary brushes. I allowed this to dwell for 10 minutes before adding a small amount of water and agitating the floor again, this time paying attention to the grout lines, which were very badly soiled. This process was subsequently carried out over the rest of the floor.

Slate Floor During Cleaning in Little Harrowden Wellingborough

I wet-vaxed each area after completion of the process and then wet-vaxed the entire floor again to neutralise the tiles and remove any remaining product. The floor was then left to dry overnight.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Floor

Returning to the property the following day, I took damp meter readings to see if the tiles were dry enough to be sealed. As I mentioned, the floor had some damp issues so this was important to check. I did, in fact, have to use a heat gun to finish drying a few damp areas of grout.

Once satisfied, I sealed the Slate with Tile Doctor Seal & Go Extra, which is a breathable water-based sealer, which is ideal in situations where no damp proof membrane is present or where there are damp issues. Once dry, the sealer provides an aesthetically pleasing light sheen finish.

Slate Floor During Sealing in Little Harrowden Wellingborough

As you can see from the photo below, the deep clean and fresh seal really helped to improve the patina of this Slate tiled floor, helping the entire kitchen feel brighter and more spacious. Another satisfied client!

Slate Floor After Cleaning and Sealing in Little Harrowden Wellingborough


 
 

Professional Cleaning and Sealing for a Dirty Slate Tiled Floor in Wellingborough