Renovating Polished Limestone Floor with Stained Grout in Wellingborough

This Limestone tiled floor installed in a kitchen and family room at a property in Wellingborough is a great example of how this material can lose its appearance without a regular maintenance plan in place.

Limestone Tile and Stained Grout Before Cleaning Wellingborough

The customer called me as not only was she concerned that the floor had lost its lustre the grey grout had become very stained and almost black in heavy traffic areas, in fact my customer had originally asked about re-grouting but I was confident it could be cleaned.
I provided a quote which they were happy to accept.

Limestone Tile and Stained Grout Before Cleaning Wellingborough Limestone Tile and Stained Grout Before Cleaning Wellingborough

Cleaning/Polishing Limestone Tiled Flooring

The area was a nice wide 6 metre by 5 metre space and except for a few items of furniture that would need moving around there were relatively few obstacles. I reasoned the most efficient way to restore the polished appearance of the Limestone would be to use a set of diamond encrusted Burnishing Pads. These are fitted to a rotary machine and applied to the stone in sequence from coarse to smooth. It’s an effective process that cuts back the layer of dirt on the floor and then we build back up the polish.

We started burnishing the Limestone with a coarse 400-grit pad fitted to a rotary machine and applied with a little water for lubrication. The coarse pad is very good at removing dirt and old sealers from stone and once completed the resultant surface water and loose dirt is removed using a wet vacuum.

At this point I turned my attention to the badly stained grout lines, and applied a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was scrubbed in along the grout lines using a stiff grout brush, this is necessary as the recessed nature of the grout makes it difficult for the rotary pads to reach it.

I then repeated the burnishing process with the medium 800-grit pad and fine 1500-grit pad, the 800-grit pad removes any small surface scratches and the 1500-grit further refines the look of the Limestone slowly restoring its polished appearance.

Renovating Stained Grout on a Limestone Tiled Floor

After the whole floor had been burnished in this way it was given a further rinse with water and the soil extracted as before. I then inspected the floor to see if more work would be needed.

I was not fully happy with how some of the grout lines had responded, some were still slightly stained, and some marks were visible in the high traffic areas. I had already discussed on my initial visit with the client that this might be the case and it was agreed between us that should this be the case I would apply a Tile Doctor Grout Colourant in Light Grey to recolour all the grout lines and achieve a uniform finish.

The stone and grout was still damp from cleaning and polishing, so I decided to leave the grout colouring until the following day.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

On day two I started by grout recolouring all the grout lines, it’s a straight forward process but can be a little tedious where there is a lot of grout to cover. Once complete I allowed the grout colour to dry for a couple of hours before moving onto the next step.

The last pad to be applied in the stone burnishing process is the very fine 3000-grit polishing pad which is applied dry to the tiles using a small amount of water sprayed onto the floor and leaves the stone dry and with a polished silk finish.

The floor was then sealed using two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal Sealant allowing the first coat to dry before applying the second. Ultra-Seal is an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the pores in the stone thereby preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there. It’s also a natural look sealer that doesn’t affect the appearance of the stone

Limestone Tile and Stained Grout After Renovation Wellingborough Limestone Tile and Stained Grout After Renovation Wellingborough

My customer was very happy with the transformation of her floor and provided the feedback copies below. In-fact she was so impressed with the results that she also used our services to restore the grout and silicon in one of her bathrooms.

“Phil was on time & easy to deal with and did an amazing job on my kitchen and bathroom floors and the carpets & sofa. No fuss, just a great job. Liz O.”

Limestone Tile and Stained Grout After Renovation Wellingborough

 

Professional Restoration of a Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor in Northamptonshire

Polishing Water Stained Marble Flooring in Earls Barton

I was asked to look at a Polished Marble floor that had been installed in the hallway of an executive property in the Northamptonshire village of Earls Barton and had suffered severe water damage from a burst pipe. Water had penetrated through the ceiling and as the occupants were away at the time two inches of water had flooded the ground floor where it sat for several weeks causing extensive damage and efflorescence to appear in patches all over the floor. The homeowner was extremely worried as this was a very expensive and large Marble floor which was a key feature of the property and didn’t want the disruption of having the tiles lifted and replaced.

As you can see from the pictures, there were white etching marks over the surface of the marble ruining the polished appearance and these could not be removed using normal domestic cleaning processes.

Water Stained Marble Floor Before Renovation Earls Barton Water Stained Marble Floor Before Renovation Earls Barton

I wasn’t surprised to find that the owners couldn’t restore the polished appearance of the Marble, as a hard stone like Marble needs to be burnished to build up a polish. I carried out a damp test and cleaned a test area using diamond encrusted burnishing pads, as the floors were still slightly damp I advised the customer to turn on the underfloor heating to assist in drying out the stone for a week, in that time a quote was issued and accepted and the work was booked in.

Restoring the Appearance of Water Damaged Marble Flooring

Before work commenced, I instructed the client to turn the underfloor heating off as it can affect the chemicals and cleaning process by drying the floor out too quickly.

To restore the polished appearance of the Marble I applied a set of five 17” diamond encrusted burnishing pads which come in 200, 400, 800, 1500 and 3000 grit and are applied to the stone with a heavy duty weighted rotary machine. I started with the very coarse 200-grit pad and worked up through the series of pads gradually building up the polish with increasingly finer grit pads. Water was used to lubricate the polishing process and I rinsed the tiles in between with more water to remove the soil generated using a wet vacuum to remove the resultant soil.

Water Stained Marble Floor During Renovation Earls Barton

I also used a set of 6” diamond encrusted burnishing pads with a handheld machine for getting close to the edges and around the pillars to ensure the floor was polished evenly throughout all areas.

Achieving a High Shine Polish on Marble Tiles

Once the stone had dried, I carried out the final polish to a very high shine as requested by the customer using the very fine 3,000-grit burnishing pad. Unlike the other pads this one is applied dry with only a little water sprayed onto the tile. To finish I applied a couple coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour intensifying impregnating sealer that will provide durable protection going forward making it very easy to clean.

Once complete the natural features of the Marble really stood out and the hallway looked stunning, certainly our client was greatly relieved and very pleased the floor had been restored to its former glory and was once again a beautiful feature when friends and family enter the property.

Water Stained Marble Floor After Renovation Earls Barton Water Stained Marble Floor After Renovation Earls Barton

To keep the Marble looking its best I recommended the client use Tile Doctor Stone Soap going forward and left a complimentary bottle and cleaning instructions. This product has been specially formulated for the regular cleaning of polished stone, it helps build patina and will keep it in excellent condition between professional maintenance cleans.

 

Restoring the Appearance of Polished Marble in Northamptonshire

Restorative Cleaning of Victorian Hallway Tiles in Wellingborough

I recently visited a property in Wellingborough to survey their Victorian Hallway floor and work out the best method and products to restore it. The tiles were extremely dirty as the sealant had worn off allowing dirt to become ingrained. They had not been maintained for many years and there was evidence of adhesive which was due to a carpet being stuck down at some point in the past.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Wellingborough Before Restoration

To restore the Victorian floor, I would need to remove the glue and give the tiles a professional deep clean to extract the years of ground-in dirt and staining. Following this the tiles would need sealing in order to protect them going forward. After discussing the work in detail with the owner I sent over a quotation by email which was accepted, and a date arranged for work to commence.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Wellingborough Before Restoration

Restorative Cleaning of Victorian Hallway Tiles

On my return I applied a cocktail of Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel and Tile Doctor Nano-Tech HBU to the tiles. This creates a strong cleaning/coatings remover that would soften the embedded soiling and glue making it easier to remove. I left this to dwell on the floor for about an hour so it could break down the soil and adhesive. I then fitted a coarse 100-grit diamond pad to a rotary floor buffer and scrubbed the floor vacuuming up the resulting residue as I went along working in small sections of 2/3 metres at a time. I then repeated the process using a 200-grit pad, rinsing and extracting afterwards with water to remove the fine slurry this process generates.

Old floors like these were laid before the invention of the damp proof membrane which can result in moisture rising through the floor as it evaporates potentially leaving alkaline salt deposits on the surface. This process is known as Efflorescence and although I minimised the use of water during the cleaning process, I was concerned that this may still present a problem later. To neutralise any alkaline salts in the floor that could cause this problem my last action for the day was give the floor an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel.

Once this was done and extracted from the floor, I followed up with a further clean using Tile Doctor pH Neutral Tile Cleaner which was applied with a microfibre cloth. I left the floor to dry off overnight so it could be sealed the next day.

Sealing Restored Victorian Hallway Tiles

On day two I used a damp meter to check the moisture levels in the floor to ensure it had dried overnight. The results were good, so I set about applying the sealer. For this floor I decided to go with three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that as well as protecting the Victorian tiles form staining also enhances the colours in the tile. This sealer is also fully breathable so any moisture will be able to evaporate up through the tile and not get trapped under the floor where it could cause problems.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Wellingborough After Restoration

Before leaving I also discussed maintenance cleaning with the customer and left them a bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which is safe to use on sealed floors and will help keep the tiles looking at their best. It’s supplied in concentrated form so it should last them some time before they run out. The customer was very happy with the end results and has left positive comments on our website.

Very happy with the restoration of my Victorian tiled floor, cleaned, sealed and polished bringing it back to life. Phil was prompt to get back to me with any aftercare questions/queries/visits. Paula B, Wellingborough

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Wellingborough After Restoration

 

Victorian Hallway Tile Restoration in Northamptonshire

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

Victorian Tiled Floor Repaired and Cleaned in Wellingborough

I was recently called down to a client’s house in the market town of Wellingborough, situated approximately 11 miles from Northampton. My client’s situation was an interesting one, as she had an old gas pipe sticking out of her Victorian tiled floor, very close to a doorway. Not only was this a bit of an eyesore, it was also significant trip hazard. The floor had been previously covered by carpet, so it is understandable that my client would have been initially unaware of the obstructive gas pipe.

Victorian Floor Before Repairs in Wellingborough

Rather than risking an accident in the future, she asked me to see what I could do to rectify the issue. At the same time, I was commissioned to give the floor a much needed clean and re-seal.

Repairing a Victorian tiled floor

My first priority was, of course, to deal with the exposed gas pipe. I was unsure whether the pipe was live or not, so I carefully removed the surrounding tiles, allowing a certified engineer access to it. He ensured that the pipe was capped below the tile line, allowing me to safely proceed with my repairs.

Victorian Floor Before Repairs in Wellingborough

I returned a few days later, rescreened the area, and began to refit the tiles, carefully hand painting some of the black tiles to hide the damage and cracks. I also applied new grout to fix all of the replaced tiles into position, and this was left to set overnight.

Victorian Floor After Repairs in Wellingborough

Cleaning and sealing a Victorian tiled floor

Returning to the house the next day, I set about treating the floor to a normal strip, clean and re-seal of the entire floor. There was very little old sealer still remaining on the tiles, so I mixed a solution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean and water, before applying this to the floor. Pro Clean is a strong alkaline cleaner which also contains stripping properties, allowing it to both clean and break down any old sealer. The solution was worked into the tiles using a black scrubbing pad, and any excess residue was quickly absorbed using a wet-vac machine.

Sealing Victorian Floor Tiles

With older floors you never can tell if a damp proof membrane was installed and it can be troublesome applying a sealant to a damp floor so I left the whole floor to dry for seven days, giving it more than sufficient time to dry completely before the re-seal. To seal the tiles I used five coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go Extra, which provides both a robust surface seal and the pleasing sheen finish requested by my client; Seal and Go Extra is especially suitable for exterior applications or damp floors due to its increased breathability.

My client was very glad to see the back of the gas pipe and pleased with the overall results of the clean and seal, as it had given this Victorian tiled floor – once hidden under carpet – new life and character. Additionally I’m sure that restoring such an original feature for the property has increased its value.

Victorian Floor After Repairs in Wellingborough

 
 

Restoring Victorian floor tiles in Northamptonshire