This was a straight forward refresh of a Slate Tiled floor that had been installed in the kitchen of a house the village of Malmesbury. You can see from the photo below how the Slate had become dull with wear and how the grout had become discoloured; it was clear that the previous sealer was starting to fail and the tile and grout was now in need of a deep clean and seal to bring it back to life.
Cleaning a Slate Tiled Floor
To get the floor clean and remove and remaining sealer a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-clean was brushed over the floor and left it to soak in for around twenty minutes. A grout brush was then used to scrub out all grout lines and get them clean. A black scrubbing pad was then attached to a rotary machine and the entire kitchen floor was scrubbed. This process generated a fair amount of slurry as the remaining sealer, dirt and grime came out of the pores of the tile. This was then removed using a wet vacuum and the floor rinsed thoroughly with clean water.
At this point it became evident that the tiler who installed the floor previously had left grout smears on the surface in some places (aka grout haze) and this was removed using a solution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up applied with a black pad and thoroughly rinsed again to remove any trace of cleaning product. The floor was then dried as much as possible using a wet vacuum and left overnight.
Sealing a Slate Floor
We returned the next day and tested the floor for damp by using a damp meter to ensure it was dry enough to seal; the test came back OK so we proceeded to seal by applying five coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go which adds a nice subtle sheen to the tile and will protect it from staining for some years to come.
A customer in Fovant, Salisbury got in touch to clean and seal her Black Limestone tiled floor as she wasn’t happy with appearance. She informed me that when they were laid they were a grey colour which she loved but when the tiler sealed them they became jet black in appearance. The sealer obviously didn’t meet her expectations so I conducted a test to see whether I could remedy the situation and she quickly booked me in.
Cleaning and Stripping the Sealer from Black Limestone Tiles
First I used a mild solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was brushed over the floor and left to dwell for ten minutes. Next using a grout brush I scrubbed out all the dirt from the grout lines and removed the now dirty cleaning solution using a wet vacuum rinsing thoroughly afterwards with clean water.
The floor was now ready to be burnished using a series of diamond encrusted pads which would remove the sealer and bring up the polish on the stone. Starting with the coarse pad attached to a rotary machine and some water I began to cover the area turning the water into white slurry. Once I had passed each tile four times I would then remove the slurry with a wet vacuum and rinse thoroughly with clean water. The process was then repeated with the medium and then fine burnishing pads. Once the floor had been rinsed sufficiently I left to dry for an hour or so before using the last very fine diamond pad to buff the tile to a shine and then left the floor to dry overnight.
Sealing Travertine and Limestone Tiles
I returned the next day and started by conducting a damp test in multiple areas to check the stone was ready for sealing. The test results were fine so I continued by applying two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer which will protect from stains and it also brings out the natural colours in the stone. My customer obviously wanted me to keep the tile looking grey so I didn’t use any Stone Oil to darken the tile in this instance.
It’s probably difficult to appreciate from the photographs but my customer was very happy indeed and the tiles now have the desired look.
Black Limestone Tiles Cleaned, Burnished and Sealed in Wiltshire