Cleaning and restoring a traditional Yorkshire Stone floor

This was a typical and relatively straightforward job for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it because it amply demonstrates how a modest investment in professional cleaning and sealing can transform a tired old Yorkshire Stone floor into something really stunning!

Older properties in the small village of East Morton, near Keighley in West Yorkshire, are built almost entirely of locally quarried Sandstone – from its Manor Houses, Churches and barns to the many cottages built during the Industrial Revolution for workers in Morton’s textile and paper mills. Yorkshire stone is a sedimentary rock made up of quartz, mica, feldspar, clay and iron oxides. Its colour depends on the ratio of minerals it contains, and differs throughout the quarries where it is mined. It is incredibly hard wearing and durable, and has been used for building, construction and landscaping since mediaeval times.

Yorkshire Stone Before Cleaning in East Morton

The lovely original Yorkshire Stone floor in this client’s home was in great condition but looked lifeless and uninteresting. As the local Tile Doctor agent, I was tasked with deep cleaning and sealing the floor to bring it back to life. Rather unusually, this customer wanted a matt finish for the floor – which on reflect was a great choice.

Yorkshire Stone Before Cleaning in East Morton Yorkshire Stone Before Cleaning in East Morton

Cleaning a traditional Yorkshire Stone internal floor

I started by deep cleaning the floor with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. This is a concentrated, multi-purpose high-alkaline cleaner, stripper and degreaser which is safe to use on all types of tile, stone and grout including natural stone. I diluted one part Pro-Clean to three parts water – enough to ensure that any traces of grease, scum, oil, mildew and algae were removed and scrubbed it in using a floor buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad and running at slow speed to cut down on splashing. This brought out all the dirt from the floor which I then rinsed off with more water and extracted with a wet vacuum. Stubborn areas were re-treated using the same process and once I was satisfied the floor was clean I left the floor for two days, so it could dry out thoroughly.

Sealing a traditional Yorkshire Stone internal floor

The next step was to test a couple of suitable Tile Doctor sealers to see which would give the best matt finish the customer was looking for. I decided upon Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is a premium, solvent-based penetrating sealer formulated to provide maximum stain protection yet without changing the colour of the stone. Being a premium product it’s ideal for high traffic areas such as hallways, kitchens and stairs, it’s also an excellent grout sealer and a perfect choice for this floor. Most importantly, it gave the no-sheen, natural-look finish that the customer wanted.

I started by sweeping and vacuuming the floor to ensure that every trace of dust was removed before sealing. Then I applied two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Sealer – one in the morning and one in the afternoon to allow the first coat to dry out before applying the second. 30 minutes after applying the second coat I tested with water droplets to make sure that the surface was completely sealed. The customer was able to walk on and use the floor as normal after just two hours, and after just 24 hours the full cure was achieved.

Yorkshire Stone After Cleaning in East Morton

What a transformation! The lifeless, grey floor was now full of colour and character, highlighting all the wonderful and original textures and tones in the Yorkshire Stone. The customer was very happy!

Yorkshire Stone After Cleaning in East Morton Yorkshire Stone After Cleaning in East Morton

 
 

Professional Renovation of a traditional Yorkshire Stone floor

Maintaining a Victorian Tiled Entrance in Ilkley

Most stone and tile benefit from the protection that a sealer provides to stop dirt becoming ingrained into its pores. However, the act of walking on the tile causes wear and this over time will lead to the sealer wearing off and dirt reaching the pores; the worse thing is you rarely notice it happening because it takes a long time to wear down a sealer.

Most of my customers have this problem and call on me to clean and reseal the floors every few years when it becomes difficult to clean effectively. The alternative which I do for a number of my clients is to have the floor lightly cleaned and a new layer of sealer added every six to twelve months.

This Victorian tiled entrance at a period house in Ilkley was not in too bad a shape just a little dirty and dull and the owner was keen to have is renovated in the run up to the Christmas holidays. Ilkley is a lovely town in West Yorkshire which became very fashionable in the Victorian era due to the health benefits of the local water, this led to a lot of Victorian architecture and tiled entrance floors like this one are very typical in the area.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Ilkley Before Cleaning Victorian Tiled Entrance Ilkley Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Entranceway

To get the dirt out of the tile and grout I applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to the tiles and left it to soak in for fifteen minutes. Pro-Clean is a very reliable cleaner for all types of tile and grout including natural stone, Limestone, Slate and Travertine, amongst others; additionally, when used in a strong dilution it will strip off old sealers. The solution was then worked into the tile using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine and the soil extracted using a wet vacuum.

I gave the floor a light rinse with water to remove any trace of cleaning products and then inspected the floor to ensure it was up to standard. At this point I could see there were flecks of paint on the tile around the edges of the floor from previous decorating work and, so I removed carefully removed these with a scrapper and a hand-held diamond block.

The floor was given a final rinse and the wet vacuum used to extract as much moisture from the floor as possible before leaving it to dry for the evening.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Entrance with a Matt Finish

I returned the next day to seal the floor first discussing the finish that the customer wanted for the tiles. Typically, I recommend using a satin sealer for Victorian tiles as it adds a nice sheen to the tile however surprisingly the owner wanted a matt finish.

Tile Doctor has a full range of sealers available to cater for all requirements so for this floor I applied three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which leaves a matt finish whilst enriching the colours in the tile.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Ilkley After Cleaning

The tiles are now full of life and with the paint specs removed there is now a crisp black edge between the floor and the skirting which the customer also picked up on.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Ilkley Before Cleaning

 
 

Professional renovation of a Dirty Victorian Tiled Entrance in West Yorkshire

Cream Limestone Kitchen Tiles Burnished and Sealed in Ilkley

Ilkley is a wonderful little spa town in North West Yorkshire and a popular destination for tourists visiting the Yorkshire Dales. It’s particularly notable for its quaint tearooms, beautiful countryside and challenging rock climbing opportunities. The town itself is well populated, with approximately 15,000 residents.

Recently, I visited one of the homeowners in the town who was in the process of selling the house. To help make the house more attractive to potential buyers they wanted to make sure the Cream Limestone tiles laid throughout the Kitchen and Dining room were in the best possible condition. The floor was comprised of four different sizes of Limestone tile, laid geometrically.

The floor had originally possessed a natural matte finish, but a satin sealer had been applied at some point in the past to enhance its appearance. Over the years, this sealer had worn away and the Limestone had become dull and dirty, especially in the high foot traffic areas. The grout was similarly in a bad way.

Cream Limestone Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Ilkley Cream Limestone Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Ilkley

I spoke with the property owner about the options for cleaning the floor, outlining the merits of a restoration using our Tile Doctor burnishing pad system, a process which involves polishing the tiles with special diamond encrusted pads of various grit levels. The result would be a high-quality finish which could subsequently be preserved using a sealant.

I felt it was the best course of action to restore the appearance of the Limestone tiles. Even though the customers didn’t want to spend a lot (understandable as they were moving out), they agreed to proceed.

Cleaning a Cream Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

I started the restoration by cleaning the grout lines with Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which is a suitable alkaline-based cleaner for natural stone tiles and grout. The product was scrubbed into the grout lines with a stiff brush. Once I was happy that the grout had been completely cleaned of any soil, I rinsed the cleaning solution away and extracted the slurry using a wet vacuum.

The next step as to apply each of the four diamond encrusted burnishing pads in the Tile Doctor system. In this process, we start with the Coarse grit pad to grind away the very top layer of the dirty stone. We then move through the system to apply Medium, Fine and finally the Very Fine pad to gradually refine the polish on the floor. Each pad is used with a small amount of water for lubrication.

Sealing a Cream Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

Since this was a large area to restore, it took around two days before the grout cleaning and tile burnishing work was completed.

Some fabulous results were achieved by the burnishing work, and I came back on the third day to seal the tiles with Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal. Ultra-Seal is a natural-look impregnating sealer that will protect the floor for some time to come.

Cream Limestone Floor Tiles After Cleaning Ilkley Cream Limestone Floor Tiles After Cleaning Ilkley

The customers were so pleased with the outcome that they even joked that they no longer wanted to move! I’m glad that they are happy with the results and I’m sure the new property owners will be too.
 
 

Professional Renovation of a Cream Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor in Yorkshire

Restoring the Colour and Appearance of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Hebden

The colourful and diverse geometric patterns of a Victorian tiled floor can give a property a regal, elegant and timeless feel, making it a popular choice even in the 21st century. However, as time passes without regular care and maintenance, Victorian tiles can quickly lose their colour and appear deadened by the buildup of dirt and dust over several months (and sometimes years).

This property owner in Hebden a very small village in North Yorkshire of less than 300 people, had this common problem. Her Victorian tiled hallway had not been adequately maintained and was now more difficult to keep clean than ever. To add to the problem, most of the tiles along the edges were either broken, cracked, or filled with holes, probably I suspect from the installation of carpet grippers at some point in the past.

Victorian tiled hallway before cleaning Hebden

At this point, the property owner turned to Tile Doctor to see what could be done.

Victorian tiled hallway before cleaning Hebden

Repairing and Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway

Before beginning a deep clean of the entire length of the hallway, it was first necessary to source and install replacement tiles for those that had been broken and damaged. I also relaid any that were loose.

When finished, I left the tiles to set and returned the next day to start the clean. My choice of cleaner in this situation was Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which was scrubbed into the floor with a special pad fitted to a rotary machine to break down ingrained dirt and stains. Pro Clean does this very effectively on all types of tile, including natural stone and of course Victorian tiles.

The floor was then rinsed with water and the soiled cleaning solution extracted from the floor using a vet vacuum. Stubborn areas were re-treated with more Pro Clean, and when I was satisfied with the condition of the tiles the floor was given a final but thorough rinse to remove any trace of cleaning product.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway

The floor was then left to dry completely overnight to ensure all excess moisture had disappeared, leaving it fresh to be sealed. I returned in the morning for a third day of work to seal the Victorian tiles with four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, a topical sealer which provides a rich satin finish to really add depth to the colours in the tile while protecting it against dirt and stains.

Victorian tiled hallway after cleaning Hebden

The customer was delighted with the restoration and couldn’t quite believe the huge improvement in the appearance of the tiles, especially in regards to the enhancement in the different colours. Another satisfied customer!

Victorian tiled hallway after cleaning Hebden

 
 

Professional Victorian Tiled Hallway Restoration in North Yorkshire

Old Yorkshire Flagstones Revitalised in Haworth Village

This Yorkshire flagstone floor was about 20m2 in size and was well overdue a deep clean, additionally a lot of the pointing was loose or missing which would need to be resolved. The location of this job was at a house in Haworth village which is situated at the edge of the Pennine moors in West Yorkshire, the area is known as Bronte country after the famous Bronte sisters who lived here in the local parsonage in the 19th century.

Old Yorkshire Flagstones Before Cleaning Haworth

Cleaning Yorkshire Stone

To deep clean the floor the sandstone flagstones were covered in a 1:3 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to dwell and soak into the stone for 15 minutes before being scrubbed clean using a rotary machine fitted with a black pad. The now dirty cleaning solution was then removed using a wet vacuum and then the whole floor washed down with water and stubborn areas re-treated until I was satisfied.

The next step was to rake out the loose pointing and re-point with a matching grey flexible wide joint grout. This is the advantage of using a Tile Doctor to work on your tiled floors as were not just a cleaning company.

Sealing Yorkshire Stone

The floor was left to dry overnight and I returned the next day to seal the floor first checking it for dampness using a Damp Meter. The flagstones were dry so I then proceeded to seal the floor using four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds a nice subtle sheen to natural stone, it also a water based sealer so there’s no smell.

Old Yorkshire Flagstones After Cleaning Haworth

You can see from the photo that as well as protecting the floor the sealer adds to the appearance of the tiles and brings out the natural colours that were not visible earlier.
 
 

Deep Cleaning Yorkshire Flagstone in Yorkshire

Indian Fossil Stone Floor in Terrible Condition Restored in Skipton

This Indian Fossil Sandstone tiled floor in Skipton was in a terrible state. Indian Sandstone, sometimes known as Indian Sandstone Flags, are an alternative to Yorkshire Sandstone (or ‘Yorkstone’), which is known for being particular hard wearing and high quality.

Indian Fossil Stone floor Before Cleaning in Skipton

Nonetheless, the problems with the floor were not due to the quality of the stone, per say. Rather, the floor’s poor condition was caused by a lack of sealer, allowing the floor – and by extension the entire house – to become very dusty. In addition, the grout lines had been pointed with cement and sand instead of normal grout, which simply made the floor look messy and poorly cared for.

Indian Fossil Stone floor Before Cleaning in Skipton

I was called down to the property to set the situation right by providing a deep clean and fresh seal.

Cleaning an Indian Fossil Sandstone Floor

I started the job by dealing with the unsightly cement splashes around the grout lines, breaking them down manually using a good old fashioned hammer and chisel.

Nonetheless, my main concern around the grout lines was the grout haze caused by the excess cement. To neutralise the haze I carefully treated the grout lines with a phosphoric acid cleaner known as Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, this product removes mineral deposits such as excess cement leaving the surface looking a lot tidier. The floor was then rinsed with water to remove the acid cleaner.

To round off the cleaning process, I mixed a solution of one part Tile Doctor Pro Clean to four parts clean water, before applying it to the tiles and scrubbing it in with a black pad fitted to a rotary machine. This helped to remove the ingrained dirt caused by a lack of sealer and clean the area ready to receive a fresh seal.

Sealing an Indian Fossil Sandstone Floor

I left the property to allow the floor to dry over night. Upon my return the next day, I checked for excess moisture and, once satisfied the floor was dry, I proceeded to seal the floor with four coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go.

Indian Fossil Stone floor After Cleaning in Skipton

Seal & Go is a water-based topical sealer designed to build up stain resistant protection on the surface of the floor and to allow moisture vapour transmission. It is typically used to seal internal, unsealed porous surfaces, including Sandstone, Quarry and Victorian tiled floors.

Indian Fossil Stone floor After Cleaning in Skipton

Given the awful original condition of this floor, the results achieved over the space of two days were very good. Certainly my customer was very pleased with the transformation. The addition of a robust surface seal will go a long way to ensure the floor doesn’t fall back into such a bad state again.
 
 

Restoring the Appearance of an Indian Fossil Sandstone Flagstone Floor in North Yorkshire

Yorkshire Flagstones Cleaned and Sealed in Hebden Bridge

The photographs below are of an 18m2 Yorkshire Stone floor in the kitchen of a barn conversion in the village of Hebden Bridge. The flagstones which appeared to be various shades of dark grey had lost any colour and vitality they once had, in fact they only seemed to come alive when wet and once dry the natural features and colours of the Yorkshire stone faded away. This was caused by the sealer being worn away allowing dirt to become ingrained in the stone making it difficult to properly clean.

Yorkshire Stone Hebden Bridge During Cleaning

Cleaning Yorkshire Stone

To restore the natural appearance the floor was soaked in a 1:2 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and then scrubbed clean using a rotary machine fitted with a black pad. Pro-Clean is an industrial strength alkaline cleaning product that is safe to use on Tile, Stone and Grout; for best results you should let the Pro-Clean dwell on the floor for around ten to fifteen minutes before working it in. The soiled cleaning solution was removed using a wet vacuum and then the whole floor washed down with water and stubborn areas re-treated until I was satisfied that the flagstone and grout was as clean as I could get it.

Sealing Yorkshire Stone

The floor was left to dry overnight and I returned the nexst day to seal the floor first checking it for dampness using a Damp Meter. The flagstones were dry so I then proceeded to seal the floor using four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds a nice subtle sheen to natural stone, it also a water based sealer so there’s no smell.

Yorkshire Stone Hebden Bridge After Cleaning

The look of the Yorkshire flagstones was restored and the owner of the house left the following comment on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

Very professional service. Very happy with the results, Ms. E. Parkin
 
 

Cleaning Yorkshire Flagstone Tiled Kitchen Floor in Hebden Bridge

100 Year Old Victorian Tiled Floor Restored in Skipton

This one hundred year old floor needed some serious cleaning; these Orange and Black Victorian tiles installed in the hallway of a period house in Skipton, North Yorkshire had paint, glue and around twenty years of ingrained dirt on them due to previously being covered in carpet.

Victorian Tiles Skipton Before Cleaning Victorian Tiles Skipton Before Cleaning

Restoring Victorian Floor Tiles

To restore the tile surface we used a process we call the Blanket method which involves covering the floor in a mixture of Tile Doctor Remove & Go and Nano Tech Ultra Clean. The whole floor was covered very liberally with the chemical mixture and then sheeted over with polythene and sealed all the way round with water proof tape. There must be a perfect seal so no chemicals can dry out by oxidation and is left over night to soak into the tile.

The next day the polythene was removed in sections and the chemicals were first cleaned off with rags and then rinsed of many times with warm water. The whole floor was then scrubbed with a rotary machine fitted with a black pad and Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mixed 1 to 4 parts warm water to remove all the residue of the chemicals and any dirt. Pro-Clean is an industrial strength cleaning product that is safe to use on Tile, Stone and Grout.

Sealing the Victorian Tiled Floor

The next day I returned and checked the floor for dampness using a Damp Meter which indicated the floor was dry and ready for sealing. Three coats of sealant was used and for Victorian Floor tiles I recommend Tile Doctor Seal and Go which provides a low sheen finish whilst offering great stain protection.

Victorian Tiles Skipton After Cleaning Victorian Tiles Skipton After Cleaning

The 100 year old floor now looks almost as new and I think you will agree it has been transformed.
 
 

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Floor in Skipton