Worn Sealer Replaced on a Slate Tiled Floor in York

The photographs below are of a Slate Tiled floor in a house in York, a walled city in North West Yorkshire which is very famous for its Viking heritage and its many landmarks, including the stunning York Minster. I visited the client to discuss what could be done to improve the look of the slate tiles which were installed in the kitchen and run into the downstairs cloakroom WC.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor York Before Cleaning

I could see that the floor was suffering from the usual problem of dirt becoming ingrained into the pores of the stone making it difficult to clean effectively. This happens as the protection provided by the sealer wears off with use and the stone becomes dull and lifeless with the trapped dirt; additionally, the floor had some bad scratches from chairs being dragged across the floor. Being a Kitchen, the area was in used to high family traffic, so it was in need of some care and attention. The client was happy to go ahead with my quote.

Slate Tiled WC Floor York Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Slate Tiled Floor

I arrived the following week and started by taping up and protecting the surrounding areas and thresholds. Then working in sections, I applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean (1 part Pro-Clean to 3 parts water) to the floor and left it to soak in and get to work breaking down what was left of the old sealer and dirt. This is a multi-purpose cleaner which works hard on stubborn areas. It was then scrubbed in using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer. I then used more Tile Doctor Pro-Clean on the grout which was stained in places and this was scrubbed in by hand using a thin stiff grout brush.

The floor was then rinsed with water, and the now soiled cleaning solution removed with a wet vacuum before moving onto the next section. We try and keep the mess to the absolute minimum. One area included a downstairs WC which was too tight to get the floor buffer in so there was no option but to scrub the tiles and grout by hand.

After cleaning all the slate and grout I inspected the floor and was pleased to see that the scratches were a lot less obvious after cleaning, so I suspect it was the old sealer that had been mostly affected. Had the scratches been deeper we would be looking at resurfacing the stone with milling pads which is a messy and more expensive process. The client was very pleased to hear that wouldn’t be required.

After a final rinse the floor was looking much better already and was left to dry off overnight aided by the hot summer weather.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

I returned the next day and checked the floor was fully dried out by using my moisture meter. All the readings were fine so the lovely weather had done its job which was much appreciated by myself as this greatly helps the floor cleaning process.

I applied four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water-based sealer (so no smell) that leaves a lovely deep lustre to the floor. The scratches had all but disappeared and I was able to get on with the job quite quickly due to the bonus weather that helped he sealer dried a lot quicker than usual between each coat.

Slate Tiled WC Floor York After Cleaning

The customer was very pleased with the finished floor, and I think you can see from the pictures how much better it looks. It will be much easier for them to clean and maintain in the future.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor York After Cleaning

 

Professional Restoration of a Slate Tiled Kitchen and Cloakroom in North West Yorkshire

Burnishing and Sealing Works Wonders for Limestone Tiles in Harrogate

I was recently at a property in the North Yorkshire town of Harrogate, undertaking what I initially thought would be the cleaning and polishing of a Cream Limestone tiled kitchen. However, as I began the cleaning process I quickly discovered that under the dirty grout lines someone had taken a lot of effort to paint with a small brush directly onto the grout using varnish!

Cream limestone floor before cleaning Harrogate Cream limestone floor before cleaning Harrogate

Removing Varnish from Grout

In a normal situation, I would have covered the whole floor with Tile Doctor Remove & Go to solve the problem, however compared to, say, adhesive or paint staining, varnish is very difficult to remove. So instead I opted for the long, yet necessary process of cleaning the grout manually with several thin wire brushes. Over the course of two days I managed to remove approximately 90% of the stubborn varnish – and could finally move onto cleaning and polishing the Limestone as originally planned.

Burnishing and Sealing a Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

The polish had been lost from the Limestone kitchen tiles over time, so I set about restoring it using a type of polishing known as burnishing. This involves the application of diamond encrusted pads of varying grit to the floor to gradually buff the stone and achieve an aesthetic and durable shine. Burnishing is most commonly used on high-end stone such as Marble, Travertine and, of course, Limestone.

At Tile Doctor, our burnishing system comprises four burnishing pads, ranging from a Coarse grit to a Very Fine grit. After applying the first three pads (Coarse, Medium and Fine), I gave the tiles a further clean with Tile a Doctor Pro Clean, which is our alkaline cleaner, to remove any residue from the burnishing process. I then rinsed the floor with clean water and soaked up the residue with a wet vacuum, before leaving it to dry.

The floor was then polished to a satin finish using the fourth and final Extra Fine burnishing pad. I sealed it using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, an impregnating sealer designed to provide maximum protection against dirt and stains.

Cream limestone floor after cleaning Harrogate Cream limestone floor after cleaning Harrogate

The combination of burnishing and sealing always makes a huge difference to Limestone tiles. Here, the finished result was almost like a new floor! The customer was both amazed and very pleased with the transformation.
 
 

Professional Maintenance of Polished Limestone Tiles in North Yorkshire

Spanish Terracotta Tiles Refreshed in Halifax

Terracotta is an interesting type of stone manufactured using a variety of techniques dependant on the country of origin which leads to a number of differences such as Spanish Terracotta being less porous than its Mexican counterpart: the former is semi-hand made and finished in a factory kiln, while the latter is completely handmade. Spanish Terracotta is therefore a lot less than porous and ultimately, of a higher quality.

Spanish Terracotta Hallway Before Cleaning Halifax

But despite the Spanish Terracotta being less porous, and therefore being less prone to ingrained dirt, it still, like any other stone, needs regular maintenance to keep it looking smart. In the tiling trade, we quite often refer to this as a good old fashioned ‘Clean and Seal’ and this is exactly what was requested by this property owner in Halifax, for their Spanish Terracotta tiled floors in the kitchen and adjacent hallway.

Cleaning Spanish Terracotta Tiles

I cleaned both sets of Terracotta tiles using the same process, which involved the application of our reliable alkaline cleaner known as Tile a Doctor Pro Clean, diluted with five parts of warm water. Once the solution had been left to dwell for a short period, it was scrubbed into the tiles to remove all dust, dirt, and general muck. This created a slurry of cleaning residue, which I promptly soaked up using a wet vac. A wet vac machine is an essential tool when it comes to cleaning porous tiles since, unlike a traditional mop and bucket, it sucks the excess trapped dirt out of the clay and thus provides a superior clean.

Following this, I applied a small amount of our heavy duty remover, known as Tile Doctor Remove & Go, to deal with some of the more stubborn stains and paint splashes, before rinsing with clean water and wet vaxing in a similar fashion to before.

Spanish Terracotta Kitchen After Cleaning Halifax

Sealing Spanish Terracotta Tiles

Once the clean had been completed I left the tiles to dry completely. This can take 12 to 24 hours depending on numerous factors including whether a Damp proof Membrane and underfloor heating has been installed which can really help reduce drying times. Letting the tiles dry completely before sealing is paramount as moisture can cloud the sealer and affect its performance.

Upon my return to the property I ran some quick damp tests, which revealed the tiles were ready to be sealed. I then applied several coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, our topical sealer which provides a satin finish and accentuates colour. A new coat of this product is recommended every six months on Terracotta to ensure the continuous protection of the tiles’ soft clay particles.

Spanish Terracotta Hallway After Cleaning and Sealing Halifax

My customer was extremely pleased with her refreshed Terracotta tiles. It goes to show what a big difference a bit of regular maintenance can make. I advised the customer that an everyday cleaner called Tile Doctor pH Neutral cleaner can also be used regularly to keep the tiles looking great without damaging the sealer.

Spanish Terracotta Kitchen After Cleaning and Sealing Halifax

 
 

Professional Terracotta Tile Maintenance in Yorkshire