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

Botched Yorkstone Tiled Floor Instalation Resolved in Guiseley

In an interesting turn of events, I was recently contacted again by a homeowner from Guiseley, near Leeds, with whom I had been in touch with two years prior. At that time, I had quoted for cleaning and maintenance work to be carried out on a Yorkshire Stone, or ‘Yorkstone’ tiled floor, but the customer had opted to go with a different company. Yorkstone is a variety of Sandstone that it unique to the quarries of Yorkshire.

When the customer called me again, she explained that the previous work – most likely carried out by inexperienced cowboy builders – had been disastrous. The stone evidently had not bene properly cleaned and very little sealer had been used to protect it against wear and tear. The result was a very dirty and dusty floor – and the only solution was to start the restoration process over again, this time with the help of a true professional!

Here’s a photo of what the floor looked like before the restoration:

Yorkshire Stone Floor Guiseley Leeds Before Cleaning

Cleaning Dull and Dirty Yorkstone Tiles

Since the floor had not been cleaned properly to begin with, there were several unsightly paint stains on the stone in addition to general dirt and stains. To remove these, I applied Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which is a reliable alkaline cleaner, liberally across the floor and left it dwell for a short period. I then used a wire brush to scrub away the muck.

The customer had asked the builder to grout the tiles to reduce the likelihood of trapped dirt and make the floor feel complete. For whatever reason, builder either wouldn’t or couldn’t oblige, so I grouted the whole floor as well, much to the customer’s delight.

Sealing Yorkstone Tiles

Once the floor was fresh and clean, it was left to dry completely so it could subsequently be sealed.

My choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Seal and Go, a topical sealer which provides both a stain resistant surface seal and a durable and aesthetically-pleasing low-sheen finish to really enhance the character of the stone. Four coats of sealer were used in total to ensure maximum protection.

Here’s what the floor looked like after the restoration:

Yorkshire Stone Floor Guiseley Leeds After Cleaning

After cowboy builders had botched the job, the customer was exceptionally happy that the situation had finally been put right. The floor is now in top shape and will be protected against wear and tear for a long time to come.
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Dirty Yorkstone Tiled Floor in North 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