Removing Limescale from Slate Shower Tiles in Oxshott

In the south east of England, we suffer from hard water which as many of you have experienced can calcify on our showers leaving white limescale staining. Without fitting a water softener this limescale causes a problem around the home, particularly when the tiles are dark.

A good example of this problem was this large dark grey slate tiled shower at a house in Oxshott where the limescale had completely ruined the look of the black slate. The problem was most evident on the slate tiles on the floor but had also stained the slate split face slate tiles on the shower wall.

Slate Tiled Bathroom Before Renovation Oxshot

Oxshott is a village in Surrey between Leatherhead and Esher, a survey in 2010 by the Daily Telegraph asserted it was “the village with most footballers” in England and mentioned other celebrities who chose to live in the village probably because Chelsea Football Club have their main training ground in nearby Stoke D’Abernon; It is a beautiful area and is no surprise it is also known as ‘the most expensive village in England’.

The wet room was not that old, but due to the limescale staining was prematurely in need of attention. We often get calls from customers where they have use supermarket products to treat hard water stains, however these products are generally acidic, and this can make the problem worse. I would recommend you always read the back of the bottle before to check it is safe to use on natural stone before applying.

After inspecting the shower, I agreed with the client the best course of action, agreed a price and booked the job in for a later date.

Limescale Stained Slate Wet Room Cleaning

I returned on the agreed date and started work by first removing the existing sealer by applying Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a multi-purpose stripper that’s formulated for use on natural stone. The product also draws out ingrained stains and removes heavy grease build-up. For best results spray the product onto the tile and then leave for it to soak in and get to work breaking down the coatings etc. After ten minutes the product is scrubbed into the stone which in this case meant by hand. The soiled solution can then be rinsed off the tiles with water. The grout was then cleaned by hand scrubbing in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean followed by more rinsing.

The final part of preparation was to remove the limescale. This was done with a small handheld diamond block and a wire brush. The block is great for smoothing down all sorts of issues and being small it can get into tight areas. I then dried the whole room with an industrial blower. Slate cannot be sealed effectively when damp as it won’t cure properly. The blower is noisy but best in this situation and is very effective when a fast dry is needed.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Bathroom in Oxshott

After lunch I checked the area was nice and dry by testing the moisture content. I then sealed the whole area, wall and floor with Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow, is a colour intensifying sealer that provides durable surface protection as well as allowing the surface to breath and enhance colour. For this project it darkened the tiles nicely and will provide protection from staining, making them much easier for the client to maintain moving forward.

The client was very happy with the lovely result. The bathroom looked clean and fresh again, now it is just a case of trying to keep on top of the limescale.

Slate Tiled Bathroom After Renovation Oxshot

 

Limescale removed from Slate Tiled Shower Wall and Floor in West Surrey

Slate Tiled Floor Rejuvenated at New Barn Conversion in Farnham

Converting a barn into a property can be an exciting project, but it certainly doesn’t come without a range of challenges. If done correctly, they can look amazing and are well worth the effort.

A recent customer of mine had spent the last six months converting a barn into a residential property in the West Surrey town of Farnham. While the project had been a big success, the house had been subjected to high traffic from dozens of carpenters, electricians and builders. This had taken its toll on the newly installed Slate tiled floor – so the property owner asked me to restore it to its peak condition to complete the conversion once and for all.

Slate Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Farnham

Before accepting the job, I strongly advised the customer that I should be the last workman out of the door. In my experience few tradesmen are known to take care of other peoples work and any further work being done in the property could potentially spoil the appearance of the Slate tiles.

Slate Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Farnham

Cleaning a Slate Tiled Floor

The customer was happy for me to proceed, so on the agreed date I returned and started the work by laying down a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean across the floor. Pro-Clean is an alkaline-based cleaner which breaks down all manner of dirt and grime.

This was a large area of tiles, so I worked on individual sections of 3m2, first soaking the Slate in Pro-Clean and then waiting ten minutes for it to soak in and then following with a nylon black scrubbing pad fitted to a 17-inch rotary buffing machine to work the cleaning product into the stone. The tiles immediately came up looking much cleaner. Any excess water and chemical slurry was vacuumed up promptly with a wet vacuum.

The tiler had done a good job of laying the floor and removing any excess grout as normally my next step at this point would be to give the floor an acid wash, but it wasn’t necessary.

Once the tiles had been cleaned to the best of my abilities and given a thorough rinse, I left the property for 48 hours to allow any water that had seeped into the tiles to evaporate. This is important as excess moisture problems can prevent the tiles from being sealed correctly.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Floor

On returning to the property a couple of days later, I swept away any bits of dust and debris and then proceeded to seal the tiles with Tile Doctor Colour Grow.

Slate Tiled Floor After Cleaning Farnham

This impregnating, colour-intensifying sealer enhanced the stunning natural brown, gold and orange shades in the stone. Two coats of the sealer were applied to achieve a brilliant natural-look finish and robust protection against future wear and tear.
Restoring the appearance of these Slate tiles put the finishing touches on this fantastic barn conversion. Needless to say, the customer was very pleased with the results.

Slate Tiled Floor After Cleaning Farnham

 
 

Recently Laid Slate Tiled Floor Given Builders Clean to Restore Appearance in Surrey

Repairing a Scratched Slate Tiled Kitchen floor in Weybridge

This property owner in Weybridge recently had a new fridge delivered by a well-known electrical retailer that has an unusual policy of not protecting its customers’ floors when installing heavy appliances. Predictably, the lack of care and consideration resulted in multiple unsightly scratches being left on the fantastic Slate tiled floor, mostly notably in front of the dishwasher, which was also newly installed.

Understandably, the property owner was not best pleased. He was keen to have the situation remedied as soon as possible. At Tile Doctor, we not only provide tile cleaning services but we also have the experience and equipment to hand all sorts of related issues including the restoration of scratched tiles. Happy to help. I travelled over to Weybridge to address the problem.

Scratched Slate Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Weybridge

Repairing and Sealing a Damaged Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

The surface of the stone was damaged and the only way to repair it without the repair standing out was to strip and polish the whole floor. I therefore began the restoration by stripping the whole floor of its old sealer. The customer had marked all the deep scratches he wanted to have removed with sticky notes. I explained to him that burnishing, a type of polishing carried out using diamond encrusted handheld blocks in combination with a little water, would be perfect for this job.

The process of burnishing essentially grinds away the damaged layer and then re-polishes the stone, the process would remove the scratches and rebuild the shine. It involves the application of different grades of pads from coarse to extra fine and a little water to lubricate the process followed by a rinse with more water in-between each pad to remove the slurry generated by the process. After burnishing the floor is left polished but damp, however to save time I able to speed dry the whole floor using a powerful industrial air mover.

Once the floor was dry the final task was to re-seal the tiles. I did this using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a colour intensifying, impregnating sealer which soaks into the pores of the stone protecting it from within against ingrained dirt and stains for many years to come.

Scratched Slate Floor Tiles After Cleaning Weybridge

The customer was very satisfied with the service provided and left the following comment on the Tile Doctor feedback system:

“Great advice, open, honest and helpful. Turned up on time, explained the job well and it looks great. Very happy with the process and the finished results.”
 
 

Professional Repair of a Scratched Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor in Surrey

Severely Stained Slate Shower Cubicle Restored with Burnishing in Clapham

When used to clean natural stone, supermarket products can often cause more harm than good as this recent customer of mine discovered this the hard way!

Originally from South Africa, she had lived in a flat in Clapham for a couple of years, but had to suddenly return home earlier than expected. However, part of her flat rental agreement required her to leave the property clean and as she found it, including the fantastic Slate shower cubicle.

In a rush, the customer had attempted to clean the Slate using a popular supermarket bathroom cleaner. She left the product to sit on the base of the shower before scrubbing it in with an abrasive pan scourer.

Badly Marked Slate Shower Tray in Clapham Before Restoration

This was a big mistake – and the customer called me in a panic after discovering that her attempts had left the Slate severely stained. I travelled to the property to see what could be done to set the situation straight.

Burnishing a Severely Stained Slate Shower Cubicle

Upon observing the damage in person, I decided that the best course of action would be to use a process known as burnishing to grind away the stains. I tested a small area of the cubicle with one of our handheld diamond encrusted burnishing blocks.

Happy with the results of the test Clean, I started to burnish the whole cubicle using our system of four burnishing blocks, starting with the coarsest first and working my way down to the finest. A small amount of water was used as lubrication for each pad.

Through the burnishing process, the white stains started to disappear, exposing the lighter grey coloured Slate shower base.

Sealing a Slate Shower Cubicle

After drying the area completely with a heat gun, I was able to seal the stone with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow.

This impregnating sealer not only protects the stone but also importantly it restores the natural dark shades in the Slate, enhancing its overall appearance. As an impregnating sealer, Colour Grow penetrates the pores in the stone to fill them and prevent trapped dirt.

Badly Marked Slate Shower Tray in Clapham After Restoration

To say the customer was very relieved would be a complete understatement! By hiring in professional assistance, the customer was able to resolve the situation quickly and painlessly – and more importantly hold onto her £3,000 deposit!
 
 

Professional Tile Burnishing and Sealing to Restore a Badly Stained Slate Shower Cubicle in Clapham

Acid-Damaged Slate Shower Tiles Restored with Burnishing in Churt

One problem we encounter a lot at Tile Doctor is damaged caused to natural stone tiles by unsuitable household cleaning products. This customer, who lives in the small West Surrey village of Churt, had done this by attempting to use Cilit Bang, which is an acidic product, to remove limescale from his fantastic Slate tiled shower cubicle. While the product may indeed remove Limescale, it does say on the label that it should not be used on natural stone.

Slate shower before cleaning Churt Slate shower before cleaning Churt

Putting these types of products in contact with acid-sensitive stone typically results in some sort of etching, however, I had never before seen the type of damage that had occurred on these Slate tiles. At first, I thought the damage – which appeared as a sort of white staining – might simply be damage to the sealer. But when I did a test clean to remove the sealer, it became clear that the stone had suffered from very deep staining and the only way to remove it would be to use a process we call burnishing.

Slate shower before cleaning Churt

Burnishing an Acid-Damaged Slate Tiled Shower Cubicle

The burnishing process is a type of polishing which involves the application of diamond burnishing pads in sequence. Each pad has a different level of grit, allowing for dirt and stains to be broken down before the stone is gradually polished. We typically use burnishing on Limestone, Marble, and Travertine, but it can be used on all manner of stone in the right circumstances. This being a vertical surface, I had to complete the process using smaller six-inch pads fitted to a handheld buffer.

I started by applying the 400 grit (Coarse) pad, and followed on through to the 800 grit (Medium) and 1500 grit (Fine) pads, using a small amount of water as lubrication. I then left the tiles to dry until the next day.

When I arrived back at the property, the customer remarked that the tiles looked massively improved. Nonetheless, I found I hadn’t removed all the staining possible, so decided to repeat the burnishing process once – but this time used the pads without any lubrication. Once I was satisfied with the results, it was time to seal the tiles.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Shower Cubicle

My choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which impregnates the stone to block ingrained dirt and staining. As the name of the product suggests, it also enhances the dark natural shades in the Slate, giving the shower cubicle a bold, healthy and rich appearance.

Slate shower after burnishing Churt Slate shower after burnishing Churt

The customer was really pleased with the end result, which can be seen in the photographs above and below. So pleased was the customer, in fact, that he asked me to quote for the restoration of his Limestone tiled patio.

Slate shower after burnishing Churt

 
 

Restoring the Appearance of Black Slate Tiles in a Surrey Shower Cubicle

Indian Orange Slate Floor in London

Restoration of a client’s slate floor

We were asked to take a look at cleaning and re-sealing an Indian Orange Slate floor at a property in London, the owner had struggled to find someone who would take the job on as they were unsure what they were dealing with and so called in Tile Doctor. This isn’t surprising as we do find that many so called Tile Cleaning companies only take on straight forward cleaning jobs where they can get in and out quickly without fear of complications.

Cleaning an Indian Orange Slate Floor

The floor was in reasonable condition and had simply dulled as the sealer had worn down over time and dirt became trapped in the pores of the tile and grout.

Indian Orange Slate Floor Before Cleaning Indian Orange Slate Floor Before Cleaning

We cleaned the floor using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean Tile and Grout cleaner in conjunction with a scrubbing machine fitted with a black pad. This removed the old sealers and was followed with a thorough deep clean using our powerful truck mount high pressure cleaning machine to remove any residue soils and sealers etc.

Sealing an Indian Orange Slate

We left the floor for a couple of hours to dry and then we sealed it with six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is an ideal sealer for slate floors. We left the floor for thirty minutes in-between coats to allow it to dry. Once that was complete we attached a white pad to our buffing machine and polished the floor in order to harden the sealer and bring out the shine.

Indian Orange Slate Floor After Cleaning Indian Orange Slate Floor After Cleaning

The effects was quite dramatic and the customer who was obviously pleased with the results commented “Wow look at my beautiful floor, what a difference thank you very much for such a good professional job”.
 
 

Restoration of Orange Slate Floor in London

Tile Doctor – Showing The Results of Cleaning Slate on a Client’s Patio

Wonders in cleaning slate made by Tile Doctor experts

Photographs below of a Slate Patio we recently restored. The customer had another company come in to clean and seal them but they used the wrong product and it turned white and the sealer went patchy.

Process of cleaning slate and its restoration

image of cleaning slate on a patio

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We stripped of all old sealer using Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a great multi-purpose product that will remove most sealers and coatings.

cleaning slate

After a thorough rinse and wash down with water the was resealed using Colour Grow which not being water based is ideal for external applications and ideal for bringing out the natural beauty in slate. The customer was so pleased with the work he is inviting back every 6 months to maintain it.

Tile Doctor don’t just specialise in Cleaning Slate we can also restore Ceramic, Granite, Limestone, Marble, Porcelain, Quarry, Sandstone, Terracotta and Victorian Tiles.