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

 
 

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