Sealing Limestone

Filthy Limestone Floor Deep Cleaned in a Godalming Kitchen

My client had recently moved into a bungalow in Godalming where they inherited the Limestone tiled kitchen floor pictured below. The previous owner had not looked after the floor very well and by the time they moved in it was pretty filthy. Limestone is a natural but porous stone where, unless sealed, attracts dirt into its tiny holes and as you would expect Cream Limestone shows the dirt easily. The protective seal had long since worn off this floor and was now ingrained with dirt it was now looking permanently dirty.

Filthy Limestone Tiled Floor Renovation Before Cleaning Godalming Filthy Limestone Tiled Floor Renovation Before Cleaning Godalming

Before quoting I conducted a small test clean to work out the best method to renovate the stone and this also gives the client a good idea of how the floor will look after its finished. They were delighted with the initial result and happy with my quote gave me the go ahead.

Cleaning a Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

On arrival first I helped the customer remove his tables and chairs and I then set about tapping up the plinths in the kitchen and the skirtings to protect them from cleaning solutions and equipment. The cleaning equipment I have invested in works more efficiently in open spaces, so it’s worth spending time at the beginning preparing the area first.

Next, I used a deck brush to apply a mixture of water and Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to the dirtiest tiles. Tile Doctor Pro-Clean works well when left to dwell for ten minutes or so. I also applied the same product to the grout over half the room so it could get a head start breaking down the dirt. Then using a stiff brush, I scrubbed the grout clean. Once it was worked loose, I extracted the now dirty solution with a wet vacuum.

With the grout clean I turned my attention back to the tiles with where the Pro-Clean had been left to soak in. Giving them a quick brush, I noted that what appeared to be permanently ingrained dirt had now come loose. To get the tiles really clean I used a 17″ rotary machine fitted with diamond encrusted buffer pads. This removes the tiny dots of dirt on the stone and with it comes any existing sealer and dirt.

A set of four burnishing pads were used, starting with a 400-grit, and finishing with a 3000-grit pad. The first 400-grit pad is coarse, and the grits become smoother as you work through the set. Water is used to lubricate the process and the released dirt is extracted in-between using the wet vacuum mentioned earlier. This process does take time but by the end of day one the floor was looking a lot better.

The next step is sealing however the floor needs to be bone dry for that, so I left a couple of industrial fans in place and left the Limestone to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

Returning the following day my first job was to ensure the floor was dry by taking multiple moisture readings with a damp meter. The readings were good, so I was able to make a start applying the sealer which for this floor was Tile Doctor Ultra Seal.

Ultra-Seal is an impregnating sealer that soaks into those small holes in the stone I mentioned earlier, I occupies the pores thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained. The other feature of this sealer is it doesn’t change the appearance or colour of the stone leaving it with a very natural finish. Two coats of sealer were applied, leaving the seal to dry between each coat.

Filthy Limestone Tiled Floor Renovation After Cleaning Godalming Filthy Limestone Tiled Floor Renovation After Cleaning Godalming

After the final coat was dried, I gave it a final polish with a soft nylon pad and the floor was finished. Before leaving we discussed after care which for this floor, I recommended Tile Doctor Stone Soap and I requested that the customer to stay out of the kitchen for a couple of hours while the sealer cured. They were over the moon with the new floor and could not believe the difference it had made to their kitchen.

Filthy Limestone Tiled Floor Renovation After Cleaning Godalming


Professional Restoration of a Limestone Tiled Kitchen in West Surrey

Fired Earth Limestone Floor Renovated in Godalming

This property in Godalming had the whole downstairs floor tiled with Fired Earth Limestone tiles nine years prior and had never had it cleaned or maintained professionally. The once beautiful stone was now looking dull and the grout had turned black with dirt leaving the floor looking uninviting.

This is quite normal for stone floors as it is the sealer that protects the stone from dirt and enhances its look. Most sealers wear off after three to four years sealer and in this case after nine years it was well overdue a deep clean and reseal.

Fired Earth Limestone Floor Before Clean and Seal Godalming

I visited the property to survey the floor. It was indeed looking in need of some attention and the kitchen was particularly bad. To restore the appearance of the Limestone tile and grout the floor would need to be stripped of what remains of the old sealer, then deep cleaned with attention to the grout, polished with burnishing pads and then finally resealed. I was confident I could get it restored to a nearly new finish and to prove it I completed a small demonstration clean which the homeowner was very happy with. They agreed to my quote and we scheduled in a couple of days to carry out the work.

Fired Earth Limestone Floor Before Clean and Seal Godalming

Cleaning a Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

On day one I started by cleaning the grout using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. its run along the grout line and then left to soak in for about ten minutes so it can get to work breaking down dirt and old sealer. The grout is then scrubbed using a grout brush which is then scrubbed backwards and forwards along the grout line until clean. The area is then rinsed with water and all the waste removed with a wet vacuum cleaner.

Next, I turned my attention to the Limestone tiles which needed stripping of any remaining sealer, cleaned and polished. I find the best way to do this is by apply a set of diamond encrusted Burnishing pads in sequence starting with a coarse 400-grit followed by 800, 1500 and finally finishing with an extra fine 3000 grit. Water is used to lubricate the burnishing process and the slurry is rinsed and extracted off the floor between pads. Each pad is run over the tiles three times, and it was a large floor so as you can imagine this process took most of the day.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

I left the floor to dry out overnight and returned the next day to seal the Limestone. Before doing that, I reviewed my previous day’s work and I cleaned up any areas that needed further attention. Next step was to ensure the floor was dry as I don’t recommend applying a sealer to damp tile as you won’t get an even appearance, so before sealing a floor I tested for moisture using a damp meter.

To seal the floor, I applied two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the small pores in the stone to prevent dirt becoming ingrained there. Limestone is a light stone and most customers like that appearance so I find it best not to use a colour enhancing sealer as it can darken the stone. Ultra-Seal doesn’t contain any colour enhancer and leaves the floor with a natural finish whilst allowing the stone variations and patterns to show through.

Fired Earth Limestone Floor After Clean and Seal Godalming

Once the sealer was dry, I gave it a further polish with the 3000-grit pad which further brought out the natural beauty of the stone. My client was very happy with the floor, it really lifted the who area and the Kitchen in particular.

Fired Earth Limestone Floor After Clean and Seal Godalming


Professional Restoration of a Limestone Tiled Kitchen in West Surrey

New Black Limestone Floor Issues Resolved in Godalming

A property developer contacted me looking for a solution to two problems with a Black Limestone floor he had installed in the kitchen of a house in Godalming. The first problem was the sealer used didn’t do anything to enhance the look of the Limestone tiles and the new owner was very unhappy with their appearance which was now light in colour as opposed to the black Limestone he was expecting. Secondly the kitchen fitter had dragged a wooden box with a rogue screw hanging from the bottom across the floor in several places leading to scratches.

Scratched Black Limestone Floor Before Godalming

With direct trains to London Waterloo taking 45 minutes Godalming is a very desirable place to live and a property hotspot. Fortunately for the developer I was able to advise that both problems were fixable. Firstly, I had to remover the existing sealer, tackle the scratches and then re-seal and polish. Keen to have the problem resolved I was instructed to go ahead with the work.

Scratched Black Limestone Floor Before Godalming

Removing Sealer and Scratches from Black Limestone tiles

The old sealer was not doing anything to enhance the look of the Black Limestone and simply applying a new sealer on-top of the old would not have improved the appearance, so it had to be stripped off first. To remove the old sealer, I attached a coarse 400-grit Diamond burnishing pad to a floor buffer and ran it over tiles with water for lubrication. The process generates a fine slurry so once the whole floor had been burnished in this way the slurry was rinsed off with more water and then extracted using a wet vacuum.

Next, using a small handheld burnishing block I very carefully removed the scratches that the kitchen fitter had caused. Like the burnishing pads these blocks come in different grades and are encrusted with industrial diamonds.

Once happy I was happy that the scratches were gone, I continued to burnish the floor using a medium 800-grit and then a fine 1500-grit pad. These pads are used to hone the stone and build-up its polished appearance. As with the 400-grit pad water is used to lubricate the process and the floor is rinsed and extracted after each pad.

Sealing Black Limestone Tiles

I left the floor to dry off and returned after the weekend to apply the sealer. This is essential for any stone floor as otherwise dirt will become trapped in its pores making it difficult to clean effectively. Sealers can also enhance the appearance of the stone and in this case, we wanted to really bring out its natural dark colour. With this in mind I chose Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that protects from within and includes a colour enhancing agent that improves colour and, in this case, considerably intensified the black colour of the stone to achieve the effect the customer wanted.

Scratched Black Limestone Floor After Burnishing Godalming

Before leaving I ran over the floor with a white buffing pad to add an extra lustre to the stone, by the time I had finished the floor looked amazing. Unfortunately, I never got to hear how the customer felt about the new appearance of their Black Limestone floor however the property developer was much relieved as he thought the whole floor might need to be replaced.


Professional Limestone Floor Renovation in West Surrey

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