Restoring Green Westmorland Slate Tiles in Yorkshire

It’s not too common that you find two very different natural stone tiled floors in the same property. However, this is exactly what I discovered on a recent visit to a farmhouse property in Ripley, near Harrogate in North Yorkshire. The owner wanted to restore both their Westmorland Green Slate tiled entranceway and a Blue Moleanos Limestone tiled floor.

Westmorland Green Slate originates from the Lake District in Cumbria – where it has been quarried for many centuries – and is known to be a high quality and popular choice for flooring due to its subtle and pleasant green shades. By contrast, Moleanos Limestone originates from Portugal and is one of more commonly found types of Limestone used in buildings across the world.

But while the two floors were very different, the customer’s objective was the same for both – to restore the appearance of the tiles and return the shine to the stone. Here’s how I did it.

Cleaning and Sealing Westmorland Green Slate Tiles

The first floor I tackled was the Westmorland Green Slate, situated at the entrance to the property. Naturally, given that the tiles are situated in a high traffic area, they were very dirty and required a deep clean.

Westmorland Green Slate Floor Before Cleaning in Ripley

To do this, I applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is our high alkaline, multi-purpose cleaner, stripper, and degreaser. The product was scrubbed into the tiles using a scrubbing pad fitted to a heavy-weight rotary machine to strip away any old sealer and remove the ingrained dirt. One I was satisfied with the condition of the floor it was rinsed with water and a wet vacuum used to remove the now soiled cleaning solution.

Once the floor had been left to dry completely, I was able to give the floor a fresh seal in the form of four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This sealer is specially formulated to provide both a stain resistant surface seal and a durable low-sheen finish.

Westmorland Green Slate Floor After Cleaning in Ripley

Cleaning and Sealing Blue Moleanos Limestone Tiles

Whilst waiting for the slate floor to dry I moved on to restore the Blue Moleanos Limestone tiles, which covered a floor area of 20 square metres, but were looking very sad, tired, and lifeless.

Blue Moleanos Limestone Floor Before Cleaning in Ripley

To clean polished Limestone tiles, we typically use a process known as burnishing, which involves the direct application of four different diamond encrusted burnishing pads to grind away old sealers, dirt and stains, before polishing the stone to restore lustre.

First, I used a Coarse 400 grit burnishing pad to strip the floor of the old sealer and remove all grease marks and stains. I had to go over the floor with the pad twice to get rid of some particularly stubborn grease spots.

Having done that, I moved on to focus on building back up the polished appearance of the Limestone by applying the Medium 800 grit, Fine 1500 grit, and Very Fine 3000 grit burnishing pads, with a light spray of water to act as a lubricant with each. This achieved a high-quality satin finish, which I ensured will be protected for the long-term by sealing the stone with Tile Doctor Colour Grow – an impregnating and colour enhancing sealant.

Blue Moleanos Limestone Floor After Polishing in Ripley

It took me three full days of work to clean, polish and seal both floors – and the hard work paid off, as the customer was absolutely delighted with their rejuvenated tiles!
 
 
Source: Slate Tile and Grout Cleaning and Restoration in Yorkshire

Restoring the Appearance of Polished Slate Tiles in Boston

While fantastic to look at, Riven Slate tiles can be particularly difficult to keep clean. The natural unevenness of the stone causes dirt to become more easily trapped and more difficult to remove. Over time, heavy buildup of ingrained dirt can have the effect of dulling the colours in the stone. This was the case with this large area of Riven Slate tiles at a very busy farmhouse in the Lincolnshire port town of Boston, the original namesake for the perhaps more famous city in Massachusetts, USA.

Riven slate floor before cleaning at Boston farmhouse

The property owner couldn’t figure out the best way to improve the situation and so called me in to see what could be done. Upon inspecting the tiles first hand I decided that the best course of action would be a very deep clean and the application of a fresh sealant to offer long-term protection against ingrained dirt.

Riven slate floor before cleaning at Boston farmhouse

Cleaning Dirty and a Dull Riven Slate Tiles

The cleaning process was split into two main components. Firstly, I scrubbed a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean into the tiles to remove the initial layers of soil buildup. Pro Clean is our go-to cleaner for most natural stone due to its reliability and the fact that, unlike a lot of supermarket floor cleaners, it isn’t acid-based and so won’t damage the stone.

Since the ingrained dirt problem was quite severe, I opted to also clean the tiles using our van-mounted pressure cleaning system. This very efficient system applies hot water under pressure to the to stone to penetrate deeply and eradicate particularly stubborn ingrained dirt. It then automatically extracts the soiled water back into a tank in our van.

Riven slate floor during cleaning at Boston farmhouse

Satisfied that the floor had been cleaned as throughly as possible, I then installed several turbo dryers to thoroughly dry the flooring, allowing it to be ready for sealing the next day. Efficient drying was especially important here due to the amount of water used in the cleaning process; many tiled floor owners will already know that sealant cannot be applied if any moisture remains.

Riven slate floor during cleaning at Boston farmhouse

Sealing Riven Slate Tiles

To seal the tiles I used four costs of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This is a topical sealer, meaning it forms a robust layer of protection on the surface of the tiles. Seal and Go also helps to enhance colour while providing a natural look matte finish that complements the natural stone.

Riven slate floor before cleaning at Boston farmhouse

Looking at the photos of the floor before and after my work you can really get an idea of the transformation achieved in a short space of time. What a difference! The property owners were very pleased with the results, especially now that they are aware of the best way to keep their lovely Riven Slate tiles clean and protected.

Riven slate floor before cleaning at Boston farmhouse

 
 
Source: Slate Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Lincolnshire

Removing Old Coatings From Slate Tiles

These slate tiles had been laid in the kitchen of a farmhouse in the village of Little Hampden around twenty years ago and since that time had become heavily soiled with a build-up of dirt and over applied sealants.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Farmhouse Floor Before Cleaning in Little Hampden

Cleaning a Slate Tiled Floor

To get the floor clean a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean was applied to the floor, allowed to soak in for a while and then scrubbed into the tile and grout with the aid of a commercial rotary machine. Once done the floor was washed down with water which was then removed along with the soiled cleaning solution using a wet vacuum.

The Pro-Clean removed the top soiling throughout the floor but it became clear that something stronger would be need to remove the heavy build-up of old sealants. Fortunately we have a product called Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is designed to strip floors of sealers so this was applied to the floor in a similar fashion as before and this tackled the problem. The next task was to clean the grout lines with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up and give the whole floor a final rinse with more water to ensure any chemical residue is removed leaving the floor ready for sealing.

Sealing a Slate Floor

The floor was left to dry overnight and I came back the next day to seal it to protect for years to come and improve the general look of the slate which really does look better when sealed.

To seal the floor I used a combination of products to get the best results. First a coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow was applied which is a colour enhancing impregnating sealant which occupies the pores in the stone protecting it from within and then a number of coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go were added to add a nice subtle sheen to the floor.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Farmhouse Floor After Sealing in Little Hampden

Our customer was extremely pleased with the results and took up our offer of a Tile Doctor maintenance contract to enable her to keep the floor in pristine condition.
 
 
Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout maintenance service in South Buckinghamshire