This property in Ulveston had previously been used as a guest house and was now being refurbished and turned back into a home. The kitchen and conservatory had a Slate tiled floor and as you can imagine had seen a fair amount of wear from the numerous fried breakfasts that had been prepared in there. The owners had decided to replace the kitchen but were keen to keep the slate floor however it was in a bad state and looked as if it had never been cleaned and sealed for some time.
I did a small test using Tile Doctor Remove and Go (which you can see in the photograph below) and it came up really well, naturally we were booked to come back and finish the rest of the floor which I had estimated would take two days.
Cleaning Slate Floor Tiles
Two weeks later I turned up at 9am as agreed and set up my equipment, the kitchen had already been removed so with the exception on the cooker little preparation was required. I worked in small areas using a high pressure spinner tool to remove as much dirt off the tiles as possible and a wet vacuum to remove the soiled water.
Stubborn areas were treated with Remove and Go and then I moved onto the next job which was to clean up the grout. For this I used a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a alkaline tile and grout cleaner that is safe to use on natural stone. It was scrubbed in using a stiff brush and then rinsed off with clean water, again using the wet vacuum to remove the soiled solution. The floor was now clean but still damp so I tidied up my tools and left for the day.
Sealing Slate Floor Tiles
The Next day I came back and inspected the floor to ensure it was dry and that I hadn’t missed anything. All was well so I started to seal the floor with five thin coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is an ideal sealer for slate as it adds a nice subtle sheen to the tile and being water based there is no smell as it dries. The sealer was applied using a paint pad applicator and each coat took around about twenty minutes to dry.
When it was complete and the floor had dried I packed up my equipment and spent some time talking to the customer to check they were happy with the results (they were very happy) and to advise them on how to maintain the floor using with a neutral tile cleaner going forward which will help extend the life of the sealer.
These Slate tiles were installed in the kitchen of a house in Glasgow and as you can see from the photograph below they were looking dull and tired and there was evidence of grout haze over a lot of the tiles. The Tile Doctor diagnosis was that a face lift was in order for which a deep clean and re-seal was prescribed.
Cleaning a Slate Floor
The first step was to sweep up all the loose debris from the floor; we scrub the floor quite hard during our work so it’s important to remove any grit that could scratch the surface of the tile. We then mixed a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go 50/50 with Nanotech Ultra Clean and began to work the solution into the floor allowing it to dwell for around an hour first (This process helps to soften and break down the remains of the sealer on the stone). We used a hard deck scrubber to agitate the chemicals and loosen the dirt and old sealer from the floor which is then extracted from the surface using a wet vacuum and rinsed down with clean water several times to make sure all chemicals are removed.
The next step was to apply a dilution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up which was then scrubbed the floor once again with hard deck scrubber. This broke down and removed all of the cement/ grout haze that the installer had left over the surface of the tile, again the floor was then rinsed with water and extracted to remove any chemical residue.
The floor was scrubbed again this time using a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to make sure all old sealer, cement, grout haze and dirt had been completely removed. We then give the floor a thorough and final rinse and mopped the tiles with Neutral Tile Cleaner to neutralise any remaining trace of chemicals and removed the solution using the wet vacuum before leaving the floor to dry overnight.
Sealing a Slate Floor Sealing
Once the floor was dry it was then sealed using five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which was chosen to provide the desired finish that the customer wanted.
An unusual but attractive combination of semi riven black Slate with white Marble inserts had been installed in the hallway of this residence in the town of Southport. This floor had not been cleaned properly in some time, in fact the local Tile Shop had given the customer the incorrect tile cleaning product for the job which had slowly stripped the sealer off the tile leading to dirt becoming ingrained into the tile and making it difficult to clean which resulted in the deteriorated condition you see on the picture below:
Cleaning Black Slate and Marble Inserts
The remedy was to give the floor a good deep clean and then reseal so I got to work and applied a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean onto the floor leaving it to soak in for fifteen minutes before working it in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary buffing machine. This process soon had the dirt running out of the floor and the soiled solution was removed using a wet vacuum. The process was repeated for stubborn area and this time the grout was scrubbed by hand using a stiff brush and more Pro-Clean. Pro-Clean is a multi-purpose alkaline based cleaning product that’s safe to use on Tile, Stone and Grout and given there was hardly any sealer left it wasn’t necessary to use a stronger dilution. Once I was happy with the floor it was washed down with more water to remove any trace of cleaning products and then the water removed using the wet vacuum and then left to dry overnight.
Sealing Black Slate and Marble Inserts
We have a number of sealing products suitable for Slate and Marble each one with a different effect but given then floor was predominately slate I decided opt for four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which provides stain protection and leaves a nice low sheen finish.
Before leaving I let them know about Tile Doctor Neutral Clean which is a cleaning product that has a near neutral PH and is specially designed for cleaning sealed floors.
These photographs are from that lovely old period property in the village of Harston near Cambridge, you may recall an earlier post where I worked on the Victorian Tiled hallway. These photographs are from the Slate Tiled Kitchen floor which they asked me to clean and re-seal as well.
Cleaning the Slate Tiled Floor
The process for cleaning and sealing slate is very similar to Victorian and Quarry tiles so this was as they say a bread and butter job for a Tile Doctor. The beauty of working in a kitchen is I was able to remove the kick boards instead of having to protect the skirting boards with tape. Once the preparation was done a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean was applied and left to soak into the Slate tile for a while before being worked in using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. Pro-Clean by the way is an alkaline cleaner so it’s safe to use on tile and stone unlike some acidic products which will cause damage over time.
As before I re-applied Pro-Clean on any stubborn stains and also gave the grout lines a good scrub with a stiff hand brush to make sure they were clean. Once happy with the general condition of the tile it was time to use the spinner tool which applies hot water under pressure effectively rinsing the floor whilst removing the water at the same time with suction. This does a great job of rinsing the floor and removing any trace of cleaning product before sealing, this is important to ensure a good finish when sealing.
Sealing the Slate Tiled Floor
The spinner tool does a good job of removing liquids from floors however the tile was still damp so it was left to dry assisted with air blowers until dry. Now normally I would use Tile Doctor Seal and Go to seal slate tile however the customer wanted a matt finish for this surface so it was sealed using two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which provides a more natural look it’s also recommended for use in food preparation areas.
The photographs below are taken from a job in the village of Whilton near Daventry where we were asked to clean and seal a black Welsh Slate tiled floor that was installed in a Kitchen and adjacent dining area.
The customer was concerned that the floor was very dull and proving difficult to keep clean additionally she was having a new kitchen fitted and didn’t want to replace the floor but wanted to achieve a shiny finish that was easy to maintain.
On the initial survey I found the sealant was of a poor quality and had all but worn off allowing stain and soil to seep into the grout and stain the tiles, stains which were difficult to remove with normal household cleaning products.
Cleaning Welsh Slate Tiles
After fully masking up the areas to protect the skirting boards and wooden steps I carried out a deep clean with a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go worked in with a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad in order to strip the floor and remove the old wax sealer and tackle the ingrained stains and grime. Additionally the grout lines were scrubbed using stiff hand brushes to bring them back to an acceptable appearance. The soiled cleaning solution was removed using a wet vacuum and then washed down with clean water so we could see the areas that needed further work and repeated the process.
Once I was happy with the overall appearance the entire area was given a thorough rinse and wash to remove any chemical and neutralise the floor before sealing. We left a dehumidifier in place to assist in the drying process as we wanted to ensure the tile and grout was fully dry prior to application of a sealer.
Sealing the Slate Tiled Floor
We came back two days later and checked the floor was dry which it was so we proceeded to apply the sealer for which we chose Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water based sealer (no smell) that is recommended for Slate tiles and provides good stain protection with a low sheen finish that really does bring the floor alive. It took five coats before the slate tiles were fully sealed.
The customer from Windermere called me in to take a look at their Slate tiled kitchen floor which was looking very dirty with ingrained stains and marks on the stone from spills etc. that were proving difficult for the customer to clean. The brief was to give the floor a deep clean, remove the stains and make it easier for them to maintain thereafter. On inspection I could see the sealer had broken down, which is why the slate was getting stained and hard to clean. I did a test area on the slate and grout to show them how it could look and it came up really well so the signed my Work survey form and booked me in to do the work.
Cleaning Slate Floor Tiles
On my arrival I covered the wood and carpet in the kitchen and hallway to protect it then started on removing what was left of the old sealer with Tile Doctor Remove and Go; I sprayed it on working in small areas and activated it with a brush making sure I scrubbed well around the areas of slate that are risen as in this slate its uneven and then washed it off using a wet vacuum to remove the soiled solution. It was very satisfying to watch the tiles come back to life with bright colours, I kept at it all day until all the Slate tiles were clean and the sealer was fully removed, I then scrubbed all the grout joints to make sure they were all clean then I washed all the floor down before I left ready for sealing the next day.
Sealing Slate Floor Tiles
The next day I sealed the floor with Tile Doctor Seal and Go to protect and enhance the tile putting on five coats before it was fully sealed. I used an industrial air blower to help it dry quicker as the house owner had a dog and I did not want any paw prints in my work. Below is a photograph of the end results in which you can see the natural colours have come back to life.
This job took me two days and the owner was extremely happy with the result, I also spent time to explain a maintenance program discussing how to clean the floor with Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which has a low PH and not an off the shelf supermarket cleaner which being mildly acidic can break down the sealer and reduce its life.