Removing Sticky Coatings from Slate Floor Tiles

A recent customer of mine had a Slate tiled conservatory that had not been used in a long time since it had become covered in a sticky oil residue and couldn’t be walked over. I can’t go into detail as to how it became it this sate however suffice to say my customer had not been successful in removing it and having tried a number of products and suggestions had decided to call in their local Tile Doctor to remedy the situation.

The customer lives in Bicester just off Junction 9 of the M40 and famous for its Bicester Village outlet shopping centre, which has recently been expanded and is popular for containing discount retail outlets for several major designer clothing stores as well as restaurants and coffee shops.

Slate Conservatory Floor Before Cleaning Bicester

Cleaning Conservatory Slate Tiles

I could see this was going to be a tricky job so to begin, I created a cocktail of cleaning products consisting of Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU and Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel. NanoTech HBU is one of our most powerful cleaners (HBU = Heavy Build-Up) as it uses Nano-sized particles to penetrate deep into the pores of the stone to release ingrained dirt. Oxy-Gel is an alkaline-based cleaner and degreaser, which helps to break down oily and sticky residues.

I applied this cleaning solution across the floor and left it to work its magic for about four hours. Next, I rinsed the floor with fresh water and extracted the soil using a wet vacuum before proceeding to clean the tiles again using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean.

Once again, I rinsed away any remaining chemicals with fresh water, before giving the floor an acid wash using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up. Giving the stone and Acid Wash removes grout smears, mineral deposits and efflorescence and really gets the stone clean. After completing the cleaning process with another rinse, I left the floor to dry for a couple of days.

Sealing Conservatory Slate Tiles

On my return to the property 48 hours later, I treated the tiles to fresh sealant to protect them from stains and ingrained dirt for the long term. To do this, I used six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which works really well on Slate to provide a high-quality and highly aesthetic low-sheen finish.

Slate Conservatory Floor Before Cleaning Bicester

The customer was very pleased with the transformation – not least because it meant she could use the conservatory again!
 
 
Source: Slate Tile Cleaning and Renovation Service in Oxfordshire

Restoring Discoloured Slate Shower Tiles in Oxfordshire

This house in Wantage was on the market to be sold but many potential buyers had been put off by the poor condition of the Slate tiled shower cubicle. Wantage is a lovely little market town in the south of Oxfordshire and a desirable location to live.

However, before this house could be sold, the shower cubicle needed to be renovated; as you can see from the photos below, there was a heavy build-up of limescale that needed to be removed.

Slate Tiled Shower in Wantage Before Cleaning Slate Tiled Shower in Wantage Before Cleaning

With the property owner keen to sell the house, he asked me to get the shower cubicle back to looking its very best. This would involve a deep clean, acid wash and seal.

Cleaning Limescale Damaged Slate Shower Tiles

To begin the restoration, I cleaned the walls using Tile Doctor Pro Clean. This is a strong alkaline product which is powerful and sage to use on natural stone to eradicate dirt and residue that has built up over time. I scrubbed the Pro Clean into the tiles and grout lines, before rinsing the entire area with fresh water.

The next stage involved removing the heavy build-up of limescale. This was done using Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in gel form. Being in this form makes it especially effective for use on sloped and vertical surfaces as it it’s easier to control and can dwell for a long time where required. The product deals with alkaline-based limescale and mineral salt deposits (efflorescence).

I scrubbed the Acid Gel into the affected areas with a stiff nylon brush, before rinsing with fresh water. I then needed to repeat this process twice more to make sure all the limescale was completely removed. Following this, I left the shower to dry before sealing.

Sealing Slate Shower Tiles

After letting the shower cubicle tiles dry, I sealed them using Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is an impregnating, colour-enhancing sealer.

The sealer is specially formulated to really emphasise the different natural tones and shades in the stone, in turn lifting the appearance of the entire room. In this situation, two coats of Colour Grow were used to provide robust, long-lasting protection.

Slate Tiled Shower in Wantage After Cleaning and Sealing Slate Tiled Shower in Wantage After Cleaning and Sealing

The customer was very impressed with the finished result and I’m sure any prospective property buyers will be equally impressed by the feature bathroom! Another satisfied client.
 
 
Source: Slate Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Oxfordshire

Restoring Very Old and Stained State Flagstones

Every so often we come across exceptionally old tiles that are in desperate need of restoration. These Slate flagstones at a property in Banbury, Oxfordshire had to be a couple of hundred years old, the grout had come loose and I wagered that it’d been covered by bitumen (also known as asphalt), plaster, and concrete for a significant portion of its life.

The property owner was keen to try and restore them and had tried to clean them, only to realise that it was a bigger task than initially thought. Flagstones are known to be hard wearing and durable, but no floor can be easily restored when subject to this kind of treatment. However, at Tile Doctor we are experienced with cleaning tiles in this kind of condition – and I was more than happy to help this customer get these fantastic Slate flagstones back to looking their best.

Old Slate Flagstone floor before cleaning Banbury

Cleaning Old Slate Flagstones

Upon arrival at the property, the first thing I did was to cover the walls to protect them from splashes of cleaning products I would be using. I then started the process by mixing two products – Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU and Tile Doctor Remove & Go – in a bucket and spread it over the entire floor. These two products are both very powerful cleaners on their own and work even better together: NanoTech HBU utilises nano-sized particles to penetrate areas that normal cleaners simply can’t reach, while Remove & Go is specifically designed for the removal of coatings such as old sealers.

For added impact and so the blend of cleaning products would not dry out, I covered the floor with a plastic sheeting, leaving the solution to dwell and work to break down the bitumen, plaster and concrete overnight.

The following day, after removing the plastic sheeting I used my rotary floor machine fitted with a silicone carbon brush to slowly scrub the floor, beginning to loosen the soil. After this, I thoroughly rinsed the floor with water. I then used Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, which is a concentrated phosphoric acid cleaner to remove the plaster and thin layers of concrete, before again rinsing the floor with water.
Next, I had to remove the particularly thick chunks of concrete carefully using a chisel, before scrubbing the floor with Grout Clean Up once more. To complete the cleaning process, I then mixed a solution of our strong alkaline cleaner, Tile Doctor Pro Clean, with water and scrubbed and rinsed the flagstones with water.

Sealing Old Slate Flagstones

The next day I returned to the property to grout the floor, before leaving it again for another day to fully cure. On the final day, I sealed the floor using Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which is a topical water-based blend of acrylic polymers that provides a stain resistant surface seal combined with a long-lasting low-sheen finish. This eliminates traditional two-step sealing methods. I applied eight coats of this to give the floor the strong sheen (seen in the below photo), that the customer requested.

Old Slate Flagstone floor after cleaning Banbury

The floor had been in awful condition, for decades or perhaps even hundreds of years, yet using the right methods and products I successfully completed the full restoration within a single week. The customer was absolutely over the moon with the result.
 
 
Source: Slate, Stone and Grout Cleaning and Restoration Service in Oxfordshire

Using Stone Oil To Add Colour To Slate Floor Tiles

These Slate kitchen floor tiles at a property in Oxford were in good physical condition, but had become dull over time due to heavy usage, and upon close inspection the grout was stained. The customer contacted me as she was keen to get the tiles back to looking their best. This would require a thorough clean and the application of a fresh sealer.

While Slate floor tiles are reputed to be hard wearing and damage resistant – and are therefore a popular choice for high traffic areas like kitchens – this does not exclude them from needing regular maintenance.

Slate Floor Tiles before refresh Oxford

Cleaning a Dull Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

To begin, I mixed a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean and water. Pro-Clean is a versatile cleaner that when used in a weak dilution can be used as a regular cleaner for most types of natural stone floor, including more sensitive stones such as Limestone and Marble.

The cleaning was then spread across the surface area of the floor, and left it to dwell for ten minutes to allow the solution to seep into the pores of the stone and lift the ingrained dirt to the surface. Pro-Clean in a strong dilution also functions as a stripping product, meaning it works to strip away any old and ineffectual sealer.

I then scrubbed the solution into the floor using a stiff scrubbing brush, paying particular attention to the grout in order to break down the visible staining. The tiles and grout lines came up really well during the cleaning process – this became clear once I had rinsed the floor and removed the residue using a wet vacuum.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

With the customer eager to have the job completed quickly, I installed portable room dryers and utilised a heat gun to dry the floor, allowing me to seal it on the same day.

Once I had ensured the floor was completely dry, I commenced the sealing process by firstly applying a coat of Tile Doctor Stone Oil, a product which is designed to bring out all of the natural dark shades in the Slate.

When this was dry, I applied a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This is an impregnating sealer, meaning that it soaks into pores of the stone to provide durable protection from within against ingrained dirt and stains. Colour Grow also enhances the natural colours in the stone even further.

Slate Floor Tiles after refresh Oxford
The customer was amazed by just how big a difference could be made to the tiles in the space of just a day. Although the tiles were generally in very good nick, my main task was to be liven them up – judging by the before and after photos, I think this was achieved. And, now that they have been treated to a fresh seal, the tiles will be prevented from quickly becoming dull again.

Source: Slate Tile and Stone Restoration Service in Oxfordshire

Restoring a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

These photographs below are of a Slate Tiled Kitchen floor taken at a customer’s house in Henley-on-Thames which, as its name suggests, sits alongside the River Thames in Oxfordshire. My client’s Slate kitchen floor had recently been cleaned with unsuitable cleaning products which I suspect impacted the sealer leaving it looking dull. Sealers really to improve the look of a stone floor so unsurprisingly once the sealer had been damaged my client had been unable to find a cleaning product that could have any kind of positive effect on the tiles.

Slate Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Henley-on-Thames

It’s fairly well known that many supermarket quality cleaners are only really designed for use on Ceramic or Porcelain tiled floors as they contain acids which strip away at sealers and acid sensitive stone floors, leaving the stone beneath vulnerable. So your select a cleaning product for your floor always read the small print on the back of the label and make sure you avoid anything that mentions not for use on acid sensitive stone; belter still Tile Doctor have a number of products for cleaning tiled floors including Neutral Cleaner and Stone Soap.

Cleaning a Slate tiled floor

To clean the floor and remove any remaining sealer I first made a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean which is a strong alkaline cleaner and then spread this over the floor, leaving it to dwell. This allows the cleaner to seep into the slate and get underneath, breakdown sealers and start to lift out ingrained dirt.

Following a dwelling period of roughly ten minutes, I agitated the floor periodically with a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad and scrubbed along the grout lines with a stiff grout brush. I then used a wet vacuum to extract the resultant slurry away and then followed up by rinsing the floor with clean water, and once again vacuumed up the residue.

Any stubborn areas were retreated until I was happy with the floor and then I left the floor to dry off completely overnight, in preparation for sealing the following day.

Sealing a Slate tiled floor

Upon my return to the house the following day, I ran some damp tests on different parts of the floor to check for any excess moisture which could potentially damage the performance of the sealer. Once I was satisfied that the floor was completely dry, I proceeded to seal the tiles using Tile Doctor Seal & Go. This will provide a robust surface seal for the future, along with an aesthetically pleasing low-sheen finish.

This sealer works particularly well on Slate tiles and, being a water-based sealant, additionally Seal & Go does not emit an unpleasant smell as it dries. Slate is quite a porous stone so I applied six coats of seal to provide long-lasting protection.

Slate Tiled Floor After Cleaning Henley-on-Thames

 
 
Source: Slate Tiled Floor Cleaning and Restoration service in Henley-on-Thames

Removing Years of Dirt from Slate Kitchen Tiles

I recently visited a client living in the market town of Woodstock in Oxfordshire to rejuvenate a fantastic multi-coloured Slate floor that had been hidden under several years’ worth of dirt in their kitchen. Slate is a typically hard-wearing tile used for flooring high traffic areas of houses and public buildings but does need sealing to bring out its best features and in this case the sealer had long since worn off and dirt had become ingrained in the stone.

Multi Coloured Slate Before Cleaning Woodstock

Cleaning a dirty Slate tiled floor

My first task in the cleaning process was to mix a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a strong alkaline cleaner safe to use on Tile and Stone, and NanoTech HBU (Heavy Build-up Remover), which is a particularly powerful product that uses nano-sized particles to tackle muck in areas of the stone where typical cleaners simply can’t reach. I spread this solution across the floor and left it to seep into the stone, to get underneath and lift out the ingrained dirt.

After allowing the solution adequate time to dwell, I scrubbed the floor with a carbon brush to gradually reveal the fantastic natural colours of the Slate hidden beneath. Following this, I rinsed the entire floor several times with clean water, before soaking up the resulting soiled residue with a wet vacuum.

Multi Coloured Slate During Cleaning Woodstock

The next part of the cleaning process entailed paying particular attention to the grout lines. I used Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up to scrub the grout lines and also to treat a small amount of efflorescence. The resulting residue was promptly extracted with the wet vacuum and I finished by giving the whole floor a rinse with Tile Doctor pH Neutral Tile Cleaner. This is a day to day tile cleaning product which is recommended for stone floors, many supermarket tile cleaning products are only suitable for ceramic tiles due to their acidic formula and can damage a floor over years of use so you should always read the label. I then left the floor to dry completely overnight.

Multi Coloured Slate During Cleaning Woodstock

Sealing a Slate tiled floor

On day two, the Slate tiled floor was dry and ready to seal. The floor had to be completely dry, as any excess moisture has the potential to the damage the performance of the sealer. Since my client had specifically requested a matte finish, I opted to use Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that provides durable surface protection from within while also enhancing all of the natural mineral shades.

Multi Coloured Slate After Cleaning Woodstock

My client was very pleased with the results, particularly as they hadn’t realised they had such a great looking floor in their house when they had first purchased it!
 
 
Source: Slate Floor Cleaning and Restoration service in Oxfordshire

Maitaining a Slate Fireplace Hearth

I thought you might find this post interesting as it’s a little unusual. I had arrived at a client’s house in Boars Hill near Oxford to do a travertine floor and she asked if I could also take a look at her fireplace where one of her dogs had urinated on it. Urine is acidic so if not quickly removed it will start to eat away a sealer and in this case as you can see from the photo below it left a mark. It was quite a small area and as I already had the necessary products to deal with it I said no problem.

stained slate fireplace hearth Boars Hill Before

Cleaning a Slate Fireplace Hearth

The urine had penetrated the existing protective seal so to get a uniform appearance it was going to be necessary to remove the covering and re-seal. To do this I covered the hearth in Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a tile and stone friendly product for removing of protective coatings. This was carefully scrubbed into the stone and bit by bit the old wax/seal was removed exposing the bare slate.

Sealing a Slate Fireplace Hearth

The stripped slate was now clean and all trace of previous sealer had been removed but once it had fully dried was left looking washed out. This was easily remedied however by applying a coat of Tile Doctor Stone Oil which brought back the deep black colour. When the Stone Oil had dried I finished the job off by applying a coat of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is a natural look sealer that will protect the slate going forward.

stained slate fireplace hearth Boars Hill After

 
 
Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout maintenance service in Oxfordshire

Refreshing A Very Dirty Slate Tiled Floor

This Multi-Coloured Slate tiled floor in the kitchen of a property in Barnard Gate near Witney was in good solid condition with no damage but had been poorly maintained with layers of sealer applied to un-clean tiled; the new home owners were keen to make this floor into a talking point as you entered the property and asked us to address the problem.

Coloured Slate Tiled Floor Barnard Gate Before Cleaning

Deep Cleaning a Slate Tiled Floor

The first task was to remove the layers of sealer from the tile so on day one the floor was covered with Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was left this to dwell for a while so it could soak into the pores of the slate and penetrate the remaining sealer. The product was then scrubbed into the tile with a Rocky rotary floor scrubber and then rinsed off with clean water and dried with a wet vacuum. The next process was to clean the floor with a strong mix of Tile Doctor Pro Clean to remove the remaining dirt in the floor and to scrub the grout clean, again the rotary floor machine came in useful for this task and again the floor was thoroughly rinsed with clean water a few times and dried with the wet vacuum. I then left the floor for a couple of days to allow enough for it to completely dry before sealing.

Sealing Slate Kitchen Tiles

To seal the slate I first applied a coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer the gets into the pores of the stone and also enhances the natural colours. I then applied a few coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a topical sealer that added a nice sheen finish that the customer wanted.

Coloured Slate Tiled Floor Barnard Gate After Cleaning

The end result was fantastic and the combination of the two sealers really got the best from the slate which is now very much appreciated and loved by the customer.
 
 
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Maintenance and Restoration in Oxfordshire

Combining Sealers for Maximum Effect

These photographs from the hallway of a house in Banbury where old thick slate tiled floor had been laid and the customer was unable to get them clean or restore any colour back into the stone.

Banbury Slate Flagstone Tiles Before Cleaning

Cleaning Slate Flagstone Tiles

I prepped the skirting boards with masking tape to protect them and then cleaned the floor with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to dwell on the floor for a while before being worked into the flagstones by hand using a stiff bristle brush. Normally I use a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad for this but given it was a small area it made sense to get on my hands and knees and apply some elbow grease. This process soon saw the dirt coming out of the tile and the dirty solution was removed using a wet vacuum before rinsing the floor down with clean water. This allowed me to see the stubborn areas where more Pro-Clean and elbow grease were applied, again this was removed and the floor given a thorough rinse using a wet vacuum to remove the liquids and get the floor dry.

Sealing Slate Flagstone Tiles

The floor soon dried so it wasn’t long before I could seal it for which I used two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow Sealer which as its name suggest enhances the natural colours in the stone. Once this was dry I continued with a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds a nice low sheen to the stone as well as adding to the protection provided by the sealer. As you can see it brought all the dark slate colour back and the sealer should ensure the floor is easy to clean in future.

Banbury Slate Flagstone Tiles After Cleaning

 
 
Source: Sealing Slate flagstones in Oxfordshire