This beautiful Brazilian Slate tiled floor was installed in the kitchen of a house in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria; the slate has been previously sealed with a number of products including Varnish and the overall effect was inconsistent making the floor dull and had done little to bring out the true beauty of the natural stone. Additionally varnish is quite brittle and easily scratched by furniture etc. so never a good choice for sealing a floor.
The situation needed to be remedied so during my visit I did a small test to strip off the old sealants, clean the tile and re-seal; the effect was transformational so they booked me to come back in a few weeks’ time to finish the job.
Removing Varnish from slate floor tiles
To transform the floor and guarantee the final appearance its necessary to remove all the previous products applied to the floor stripping it back to its natural state and then seal again. So I got started stripping off the varnish and other sealants from the floor slate using a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a tile friendly product designed to remove coatings from natural stone. The solution is sprayed onto the floor, left to soak in and then agitated using a floor buffer fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The soiled solution is then rinsed away and removed using a wet vacuum.
This process removed most but not all of the varnish and sealers so the next step was to apply NanoTech UltraClean which is a gel that you apply and leave for 30 minutes before adding water and agitating with a scrubbing pad. This did the trick and now not only was the slate clean of all coatings the grout had come up nice and clean as well. The whole floor was given a thorough rinse to remove any trace of product and then dried as much as possible using the wet vacuum to soak up the water.
Sealing Brazilian Slate Tiles
The floor was left to dry off overnight and I returned the next day to seal the tiles checking first with a damp meter to ensure they were no longer damp. All was well so I proceeded to apply the sealer with a paint pad applicator. For this we had agreed on Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is ideal for slate as it really does transform the look of slate and adds a nice satin finish, the Slate was quite porous so five coats were needed in total.
I think you will agree the Brazilian slate tiles look much improved; certainly the customer was happy with the results. Before leaving I gave them some advice about aftercare and what products to use when cleaning the floor in future for best results.
Details below of a tired Slate and Flag Stone floor installed in a house in Cookham, Berkshire; the client was actually the son of an existing client whose floor we had also cleaned recently. The existing sealer had been wearing away over time and the floor had becoming increasingly ingrained with dirt making it difficult to keep clean, the solution was to strip the floor back and re-seal it.
Stone Floor Cleaning
To clean and strip the tiles of the remaining sealer the floor was soaked in a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and scrubbed in using a weighted rotary machine to help loosen the soils and break down the sealers. The soiled solution was removed and it was clear some areas of the floor needed further attention to remove the sealer so an application of Tile Doctor Remove and Go was applied which was left to soak in for a while to assist in breaking down the sealer before being scrubbed again. Once the floor was clean and the sealer was gone the floor was rinsed using our hot truck mounted extraction system and was then allowed to dry for 36 hours.
Stone Floor Sealing
When we returned I checked to make sure the floor was dry and ready to seal, all was well so I then sealed both the Slate and Flagstone floors with six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go using a paint pad applicator.
The floor looked much improved when finished I took time to explain how to clean the floor using a Neutral Cleaner that will extend the life of the sealer, the customer was pleased with the service and left the following comment on the Tile Doctor feedback system.
“We are very pleased with the results. Peter Young, Cookham”
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 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.
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.
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.