Restoring the Appearance of a Slate Shower Base

When used to clean natural stone, supermarket products can often cause more harm than good as this recent customer of mine discovered this the hard way!

Originally from South Africa, she had lived in a flat in Clapham for a couple of years, but had to suddenly return home earlier than expected. However, part of her flat rental agreement required her to leave the property clean and as she found it, including the fantastic Slate shower cubicle.

In a rush, the customer had attempted to clean the Slate using a popular supermarket bathroom cleaner. She left the product to sit on the base of the shower before scrubbing it in with an abrasive pan scourer.

Badly Marked Slate Shower Tray in Clapham Before Restoration

This was a big mistake – and the customer called me in a panic after discovering that her attempts had left the Slate severely stained. I travelled to the property to see what could be done to set the situation straight.

Burnishing a Severely Stained Slate Shower Cubicle

Upon observing the damage in person, I decided that the best course of action would be to use a process known as burnishing to grind away the stains. I tested a small area of the cubicle with one of our handheld diamond encrusted burnishing blocks.

Happy with the results of the test Clean, I started to burnish the whole cubicle using our system of four burnishing blocks, starting with the coarsest first and working my way down to the finest. A small amount of water was used as lubrication for each pad.

Through the burnishing process, the white stains started to disappear, exposing the lighter grey coloured Slate shower base.

Sealing a Slate Shower Cubicle

After drying the area completely with a heat gun, I was able to seal the stone with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow.

This impregnating sealer not only protects the stone but also importantly it restores the natural dark shades in the Slate, enhancing its overall appearance. As an impregnating sealer, Colour Grow penetrates the pores in the stone to fill them and prevent trapped dirt.

Badly Marked Slate Shower Tray in Clapham After Restoration

To say the customer was very relieved would be a complete understatement! By hiring in professional assistance, the customer was able to resolve the situation quickly and painlessly – and more importantly hold onto her £3,000 deposit!
 
 
Source: Slate Tile and Grout Cleaning Service in West Surrey

Deep Cleaning a Neglected Kitchen Slate Tiled Floor

We always recommend regular maintenance for stone tiled floors, especially in areas of high traffic and high possibility of spillages, such as kitchens. Unfortunately, most house owners aren’t aware of this as was the case case of this particular Slate tiled kitchen floor at a property in Sunbury-on-Thames. In fact, the sealer hadn’t been refreshed for seven years and I suspect had worn off some years prior. The result? Well, you can see it from the photographs below

Slate Kitchen floor Before Cleaning Sunbury-on-Thames

Heavy soil and general kitchen spillages was now able to penetrate the pores of the stone leaving it looking stained and grubby.Cleaning using run-of-the-mill household products was proving near impossible and with the customer at a loss as to how to resolve the situation, I was called in to provide the professional attention these tiles so desperately needed.

Slate Kitchen floor Before Cleaning Sunbury-on-Thames

Cleaning a Dirty Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

The first order of business was to break down what was left of the old impregnating sealer. To do this I applied Tile Doctor Remove and Go to the floor, it was left to soak in for around ten minutes before being scrubbed into the stone. Remove and Go is a heavy-duty remover for old sealers, adhesive stains and paint splashes that is safe to use on stone, tile and grout.

Another product used was Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a powerful high alkaline cleaner which works well on stone and is especially good at cleaning up grout lines.

This combination of products helped to eliminate all oil-based stains and day-to-day soils from the stone. Next, using a specialised stone rinse extractor and water, I flushed all the old sealer, cleaning products and resultant soil away.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

I left the floor overnight to dry completely following the cleaning. Upon my return to the property I applied three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer, an impregnating sealer which helps to protect the stone from spillages and ingrained dirt by filling the pores of the stone and acting as a barrier. This subsequently makes daily maintenance easier.

Slate Kitchen floor After Cleaning Sunbury-on-Thames

As you may have guessed from the product name, the sealer also enhances the natural colours in the stone. The photos below show just how significant a difference this make to the aesthetic appearance of the floor.

Slate Kitchen floor After Cleaning Sunbury-on-Thames

The customer was very pleased with the results and couldn’t quite believe seven years of poor maintenance could be remedied in just two days!
 
 
Source: Slate Tile Cleaning & Restoration Service in Middlesex

Restoring Old Slate Hallway Tiles

African Slate has a striking realism to it and its natural mix of light and dark shades is difficult to compare to anything else. This example of an African Slate tiled floor was installed in the kitchen of a property in Mickleton, Gloucestershire, a town which is best known for its tradition of vegetable gardening.

African Slate Floor Before Cleaning in Mickleton

The floor was laid 15 years ago, but the owner had not maintained the sealer which would have protected the porous stone from dirt becoming ingrained. As a result, the floor was now in poor condition with the rich dark tones in the stone now dull, dirty and unremarkable. The owner had decided it was time to put it right so I was called in to make sure the tiles were restored to their original magnificence.

African Slate Floor Before Cleaning in Mickleton

Cleaning an African Slate Tiled Floor

My first job was to unclip the kickboards from the base of the kitchen units, and then also cover the units themselves with plastic to guard them against potential splashing from the cleaning process.

Next, to begin the process, I applied a solution of one part Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and three parts plain water. Pro Clean is a high alkaline cleaner which is so reliable when it comes to removing dirt that we use it on almost every job we do, from Slate and Quarry to Marble and Sandstone.

Once the product had been applied, I left it to soak into the stone for approximately fifteen minutes. Then, using my buffing machine fitted with a 17 inch black scrubbing pad, I scrubbed the solution into the stone to clean the floor, releasing the ingrained dirt and removing the stains in the process. All the subsequent cleaning slurry was vacuumed up with a wet vacuum and I rinsed the floor with plain water.

I repeated this process a couple of times to ensure the most thorough clean possible. Then once satisfied with the condition of the tiles, I turned my attention to the cleaning all the dirty grout lines, again using Pro-Clean. The main difference here was that I scrubbed the product in by hand using a special grout brush as opposed to using a buffing machine. The rinsing and vacuuming process was then carried out once again.

Sealing an African Slate Tiled Floor

Once the cleaning process had been completed, I covered the floor with dust sheets and left it to dry off overnight.

I returned to the property the next day to find the the floor dry and ready to be sealed. I proceeded to seal the tiles with four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, leaving roughly 30 minutes between coats.

African Slate Floor After Cleaning and Sealing in Mickleton

Seal and Go is a robust sealer that works really well on floors like these and results in a durable low sheen finish that really emphasises the natural characteristics of the African Slate.

African Slate Floor After Cleaning and Sealing in Mickleton

The customer was absolutely delighted with the restored appearance of the floor. In fact, it reminded her of how it looked when it was first installed 15 years ago! A complete transformation in just two days.
 
 
Source: Slate Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Gloucester

Slate Floor Tiles Refurbished in Cambridgeshire

This wonderful Slate tiled floor at a property near the old village of Duxford had been installed throughout the ground floor kitchen, utility room, dining room, and downstairs toilet, making it a very large area. As such, the property owner had struggled to keep the tile and grout looking it’s best and had tried many off the shelf supermarket-quality products without much success and you can see from the photographs the slate was now looking tired and the grout was quite stained and so we were called in to work our magic

Slate Floor Duxford Before Cleaning

While Slate is typically known for its durability, any kind of porous stone will over time become dirty and stained if the sealer is not maintained, sealers do fail eventually and usually in the highest traffic areas first where they become worn down the most.

Slate Floor Duxford Before Cleaning

Cleaning Dirty Slate Tile

Before starting the cleaning process, we protected the walls and skirting boards from coming into contact with products by covering them with plastic. I also opted to remove the kickboards from around the edges of the kitchen units, kickboards are usually just clipped into place and are easily put back later.

Slate Floor Duxford Before Cleaning Adding Protection

I then applied Tile Doctor Remove and Go to the floor, which is a multi-purpose stripper/cleaner designed to strip away old sealers and remove grout haze, adhesives and paints. It also draws out ingrained stains. The entire floor was blanketed in a thin plastic sheet to give the chemical time to emulsify the old sealers without drying out.

Slate Floor Duxford With Plastic Blanket

Next, I used our high-pressure extraction system to remove all the emulsified sealers. The system works by applying hot water under high pressure to the floor deep cleaning the tile, whilst simultaneously extracting the dirty water back to a tank on our van. This process did a great job of getting the floor clean and free of old sealers etc., and after completing the initial clean a thorough walk through of the floor was done to identify any stubborn areas that needed further treatment.

Slate Floor Duxford During Pressure Cleaning

Finally, the floor was left to dry overnight.

Sealing Slate Tiles

Upon arriving back at the property, the next day, I ran some quick damp tests to check that the floor was completely dry and ready to be sealed. Once satisfied, I applied several coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which works really well on Slate giving it that much needed protection against dirt and stains, along with a full lustre finish that enhances the character of the floor, it was a large area and you have to wait for the first coat to dry before applying the next so it took some time to complete as I’m sure you can imagine.

Slate Floor Duxford After Cleaning and Sealing

You should be able to see the floor was quite transformed after our visit and needless to say the customer was very happy with the result.

Slate Floor Duxford After Cleaning and Sealing

 
 
Source: Slate Tile and Grout Cleaning and Sealing Service in Cambridge

Dull and Tired Slate Floor Tile Renovation

This Slate tiled floor at this house in the Pontypool was laid over ten years ago in the kitchen/dining room. The floor had ground in dirt into the tiles and grout which the client wanted brought back to life.

Slate floor before cleaning Pontypool Slate floor before cleaning Pontypool

Repairing and Cleaning Dirty Slate Tiles

I could see the tiles would need to be deep cleaned so I started the cleaning process with a strong combination of Tile Doctor Remove and Go to strip away the old sealer and Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to get the tiles as clean as possible. The solution was scrubbed into the tile and grout using a rotary machine fitted with a black 17” scrubbing pad. The floor was then rinsed with water and the soiled residue was extracted with a wet vacuum.

This process was repeated until I was satisfied all the sealer and dirt had been removed from the tile and then I concentrated my attention on the grout lines using more Pro-Clean and a stiff wire brush to get them as clean as possible.

With the tile and grout as clean as it was possible to get it, I gave the whole floor a final rinse to neutralise the cleaning products and then extracted as much moisture as possible from the floor with a wet vacuum and left the floor to dry overnight.

Sealing Slate Tiles

When I returned to the property I made sure the floor had dried by checking for any dampness with a damp meter. If you neglect to remove all excess moisture from the surface of the tiles before sealing it will impact the effectiveness of the sealer.

Once satisfied that the floor was completely dry, I proceeded to seal the tiles using Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will protect the floor from staining in the future and adds a nice sheen to the surface. The Slate was quite porous so I found eight coats of sealer were needed to fully seal the floor.

Slate floor after cleaning Pontypool Slate floor after cleaning Pontypool

I think you will agree the floor now looks amazing!
 
 
Source: Slate Tile Cleaning and Renovation Service in Monmouthshire

Dealing with Cilit Bang Damaged Slate Tiled Shower Cubicle

One problem we encounter a lot at Tile Doctor is damaged caused to natural stone tiles by unsuitable household cleaning products. This customer, who lives in the small West Surrey village of Churt, had done this by attempting to use Cilit Bang, which is an acidic product, to remove limescale from his fantastic Slate tiled shower cubicle. While the product may indeed remove Limescale, it does say on the label that it should not be used on natural stone.

Slate shower before cleaning Churt Slate shower before cleaning Churt

Putting these types of products in contact with acid-sensitive stone typically results in some sort of etching, however, I had never before seen the type of damage that had occurred on these Slate tiles. At first, I thought the damage – which appeared as a sort of white staining – might simply be damage to the sealer. But when I did a test clean to remove the sealer, it became clear that the stone had suffered from very deep staining and the only way to remove it would be to use a process we call burnishing.

Slate shower before cleaning Churt

Burnishing an Acid-Damaged Slate Tiled Shower Cubicle

The burnishing process is a type of polishing which involves the application of diamond burnishing pads in sequence. Each pad has a different level of grit, allowing for dirt and stains to be broken down before the stone is gradually polished. We typically use burnishing on Limestone, Marble, and Travertine, but it can be used on all manner of stone in the right circumstances. This being a vertical surface, I had to complete the process using smaller six-inch pads fitted to a handheld buffer.

I started by applying the 400 grit (Coarse) pad, and followed on through to the 800 grit (Medium) and 1500 grit (Fine) pads, using a small amount of water as lubrication. I then left the tiles to dry until the next day.

When I arrived back at the property, the customer remarked that the tiles looked massively improved. Nonetheless, I found I hadn’t removed all the staining possible, so decided to repeat the burnishing process once – but this time used the pads without any lubrication. Once I was satisfied with the results, it was time to seal the tiles.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Shower Cubicle

My choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which impregnates the stone to block ingrained dirt and staining. As the name of the product suggests, it also enhances the dark natural shades in the Slate, giving the shower cubicle a bold, healthy and rich appearance.

Slate shower after burnishing Churt Slate shower after burnishing Churt

The customer was really pleased with the end result, which can be seen in the photographs above and below. So pleased was the customer, in fact, that he asked me to quote for the restoration of his Limestone tiled patio.

Slate shower after burnishing Churt

 
 
Source: Slate Tile Cleaning and Renovation Service in Surrey

Rejuvenating a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

Kitchen tiles are never the easiest to keep clean. Food and drink spillages are likely to happen on a daily basis, especially if you live in a busy household. Not to mention the dirt and dust that builds up over time if the tiles are not treated to regular cleaning and maintenance. At this house in Linwood, a small town about 14 miles west of Glasgow, the Slate tiled kitchen floor, measuring approximately 8-10 square metres, wasn’t in a great state. In particular, the grout was very noticeably stained.

The property owner called me to help bring the floor back to looking it’s best again.

Slate floor tiles before grout colouring in Linwood

Cleaning Dirty Slate Tiles and Recolouring Grout

I started the restoration by cleaning the tiles and grout with Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner. This pH neutral cleaner is specially formulated for the regular cleaning of natural stone, unlike many supermarket-grade cleaners that are only really suitable for use on ceramics. The customer was also wary about the sealer on the Slate tiles being damaged, so I didn’t want to use anything stronger or acidic. Nonetheless, the Neutral Tile Cleaner did a fine job of removing any muck from the surface of the tiles and removing the stains from the grout.

Slate floor tiles during grout colouring in Linwood

I also recommended that the grout be recoloured in order to fully restore the appearance of the floor as a whole. I let the floor dry off completely following the clean, before applying our Natural Grey grout colourant, one of the ten different types of grout colourant we offer, which seals and rejuvenates the grout joints. Other colours include White, Black, and Cappuccino. In this case, I felt Natural Grey would match in best with the natural colours of the Slate. I then left the grout to dry before polishing off any excess colourant.

Slate floor tiles after grout colouring in Linwood

As you can see the grout nows looks much fresher and neater. The epoxy nature of the colourant will protect the grout from any future discolouration and make it much easier to clean. Certainly, the customer was very happy as she left the following
feedback:

“Steven contacted me quickly and we booked my job in. My Slate kitchen floor’s grout was discoloured, so we agreed he would clean and stain the grout. He came and carried out the work and he was excellent. Very happy with the work and his attitude was first class. Would highly recommend.”
 
 
Source: Slate Tile Cleaning and Renovation Service in Renfrewshire

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

Deep Cleaning Soiled Slate Tiles

On rare occasions we encounter extremely dirty tiled floors which have clearly not been cleaned for months, or even years. As you can see from the first photograph, this Slate tiled floor at a property in Gateside is an example of one of these extreme cases, being completely caked in thick layers of dirt that had amassed over a long time.

Slate floor before cleaning Gateside

While Slate is typically more hard wearing and rougher in texture many other types of tile, this doesn’t mean that it requires less frequent maintenance. With the floor measuring in at 20×20 metres, getting the tiles back to looking their best would be a big job, and certainly one that required the attention of a professional.

Slate kitchen floor before cleaning Gateside

Cleaning an Extremely Dirty Slate Tiled Floor

As the tiles were exceptionally dirty, I applied a strong dilution of our alkaline cleaner, Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which can be used for both light soil buildup and very heavy soil buildup. After applying the product, I left it to dwell for a healthy period to allow it to break down the thick layers of dirt.

Slate kitchen floor after cleaning Gateside

I then used a black scrubbing pad fixed to a heavy rotary machine to scrub the tiles, extracting the resulting slurry using a wet vac machine. Due to how dirty the tiles were, I repeated this process several times until satisfied that the tiles were as clean as possible. Next, I paid attention to the grout, cleaning it by hand, again using Pro Clean. Once this was completed, I rinsed the floor a few times with clean water to remove any trace of chemical.

Slate floor after cleaning Gateside

Sealing a Slate Tiled Floor

I was keen to seal the floor the following day, so I installed a fan overnight to speed up the drying process. As many will already know, a tiled floor cannot be sealed until it is completely dry, or else the excess moisture will cloud the sealer.

Upon my return to the property the next morning, I used Tile Doctor High Shine to seal the floor as requested by the customer. This sealer is specifically designed for use on textured natural stone such as Slate, providing a durable, resistant and high shine surface seal. I applied four coats in total.

Slate kitchen floor after cleaning Gateside

The customer wasn’t at home when I finished the job, but he sent me a text later in the day to say just how impressed he was with the transformation of the floor. Another satisfied customer!

Slate kitchen floor after cleaning sealing Gateside

 
 
Source: Slate Floor Cleaning and Sealing Service in Glasgow

Restoring the appearance of Chinese Slate floor in Dorset

The photographs below are of rough Chinese Slate floor tiles installed at a house in Dorchester; they had not been deep cleaned in a long time and the combination of pets and grandchildren had taken its toll on the floor. Rough Slate from China is a relatively inexpensive product and although long lasting and value for money the texture of the Slate is difficult to maintain and thus difficult to keep clean even if fully sealed

Chinese rough slate before cleaning Dorchester

Cleaning Chinese Slate Tiles

To clean the tiles I used a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to soak into the Slate for a good ten minutes before working it in with a buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. This action removed the ground in dirt and any old sealer and a stiff brush was then run along the grout lines with more Pro-Clean to get them as clean as possible. The floor was then rinsed thoroughly and any stubborn areas retreated; a wet vacuum was used to extract the soiled water from the surface of the stone in order to get it as dry as possible.

Sealing Chinese Slate Tiles

The floor was left to dry overnight and I returned the next day to seal using three coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go sealer which is a water based sealer (so no smell) that leaves a nice subtle shine to floor.

Chinese rough slate after cleaning Dorchester

The slate and the grout looked really dull and dirty before we started and now the floor looks like it was recently laid.

For aftercare we don’t recommend the use of a Floor Steamer as they work on a 100 degrees and this damages the sealer; for regular cleaning use Tile Doctor Ph Neutral Cleaner using a two bucket system, whereby you apply the cleaning solution with a jug, wipe the floor and then squeeze off the excess into the second bucket, this stops you reapplying dirty water onto a clean floor..
 
 
Source: Slate Tile Cleaning and Maintenance Service in Dorset

Getting the Best Our of Black Brazilian Slate Tiles

Tenuous link I know but I worked on this semi riven Black Brazilian Slate Tiles in the kitchen and dining room of a house in the seaside town of Thornton-Cleveleys around the time of the Rio Olympics. I love working on Slate as although it’s appearance can degrade without proper maintenance due to a build-up of dirt I knew they would look fantastic by the time I had finished.

Brazilian Black Slate Before Cleaning Thornton Cleveleys

The tile itself had lost its rich black colour and the grout lines had become stained, leaving the floor as a whole looking very unattractive. Out of interest honed Slate has a smooth, refined texture whereas the riven Slate has a rougher, more natural texture, and this can make it more difficult to keep clean. Needless to say, the customer was keen to have the tiles restored to looking their best.

Brazilian Black Slate Before Cleaning Thornton Cleveleys

Cleaning Black Semi-Riven Brazilian Slate Tiles

To restore the appearance of the Slate, I cleaned the floor and removed what remained of the old sealer off using Tile Doctor Remove and Go. This was scrubbed into the floor using a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. The floor was then rinsed with water, and the process repeated where necessary to tackle particularly stubborn areas of dirt.

As mentioned previously, the grout lines were in a particularly bad state, and would need special cleaning attention. I cleaned carefully with a strong 5-to-1 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean with water, which is our high alkaline cleaner. The cleaning solution was scrubbed I’m using a stiff handheld grout brush, with the grout lines looking immediately cleaner. When I was satisfied that the grout lines had been restored to the best possible condition, I gave the floor a thorough rinse using the wet pickup function of a wet wax machine to get the floor as dry as possible and then left the whole floor to dry off overnight.

Sealing Black Semi-Riven Brazilian Slate Tiles

Upon my return to the property I ran some quick damp tests to check that the floor was completely dry. This is important as any excess moisture would have prevented me from sealing the tiles, since it can cloud the sealer and damage it performance.

Previously I discussed sealer options with the customer and they stated that they would prefer a Satin finish, so I applied a sealer called Tile Doctor Seal and Go, our topical sealer which will both protect the Slate from dirt and stains, and also gave it the desired finish. As you can see from the below photographs, the rich, dark shades in the Slate were really enhanced.

Brazilian Black Slate After Cleaning Sealing Thornton Cleveleys

The customer was very pleased with the finished result, but was also concerned about keeping the Slate clean in the long-term. For regular cleaning I advised the customer to use a pH neutral cleaner for aftercare called Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner. As a pH neutral cleaner, it will not erode the sealer compared to acidic cleaners you so often find in supermarkets.

Brazilian Black Slate After Cleaning Sealing Thornton Cleveleys

 
 
Source: Slate Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Lancashire

Natural Slate Patio Stripped, Treated for Grout Haze and Sealed

Along with internal tiled floors at residential and commercial properties, we also specialise in the cleaning, restoration and sealing of all types of external tiled floors, including patios.

This customer, who lives in the small town of Brackley in Northamptonshire, had made the unfortunate mistake of sealing a brand new Slate tiled patio without removing the layer of grout haze smeared across the surface of the tile first. With the grout trapped between the tile and the new sealant the sealer was unable to fulfil its potential and the entire floor appeared really dull and patchy. The customer contacted me about setting the situation right.

Patio Slate Tiles with Grout Haze Before Cleaning Brackley

Treating a Slate Tiled Patio for Grout Haze

My initial course of action was to remove the new sealer using Tile Doctor Remove & Go, which is specially designed to strip away sealant, as well as adhesives and paints in cases where building and decorating works have left the tiles stained. The product was applied liberally across the surface area of the patio and agitated using a rotary machine fitted with a special stripping pad. Of course, this was necessary because the grout haze could not be treated without removing the sealant first. The soiled cleaning solution was promptly soaked up using a wet-vac machine.

Once the tiles were exposed I applied Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in more manageable gel form, all over the patio and allowed it to dwell for ten minutes to begin neutralising the grout haze. I then added a little water and worked the product into the patio with a stiff scrubbing brush and a rotary machine to ensure all grout haze was removed from the surface of the tiles. The remaining slurry was then removed using the wet vacuum, and I rinsed the area twice with plain water to ensure all cleaning products had been removed. It was them left to dry completely.

Patio Slate Tiles with Grout Haze Being Cleaned in Brackley

Sealing a Slate Tiled Patio

I returned to the property several days later to give the patio a fresh seal now that it was free from grout haze. First, I gave the patio a vacuum and light mop to remove any dust and debris. The customer wanted the tiles as dark as possible, therefore I suggested we use Tile Doctor Stone Oil before sealing, as this would darken the Slate significantly.

Once this was agreed, I applied one coat of Stone Oil, allowed an hour for the product to dry, and then followed this applying two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer. This is our impregnating, colour enhancing sealant which provides maximum protection against ingrained dirt and stains, as well as a durable no-sheen finish.

Patio Slate Tiles with Grout Haze Removed and Sealed in Brackley

As you can see from the photographs, the Slate tiles experienced an impressive transformation. The fresh sealant, combined with the Stone Oil, really took the appearance of the tiles to a new level and, what’s more, it will be easier for the happy customer to keep it clean in the future.
 
 
Source: Slate Tile and Grout Cleaning and Maintenance Service in Northamptonshire

Correcting Slate Tiled Floor Installation Issues

These pictures are off a brand new slate floor which the customer assumed would be much darker after she sealed it. Her builder had informed her that she only needed to give them a wipe over to remove the grout haze after he had laid them which she did before sealing however she was disappointed as they came up lighter and patchy than she had envisaged from what she had seen in the shop. The colour and patchiness was down to the fact that not all the grout had been removed and was now trapped between the tile and the new sealant.

Slate Tiles with Grout Haze Woburn Sands Slate Tiles with Grout Haze Woburn Sands

Removing Sealer and Grout Haze from Slate

To be able to remove the grout haze which was the root cause of the problem I would need to first remove the sealer. Fortunately we have a product called Tile Doctor Remove & Go which can do this so I applied it to the tiles, let is soak in for tem minutes and then scrubbed it into the Slate using a rotary machine fitted with a stripping pad. I then rinsed the floor with water and removed the soiled solution with a wet vacuum, repeating the scrubbing process where I felt it was necessary.

Once this was done I could deal with the Grout Haze by giving the tiles an Acid wash using Tile Doctors new Acid Gel product which being in a gel form is much easier to control. It was applied all over the floor and allowed to dwell for ten minutes to work on the grout haze, I then added a little water and worked the product in with a stiff scrubbing brush and a rotary machine to ensure all grout was removed from the surface of the tiles; the resultant slurry was then removed using the wet vacuum again.

It was important at this stage to ensure any trace of Remove and Go or Acid Gel was removed from the slate before sealing so I then gave the floor a thorough rinse with more water using the wet vacuum afterwards to remove as much moisture as possible. Before leaving for the evening I installed a fan to blow air across the surface of the tiles to assist in the drying process.

Sealing the Slate Tiled Floor

I returned the following day and did a small test patch on a spare tile the customer had with a colour sealant and she wanted it darker than the sealant alone could achieve as colour enhancing sealers will only ever slightly darken the colour. Therefore I suggested we apply Tile Doctor Stone Oil before sealing as this would darken the slate to the colour the customer was after and it works especially well on darker tiles. Once this was agreed I applied one coat of Tile Doctor Stone Oil, allowed an hour for the product to dry assisted by a fan followed by 2 coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow to fully protect the tiles.

Grout Haze Removed From Slate Tiles Woburn Sands Grout Haze Removed From Slate Tiles Woburn Sands

The job took two days, the grout haze is gone and the Slate now looks how it should, my customer was very pleased and left the following message on our feedback system.

Phil did an absolutely fantastic job on my black limestone tiles in my kitchen after my DIY botch job at trying to seal them. They now look like the floor I wanted to achieve when I bought those tiles in the 1st place. Thank you so much! Ms L. Whittaker.
 
 
Source: Dealing with Grout Haze on a Slate Tiled Floor in Northamptonshire

Putting the Colour back Into a Dull Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

This customer, who lives in Paisley, one of Scotland’s biggest towns – and one with a rich history in the textiles industry – had not been completely satisfied with her Slate tiled kitchen floor since it had been laid. Having only been laid recently, the tiles themselves were in good shape, but they lacked the aesthetic quality desired by the customer.

She wanted them to be a richer, darker black in colour while keeping the matte look – as she had seen advertised in the tile shop – but once laid the tiles had been left looking rather unexceptional. The floor area itself was only small (at around 12 metres squared), and I was confident I could have it looking much nicer in no time at all using the right products.

Slate Floor Cleaned in Paisley

Cleaning a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

To begin, I stripped away any previous sealer using a diluted mixture of Tile Doctor Pro Clean and Tile Doctor Remove and Go scrubbed into the tiles. This also helped to remove and bits of dirt and dust left on the floor. While the tiles, as mentioned, were in relatively good nick, I wanted to get the floor as clean as possible before giving it a fresh seal and my chosen combination of products did not let me down.

The floor was then neutralised with clean water, removing any outstanding cleaning chemicals, and the resulting cleaning slurry was promptly removed using a wet-vac machine. To finish the clean, I washed the tiles in pH Neutral Tile Cleaner, leaving it fresh and ready to be sealed.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

The next day I returned to the property to seal the Slate tiles making sure first that the tiles were dry. To restore the colour and texture of the Slate I started with an application of Tile Doctor Stone Oil which impregnates the pores of the stone and like a sealer provides a barrier to ingrained dirt once cured. To maintain the matt finish, as requested by the customer, I added a coat of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal.

Slate Floor Treated with stone oil in Paisley

Just looking at the before and after photographs it’s clear to see that the customer got that the exact result she had requested. Stone Oil worked wonders to restore the rich, dark tones to the Slate that had been so sorely lacking previously. The customer can also be assured that the sealer will be keep the floor easy to clean for a long time to come.

Slate Floor Cleaned and seaeled in Paisley

 
 
Source: Slate Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Glasgow

Post Installation Cleaning and Sealing of a Slate Floor

One of the worst examples of bad tiling practice is to leave a newly installed floor unsealed and therefore unprotected. This is exactly the problem that had occurred at this property in Lymm, West Cheshire. A builder has installed a new Slate tiled floor in the kitchen of this property, but had neglected to seal it, leaning the tiles exposed to dirt, stains, and other general muck so they quickly lost their appearance. To be fair I could not fault the installation but the floor now looked terrible.

Slate Floor Before Clean and seal grout recolour in Lymm Cheshire

The property owner was keen to have the grubby Slate tiles refreshed and sealed, so she gave me a call. I agreed to complete the work and travelled to the property in Lymm – which incidentally means “place of running water” in Celtic – and was named after an ancient stream that ran through the village centre.

Cleaning a Grubby Slate Tiled Floor

Upon my arrival at the property I got straight to work, cleaning the tiles with our heavy duty remover/cleaner, Tile Doctor Remove and Go. This was applied to the floor, left to soak in and then scrubbed into the tile using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad to break down the layers of muck. Normally I would use Remove and Go to strip away old coatings and sealers, but here of course there was no sealer to begin with just a lot of ingrained dirt.

I also carefully scrubbed the grout lines with a special grout brush as I went along. The grout lines are often where dirt can be come easily ingrained, and it was no different here. The floor was then rinsed off with clean water, and any resulting could residue was quickly removed using a wet vac machine. Finally, the floor was left to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Floor

The next day I returned to the property and started by checking that the floor was completely dry and ready to be sealed. This involved running damp tests to check for excess moisture. When satisfied, I proceeded to seal the floor with a single coat of our impregnating, colour enhancing sealer, Tile Doctor Colour Grow followed by two coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra, which gives the tiles a fantastic sheen finish.

Refreshing Grout with a Grout Colourant

The customer requested for the grout lines to be recoloured, but first I had to leave the property overnight to allow the sealer to dry. The next morning, I coloured the grout lines with white Tile Doctor Grout Colourant which is just a question of applying the colourant with a small brush and then wiping the excess off the tiles. It’s not a tough job but it can be quite fiddley and it does make a real difference to the appearance of the grout.

Slate Floor After Clean and seal grout recolour in Lymm Cheshire

As you can see from the After photograph the white Grout Colourant contrasted very nicely against the naturally dark Slate. The absence of a sealer had left the floor looking very dull but now, with a fresh, robust seal, it has been completely revitalised. My customer was exceptionally pleased with her hugely improved kitchen floor.
 
 
Source: Slate Tile and Grout Cleaning and Sealing Service in Cheshire

Restoring the Appearance of Slate Flooring in Middlesex

Slate is a popular choice for tiled kitchen floors and when properly maintained looks fantastic, however like all natural stone products without an effective cleaning plan dirt will become ingrained in the stone and will start to lose its appearance.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning in Twickenham

This was the case with this fantastic Slate tiled kitchen floor in Twickenham which had the potential to look really nice, but hadn’t received the proper maintenance for a long while, leaving it looking very tired. It now needed what was left of its old surface sealer stripped off, followed by a deep cleaning of the tile and grout before having a fresh seal applied.

Cleaning a Dull Slate Tiled Floor

To begin the restoration, I mixed a 50:50 solution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go and Tile Doctor Pro Clean. This was applied to the floor and allowed to dwell. Remove and Go functions as a stripper that breaks down the old sealer, while Pro Clean is a versatile, high alkaline cleaner that is safe to use on all types of natural stone flooring.

To use it to full effect, I machine scrubbed this solution into the floor to completely remove all dirt, stains, and old sealer. I also ran a stiff brush along the grout lines to remove the particularly stubborn dirt ingrained in the grout. The resulting cleaning slurry was then rinsed with water and extracted using a wet vacuum and the floor checked for stubborn marks which were retreated using the same process.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning in Twickenham

Sealing a Slate Tiled Floor

The floor was left to dry overnight and I came back the next day to apply a new seal. It’s important to leave a tiled floor to dry completely before sealing and at this time of year 24 hours is usually enough. This is necessary to ensures there is no excess moisture in the tile as this has the potential to cloud the sealer and affect its effectiveness.

The customer required a low sheen finish and a floor that was easy to maintain. I opted to use Seal & Go, which provides exactly that. It is a water-based with a high sheen blend of acrylic polymers that offers a both a stain resistant surface seal and a durable low sheen finish, also being water based it doesn’t leave a smell as it dries. Seal and Go is also a breathable sealer that will allow moisture to rise up through the tile and allow the floor to breathe.

Slate Floor After Cleaning in Twickenham

As you can see from the pictures, the lustre has been completely restored to the Slate tiles and the sealer will allow for easy maintenance for the customer in the future.

Slate Floor After Cleaning in Twickenham

 
 
Source: Slate Tile and Stone Restoration Service in Middlesex

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

Removing Grout Haze from Slate Shower Wall Tiles

A builder had made a real mess of this customer’s new Slate tiled wet room. When installing any new natural stone tiles, it is always recommended to apply the sealer before grouting, since – as was the case here – the porosity of the stone can cause the grout to stick with to the stone, leaving a terrible blotchy and uneven appearance.

Slate Tiled Floor Before Restoration Sevenoaks

What’s more, once stuck to the stone, the grout is essentially impossible for the tiler to remove. In this wet room, light grey grout had been left smeared all over the Slate tiled walls, causing haze in some places.

Slate Tiled Floor Before Restoration Sevenoaks

Understandably, she was very upset with the situation and was eager to secure some professional help, courtesy of the Kent Tile Doctor. I travelled down to the property, situated in Sevenoaks, Kent, to set the problems right.

Restoring the appearance of a Slate Tiled Wet Room

To begin, I had to tape up all the chrome and metal fittings found around the bathroom to stop them coming into contact with the cleaning products. I them started the restoration by applying Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a PH1 blend of Phosphoric and Hydrochloric acids for the removal of grout haze.

As it comes in a gel form, this product is especially effective on vertical or sloped surfaces, where more dwell time is required. A liquid product would, of course, simply run off the tiles. So, working on small areas at a time, I allowed the gel to dwell for around five minutes, before agitating the solution with a pan scrubber, and rinsing the gel off with water. Once I had completed this process on the whole of the wet room, I allowed the tiles to dry out before repeating the process on some of the areas suffering from thicker smears of grout.

Sealing Slate Wet Room Tiles

When I was happy that I had removed all of the grout smears, I ensured that all the tiles were dry before applying Tile Doctor Stone Oil. This product is an easy-to-apply, pre-polish impregnating sealer which is ideal for low porosity stone and also suitable for more porous stone, such as Terracotta. It is also specially designed to enhance the natural colours and textures of tiles, and improve mechanical strength once cured. The oil is particularly effective when used on dark stone, like this Slate, as it really helps to deepen the colour.

I returned the next day to seal the tiles completely using one coat of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal to lock in the Stone Oil applied the previous day. Ultra Seal is a premium, no-sheen, natural-look, solvent-based penetrating sealer formulated to provide maximum stain protection. It allows moisture vapour transmission and is an excellent grout sealer.

Slate Tiled Floor After Restoration Sevenoaks

The customer was very happy with the results, which set this difficult problem right. In particular, she was worried that all of the tiles would have to be removed and the entire wet room would have to be redone. Thankfully that is no longer the case, and she can enjoy this fantastic Slate feature. All she needs to be concerned with now is ensuring the tiles are regularly maintained with professional care, including having the sealer topped up as and when necessary.

Slate Tiled Floor After Restoration Sevenoaks

 
 
Source: Slate Tile and Stone Cleaning and Sealing Service in Kent

Putting the Lustre back on Slate Tiled Flooring

Slate tiles have been in use for centuries, often chosen for roofing and both interior and exterior flooring due to their hard-wearing nature. While the popularity of the material perhaps peaked a hundred or more years ago, punctuated by the so-called “Slate boom” in 1870s Europe, it is still seen used en masse in large construction projects globally, and Slate tiled floors remain a feature of many houses in the UK, both old and new.

Despite its natural durability, Slate still requires regular maintenance, especially when used as flooring in the high traffic areas of a house. This tired and dirty looking Slate tiled floor in the kitchen of a house in Hampton, Middlesex was in certain need of the old sealer being stripped off, following by a deep cleaning and the application of a fresh seal.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning In Hampton

Cleaning a Slate Tiled Floor

To begin the job, we mixed a strong cleaning solution consisting of Tile Doctor Remove and Go stripper and Tile Doctor Pro Clean. Pro Clean is a heavy duty alkaline-based cleaner that is designed to tackle significant levels of soiled build up on natural stone floors.

This solution was then spread evenly across the surface area of the floor and left for roughly ten minutes to dwell and soak into the Slate, allowing it to start stripping off the old sealer.

Next, I fitted a black scrubbing pad to my rotary buffing machine and proceeded to agitate the solution, breaking up the dirt and general muck afflicting the tiles, as well as the old sealer. As the slurry of muck emerged I promptly rinsed it away with clean water, before extracting the excess moisture with a wet vacuum.

Slate Floor During Cleaning In Hampton

Sealing a Slate Tiled Floor

After being left to dry completely over night, the floor was ready to receive a new application of sealer. Since the customer requested a high sheen finish and a floor that was easy to maintain, we opted to go for the solvent based topical sealer known as Tile Doctor Seal & Go. The sealer acts as a layer of protection for the floor against dirt and stains.

Slate Floor After Cleaning In Hampton

As you can see from the pictures, the restoration has fully restored the lustre to these Slate tiles and has set up floor to be easy maintained for the customer in the future.

Slate-Floor-After-Cleaning-In-Hampton-1829

 
 
Source: Slate Tile and Stone Cleaning and Maintenance Service in Middlesex

Getting the Best From Slate Flooring

This slate floor was installed in the kitchen and adjacent dining area of this house in Shepperton, Middlesex and now as with all sealed floors the sealer had worn down and the floor was becoming difficult to clean leaving it looking dull and uninviting.

To remedy the old sealer would need to be stripped off, the floor deep cleaned and a fresh seal applied. I suspect the sealer had been eroded prematurely by the use of harsh cleaning chemicals and a steam cleaner. This had destroyed the sealer in parts and made the floor look very uneven. You do need to be very careful of supermarket cleaning products as many are designed for glazed ceramic tiles and contain acids which will eat through the sealer over time.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning In Shepperton Slate Floor Before Cleaning In Shepperton

Stripping old Sealers off a Slate Tiled Floor

To strip the remaining sealer off the floor and give the slate and grout a really deep clean I prepared a 50:50 mixture of Remove and Go and Pro-clean diluted with water. This powerful stripper/cleaner solution was then machine scrubbed into the floor to break up the dirt and old sealer, a stiff brush was also run over the grout lines to get them clean as well. The slurry was then rinsed with water and extracted using a wet vacuum. The floor was then inspected and the process repeated where necessary until I was satisfied the slate and grout were as clean as they could be and free of any old sealer.

Sealing Slate Floor Tiles

The floor was left to dry off and we returned later to seal the floor. Sealers can be affected if the floor is damp so a damp meter comes in very handy at this point to confirm the floor is dry before sealing.

We have a number of sealer products available that all have different effects and in this case the customer required a high sheen finish and a floor that was easy to maintain. Tile Doctor Seal & Go gives exactly that result and being water based it doesn’t leave a smell as it dries, so we applied a number of coats and provided the customer with some advice on the use of pH neutral cleaning products for general cleaning going forward.

Slate Floor After Cleaning In Shepperton Slate-Floor-After-Cleaning-In-Shepperton-1968

You can see from the pictures that the process has restored the lustre to the slate and the sealer will protect the floor going forward making it easier to maintain.
 
 
Source: Slate Tile and Stone Cleaning and Maintenance Service in Middlesex

Removing Limescale from Slate Bathroom Tiles

Our client in Ravensden had a rough slate tiled floor fitted into her en-suite bathroom approximately six years ago. The tiles were never sealed and due to the hard water in the area, plus shower products the floor developed a white crust in areas.

Limescale Treated on Slate Bathroom Tiles Ravenden Before Limescale Treated on Slate Bathroom Tiles Ravenden Before

Tile doctor deals with tile problems across the UK everyday and leads the way in developing new techniques to deal with tile related issues and so I was confident of finding a solution that could resolve the problem with a single visit.

Dealing with Limescale on a Slate tiled floor

Mindful of damp levels in the slate we used a small coarse 200 grit Tile Doctor Diamond pad on a six-inch hand held machine to take off the lime scale. This cleaned most of it off but in corners and some deep rough areas where the pad could not access were spot treated using Tile Doctor Acid Gel which was left to sit and dwell for 20 minutes then rinsed off the floor.

Sealing a Slate tiled floor

A turbo fan was used to speed up the drying of the floor and within a couple of hours it was dry enough to seal for which we used a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that seeps into the pores if the Slate protecting it from within and enhancing the look of the stone in the process.

Limescale Treated on Slate Bathroom Tiles Ravenden After Limescale Treated on Slate Bathroom Tiles Ravenden After

 
 
Soure: Slate Floor Problems Resolved in Bedfordshire

Dirty Slate Kitchen Floor Deep Cleaned and Resealed

These photographs of a Slate tiled kitchen floor are from a house in Lochwinnoch in the west central Lowlands of Scotland. You can see that the slate and grout was looking very dull and any sealer that was present had failed leaving the stone in need of a deep clean and re-seal.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning in Lochwinnoch

Cleaning Slate Floor Tile and Grout

On the first day we stripped the floor of any remaining sealer using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mixed 50/50 with Remove and Go, this was left to dwell for 5-10mins before scrubbing it in with a scrubbing pad and then extracting the slurry with a wet vacuum. It was important to ensure all the sealer was removed in order to get an even finish and to avoid any compatibility issues when re-sealing later.

Slate Floor During Cleaning in Lochwinnoch

After this we focused on cleaning the grout using more Pro-Clean this time worked in using a stiff grout brush by hand. Once done the floor was given a thorough rinse using a diluted solution of Tile Doctor Neutral Clean to remove any trace of cleaning solutions that may impact the sealer and again using the wet vacuum to get the floor as dry as possible.

Sealing Slate Floor Tiles

The floor was left to dry off overnight and then we returned on the second day to seal the slate with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water based sealer (no smell) which adds a nice sheen to the tile and gave the desired finish. Slate is quite porous so five coats of Seal and Go were required to ensure the floor was fully sealed.

Slate Floor After Cleaning and Sealing in Lochwinnoch

 
 
Source: Slate Tile Maintenance Service in Lochwinnoch

Regular Maintenance of Slate Floors

Natural stone products such as Slate need to be sealed for it to look its best, the sealer brings out the best in the natural features and also protects the stone from dirt becoming ingrained in its pores and once that happens it becomes difficult to clean effectively and starts to lose its appearance.

A good example of this is the Slate Tiled Floor shown below where that we were asked to maintain in Edinburgh, the sealer had worn off allowing the stone to dull and the grout to become stained.

Slate Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Edinburgh

Cleaning Slates Flooring and Grout

There was still evidence of the previous sealer on the floor so the first job was to strip that off completely using a 50:50 solution of two Tile Doctor products, Pro-Clean and Remove and Go. The two products combined together make a powerful cleaner/stripper combination which was left to dwell and soak into the tile and grout for 10-15minutes.

Next step was to scrub the solution into the floor using a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine and a stiff narrow brush was run along the grout lines. The now dirty solution was then extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum and the process repeated until all the previous sealers and coatings had been removed from the floor. The floor was then given a clean using just Pro-Clean to make sure all dirt had been removed again using a wet vacuum to extract the solution.

The final part of this process was then to give the floor a rinse with a diluted solution of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner to remove any trace of strong cleaning products and the wet vacuum was used to get the floor as dry as possible ready for sealing the next day.

Slate Tiled Floor Stripped Ready for sealing Edinburgh

Sealing Slate Floor Tiles

The floor was left overnight to dry and the following day we returned to seal the floor checking first it was dry. Sealing was done by applying five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will protect the floor going forward, adds a nice low sheen and works very well on Slate, Quarry and Victorian tiles.

Slate Tiled Floor After Sealing Edinburgh

The Slate floor came out really well and the tiles and grout now look like they were recently installed.
 
 
Source: Slate Floor Maintenance Service in Edinburgh

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

Slate Kitchen Floor Rejuvenated

This floor was installed in the house of a client in the town of Trowbridge, Wiltshire, I was asked if I could restore the Slate tiled kitchen floor back to its former glory. The client was having trouble cleaning the floor themselves due to the sealer being worn away and dirt now becoming ingrained into the pores of the slate. I suspect the life of the sealer had been reduced by the use of in-appropriate cleaning products; anything even mildly acidic will overtime eat away at the sealer and reduce its life.

Upon arriving at the house, I undertook some test cleaning to demonstrate to the client the results I would be able to achieve. Seeing how quickly I would be able to make a marked difference to the appearance of the tiles, the client quickly commissioned me to undertake a clean and seal for the entire floor.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning and Sealing in Trowbridge

Cleaning a Slate tiled floor

My first task was to mix a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and clean water. This was then applied evenly onto the floor and left to dwell for 15 minutes, allowing for the strong alkaline cleaner to soak into the stone to get underneath any ingrained dirt, and lift it to the surface.

Once the solution had rested on the surface for a short while, I paid particular attention to the grout lines, scrubbing them with a stiff grout brush. Next, I attached a polybrush to a rotary machine and scrubbed all of the tiles thoroughly. I then used a wet-vac machine to soak up any resulting residue.

However, upon further inspection, I noticed some further paint splashes and grout haze. I applied Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up to tackle the evident grout haze, and used a heavy duty scraper to remove the paint splashes. Once my client and I were happy with the result, I vacuumed up the slurry and gave the entire floor a thorough rinse. It was then left to dry completely overnight.

Sealing a Slate tiled floor

I returned the next day to seal the floor. Firstly, I tested the floor for evidence of damp using a damp meter and, once I was happy that there was no excess moisture to potentially damage the performance of the sealer, I proceeded to seal the floor using Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which provides a durable surface seal and leaves an aesthetically pleasing sheen finish.

Slate Floor After Cleaning and Sealing in Trowbridge

I applied a total of six coatings of the sealer, resulting in a marked difference in the appearance of the tiles (as you can see from the photos). She was very happy with her refreshed floor, and I left her with some cleaning and maintenance advice for the future, before making my departure.
 
 
Source: Slate Tile and Grout cleaning and polishing service in Wiltshire

Deep Cleaning Dirty Slate Tiles

This slate floor was installed in the kitchen of a house in the town of Burton-on-Trent in Staffordshire. As the name suggests, Burton-on-Trent sits alongside the River Trent, which runs through most of the northern Midlands. The old sealer on my client’s Slate tiled kitchen floor had completely worn off and, as a result, dirt had become ingrained in the pores of the stone which was now in need of restoration.

Slate is typically a very durable tile, having been used both residentially and commercially for hundreds of years but, in particularly high traffic areas like kitchens it’s important to maintain the sealer or dirt will get into the pores of the stone making the floor difficult to clean effectively and leading to the tile looking worse for wear. I was commissioned to get the floor back to good health and I prescribed a deep clean and re-seal.

Slate Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Burton-on-Trent Slate Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Burton-on-Trent

Cleaning a dirty Slate tiled floor

To start the cleaning process, I first diluted Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and water and left it to soak into the floor for a while so it could get to work lifting out the dirt from the pores of the stone. Pro-Clean is a versatile, high alkaline cleaner safe to use on natural stone which can be diluted in different strengths depending on the level of soil build-up. In this case, I opted for a reasonably strong solution due to the significant amount of ingrained dirt (as shown by the photographs).

After about ten minutes I started working in small sections to agitate the tiles with a scrubbing pad attached to a rotary machine. The pad and machine take a lot of the hard work out of the cleaning process although I usually do the grout by hand using a stiff scrubbing brush. Once I had finished the initial clean, I rinsed the entire floor with water, before repeating the process multiple times until I was satisfied that I had got the Slate tiles as clean as possible.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Floor

After completing the clean, I left the house for a few days to allow the floor enough time to dry before being sealed. As any Tile Doctor will tell you, all moisture must be removed from a tiled floor before sealing it, as it has the potential to compromise the effectiveness of the sealer.

Once I was satisfied that the floor was completely dry, I sealed the tiles using four coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which provides a stain resistant surface seal and a nice, low sheen finish. Seal & Go is a water based product (so no smell) and is suitable for use on a wide variety of unsealed, porous surfaces as Slate, Victorian tile, Sandstone, and textured Quarry tiles.

Slate Tiled Floor After Cleaning Burton-on-Trent Slate Tiled Floor After Cleaning Burton-on-Trent

As you can see, the overall results were fantastic and my client was really happy with the difference I’d been able to achieve.
 
 
Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout cleaning and maintenance services in Staffordshire

Restoring the Appearance of a Slate Tiled Floor

Every now and again, I get called to work on tiled floors which have were laid some time ago and not properly maintained in a long time, as was the case with this customer in the town of Bedford at the heart of Bedfordshire. They had a twenty year old Slate tiled floor that was now in need of a thorough clean and a re-seal.

Cleaning a Slate tiled floor

As you can see from the photos, the floor was very much worse for wear in some areas, with the tiles looking very dull and dirty. To clean the tiles I used a combination of a steamer and a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, a high alkaline cleaner suitable for use on many different types of natural stone floor, including Slate, Limestone, and Victorian tile – just to name a few.

The solution is scrubbed into the tiles to lift out the ingrained dirt and stains. Concentrated Pro-Clean is also strong enough to strip off the old sealer from the floor. After completing the clean and inspecting the tiles to ensure all of the problem areas had been successfully tended to, I rinsed the floor thoroughly with water to remove any trace of cleaning product. After rinsing the floor in such a way it is important to leave plenty of time for it to dry before sealing, so I left the house for 24 hours before returning.

Slate Tiled Floor Bedford after Cleaning and before sealing

Sealing a Slate tiled floor

Upon my return to the house, I inspected the floor to ensure it had dried completely, as any excess moisture remaining of the tiles has the potential to damage the performance of the sealer. The sealer I used was the new and improved Tile Doctor Seal & Go known as Seal and Go Extra, which has an acrylic base and a much higher content of solid. This means that when the sealer dries it is able to provide an even better level of protection for the stone.

I applied several coats of Seal & Go Extra to give the Slate tiles a stain resistant surface seal and the high quality finish the client had requested. Seal & Go Extra is suitable for use on internal and external, unsealed porous surfaces such as textured Quarry, Sandstone, Victorian tile and, of course, Slate.

Slate Tiled Floor Bedford After Cleaning and sealing

 
 
Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout cleaning services in Bedfordshire

Sealing Black Slate Tiles

I recently visited a client’s house in the small town of Okehampton, an area with a lot of heritage. It was first settled by the Saxons, and like many other towns in the South West, grew as a result of the thriving medieval wool trade.

The client asked me to take a look at the black Slate tiled floor in her kitchen, which she noticed had gone quite dull in a short period of time. She mentioned that the sealer she had been sold and subsequently applied two years ago had completely gone, even though she believed it was supposed to last ten years. This is a common misconception in the tiling world; it seems that the tiling company my client had previously consulted did not sell her the appropriate cleaner, nor did they mention that sealer should, in fact, be topped up at least once a year.

Black Slate before cleaning and sealing in Okehampton

Cleaning a black Slate tiled floor

I cleaned the floor using Tile Doctor Remove & Go, which can be used not only on Slate, but also on other types unpolished natural stone. This product is a multi-purpose stripper which will remove the old sealer from the floor whilst also lifting out any ingrained dirt and stains.

After applying a layer of Remove & Go, I left it to dwell for 20 minutes. I then used a black buffing pad, which is suitable for heavy duty wet scrubbing, to work the product deep into the tiles. After cleaning, the old sealer had been completely removed and the floor was ready for a new seal. I rinsed the floor several times with clean water to remove any trace of cleaning product, before leaving it to dry overnight ready for sealing the next day.

Sealing a black Slate tiled floor

Tile Doctor Seal & Go was my choice of sealer for this floor, as it is designed for use on internal unsealed porous surfaces like Slate, as well as textured Quarry, Sandstone and Victorian tile. I applied four coats of Seal & Go for a stain resistant surface seal along with a high quality, low sheen finish.

Black Slate after cleaning and sealing in Okehampton

After cleaning and sealing, the floor was no longer looking dull – instead the fantastic shade of black was really emphasised. Both myself and my client were very pleased with the results. I hope to be back at some point within the next year to top up the seal (as is recommended) and maintain the condition of the floor in this high-traffic area of the house.
 
 
Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout Cleaning service in Devon

Revamping Dirty Slate Tiles

The photographs below are from a property in the small village of Mayfield, located within the High Weald civil parish of Mayfield and Five Ashes in East Sussex. The village is perhaps best known for its annual carnival and torchlight procession however on this occasion I was there to revamp the Slate tiled kitchen floor. The tiles had been left worse for wear by the previous occupants where years of children and mucky dogs had taken its toll on the slate.

Slate floor before cleaning in Mayfield Slate floor before cleaning in Mayfield

Cleaning a Slate tiled floor

Whilst I would normally utilise my buffing machine with a black buffing pad as part of the cleaning process for natural stone tiles, I was unable to do so in this case as the Slate tiles in the kitchen were riven which would of cut into and potentially shredded the pad.

As a result, I had to clean the floor by hand. I did this using a solution of one part Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to five parts clean water, which I worked into the tiles with a deck brush, followed by a hard brush. The solution needed will vary in accordance to the level of soil build-up on the floor. In this case, the soil build-up was light enough to use quite a diluted solution, but in a case where a floor is very heavily soiled I would recommend using a more concentrated solution of one part Pro-Clean to two parts water.

After a period of scrubbing with the hard brush, I sucked up the muck that had been removed from the surface with a wet-vac machine. I then continued with the cleaning process for several hours, before once again using the wet-vac machine up any excess moisture left by the cleaning solution. I left for a period of two days to allow the floor to dry completely before I returned to seal the floor. I instructed my client to keep the floor completely dry because any excess moisture would potentially impact negatively on the performance of the sealer.

Sealing a Slate tiled floor

To seal the floor I used Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a colour intensifying sealer which gets into the pores of the stone protecting it from within. In this case I applied two coats of Colour Grow to really bring out the range of fantastic natural colours and shades in the Slate, whilst also providing durable surface protection for this high-traffic kitchen area.

Slate floor after cleaning in Mayfield Slate floor after cleaning in Mayfield

My client was very impressed with the results. I hope she enjoys this brilliant feature of her new home, now full of life and colour once again.
 
 
Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout Cleaning service in East Sussex