Stripping Multiple Coats of Sealer off a Slate Tiled Floor in Birmingham

A client contacted me regarding their slate tiled floor which had only been down a few years and was now looking dull and uninviting. The slate tiles were laid in a herringbone pattern and Interestingly they had only been cleaned and sealed about a year ago by another company, but it has soon started to look dull again. Naturally my client was disappointed with the result, especially considering how new the floor was.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning Moseley

The property was in the Birmingham suburb of Moseley and as per usual I paid them a visit to survey the floor and conduct a test clean. From what I could see the sealer the previous company had used was already failing and wearing off, this left the stone vulnerable allowing dirt to become ingrained in the stone. We discussed the overall procedure and I completed a test clean on part of the floor which went well so the customer was happy to proceed. Whilst I was there, we also discussed the effects of different sealers I would recommend for the tiles so they could select one that would give them the look they wanted.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning Moseley Slate Floor Before Cleaning Moseley

Cleaning a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

On the first day I applied a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean combined with Tile Doctor Remove and Go, this was left to dwell on the slate while I cleaned up the grout with a stiff grout brush. I used this combination of products to ensure I stripped any coatings that may have been applied to the floor by the previous company and the original installer. With the grout scrubbed I turned my attention to the Slate tiles by scrubbing them with a black pad fitted to a weighted rotary buffer machine. The floor was then rinsed thoroughly, and the now soiled cleaning solution extracted with a wet vacuum.

Slate Floor During Cleaning Moseley

The kitchen area was quite large, so I did the clearing in three section inspecting each section afterwards before moving onto the next. There were some areas where the existing sealer was proving stubborn to remove which were re-treated until clean. I discussed this with the customer who explained that the previous company had left a tin of sealer and advised them that they should clean the floor and then apply more sealer. This meant every time they did, they were adding another coat of seal and if the cleaning was not effective it would result in trapping dirt under the sealer! After spending most of the day cleaning, it was agreed to let the floor dry out and see how it looked next day.

When I returned on the second day, I could see there were still traces of sealer on some areas of stone and grout, so I decided to clean the floor again with more Pro-Clean but this time working in in with an abrasive 400-grit burnishing pad. This did the trick on the slate, but the grout needed a handheld diamond block to remove the seal. The whole floor was then rinsed and allowed to dry.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

Although previously we had discussed the different options for sealing the client wasn’t sure which one to choose. To help them decide I dried some of the tiles with a heat gun and applied different sealers to they could see the different between the matt and sheen finishes. The client decided on Tile Doctor Seal & Go Extra which helps bring the colour out in the tiles, it’s also breathable and has a nice sheen to it but slightly less so than Tile Doctor Seal & Go. I applied four coats as soon as the floor had dried.

Slate Floor After Sealing Moseley

I left the client with a bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner to help maintain the tiles appearance. The client was very happy with the results, thanked me for my hard work and commented that the floor looked better than the day it went down.

Slate Floor After Sealing Moseley


Source: Slate Tile and Grout Cleaning and Sealing Service in Moseley, Birmingham

Restoring Slate Tiles In A Listed Building

This is a 25m2 Slate tiled floor installed in a grade 2 listed coach house in the village of Hemingford Grey on the banks of the river Ouse. It was originally called the six bells and the original coach house sign is still hanging from its original ironwork in the entrance lobby. The slate floor was laid through the kitchen and hallway in 2000 and since then it had just been mopped and extra coats of polishes/waxes had been applied leading to a build-up.

Slates Tiles Hemingford Grey Before Cleaning

Cleaning the Slate Tiled Floor

Before starting work I protected the kitchen units and Aga cooker in plastic film to protect against splashing and mopped onto the tiles a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a coatings remover. Remove and Go I should mention is not only an effective cleaning product but as its name suggests is ideal for removing sealers from floors.

To get the floor completely clean you need to strip it back to bare tile and because of the layers of sealer we let the Remove and Go soak into the Slate tile for some time before being worked in using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. Then rather than wash the product away we blanketed the floor in a polythene sheet and left for two hours.

Slates Tiles Hemingford Grey During Cleaning

The polythene sheet prevents the floor from drying out and allows the chemical process of breaking down the layers of sealant to take place. After removing the sheet we scrubbed the floor again before removing the residue with our high powered internal pressure washing tool.

Slates Tiles Hemingford Grey After Cleaning

The floor was now bare and all the natural colours in the slate became far more evident. The tiles do need to be bone dry before sealing however so we left it to dry out for a day and left a number of special air blowers setup around the floor to assist with the drying.

Slates Tiles Hemingford Grey After Cleaning

Sealing the Slate Tiled Floor

When we returned the third day the floor was dry so we sealed it using five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water based sealer (so no smell) that add good stain protection as well as adding a nice subtle sheen to the tile which really enhanced the colours in the slate.

Slates Tiles Hemingford Grey After Sealing Slates Tiles Hemingford Grey After Sealing

The customer was ecstatic with the result, so much so that before we left she gave us a thank you card in an envelope. On returning to our unit we opened the card and out dropped £50, well I was amazed, even though we explain all the processes to our clients and take the upmost care at their homes we really didn`t expect that level of generosity. This is how the card read:

“To Mick,
Thank you to you and Tom for your high quality in Service, Integrity and Value x Excellent craftsmanship. Much appreciated. So pleased with your work.
Kind regards. M. Evans

It was a pleasure to work for such a nice lady and we look forward to returning in the New Year to restore some more stone and terracotta flooring for her.
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Cleaning Service in Cambridge

Grout Haze Removed from Slate

These mixed milled slate floor tiles were installed in the Kitchen, Hall and toilet of a house in Broadwell, Warwickshire. The Slate was staining easily from drink spills and proving hard to clean; on top of that all the tiles were covered in a slight grout haze and had not been sealed or cleaned properly after installation. The customer needed the floor to be easy to clean and manage and was keen to bring out the rich colour and texture of the floor but keep a matt finish.

Slate Tiles Before Cleaning in Broadwell1 Slate Tiles Before Cleaning in Broadwell2

Cleaning black slate floor tiles

The first job was to give the floor a deep clean using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was worked into the pores of the Slate tile and grout using a slow speed rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. I then used a wet vacuum to remove the resultant soiled solution and rinsed the floor down with water.

Removing Grout Haze from Slate

The next step was to tackle the grout haze which was evident across the tiles; for this we used Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up which is an acidic product that you allow to dwell on the tile for a one to two minutes and then agitate with a scrubbing pad and then remove shortly afterwards with a wet vacuum washing the floor down quickly to ensure the acid is removed.

Further cleaning was required to some areas which had proven stubborn to clean earlier and for this we used Pro-Clean again mixed 50/50 with NanoTech UltraClean which adds tiny abrasive particles to make a more effective cleaning product; again this was scrubbed in and then once we were happy with the result the floor was washed down with clean water in order to neutralise it before sealing.

Sealing Slate floor tiles

I left the floor overnight to dry then came back next day and used a damp test meter to verify the floor was dry and ready for sealing. Once happy I proceed to apply four coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which matched their requirements in a sealer exactly as it provides a matt finish brings out the colour in the stone and offers great stain protection.

Slate Tiles After Cleaning in Broadwell1 Slate Tiles After Cleaning in Broadwell5

Source: Slate Problems solved in Warwickshire