Polishing Dull Limestone Floor Tiles to a High Shine in Boxworth

Boxworth is a very small village situated to the north-west of Cambridge. In the Middle Ages, it had a significant population, but in the modern day there are only around 100 houses in the area including one belonging to my customer.

I was there to take a look at a large installation of Polished Limestone floor tiles which had been laid throughout the ground floor including the Kitchen, Dining, Utility room and hallway.

Limestone Tiled Kitchen Before Polishing Boxworth Limestone Tiled Dining Room Before Polishing Boxworth

Many people will already know that Limestone is a premium, yet somewhat sensitive natural stone. It’s also porous, meaning that dirt can easily become ingrained if the tiles are not sealed properly, or if the sealant has worn away. This leads eventually to a very unappealing, dirty, and dull appearance which often happens so slowly it hardly get’s noticed until one day you think, “I’m sure my floor looked better than that before!”.

Limestone Tiled Hallway Before Polishing Boxworth Limestone Tiled Utility Before Polishing Boxworth

In this case the sealer had degraded over time and my customer had called me in because she was now no longer happy with the appearance of the tiles. The lustre the tiles once had eventually disappeared and there was also damage in some areas caused by the placement of table and chair legs. I was asked to restore a high-quality polished finish to the tiles.

Cleaning and Burnishing Limestone Tiles

Before beginning the restoration, I took the necessary precaution of covering the walls and kitchen units to protect them from exposure to any cleaning products or mess.

To begin, I applied Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which is a high-performance stripping agent, to break down any old sealant remaining of the tiles. This product can also be used to clean the stone itself, as well as the grout lines.

After completing the initial cleaning process, I moved on to restoring the polish to the tiles. At Tile Doctor, we do this using a system we have developed called Burnishing. This system involves the application of Diamond encrusted pads – each possessing a different level of grit – to grind away the dirt from the stone, which is often stained or damaged. The process effectively resurfaces the stone leaving it looking new and fresh.

Firstly, I applied the Coarse 400 grit pad, fitted to a rotary machine, to grind away any excess muck and sealant lubricated with a little water. The resultant slurry was rinsed away and I followed up with the application of the Medium 800 grit pad to start the restoration of the polish again with a small amount of water, followed by the Fine 1500 grit pad for the second polish.

Finally, I applied the Very Fine 3000 grit pad to achieve the most refined and highest quality polish possible. The process of burnishing is a gradual but highly effective means of achieving this kind of finish.

Any slurry that was created through this process was removed using my truck-mounted hot water cleaning and extraction machine, resulting in minimum mess.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

After burnishing the tiles and to achieve a really hard wearing and high polish I covered the floor in Tile Doctor Shine Powder crystals and buffed them into the Limestone tiles using a White buffing pad. Then to give the floor extra protection I applied a coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which impregnates the pores of the stone to prevent ingrained dirt.

Colour Grow also intensifies the natural colours in the Limestone, thus improving the appearance of the stone to an even greater extent. Following the application of Colour Grow, I gave the tiles a final light buffing with a soft red pad.

Limestone Tiled Kitchen After Polishing Boxworth Limestone Tiled Utility After Polishing Boxworth

The customer was extremely happy with the outcome, remarking that the work was carried “quickly and efficiently with no fuss.” I took lots of photographs of the process, so you can really appreciate the difference that was made.

Limestone Tiled Hallway After Polishing Boxworth Limestone Tiled Dining Room After Polishing Boxworth

 
 

Professional Polishing of a Dull Limestone Tiled Floor in Cambridgeshire

Renovating an Original Edwardian Tiled Hallway to Peak Condition in Chippenham

Edwardian-style tiled floors are very much of a likeness with Victorian-style tiled floors, both typically being made of encaustic cement and styled in painted in geometric patterns. The main difference, of course, is that Edwardian tiles are a main feature of Edwardian-era houses (1901-1910), while Victorian tiles are found in slightly older properties.

As with many Victorian tiled floors, we’ve found that Edwardian tiled floors have commonly been hidden away for many years under carpet or some other form of covering. These hallway Edwardian tiles, at a property in Chippenham, had been covered by carpet for 30 years. Upon removing the carpet, we could see why – the hallway was covered in paint splashes, decades’ worth of dirt and, of course, adhesive stains from the underlay.

Edwardian Tiled Hallway Covered in Carpet and Before Restoration in Chippenham Edwardian Tiled Hallway Covered in Carpet and Before Restoration in Chippenham

My task was to restore the hallway floor back to its peak condition, when it was first installed over a century ago.

Edwardian Tiled Hallway UnCovered Before Restoration in Chippenham Edwardian Tiled Hallway UnCovered Before Restoration in Chippenham

Cleaning an Original Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor

The first step of the restoration was to ensure the walls surrounding the hallway were protected. I did this by applying a protective film around the edges of the room. Next, I removed all the old carpet grippers and adhesive deposits manually using a handheld scraper.

Edwardian Tiled Hallway Prepared for Restoration in Chippenham

Tile Doctor Remove and Go was then applied to the floor to strip away any old sealant, which certainly by now was no longer effectual. This product also helped to break down the paint stains on the surface of the floor, though I also used a handheld scraper, as well as a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad, to speed up the process of removing both the sealant and the paint.

Edwardian Tiled Hallway During Restoration in Chippenham

To complete the cleaning process, I applied Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in a gel form, formulated to remove grout haze (grout smears) and treat efflorescence which is the formation of white salts on the surface of the tile.

Sealing an Original Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor

I left the floor to dry completely overnight after installing air movers to assist with the process. These older properties do not typically have damp-proof membrane installed, which makes damp issues a real possibility. Upon returning to the property the following day, I ran some damp tests, and thankfully the tiles proved dry and ready to be resealed.

To do this, I used one coat of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, which is a penetrating sealer designed for maximum stain protection. I then also added four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go to provide the customer with the low-sheen, highly quality finish he desired.

He was so impressed with the outcome that he left the following glowing review on the Tile Doctor feedback system:

“Tile Doctor did an excellent job, starting from a very dirty and paint covered surface. The hallway floor now looks fantastic, just like it was a century ago. I’m pleased to recommend Cambridge Tile Doctor.”

Edwardian Tiled Hallway After Sealing in Chippenham

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Carpet Covered Original Edwardian Tiled Hallway in Cambridgeshire

Stained Terracotta Conservatory Tiles Rejuvenated in Isleham

Isleham is a small village in the Fens area of Cambridgeshire which, as the name suggests, is a natural marshland. The town itself is home to just over 2,000 people and some very nice properties.

I recently visited a customer in the town who contacted me after finding our website because her Terracotta tiled conservatory and utility room had become worn and stained due to leakages from plant pots and other various spillages. Terracotta is a highly porous stone and so has a strong propensity to absorb stains, and dirt can easily become ingrained. This problem is easily exacerbated when the sealer has worn away and can no longer adequately protect the stone.

Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Isleham Conservatory

These tiles were now due for deep clean and reseal, and I was more than happy to oblige.

Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Isleham Conservatory

Cleaning a Stained Terracotta Tiled Floor

My first action, before beginning the restoration, was to tape up all the walls and wood features around the conservatory and utility areas with our décor protection film, to protect them from getting damaged.

Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Isleham Conservatory Terracotta Tiles Before Cleaning Isleham Conservatory

Then, to begin, I applied Tile Doctor Pro Clean – which is our high alkaline cleaner – across the floor to strip away the old sealer and to provide an initial clean. The product was left to dwell for 10-20 minutes before being worked into the pores of the stone using a firm scrubbing brush fitted to a rotary machine.

Next, I removed any deep staining using Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU, a potent cleaner which contains nano-sized particles to penetrate the pores of the Terracotta to dissolve and lift out the embedded stains. I also used this product to remove the very stubborn salt deposits in the utility room – although it took three to four attempts.

To complete the cleaning process, I gave the grout a light clean using Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, which is a concentrated phosphoric acid cleaner designed to remove grout haze and any deep staining in the grout. The floor was then dried down with cloths and air-movers, and left over the weekend to make sure any excess moisture had evaporated.

Sealing a Terracotta Tiled Floor

Upon returning to the property at the beginning of the week, I sealed the floor firstly using one coat of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, followed by five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra.
Ultra-Seal is a penetrating sealer which fills the pores of the stone to protect against staining and ingrained dirt. It is also fully breathable and allows for moisture vapour transmission. Seal and Go Extra provides further protection and a durable and aesthetically pleasing low-sheen finish to really improve the overall look of the floor.

Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning Isleham Conservatory Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning Isleham Conservatory

The customer absolutely loved her newly restored Terracotta tiles and was amazed by the transformation. I’m sure she is looking forward to spending time in her conservatory over the course of the summer months.

Terracotta Tiles After Cleaning Isleham Conservatory

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Stained Terracotta Tiled Conservatory and Utility Room in Cambridgeshire