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

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Harston

These photographs are from a lovely old period property in the village of Harston near Cambridge which had an original Victorian Tiled floor installed throughout the hallway and stairwell. Considering its age the tiles were in a very good condition but they were looking dull and overdue for a deep clean and re-seal.

Victorian Tiled Floor Harston Hallway View Before Cleaning 1 Victorian Tiled Floor Harston Before Cleaning 2

Cleaning the Victorian Tiled Floor

Working in sections the first step was to protect the beautiful skirting boards with clear plastic fixed with decorator’s masking tape. This was followed by applying a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and letting it soak into the tile for about 20 minutes before being agitated using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad.

Victorian Tiled Floor Harston Skirting Protection 3 Victorian Tiled Floor Scrubbing Harston 4

This did a good job of cleaning the floor however there were some stubborn stains that needed further attention so more Pro-Clean was applied and worked in with a stiff hand brush as a steamer was used to help lift the dirt out of the pores in the tile. Once we were happy with the floor the soiled cleaning fluid was removed from the floor using a spinner tool which applies hot water under pressure effectively rinsing the floor whilst removing the water at the same time with suction.

Victorian Tiled Floor Harston Steam Cleaning 5 Victorian Tiled Floor Spinning and Steaming Harston 6

Sealing the Victorian Tiled Floor

The floor was left to dry assisted with air blowers before moving on to sealing with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a recommended sealer for Victorian floor tiles that provides on-going stain protection as well as adding a nice subtle shine to the floor.

Victorian Tiled Floor Harston After Cleaning and Sealing 7 Victorian Tiled Floor Harston Completed 8

The customer was really pleased with the results and even asked us back to do the slate tiles in the kitchen something I will no doubt write about in a later post.

Victorian Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Harston, Cambridgeshire