Salvaging Heavily Damaged Slate Flagstones in Hawkshead

Stone and Tiled floors will degrade over time so much that they can appear to be simply beyond being restoration. It goes without saying that years of neglect will do this to any surface but it’s worth knowing that the appearance of Tile and Stone can be extended when treated to routine maintenance using the right products and methods.

I’m sure many other tile cleaning companies had passed up on the opportunity to restore this Slate Flagstone tiles at a cottage in Hawkshead, simply because they did not feel they had the resources to make a good job of it. The tiles were in such a rough state that the property owner felt like there might be no alternative other than to rip them up and replace them.

Slate Flagstone Floor Before Milling in Hawkshead Cumbria Slate Flagstone Floor Before Milling in Hawkshead Cumbria

However, while the floor was certainly past its best, it remained secure. Some areas had been concreted to reinforce them, but the floor was mainly suffering from an aesthetic problem, rather than a structural one.

We knew that a general clean and seal job would not do the trick, but Tile Doctor have developed a system to successfully salvage tiles in these situations. It is called ‘Milling’ – here’s how it works.

Milling a Slate Flagstone Tiled Floor

Milling is a process which uses very coarse diamond encrusted pads to remove the old, damaged surface layer of stone to re-face the stone with a new, smoother surface.

This not only makes the floor look completely like new; it also makes it much easier to start cleaning regularly again to maintain its appearance for the long-term. Additionally, it means that we can successfully seal the stone to protect it against ingrained dirt and staining.

Once we had completed the milling process the stone and grout was given a thorough scrub with a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean agitated with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. This was needed to remove the soil generated by the milling process and also to ensure the grout was clean. Once done the soil was rinsed away with water and this was then removed using a wet vacuum.

It had become apparent during the milling process that much of the grout had also failed so the next step was to rake out the grout and replaced with a flexible floor grout and the floor left to dry out completely.

Sealing a Slate Flagstone Tiled Floor

Since there was no damp-proof membrane present (due to the floor being very old), we sealed the tiles using Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer that allows for moisture vapour transmission and therefore helps to eliminate damp issues.

Colour Grow is also a colour intensifying sealer, so it really helped to elucidate the natural dark shades in the Slate. The outcome of the restoration is pictured below.

Slate Flagstone Floor After Milling in Hawkshead Cumbria Slate Flagstone Floor After Milling in Hawkshead Cumbria

The customer was absolutely amazed by the transformation and left the feedback below on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

“We found old flagstones under the carpet which were in need of cleaning. Russell came out to view work and he recommended painting areas of cement with grout paint to match flagstones. Pleased with the work carried out and help and information received from himself and Heidi.”

It can be hard to believe that floors which appear so far beyond salvation can be saved but this example goes to show that anything is possible with the right knowledge and techniques!
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Dirty and Damaged Original Slate Flagstone in Cumbria

Cleaning and Sealing Slate Tiles in Ulveston

This property in Ulveston had previously been used as a guest house and was now being refurbished and turned back into a home. The kitchen and conservatory had a Slate tiled floor and as you can imagine had seen a fair amount of wear from the numerous fried breakfasts that had been prepared in there. The owners had decided to replace the kitchen but were keen to keep the slate floor however it was in a bad state and looked as if it had never been cleaned and sealed for some time.

I did a small test using Tile Doctor Remove and Go (which you can see in the photograph below) and it came up really well, naturally we were booked to come back and finish the rest of the floor which I had estimated would take two days.

Slate Floor in Ulveston Test Area Slate Floor in Ulveston Test Area

Cleaning Slate Floor Tiles

Two weeks later I turned up at 9am as agreed and set up my equipment, the kitchen had already been removed so with the exception on the cooker little preparation was required. I worked in small areas using a high pressure spinner tool to remove as much dirt off the tiles as possible and a wet vacuum to remove the soiled water.

Slate Floor in Ulveston Before Cleaning Slate Floor in Ulveston Before Cleaning

Stubborn areas were treated with Remove and Go and then I moved onto the next job which was to clean up the grout. For this I used a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a alkaline tile and grout cleaner that is safe to use on natural stone. It was scrubbed in using a stiff brush and then rinsed off with clean water, again using the wet vacuum to remove the soiled solution. The floor was now clean but still damp so I tidied up my tools and left for the day.

Slate Floor in Ulveston After Cleaning Slate Floor in Ulveston After Cleaning

Sealing Slate Floor Tiles

The Next day I came back and inspected the floor to ensure it was dry and that I hadn’t missed anything. All was well so I started to seal the floor with five thin coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is an ideal sealer for slate as it adds a nice subtle sheen to the tile and being water based there is no smell as it dries. The sealer was applied using a paint pad applicator and each coat took around about twenty minutes to dry.

Slate Floor in Ulveston After Sealing Slate Floor in Ulveston After Sealing

When it was complete and the floor had dried I packed up my equipment and spent some time talking to the customer to check they were happy with the results (they were very happy) and to advise them on how to maintain the floor using with a neutral tile cleaner going forward which will help extend the life of the sealer.
 
To source slate tiles similar to these visit www.PremierTilesBarrow.co.uk
 

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