Flagstone Tile Cleaning

Tired Black Flagstone Floor Restored in Kendal Basement

I was contacted by a client in Kendal to see if I could help with their Black Flagstone basement floor. As you can see from the photographs it was in a bit of a state and the stone looked mostly White rather than Black.

Black Flagstone Floor Before Renovation Kendal

I carried out a site visit, to survey the floor and work out the best approach to restore its appearance. After testing a few different products and techniques I worked out an effective restoration plan and discussed this with the owner. Happy with my plan and costing’s we agreed a date to start the work. Being in the basement of the property had its challenges but it would mean we could work socially distanced from the owner.

Black Flagstone Floor Before Renovation Kendal Black Flagstone Floor Before Renovation Kendal

Cleaning a Tired Black Flagstone Tiled Basement Floor

To restore the floors appearance, I started with a set of coarse wire (60 and 120 grit) brushes lubricated with Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a strong coatings remover. I had considered using milling pads on the tiles to reveal a new surface underneath but that does involve the use of an expensive set of coarse pads and given it was a basement the owners didn’t feel the extra expense would be justified.

The wire grits work well on rough stone floors when attached to a weighted buffing machine and we add some Tile Doctor Remove and Go to the mix. Once clean the floor was rinsed with water and the slurry extracted using an industrial wet vacuum. After cleaning the floor, it looked transformed, some pointing was required so we carried this out after the main clean.

Sealing a Black Flagstone Tiled Basement Floor

The stone was left to dry out for a few days before returning to apply a sealer. For this floor I felt Tile Doctor X-Tra seal would be the best product and applied two coats. I chose X-Tra seal for this job as it ticks a lot of boxes, it’s a breathable oil-based resin sealer which being breathable will allow moisture to rise through the floor. Old floors like this don’t have a damp proof membrane so it is important to choose a sealer that can allow the floor to breath and not let damp build up under the floor where it can reach out to the walls and cause rising damp.

I also chose X-Tra Seal as it has a great ability to bring out the colour of the darker stone due to its high oil content, the oil will deter salts from forming if efflorescence is an issue. This is a unique property of this sealer as we never know if efflorescent salts are going to form or not so having this in place as a sealer is a great plus for a Tile Doctor, it is new to the market and is already proving popular on floors like this and for protecting external stone.

Black Flagstone Floor After Renovation Kendal Black Flagstone Floor After Renovation Kendal

If the tiles are smooth Tile Doctor X-Tra Seal adds a bit of a sheen to the appearance of the stone however this stone was very rough, so we didn’t manage a shine, but the customer was happy with the matt finish and the slightly honed effect.

The floor looked great and much more appealing making the space more attractive and likely to be used. For aftercare I recommended Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which will clean the floor without impacting the sealer which can be a problem with many of the stronger products you find in supermarkets.

Black Flagstone Floor After Renovation Kendal


Professional Restoration of a Black Flagstone Basement in Cumbria

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

Damaged Flagstone Tiled Floor Deep Cleaned and Sealed in Grange-over-Sands

This customer in Grange-over-Sands, a town on the Morecambe Bay, contacted us because an oven cleaning company had spilt a strong cleaning solution onto their Sandstone Flagstone Kitchen tiles, damaging them. The customer hadn’t realised the damage until after the oven company had been paid, and because nothing had been said at the time the cleaning company unfortunately wouldn’t accept responsibility.

When we arrived at the property, we were asked to do a spot clean on the affected tiles, however to do so would have resulted in a patchy finish compared to the rest of the floor. However, we could see that the rest of the floor was well overdue a deep clean and the sealer was past its best. So, we suggested the best course of action was to deep clean and reseal the whole floor to ensure a consistent finish across the tiles.

Flagstone Floor Grange Over Sands Before Cleaning Flagstone Floor Grange Over Sands Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Damaged Flagstone Tiled Floor

The customer agreed to the work, and we started on the same day. To begin, we used a Coarse 200 grit diamond encrusted burnishing pad fitted to a heavy weight buffing machine to grind away the damaged layer of stone.

This worked well on about 90% of the area, but the harder to reach spots needed a chemical clean, so Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel cleaner was applied. This is an alkaline-based gel cleaner that is effective for neutralising acidic stains. The product was left to dwell for 30 minutes and then scrubbed into the tiles, before being rinsed away. Following this, we extracted the dirty solution off the tiles using a wet vacuum.

Sealing a Flagstone Tiled Floor

Since we used quite a lot of water to rinse away the chemically-infused cleaning solution, we had to leave the floor to dry overnight before we could seal it. This is really important because excess moisture can cloud the sealer and damage its performance.

Arriving back at the property the next day, we ran some damp tests. Once satisfied that the tiles could be sealed, we applied four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This sealer provides an aesthetically pleasing, low-sheen finish and is fully breathable. Most of the old Flagstone tiled floors found in properties don’t have a damp proof membrane installed underneath them, so a sealer which allows for moisture vapour transmission is essential.

Flagstone Floor Grange Over Sands After Cleaning Flagstone Floor Grange Over Sands After Cleaning

The customer was very happy with the work, not only because we restored the condition of the damaged tiles, but also because we were able to drastically improve the overall appearance of the floor. We recommended that the customer use Tile Doctor Stone Soap as a regular aftercare cleaner. This product not only cleans the stone, but adds to the natural stone patina by maintaining and enhancing its shine.

Restoration of a Damaged Flagstone Tiled Floor in South Cumbria

Flagstone floor maintained in Ambleside, Cumbria

This Flagstone floor was installed in a house near the village of Ambleside and had previously been sealed with varnish and other products which had left the floor looking dull and nowhere near its best. I did a test clean which came out well and then agreed a date and price I came back a couple of weeks later to do the job

Flagstone Tiled Floor Before Cleaning in Ambleside

Cleaning Flagstone Tiles

Due to the numerous coatings that had been applied to the floor it was necessary to completely strip off the coatings back to the bare stone. To start I used Tile Doctor Remove and Go which does what it says on the bottle and removes coatings from tiles, the product was diluted with water and left to soak in before being scrubbed in using a Black Scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. The now dirty cleaning solution was removed using a wet vacuum and I could see that the Remove and Go had removed most but not all of the coatings so it was time to using something stronger. To do this I applied NanoTech UltraClean which is a gel that is left to soak into the floor for thirty minutes before adding water and then agitating with the black pad. The floor was rinsed with water and the solution removed with the wet vacuum. At this point I could see that all the varnish and dirt had been removed so I gave the floor a final wash down with clean water to neutralise the floor before sealing and left for the evening so the floor could dry overnight.

Flagstone Tiled Floor After Cleaning in Ambleside

Sealing a Flagstone Tiled Floor

I came back the next day and tested the floor with a damp meter to confirm the floor was dry and then proceeded to seal the floor with Tile Doctor Seal and Go applied with a paint pad which gave the floor a nice low sheen finish that the customer requested.

Flagstone Tiled Floor After Cleaning and Sealing in Ambleside

Flagstone Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Cumbria


South Cumbria Tile Doctor

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