Restoring A Stained Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor in Cardiff

The following post is follows on from the Limestone tiled kitchen floor restoration I recently completed in Cardiff. You may recall that the floor had not been maintained properly since it was first installed in 2008 and one of the key problems I had to deal with during that particular restoration was a number of dark stains left on the tiles by the kitchen dustbin. Here’s a detailed account of how I tacked the staining.

Limestone Reduxa Before Stain Removal

Cleaning a stained Limestone tiled floor

To deal with the stains, I suggested to the client that I experiment with a Tile Doctor product called Reduxa, which is formulated to remove certain stains, including red wine stains, from natural stone. It is suitable on Limestone, Marble and Travertine tiles, amongst others. Nonetheless, I did have to advise the client that unfortunately some stains are unavoidably permanent and that there was no guarantee that the product would be able to remove these particular stains. Had the sealer been maintained on this floor, then the problem would have been much easier to tackle. However, in this case the sealer had worn off over the years.

I began treating the problem area by applying the Reduxa solution, before heating up the tile with a heat gun to lift out the stains. This process of spraying and heating was repeated around eight times.

Limestone Reduxa After Stain Removal

To cut a long story short, the process worked very well, and both myself and the client were amazed at the results the Reduxa stain removal solution had on the floor. This product really does what it says on the label!

Limestone Reduxa After Stain Removal

If you would like more information on the product, check out the video on the Reduxa page on the Tile Doctor website.
 
 

Professional tile cleaning restoration for badly stained Limestone tiled kitchen floor in Cardiff

Unmaintained French Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor Restored in Cardiff

This customer from the historic city of Cardiff was keen to see what Tile Doctor could do to put some life back into their treasured Limestone kitchen floor that was laid in 2008. My first observations were mainly centred on the horrific condition of the surface which although adequately sealed initially the floor had not received any subsequent maintenance and its condition had deteriorated over time. The light shining in from the patio doors highlighted all the imperfections in the floor caused by surface wear and tear commonly seen in high traffic areas such as a kitchen.

Unmaintained Limestone Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Cardiff Unmaintained Limestone Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Cardiff

Upon closer inspection, there were further problems: the floor was stained and scuffed, and in most places the sealer had worn off completely allowing the dirt to become ingrained into the pores of the Limestone. Additionally the grout was recessed but was now flush with the tile surface due to dirt build-up. There were also areas contaminated with grease and kitchen cooking oil.

The Limestone floor tiles were 20mm thick French Limestone, and had been laid very well so there was no requirement to do any tile or grout repairs however to get this floor back to its original condition the surface would need to be reconditioned using the Tile Doctor four stage burnishing system.

Restoring a French Limestone Floor

I started by giving the floor a wash with a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, focusing mainly on the grout lines in order to remove the muck that had built-up there. I used a special stiff grout brush for this activity; it’s quite narrow and ideal for grout scrubbing.

This worked well, but the significant build-up of dirt along some of the grout lines meant more work was required. I tackled this problem with a hand scraper assisted with steam. At the end of this process, the whole floor was then rinsed down with water to remove any soil and the resulting slurry was then extracted using a wet vacuum.

Unmaintained Limestone Kitchen Floor During Grout Steam Cleaning Cardiff Unmaintained Limestone Kitchen Floor During Grout Steam Cleaning Cardiff

Burnishing French Limestone Tiles

The next step was to start the burnishing process, which basically involves applying four diamond encrusted floor pads in sequence over the floor. Each pad is a different grade, starting with the most abrasive coarse pad and moving through to the finer grades using a little water to lubricate and rinsing away any slurry between each pad.

Unmaintained Limestone Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Cardiff Unmaintained Limestone Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Cardiff

I eventually finished with the extra fine pad which builds up shine and lustre on the tile; it had taken two days to clean the grout and burnish the Limestone but the floor was much improved and so after a final rinse down I left the floor to dry off overnight with the aid of the underfloor heating.

During this time, I also addressed the stained Limestone in the area of the kitchen where the dustbin was situated. This had been a major upset for the customer and I’m happy to report I managed to deal with it. However, it was quite an involved process, so I’ll write about this in a separate post.

Sealing a Limestone tiled kitchen floor

On the third day I came back to seal the floor, checking first that it had dried sufficiently with a damp meter. Fortunately, the underfloor heating had done a great job of drying the stone and I was able to seal the floor using three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealant. This sealant not only provides a durable seal but also penetrates deep into the pores of the stone protecting it from within and enhancing the natural colours of the Limestone in the process.

After the final layer of sealant, I worked over the floor again with the extra fine burnishing pad both to add shine again following sealing, and to ensure that no smear marks were visible as the lighting conditions were unforgiving and highlighted any imperfections.

Unmaintained Limestone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Cardiff Unmaintained Limestone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Cardiff

The customer was delighted with the results: so much so, in fact, that they booked me in to restore their Victorian hallway floor as well but that’s a story for another time!
 
 

Restoring French Limestone Kitchen Floor in South Wales

Quarry and Terrazzo floors restored near Caerphilly Castle

The owner of this residence near Caerphilly Castle had discovered a 150x150mm red Quarry tiled floor in the kitchen which dated back to before 1900 and had unfortunately been tiled over by a previous owner. Keen on restoring such an original feature the owner set about removing the tiles on top using a chisel and scraping off the adhesive, it was at this point we got the call to assist.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration near Caerphilly Castle

Restoring a Quarry Tiled Floor

Before proceeding my first job is to always check the moisture levels, many of these old floors have no damp proof membrane so without taking a base reading it’s tricky to know if the floor has thoroughly dried later. The kitchen was being replaced and the old kitchen had been removed so I was able to work on the restoration before the new one had been installed making the task easier.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration near Caerphilly Castle

To clean the floor I realised I would need a strong cleaning solution to get these old Quarry tiles clean so I diluted Tile Doctor Pro-Clean 50:50 with Heavy Build-up Remover or Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU as we like to call it. This was applied to a wet floor and scrubbed in using a scrubbing machine fitted with a coarse back pad running on slow speed. I rinsed the floor every so often so I could see the difference and discovered my choice of cleaning product has proved to be effective and fast. Before long I was happy to rinse away the now soiled cleaning solution satisfied that I could not improve the tiles any further with more cleaning.

Quarry Tiled Floor During Restoration near Caerphilly Castle

Sealing a Quarry Tiled Floor

I left the floor to dry for 24h hours before returning to seal the tiles. On my return I checked the moisture levels and there were some high readings so using a heat gun I applied some gentle heat to the tiles allowing them to cool before checking again. This did the trick and the second reading was much better so I proceeded to seal the tiles using Tile Doctor Seal and Go which I find works well on quarry tiles. The quarry tiles were quite worn and very porous and as result needed at nine coats of sealer before they were fully sealed. I do find multiple of coats of sealer works well on floors of this condition as it helped to hide the imperfections and marks caused by the chisel and scrapper.

Quarry Tiled Floor After Restoration near Caerphilly Castle

The owners were delighted with the results and asked me to come back and restore their terrazzo hallway floor which will be subject to another post.
 
 

Quarry Tiled floor restored in South Wales