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.
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.
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.
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.
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!