This Sandstone tiled floor with Limestone coloured grout in Cardiff was laid in 2006 and had now discoloured with wear and tear and had almost turned black in places which I suspect was due to no sealer being applied after installation.
I carried out a cleaning sample using Tile Doctor HBU Remover, which is a strong cleaning solution, applied it to one tile in the utility room and the dirt lifted off with remarkable results; I then dried the tile with a heat gun to show the customer the results which she was happy with.
Cleaning a Sandstone Tiled Floor
For the rest of the floor I started by wetting the surface and carried on treating it with more HBU remover diluted 50% with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which made it thinner and more effective for deep cleaning. Using a stiff sweeping brush with bristles about half inch long (well broken in for this type of job) I then scrubbed away at the tiles and then the grout joints using a small hand held scrubbing brush which I always find is more effective than a machine which can make a lot of mess and can be overly aggressive. I cleaned the tiles in 5m2 sections rinsing each section four times to ensure there were no trace of cleaning solutions left behind. When finished the floor was left to dry for two to four hours and I tested for moisture knowing it would be ok but always worth checking.
Sealing a Sandstone Floor Sealing
I sealed the Sandstone with four coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating and colour enhancing product which will protect the floor for many years to come.
I tested the floor with a water test to ensure it was fully sealed, this is a simple test whereby you check to see if drops of water applied to the surface form beads on the tile. The end result was incredible as you can see the tiles looked as good if not better than the day they were cut from the quarry, and the Colour Grow certainly enhanced the true colours in the stone.
These Sandstone floor tiles installed in a house in the market town of Uppingham had become completely discoloured and much darker over the years, especially in that well-trodden kitchen triangle between the sink, cooker and fridge. They were now well overdue for a deep clean and re-seal and so we were asked to come and strip back the floor and re-seal it.
Cleaning a Sandstone Tiled Floor
Given the discolouration of the tiles it was likely this was caused by more than just ingrained dirt and that multiple products had been applied to the tiles so I decided the best course of action would be to strip the floor back to its original condition first. With this aim I applied a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a sealer and coatings remover which lives up well to its name. It was left to soak into the tiles for a good thirty minutes before being worked using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The soiled solution was rinsed off with clean water which was removed with a wet vacuum; stubborn areas were then re-treated in the same way and once I was happy with the general condition of the floor it was given a thorough rinse with water to remove any traces of cleaning product and then left to dry overnight.
Sealing a Sandstone Tiled Floor
We came back the next day and after checking the floor was dry proceeded to apply the sealer which it was so we proceeded to seal the Sandstone with a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that penetrates deep into the stone, enhances the natural colour in the stone and provides good surface protection, the customer was also after a matt finish and Colour Grow matches the requirement.
We received a request to take a look at these Sandstone flagstones at a house in Grange over Sands, the request implied all was required was a usual clean and Re-seal however once we took a look at the floor it was obvious a lot more was involved and the floor was in need of restoration work including Sandstone floor restoration including grout replacement and paint stripping
To get the floor clean I decided to apply a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go combined 50/50 with NanoTech UltraClean to give it more cleaning power. We normally use Remove and Go to remove old sealers but it works just as well softening up paint splashes so they can be removed. It was left to soak into on the flagstones for a good twenty minutes before being scrubbed into the tiles with a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. The resultant slurry was removed using a wet vacuum and the floor washed down so we could get an idea of the improvement in the floor. There were quite a few stubborn areas so the whole process was re-done until I was happy the floor was as good as I could get it and at that point rinsed the whole floor down again with clean water to neutralise the floor before dealing with the missing and loose grout which was replaced with a close a colour match as possible before leaving for the evening so the floor could dry overnight.
Sealing a Sandstone Tiled Floor
We came back the next day and tested the floor with a damp meter in a few different locations to make sure no dampness remained in the stone. The sandstone was dry so we proceeded to seal the floor with Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that occupies the pores in the stone preventing contaminates becoming ingrained there and also as its name suggests brings out the colours in the natural stone.
This customer had bought a cottage in Cleestanton (Ludlow) six months prior which has a beautiful Indian Sandstone flagstone floor installed across the ground floor. The Sandstone slabs were however in an unfortunate state and had not been deep cleaned for some time, in fact it was very easy to see where the most foot traffic had been due to visible dark lanes in the stone.
Cleaning Riven Sandstone Tiles
I cleaned the floor with a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was left to soak into the Sandstone before being worked in with a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing brush attachment. I used a brush as opposed to a pad as the floor had a riven texture and a flat pad may not have had the desired effect. Tile Doctor is an effective coatings remover ideal for removing sealers for tile, it’s also a good cleaning product having said that there were areas where the old sealer was really stubborn so and I had to retreat those and use steam in the really difficult areas.
Once the floor was stripped back I gave it a thorough rinse with water using a wet vacuum to remove the liquids from the floor and get it as dry as possible.
Sealing Riven Sandstone Tiles
I left the floor to dry out thoroughly for four days and then returned to seal it first checking with a damp meter that it was dry. All was as expected so proceeded to seal the stone using four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water based sealer (no smell) and ideal for these types of floor as it offers good protection whilst adding a nice sheen to the surface.
The customer was really pleased with the result and can now see all the amazing detail and character in this natural stone floor including evidence of fossilised plants.
This Milled Sandstone tiled floor was installed in the kitchen of a house in the village of Warsash on the south coast. The floor was looking washed out and lost most of its colour and the owner wanted it looking its best.
Cleaning a Sandstone Tiled Floor
The first job was to remove the kick boards from around base of the kitchen units a followed by the application of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted with 10 parts warm water. This was left to soak into the stone and then worked in using a black scrubbing pad. This action gave the floor a good clean and the now dirty cleaning solution was removed using a wet vacuum, the floor was rinsed down with water and the process repeated in the areas where further attention was required until we were happy the tiles were clean. The final cleaning action was to wash down the tiles with clean water a final time to remove any cleaning product and neutralise the floor before the next step of sealing. The wet vacuum was used again to remove as much water from the floor as possible and we then left for the evening so the floor could fully dry overnight.
Sealing a Sandstone Tiled Floor
We came back the next day and tested the floor with a damp meter in a few different locations to make sure no dampness remained in the stone. The sandstone was dry so we proceeded to seal the floor with Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that occupies the pores in the stone preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there, it also as its name suggests brings out the colour in the stone and it certainly worked well on this floor and brought out the brown colours of the Sandstone, two coats were sufficient.
The photographs below are of an 18m2 Yorkshire Stone floor in the kitchen of a barn conversion in the village of Hebden Bridge. The flagstones which appeared to be various shades of dark grey had lost any colour and vitality they once had, in fact they only seemed to come alive when wet and once dry the natural features and colours of the Yorkshire stone faded away. This was caused by the sealer being worn away allowing dirt to become ingrained in the stone making it difficult to properly clean.
Cleaning Yorkshire Stone
To restore the natural appearance the floor was soaked in a 1:2 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and then scrubbed clean using a rotary machine fitted with a black pad. Pro-Clean is an industrial strength alkaline cleaning product that is safe to use on Tile, Stone and Grout; for best results you should let the Pro-Clean dwell on the floor for around ten to fifteen minutes before working it in. The soiled cleaning solution was removed using a wet vacuum and then the whole floor washed down with water and stubborn areas re-treated until I was satisfied that the flagstone and grout was as clean as I could get it.
Sealing Yorkshire Stone
The floor was left to dry overnight and I returned the nexst day to seal the floor first checking it for dampness using a Damp Meter. The flagstones were dry so I then proceeded to seal the floor using four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds a nice subtle sheen to natural stone, it also a water based sealer so there’s no smell.
The look of the Yorkshire flagstones was restored and the owner of the house left the following comment on the Tile Doctor feedback system.
Very professional service. Very happy with the results, Ms. E. Parkin
The photographs below are from a Yorkstone flagged floor at a house in the market town of Devizes in Wiltshire. The customer had contacted me as the floor was quite dirty and was overdue for a deep clean.
Cleaning Yorkstone Paving Flags
The floor was quite dirty so I started by making a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-clean mixed 50/50 with NanoTech Ultraclean to add more abrasive power; the solution was spread liberally all over the floor and was left to soak into the stone for a good ten to fifteen minutes. Next using a strong poly brush attached to a rotary machine I scrubbed to floor to bring out all the dirt trapped in the riven areas. Next I attached a black scrubbing pad to give the floor an extra aggressive clean.
I then used a wet vacuum to remove the by now very dirty cleaning solution and then rinsed the floor tiles using clean water and a stiff deck brush several times to ensure that all the product and dirt was removed thoroughly.
At this point it became evident that there were several paint blemishes and spots probably from decorating all over the flagstones so I applied Tile Doctor Remove and Go to the affected areas giving it ten minutes to dwell before agitating all the solution with a stiff deck brush and a floor scraper. Once all the paint was removed I then rinsed the floor again several times with clean water and a stiff deck brush to thoroughly remove any product.
Upon completion I advised the customer that it would be beneficial to seal the stone as it would protect it from staining and make it easier to clean however the house was due to be rented out and having little control over what would be used to maintain the floor going forward he was adamant that he only wanted it cleaned.
These Indian Sandstone floor tiles were installed around an indoor swimming pool at a magnificent residence in Oxford. As you can see from the photograph below the Sandstone was not looking its best and given its proximity to the pool care needed to be taken not to contaminate the pool with dirty water from the cleaning process or chemicals
Swimming Pool Tile Cleaning
We made a decision early on that we would not use any chemicals to clean or seal the tiles to ensure the water in the pool remained un-contaminated, we also setup a temporary barrier to stop any debris going in the pool and used a high pressure machine fitted with a flat surface head to prevent water flying everywhere.
The process worked well and you can see the difference in the photographs above however the job did take taking longer than usual to complete but the main thing was the customer was happy with the result.
Details below of a Natural Riven Stone tiled floor installed in the Kitchen of a house in Boston, Lincolnshire. The client had previously sealed this floor with a commonly available sealer and found the results unsatisfactory; the floor had a riven surface and that combined with two large dogs made cleaning was a constant burden.
Natural-Stone Tile Cleaning
The first step was to remove the existing sealer and give the floor a thorough clean; fortunately we were able to do this using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a multipurpose cleaner/stripper. Pro-Clean was applied to the floor and then left to dwell for a good twenty minutes giving it time to break down the remaining sealer before being worked in using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. To get the grout clean we made up a further batch of Pro-Clean, this time with warm water and scrubbed it by hand into the grout lines using a stiff grout brush.
The soiled cleaning solution was removed using a wet vacuum and the floor given a thorough rinse using clean water. Stubborn areas were re-treated using the same process and the floor was left to dry overnight assisted with a turbo air blower.
Sandstone Tile Sealing
The next morning we applied three coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go to the tiles with each coat taking around twenty minutes to dry. Seal and Go is an ideal sealer for natural stone flooring and being water based there are no nasty smells to worry about like most solvent based products. Seal and Go also added a nice subtle sheen to the floor and will protect the tiles for years to come.
Sandstone is generally a rough textured surface requiring regular cleaning and sealing to keep it looking good, I’ve also known customers to complain that the rough texture can shred mops during regular cleaning. This Sandstone tiled floor installed in a house in Lancaster was no different and so with the owner’s approval we decided to gently grind the sandstone to produce a smoother more manageable surface. At Tile Doctor we refer to this process as Milling and it’s especially useful for flattening a raised surface between tiles often called lippage.
Milling and Sealing a Sandstone Tiled Floor
As far as I know Milling was developed at Tile Doctor to basically smooth down a rough textured surface to make it easy to clean, seal and maintain; it’s a one off process and is akin to sanding down a rough piece of wood with sandpaper. We don’t use sandpaper for this purpose but diamond encrusted burnishing pads which like sandpaper come in different levels of coarseness. Milling actually reveals more of the character in the surface of the stone which is further enhanced during sealing for which recommend the use of a matt finish sealer such as Tile Doctor Colour Grow or if there is still a bit of texture in the stone we recommend the use of a topical sealer such as Tile Doctor Seal and Go which also leaves a nice low sheen finish.
The customer was on holiday when the work was done but was so pleased with the effect of the milled Sandstone floor she rang me up personally to say thanks and left the comment below on the Tile Doctor feedback system, she was experiencing a lot of trouble cleaning this floor and we managed to resolve that and still keep the texture and character of this beautiful floor.
“Total transformation of our floor. Can’t quite believe the results. No mess and an amazing result. Thank you v much
D. Rix, Lancaster”
Details below of a Sandstone floor installed in the Kitchen of a house in Clapham, South London. The client had not been happy with the floor since it had been installed because the tiler hadn’t applied the seal correctly. The owner had also had a quote from a stonemason who had recommended grinding off the top later of stone. I explained that that would not be necessary and went on to explain the process to restore it. As it turns out my quote was £500 cheaper that the Stone mason but I was confident I could get as good a result and the customer could see I knew what I was talking about and gave the job to me.
Sandstone Tile Cleaning
I began work on the floor using a coarse diamond burnishing pad fitted to a rotary scrubbing machine with a little water. I slowly scrubbed the floor in small areas and removed the old sealer from the whole tile. The next step was to tackle the grout which was done by applying Tile Doctor Pro-Clean worked in along the grout lines using a stiff grout cleaning brush. After this the pad was replaced on the rotary machine with a medium brush head and the floor was given a good scrub followed by rinsing thoroughly with fresh water.
At this stage it was evident that a couple of stubborn areas were still in need of attention due to the old sealer still being present so Tile Doctor Remove and Go was applied which is a strong sealer stripper and left to dwell for around 40 minutes before being scrubbed in and washed down again.
I can recommend a Wet Vacuum at this point as they are great at removing liquids from floors; at this point I left for the day to allow the floor to dry overnight ready for sealing the next day.
Sandstone Tile Sealing
Then next day when I returned I checked to make sure the floor was dry and ready to seal, there were a couple of little patches I needed to redo and once they were rinsed I dried them using my heat gun. I then sealed the floor with four coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow and when the last coat had dried I demonstrated to the customer that it was fully sealed using a water test.
The client was really pleased with the results and that I had saved him so much money and left the following comment on our feedback system.
“Bill was great and worked hard to restore and protect the floor. We’re very pleased. There has been some accidental damage outside which I’m happy we’ll sort. Ian Blandford, Clapham”