Shaling Sandstone Flagstone Floor Restored in Chagford, Devon

Chagford is a small town on the north-east edge of Dartmoor and so as you can expect is surrounded by plenty of old farmhouses, some still as part of a working farm, some long since converted to family homes with just a small area around the property remaining and some having made use of the land and reinvented farmland. I visited a property that falls into the latter category, having converted pastoral farmland into stables and a riding school with a family home at the centre. Whilst the owners were on holiday having a well-earned rest a pipe burst flooding the ground floor of their house, damaging the Sandstone flagstone flooring in the process.

I went over to inspect the floor and could see that the stone floor had dried out but was now dull from dirt and in addition some of the stones were now suffering from shaling. This is where the top layers of the stone start to delaminate, and the only treatment is to cut the stones back to a decent surface through a process called milling. Tile Doctor has available a set of very coarse diamond encrusted pads for this purpose which I was able to demonstrate. I carried out the demonstration on a small area so that the customers could be confident that there was a remedy and then I measured the floor so that I could work out the amount of products that would be needed and priced the job accordingly.

Flood Damaged Sandstone Tiled Floor Chagford Before Restoration

The customers were keen to go ahead with the quote and I arranged to go back and restore the floor at a mutually suitable date.

Milling Delaminated Sandstone Flagstones

On my return I prepped the skirting boards around the hallway with plastic tape to protect them from the soil generated during the milling process. Once done I started the floor treatment using a very coarse with a 50-grit diamond milling pad to cut the sandstone back and then followed with a 100, 200 and finally a 400-grit pad to get rid of any scratches caused by the coarser pads and to tighten the pores of the sandstone which would allow for easier maintenance. Water is used to lubricate the process and the floor is rinsed with more water, which is then extracted with a wet vacuum between the application of each pad.

Once this was completed and the sandstone floor was thoroughly rinsed and then dried with the wet vacuum to remove as much moisture as possible. The floor was then left to dry out thoroughly before I returned to seal. This was a large area and so the milling was done in various stages over a few days so by the time I had finished the last area the first one was nearly ready to be sealed.

Sealing Sandstone Flagstones

The customers wanted a slight sheen to the stone floor, but not too shiny and so Tile Doctor’s Seal and Go was used; this is an acrylic sealer which once fully cured will settle to a satin finish which works really well on this Sandstone. Like the cleaning the sealing was also staggered into sections to avoid the whole of the ground floor being out of action whilst the sealer dried.

Flood Damaged Sandstone Tiled Floor Chagford After Restoration

Similar to paint drying, the polymers in Seal and Go initially give the floor a semi-gloss appearance and so I warned the customer of this, reassuring them that it would dull to a satin finish over the next week or so. In fact, I called back two weeks later to check and they confirmed this had happened and they were very happy with the result.
 
 
Source: Sandstone Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Chagford, Devon

Glue Stained Sandstone Hallway Restoration in Carbrooke, Norfolk

This was perhaps the most challenging restoration we have been presented with to date.
The work involved removing carpet and underlay from a long Yorkstone tiled hallway at a beautiful old Grange in Carbrooke on the outskirts of Watton and restoring the flagstones to their original glory. These pavers are a type of Sandstone, a carboniferous sedimentary rock consisting of quartz, mica, feldspar, clay and iron oxides quarried in Yorkshire and having a rich sandy colour with a slightly sparkling surface.

On lifting the carpet, we found, to our dismay, that the rubber-backed underlay had been firmly stuck down to the surface of the stone with what appeared to be a thick layer of yellowing impact adhesive which covered the entire area right up to the thresholds and skirting boards.

Yorkstone Hallway Restoration Carbrooke Carpet Removed Revealing Underlay Yorkstone Hallway Restoration Carbrooke Glue Covering Entire Floor Surface

Stripping Carpet Adhesive off a Sandstone tiled floor

Our first task was to remove as much of the underlay by hand using sharp-bladed scrapers and a heck of a lot of elbow grease. Having done this, the next step was to cover the remaining adhesive layer with a specialist water-based stripper which was applied by brush and allowed to react for an hour. The result was an incredibly sticky substance with the consistency of chewing gum which we had to painstakingly remove inch by inch with paint scrapers. This process had to be repeated twice as even the specialist stripper couldn’t cope with the sheer volume of goo in a single application. The floor was then left overnight to dry out and settle down.

Yorkstone Hallway Restoration Carbrooke Applying Stripper Yorkstone Hallway Restoration Carbrooke Stone Surface After Stripping

The following day, we deep-cleaned the whole area using very strong mix of Tile Doctor Pro Clean and Remove & Go, scrubbed in with a rotary machine fitted with a black stripping pad. Four pads were used up in this process as they quickly became clogged with the thick slurry which was then power rinsed and vacuumed away from the floor. Any remaining patches of the glue were further softened using Tile Doctor Nanotech HBU Remover and carefully picked off by hand with the bladed scrapers.

Yorkstone Hallway Restoration Carbrooke Deep Cleaning Yorkstone Hallway Restoration Carbrooke Stone Surface After Deep Cleaning

Finally, the slabs were finished using a brush fitted to the rotary machine with 320 grit honing powder to achieve a smooth, silky and very clean surface before being power rinsed with plenty of clean water. Again, the floor was left to dry thoroughly overnight with the assistance of our large capacity dehumidifier and thermostatic hot air blower.

Sealing a Sandstone tiled floor

Returning the following day, we found that the dehumidifier and heater had done their job and the sandstone was ready for sealing, the moisture content having been brought down to an average of 10% overall as shown by our damp meter testing.

The client had requested a light shine on the floor so that it would be easy to maintain on a daily basis. We chose, therefore, to use Tile Doctor Seal & Go, a combination sealer with a mid-sheen topical finish, which we applied using paint pads and microfibre cloths in five thin coats, resulting in an excellent fluid resistant seal with a lustrous shine.

Yorkstone Hallway Restoration Carbrooke Applying Sealer To Edges Yorkstone Hallway Restoration Carbrooke Finished Floor

This was a tough job but a highly satisfying result, further emphasised when the client’s antique furnishings were placed in situ.
 
 
Source: Sandstone Tile Cleaning and Renovation Service in Norfolk

Dealing with Patchy Sandstone Flagstones

Sandstone is a particularly popular choice for kitchen and hallway floors amongst home owners in the UK. It not only possesses beautiful natural shades and features, but it is also typically hard wearing, making it an ideal stone for tiled flooring in high traffic areas of a house and can often be found laid as large riven flagstones in pubs and other commercial premises.

Naturally, just like any other type of tiled floor, Sandstone needs to be maintained using appropriate products and methods. A lack of adequate surface sealer in particular leaves Sandstone susceptible to ingrained dirt, and can leave distinct, unsightly patches such as those in the photograph below.

Sandstone Floor Before Cleaning in Thaxted

In this instance, I visited a client in the old Essex town of Thaxted, who believed that her four square meter Sandstone tiled floor might be suffering from damp issues after lifting up the mats covering the area.

However, when I arrived at the property and ran damp tests, I found the issue to be superficial. The Sandstone floor however did require attention in the form of a deep clean and a fresh seal to tackle the white patches and prevent further discolouration.

Cleaning a Sandstone tiled floor

To begin the cleaning process I spread Tile Doctor Remove & Go evenly across the floor. It was left to dwell for approximately 15 minutes, during which time it worked to break down the old sealer remaining on the tiles. I then agitated the area twice over with both a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotation machine lift away any dirt.

The resultant slurry was removed using a wet vacuum and the floor was then rinsed with water and then mixed a strong solution of one part Tile Doctor Pro Clean to three parts water which was used to give the floor a final clean and scrub the grout clean before using the wet vacuum again and giving the floor a final rinse with water.

Sealing a Sandstone tiled floor

After completing the cleaning process I left the floor to dry over the weekend. Upon my return to the house I proceeded to seal the tiles with three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone and provide durable surface protection going forward. Colour Grow is also specially designed to let the floor breathe and enhance the natural colours in the stone and, in this case, really helped to intensify the natural sand-coloured shades in the tiles.

Sandstone Floor After Cleaning in Thaxted

The difference made to these Sandstone tiles was really noticeable, with the white patches completely removed and the surface more generally back to looking like new, needless to say, my client was very happy with the results.
 
 
Source: Restoring Sandstone Tiled Flooring in Essex