Putting new life into a Dull Sandstone Patio

At the start of the year we usually get asked to restore the appearance of patios and other outside areas which have suffered from the staining of autumn leaves and the ravages of winter cold snaps. Most patios are quite straight forward to maintain however when you’re dealing natural stone then it’s best to call in your local Tile Doctor to ensure nothing is applied to the stone that could damage it.

Such was the case with this four-year-old Sandstone Patio at a house in the town of Kettering. Unfortunately, it was not sealed when it was first installed and the combination of weather and UV sunlight had faded the tiles, this together with general soiling had greatly affected the appearance of this beautiful stone and could almost have been mistaken for concrete slabs.

Sandstone Patio Before Cleaned Re-grouted and Sealed Kettering

Maintaining Sandstone Patio Paving

My first course of action was to lightly spray the area with a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a powerful tile cleaning product that is safe to use on Stone. The solution was allowed to soak in for a while before being agitated with a brush to bring out the dirt. This was followed by pressure washing with a spinning tool at a medium pressure so as to not damage the stone.

Once dry I re-grouted the entire area and then sealed with Tile Doctor Colour Grow Sealant which is a impregnating breathable product (essential for damp environments) that also enhances the natural colours of the stone.

Sandstone Patio After Cleaned Re-grouted and Sealed Kettering

Within hours of finishing the customer came home and called me straight away to say he couldn’t believe the transformation that was achieved and they looked better than when they were first laid.
 
 
Source: Sandstone Patio Maintenance in Northamtonshire

Sandstone Patio Restoration in Rushden

Lichen, moss and other plant-based staining is a common sight on patios exposed to the UK climate. For many property owners, it’s a very difficult task to keep patios looking great in the face of the natural effects of the environment. However always happy to help Tile Doctor is available to provide the professional cleaning and sealing needed on a regular basis.

This Sandstone tiled patio in Rushden was certainly a prime candidate for restoration. Not only was it completely covered in lichen and moss, but it was also cracked in parts and missing grout. The patio would therefore need not only cleaning and sealing, but also re-grouting.

Sandstone patio slabs before cleaning Rushden Sandstone patio slabs before cleaning Rushden

Cleaning a Stained and Damaged Sandstone Patio

To begin the restoration, I opted to power jet wash the entire area to remove as much of the initial layers of moss. Then, I mixed a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which is a powerful and reliable alkaline cleaner suitable for use on both internal and external natural stone tiles. This was applied liberally to the patio and scrubbed into the stone to cut through the particularly stubborn stains. The two photos below show the fantastic result.

Sandstone patio slabs after cleaning Rushden Sandstone patio slabs after cleaning Rushden

Re-grouting and Sealing a Sandstone Patio

After completing the cleaning phase, I allowed the patio to dry completely overnight before returning to re-grout the entire area with mortar. To finish off I applied a fresh sealer in the form of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra, which an acrylic-based, fully breathable sealer appropriate for outside use.

The below pictures show the final result. As you can see, it was a complete transformation – and my very happy customer will agree! With the right products and methods, it’s possible to bring new life back to weathered patios.

Sandstone patio slabs after cleaning Rushden Sandstone patio slabs after cleaning Rushden

 
 
Source: Stone Patio Cleaning and Restoration Service in Northamptonshire

Sandstone Kitchen Floor Deep Cleaned

Tiled floors are a popular choice for people with large household pets – particularly dogs. Compared to carpeted floor they are hard wearing and reasonably easy to keep clean, with the right methods. At this property near the Northamptonshire village of Brockhall, my customer’s Sandstone tiled floor had been very badly stained thanks to her two large dogs – a problem exacerbated by the fact that the tiles had not been professionally cleaned or sealed for a very long time.

Sandstone Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Brockhall

If you have read some of my previous posts you may remember a post detailing the cleaning of a large Sandstone patio with swimming pool, well this kitchen belonged to the same customer, who was so impressed by the results that he opted to have the kitchen cleaned as well.

Cleaning a Heavily Soiled Sandstone Tiled Kitchen Floor

As the photographs below show, my first course of action was to apply Tile Doctor Remove & Go to the edges of the floor. Remove & Go is a powerful stripper designed to break down layers of old sealer and dirt, along with any adhesive and paint marks. It can be used to great effect on most types of natural stone floor.

Sandstone Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Brockhall

I did this before I unloaded the rest of my equipment, since the product needs time to dwell. The edges were then cleaned carefully by hand so as not to damage the customer’s painted kitchen units.

Following this, I divided the room into four separate sections and, working one section at a time, applied Remove & Go before agitating it with a black stripped pad fitted to a rotary machine. The resulting slurry was promptly soaked up using a wet-vac machine.

Sandstone Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Brockhall

Certain areas proved particularly difficult to get clean, so in these cases I repeated the process once over, before following up with an application of Tile Doctor Pro Clean, worked into the stone with a scrubbing brush on the rotary machine. I rounded off the cleaning process with a second wet-vaxing.

Sealing a Sandstone Tiled Floor

After being thoroughly cleaned, the floor was left to dry, with process being sped up using an industrial fan left on site overnight. Adequate drying is essential as excess moisture can damage the performance of freshly applied surface sealer.

I returned to the house the next day and ran some quick tests to check the floor had dried completely. Then, to accentuate the subtle natural shades in the Sandstone, I sealed the floor using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This colour intensifying sealer improves the appearance of natural stone one step further, while also providing a long lasting and robust surface seal.

Sandstone Kitchen Floor After Sealing Brockhall

It is also important that Colour Grow can provide a matt finish, as a sealant which offers a gloss finish would not have been as hard wearing, especially with two large dogs roaming around.

Sandstone Kitchen Floor After Sealing Brockhall

My customer was very pleased with the results. He can now enjoy his great looking Sandstone tiled kitchen floor, reassured in the knowledge that its rejuvenated appearance will be protected long-term against future dog-related stains and soil.
 
 
Source: Sandstone Cleaning and Sealing Service in Northamptonshire

Annual Sandstone Patio Cleaning

As the summer slowly approaches thoughts turn to sorting out those outside areas ready for use again, so it’s about this time of year I get asked to look at cleaning external tiled surfaces such as patio areas driveways. These external surfaces suffer from a heavily build-up of soils due to the general wear and tear caused by exposure to harsh weather conditions. We have all the high pressure equipment and fantastic results can be achieved by pressure washing in combination with quality products.

The photographs below were taken in January at a lovely property in the small village of Brockhall, near the market town of Daventry in Northamptonshire; my customer has a large Sandstone tiled patio and swimming pool area and as you can see the weather had certainly taken its toll and it was now in need of a thorough deep clean.

Sandstone Patio Brockhall Before Cleaning Sandstone Patio Brockhall Before Cleaning

Sandstone is typically a hard wearing tile, but if neglected for a long time it can, much like any other type of stone, very easily lose its appearance without regular maintenance.

Pressure Cleaning a Sandstone Flagged Swimming Pool Area

My first thought when dealing with swimming pool areas is to protect the pool from contaminates thrown up by the cleaning process, fortunately in this case the pool was well secured with a black cover which was tightly strapped down.

Sandstone Patio Brockhall Before Cleaning

The next step was to deal with the particularly stubborn areas of dirt with an application of a high alkaline cleaner, known as Tile Doctor Pro Clean. Being an alkaline based product Pro-Clean is suitable for use on many different types of natural stone tiles, including Sandstone, Granite, Limestone, Slate and Travertine, and can be applied to both internal as well as external surfaces.

The cleaning solution was applied to the problem areas agitated so it could get to work on the dirt. This was then followed up with the application of a special circular pressure washing spinning tool running at very high pressure.

Sandstone Patio Brockhall During Cleaning Sandstone Patio Brockhall Cleaning Equipment

I have a truck mounted pressure system on the van however in this case it was easier to use a standalone industrial petrol jet washer to drive the spinning tool.

Sandstone Patio Brockhall During Cleaning

The spinning tool allows the water to be applied under high pressure, and removes dirt and stains at the same time.

Sandstone Patio Brockhall After Cleaning

As you can see from the photographs, the results achieved were amazing. My customer was so impressed, in fact, that he booked me in to restore his Sandstone tiled kitchen as well the following week!

Sandstone Patio Brockhall After Cleaning

 
 
Source: Patio and Driveway Cleaning Service in Northamptonshire

Removing Grout Haze Left from Sandstone After Tiling

It’s not that uncommon for newly installed tiled floors to suffer from grout haze. This occurs where builder or tiler fails to remove all the excess grout from the surface of the tile after installation. It’s not always immediately obvious as the grout has to dry before it shows up and if the tiles are sealed afterward the grout is trapped on the surface of the tile under the sealer which makes it even more difficult to remove. Not too long ago, I was called to address this exact problem experienced on my client’s Sandstone tiled floor at her house Wappenham, Northamptonshire.

This first picture shows how the builder had left the floor after sealing (note how all the tiles have a similar colour). Also shown in the picture is the equipment I use to remove grout haze should you wish to do this yourself.

Grout Haze Removal from Sandstone Wappenham

The second picture shows a close-up of the white grout haze deposits on the surface of the tile; the issue is probably difficult to appreciate if you haven’t come across this type of problem yourself however you will find ordinary household cleaning products will be largely ineffectual.

Grout Haze Removal from Sandstone Wappenham

Removing Sealer from Sandstone Floor Tiles

The third picture shows the first stage of the cleaning process which required stripping off the sealer so I could then treat the Grout Haze. To do this I applied Tile Doctor Remove & Go liberally across the floor, before agitating with a black stripping pad fitted to a rotary machine to break down the old surface sealer. I followed this by using a wet-vac machine to remove any soiled residue. As you can see in the next photograph, the colours are already starting to show.

Grout Haze Removal from Sandstone Wappenham

Treating Grout Haze on Sandstone

The next photo shows the second stage of the process, which involved the application of a new product in the Tile Doctor range called Acid Gel. The acid based formula is required to remove the cement/grout and being a gel you find the product remains in situ breaking down the grout haze instead of spreading around as you would expect with a liquid.

Grout Haze Removal from Sandstone Wappenham

I left the Acid Gel to dwell for approximately ten minutes, before mixing it with water and scrubbing it into the tiles with an industrial brush. This was followed by a second wet vacuum to ensure all the residue was removed. A turbo dryer was used on the treated area to speed up the drying process whilst I moved onto the next section.

Grout Haze Removal from Sandstone Wappenham Grout Haze Removal from Sandstone Wappenham

Sealing Sandstone Floor Tiles

Once the floor was fully dry I was able to seal it again with a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Sealing will protect the floor from staining and make it easier to clean, additionally Colour Grow soaks into the pores of the stone protecting it from within and enhancing the natural colours of the stone in the process.

Grout Haze Removal from Sandstone Wappenham

The final photograph shows an area which has been fully sealed and the tiles restored to their natural beauty. I achieved this result across the entirety of the floor.
 
 
Source: Sandstone Floor Cleaning and Restoration Service in Northamptonshire

Refreshing the Sealer on a Flagstone Floor

This property was situated in the tiny, yet picturesque village of Grafton Underwood in Kettering, Northamptonshire. The village has only a population numbering a few hundred and, interestingly enough, is the childhood home of the famous ‘Bridget Jones’ character. I have previously worked on a number of floors in Grafton Underwood, and on this particular occasion I was called to complete the job through a recommendation – which is always welcome!

This particular customer had two floors that needed re-finishing; the first was a polished Limestone tiled conservatory (which I will cover in a separate post as the process was different) and the second a Flagstone tiled living room; so on a rather dull day in November, I began my work.

Stripping a Flagstone tiled floor

The sealer on the Flagstone tiled living room had failed in certain places, resulting in the floor becoming difficult to clean due to dirt becoming ingrained in the stone. The decline in the sealer is not uncommon, as they do wear down over time – especially in an area of high traffic like a living room. To resolve this issue, the old surface seal needed to be stripped back and re-sealed.

Flagstone Sitting Room Grafton Underwood Before Cleaning

To remove what was left of the old sealer, I applied a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go and scrubbed it into the floor using a rotary machine fitted with black stripping pads. I then gave the floor an initial rinse, before paying special attention to scrubbing the stubborn spots, making sure all of the sealer was removed.

I then gave the floor an acid wash using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up in order to remove grout haze and other mineral deposits which were evident. Due to its acidic properties, you have to be very careful with this product on any type of stone, so I didn’t let it dwell for too long and made sure the floor was thoroughly rinsed down afterwards, with all solutions extracted using a wet-vac machine.

Sealing a Flagstone tiled floor

The floor was left to dry for more than 24 hours, before I returned to re-seal it using Tile Doctor Seal & Go. This product provides both a stain resistant surface seal and the durable low-sheen finish requested by my client. Seal & Go is suitable for use on internal unsealed, porous surfaces.

Flagstone Sitting Room Grafton Underwood After Cleaning

I guess the photographs don’t really do the transformation justice however the freshly re-sealed Flagstone living room certainly brightened up what was a very dreary autumn day!
 
 
Source: Sandstone Floor Cleaning and Sealing service in Northamptonshire

Maintaining a Sandstone flagstones

This customer in Hannington had a badly soiled and stained rough sandstone tiled floor which they were finding extremely difficult to keep clean. It was apparent that the previous sealer was no longer working well and so the only solution was to strip and clean the floor then re-seal.

Sandstone Hannington Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Rough Sandstone Tiled Floor

I stripped the floor using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean combined 50/50 with NanoTech UltraClean to produce a strong stripper and cleaning solution that is safe to use on natural stone. This was worked into the tile using a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing brush rather than a pad to cope better with the uneven finish of the rough Sandstone.

This activity was then followed with a high pressure spinning tool operating at (1200psi) in four to five metre square sections. The spinner tool washes the tile surface with high pressure water and also extracts the water from the surface simultaneously which dislodges and loosens built up ingrained grim from the tiles and grout.

The floor was now clean and free of old sealer and was left to dry for a couple of day aided by turbo fans and dehumidifiers which we left at the property.

Sandstone Hannington After Cleaning Sandstone Hannington After Cleaning

Sealing a Rough Sandstone Tiled Floor

When we came back we first tested the floor with a damp meter in a few different locations to make sure no dampness remained in the stone, fortunately the machines we had left behind had done their job and the floor was completely dry so we started to seal the floor. For this the customer had chosen Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds a high gloss finish as well as lifting the natural colour in the stone.

Sandstone Hannington After Sealing Sandstone Hannington After Sealing

Source: Sandstone Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Northamptonshire