Restoring Yorkstone Flagstones From the Industrial Age

For this job, I had the pleasure of visiting the historic Salts Mill, a former textile mill turned art gallery, shopping centre, and restaurant complex near Bingley, West Yorkshire. It was built in 1853 by the famous manufacturer and philanthropist, Sir Titus Salt, and was at one point the largest industrial building in the world by total floor area.

Salts Mill Yorkshire Stone Before Cleaning
As you can imagine, a lot of the rooms at Salts Mill are over a century and a half old. Most of them also contained stone flooring made from Yorkstone – a type of Sandstone unique to Yorkshire, and easily distinguishable due to its rich, natural yellow colouring. Unfortunately, one such floor in the Salts Mill was in quite a bad state. It has completely lost its vibrance – appearing more grey than yellow – and was evidentially in need of a very deep clean and fresh seal.

Salts Mill Yorkshire Stone Before Cleaning

Cleaning an Old Yorkstone Floor

I started the Yorkstone tile restoration by soaking the floor in a strong dilution of our reliable alkaline-based tile cleaner, Tile Doctor Pro Clean, and scrubbing it in using a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. This quickly removed the initial layers of muck and, in the process, revealed oil-based paint and glue stains all over the floor.

Salts Mill Yorkshire Stone During Cleaning
To break down the oil and paint I applied Tile Doctor Remove & Go, which is our heavy duty stripper, remover and degreaser. This quickly ate through the paint and glue, and I followed by giving the floor another thorough clean with Pro Clean. Finally, I rinsed the floor with clean water before leaving it to dry for a full two days due to the amount of chemical cleaning product and water applied.

Sealing an Old Yorkstone Floor

Upon my return to the Salts Mill two days later, I ran some quick damp tests to check for any excess moisture which could’ve prevented me from sealing the floor. Thankfully, the floor was dry and ready to be sealed, but it is always recommended, especially with older floors, to be aware of damp issues as these can be very troublesome.

Salts Mill Yorkshire Stone After Cleaning
My choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Seal and Go, a topical sealer which provides a robust, stain resistant seal and a durable low sheen finish all in one product. Multiple coats of Seal and Go were applied, bringing the life and character back to these classic tiles.

Salts Mill Yorkshire Stone After Cleaning

Source: Yorkstone Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in North West Yorkshire

Restoring the Appearance of Old Yorkshire Flagstones

This Yorkshire flagstone floor was about 20m2 in size and was well overdue a deep clean, additionally a lot of the pointing was loose or missing which would need to be resolved. The location of this job was at a house in Haworth village which is situated at the edge of the Pennine moors in West Yorkshire, the area is known as Bronte country after the famous Bronte sisters who lived here in the local parsonage in the 19th century.

Old Yorkshire Flagstones Before Cleaning Haworth

Cleaning Yorkshire Stone

To deep clean the floor the sandstone flagstones were covered in a 1:3 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to dwell and soak into the stone for 15 minutes before being scrubbed clean using a rotary machine fitted with a black pad. The now dirty cleaning solution was then removed using a wet vacuum and then the whole floor washed down with water and stubborn areas re-treated until I was satisfied.

The next step was to rake out the loose pointing and re-point with a matching grey flexible wide joint grout. This is the advantage of using a Tile Doctor to work on your tiled floors as were not just a cleaning company.

Sealing Yorkshire Stone

The floor was left to dry overnight and I returned the next 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.

Old Yorkshire Flagstones After Cleaning Haworth

You can see from the photo that as well as protecting the floor the sealer adds to the appearance of the tiles and brings out the natural colours that were not visible earlier.
 
 
Source: Flagstone Tile Cleaning and Maintenance Service in Yorkshire

Maintaing Yorkshire Stone Kitchen Flagstones

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.

Yorkshire Stone Hebden Bridge During Cleaning

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.

Yorkshire Stone Hebden Bridge After Cleaning

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
 
 
Source: Residential and Commercial Tile and Stone Cleaning in Yorkshire