Cleaning a Flood Stained Limestone Fireplace in Chelmsford


The UK has been experiencing an increasing amount of rain over the last few years and this has resulted in quite a few areas being flooded. One of those areas is the old city of Chelmsford in the middle of Essex which is prone to flooding due to the rivers Cam and Chelmer that run through the town.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Flood Staining Chelmsford

I was asked to visit a property in the town that had been flooded over winter and the red dye in the carpet that was lying on the floor adjacent to their lovely Limestone Fireplace had stained the hearth in several places but primarily around the edges.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Red Dye Staining Chelmsford

The fire place had never been sealed and because of this the stone had sucked up the flood water like a sponge. They had drying equipment installed and as the moisture evaporated the red staining became more and more evident. Since then several companies had been to try and remedy the problem and each one was unsuccessful. The couple contacted us, and we went to assess the problem fully equipped to carry out the work.

Cleaning a Dye Stained Limestone Fireplace Hearth

Had the Fireplace been sealed we our first task would have been to remove to ensure we would have no issues sealing the fireplace later. In this case however that wasn’t an issue, so we were able to move straight onto cleaning up the stone using a set of diamond encrusted hand-held burnishing blocks. We started with the coarsest block (50 grit) and rubbed the stone with a bit of added water as lubrication, before wet vacuuming away the excess residue. This process was then repeated with progressively finer blocks (100, 200 and 400 grit), and the hearths were given a final rinse with fresh water.

The burnishing blocks are excellent tools to remove scratches and marks from tile and stone and did a good job of removing the red dye from around the hearth. They also took care of some marks that had appeared where the owner had placed a couple of slate tiles on the flat part of the hearth.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Rust Stain Spots Chelmsford

Along with these marks were some corrosion spots where a metal ornament had been sitting on the hearth for several years. I treated these with Tile Doctor Rust Away which is a specialist product for removing rust stains from tile and stone after a few applications the stain was gone.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Rust Stain Spots Chelmsford

Sealing a Limestone Fireplace Hearth

After we had cleaned the fireplace up to the satisfaction of the client we used a smail dryer to dry everything out so that we could finish the job and seal the fireplace the same day. Once the stone moisture levels were at the correct level the Limestone Fireplace was sealed using three coats of Tile doctor Ultra-Seal leaving twenty minutes between coats.

Ultra-Seal is a no-sheen product that impregnates the pores of the stone protecting from within without changing the look of the stone thereby leaving it with a natural appearance. I’m please to say our efforts paid off and the Limestone Fireplace and Hearth is now stain free and looking like new.

Limestone Fireplace After Rust Stain Removal Chelmsford Limestone Fireplace After Flood Stain Removal Chelmsford

 

Dye Stained Limestone Fireplace and Hearth Restoration in Chelmsford



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Very Dirty Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor Cleaned in Radcot


I was asked to clean the Limestone tiled floor of a very old house in the Village of Radcot which is close to the River Thames and dates to the 14th Century. Being close to a river is very scenic but can be problematic and I was told the house had experienced flooding in recent years.

Whilst the Limestone floor clearly wasn’t as old as the house it was definitely in need of some attention to remove the dirty that had become ingrained into the pores of the stone and restore its appearance.

Limestone Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Radcot

Cleaning Limestone Floor Tiles

My first step was to let the floor soak for ten minutes in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a strong Tile and Grout cleaner. The product was then scrubbed into the floor using a deck brush to remove any surface dirt. I also took the opportunity to clean up the grout before rinsing off the now soiled cleaning solution with water and extracting it with a wet vacuum.

Next I turned my attention to the stone tiles which would need to be stripped back, re-honed and then sealed to protect them. I find the best way to achieve this on stone is through the application of a set of Diamond encrusted burnishing pads.

I started the burnishing process by fitting a coarse 400 grit no.1 burnishing pad to a floor buffer and running at a slow speed, applied the pad over the whole floor. This coarse pad is designed to strip off old coatings and dirt from the tile. You use a little water to help lubricate and once complete it’s necessary to rinse the area with water to remove the soil that is generated. The next step is to start building back the polished surface with the 800 and then 1500 grit pads which are applied in the same manner.

This floor was left to dry before moving onto the final stage of the polishing process which is to apply the very fine 3000 grit which further restores the appearance of the Limestone tile. This last pad is applied dry with a small amount of water sprayed onto the surface to help bring up the shine.

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

With the floor dry I moved onto sealing the tiles in-order to protect them from dirt and staining. I used a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow for this purpose as this particular sealer enhances the natural colours in the stone. It’s also an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the pores in the stone thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained in the stone.

My pictures of the floor are not brilliant but hopefully you can see how much more colourful the floor now looks.

Limestone Tiled Floor After Cleaning Radcot
 
 

Limestone Floor Cleaned, Polished and Sealed in Radcot



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