Limestone Fireplace Hearths Stained by Flooding Rejuvenated in Morecambe


Morecambe is a large town on Morecambe Bay in Lancashire, and is a tourist hotspot within the region – particularly amongst beach goers during the summer. However, due to its location of being right next to the coast and near to the River Lune, Morecambe is an area which is commonly affected by flash flooding. Just last year there were several episodes of severe flooding.

This flooding has a big impact on houses and businesses – the damage water can cause can come as quite a surprise if you have not experienced it before. I recently visited to a business in Morecambe which had been affected by flooding. The business was, in fact, a fireplace showroom and a pair of the Limestone fireplace hearths on display had been stained by the water.

Floor Damaged Limestone Fireplace Hearth Before Cleaning Floor Damaged Limestone Fireplace Hearth Before Cleaning

We were asked to remove the water marks left by the flooding. One of the hearths has been in use as a test model, with a coal burner installed, and it hadn’t been cleaned properly in some time. As you can imagine, there were more problems than just the water stains to overcome! Both hearths would require a deep clean and fresh seal.

Cleaning Stained and Dirty Limestone Fireplaces

To begin, we applied Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel to the hearths. This product is a specially formulated, alkaline-based degreaser and cleaner. As it comes in a gel form, not a liquid, Oxy Gel can be brushed into vertical surfaces and left to soak, without risk of it either disappearing into the Limestone or, even worse, trickling down the side of the surface. We would not want it coming into contact with the carpet, for instance.

We left the Oxy-Gel to dwell for a short period on one hearth while we worked on the other, applying the same treatment. After around twenty-five minutes we rinsed off the gel with clean water and then extracted any excess moisture with the use of a wet vacuum.

This process did a good job of cleaning the Limestone, but more work was required to restore its appearance, so the hearths were polished 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.

There were some odd ring marks on one of the Limestone hearths that we couldn’t remove. Thankfully, the owner put our minds to rest on this problem, as he said they were there when he initially purchased the stone over 20 years ago. They had been covered with dirt ever since and the customer was surprised, but not shocked, to see them again. I suspect that these marks were caused by the natural mineral deposits within the stone. These should not be seen as a stain, but just a characteristic of the stone – and no amount of cleaning will get these marks out.

We would normally seal a light-coloured stone like this with Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, as this no-sheen product helps to retain the natural patina of the stone. Alternatively, if we wanted to darken the tone of the Limestone, we would apply Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a colour-intensifying, impregnating sealer. Two coats of either sealer would suffice, in this case despite being very pleased with the results of the cleaning, the customer decided that he wanted to take care of sealing of the stone himself.

Floor Damaged Limestone Fireplace Hearth After Cleaning Floor Damaged Limestone Fireplace Hearth After Cleaning

 
 

Water Stained Limestone Fireplace Hearth Restoration in Morecambe



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Filthy Limestone Fireplace Restored in Oxford


A stone fireplace adds a classic and period look to any home but like the stone floors we deal with its only a matter of time before the appearance degrades, however not from foot traffic but from soot. This process happens so gradually it goes without being noticed until one day you realise it really does need a good clean and the dirtier it gets, the harder it is to clean.

I recently visited a customer living in the historic city of Oxford who had never once cleaned their black Limestone fireplace. One day, they decided to finally clean it but found that it would take a lot more than just a light scrub with some soapy water!

As you can see from the photograph below, the Limestone was extremely dirty, dusty and stained. Upon examining the situation, I decided that the best way to restore the stone to its original condition would be to use a polishing process known as burnishing. Keen to see the natural beauty of the Limestone again, the customer was more than happy to book in the job.

Limestone Fireplace Before Cleaning Oxford

Cleaning and Burnishing a Limestone Fireplace

As I would be focusing solely on the Fireplace, it was necessary for me to start by protecting the surrounding area with tape. I then began the process of burnishing, starting with a 200-grit diamond encrusted handheld burnishing block. I sprayed a small amount of water onto the fireplace to act as a lubricant and rubbed the diamond encrusted block onto the stone.

This coarse grit pad helps to grind away the thick layers of dirt on the surface of the Limestone and starts to gradually polish the surface beneath. I completed the burnishing working in small sections at a time, rinsing with fresh water and wiping excess off regularly as I progressed.

After finishing with the 200-grit block I then repeated the process using a 400-grit block. This block possesses a finer grit and really helped to achieve a high-quality polished effect.
While the Limestone was drying, I treated the black fire grate with the correct grate paste (or polish) which cleaned it and recoloured it.

To complete the cleaning process, I paid attention to the black tiles on the floor. These were cleaned using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted with water, and scrubbed into the stone and grout using a small specialised brush. Finally, I rinsed the area with fresh water and dried it with a towel.

Sealing a Limestone Fireplace

I then had to leave the fireplace to dry for about an hour so it would be ready to seal. To seal the Limestone, I used Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, which offers the natural looking finish that the customer wanted. This sealer is formulated to provide maximum protection against stains and dirt, and is suitable for use on all types of natural stone.

The customer has decided that although this will no longer be used as a working fireplace it, will certainly give the room a focal point – so she was very happy to have it back to looking its best!

Limestone Fireplace After Cleaning Oxford
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Limestone Fireplace in Oxfordshire



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Limestone Kitchen Tiles Cleaned, Polished and Sealed in Ashton


It’s always nice when one of our former customers refers their family and friends to Tile Doctor as it’s a testament to the great work we do. As the Tile Doctor for Northamptonshire, I often carry out tile cleaning and restoration jobs in the Oundle area.

Recently, a customer from the nearby village of Ashton was referred to me by a friend. Her friend has the same type of floor in the same type of barn conversion in the area, and had chosen to use our services both last year and this year for their annual maintenance clean.

This new customer had a polished Limestone kitchen floor that was proving difficult to keep clean. The grout had become extremely dirty and – in the absence of an effective sealer – dirt and general muck had easily penetrated the pores of the Limestone itself. The result was a very dull appearance – not one that any property owner wants to suffer!

Polished Limestone Floor Before Cleaning Ashton Polished Limestone Floor Before Cleaning Ashton

On our initial inspection visit, we always carry out a test clean within a small area of the floor to give the customer an idea of the final results they can expect. Upon my first visit to this property, I carried out the test clean and the customer couldn’t believe the difference made to the appearance of the grout lines. In fact, she had even forgotten their original colour!

Cleaning and Burnishing Polished Limestone Kitchen Tiles


When I next visited the property, it was time to carry out the full restoration. The work was carried out in sections of around 10m2 each, with two Tile Doctor technicians on site using the latest Tile Doctor products and machinery.

The issue of the extremely dirty grout lines was tackled first. We cleaned them with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a high alkaline tile and grout cleaner. We will use Tile Doctor Pro-Clean on all types of natural stone – it’s just that reliable for cutting through the grime. The product was applied using specialised grout brushes and the resulting chemical slurry was rinsed away using fresh water and extracted with a wet vacuum.

Polished Limestone Floor During Cleaning Ashton

Satisfied with the cleanliness of the grout lines, we moved onto improving the appearance of the polished Limestone tiles. When it comes to restoring polished stone, including Limestone, Travertine and Marble, we typically use a process we have developed known as ‘burnishing’. Burnishing involves both cleaning the tile and gradually polishing it to achieve a high-quality, long-lasting sheen finish.

We use a set of four diamond-encrusted burnishing pads fitted to a rotary machine to do this. The first to be applied is a pad with a Coarse grit, which breaks down any old sealer and shaves off the very top layer of the dirty stone, leaving a fresh surface beneath.

Next, burnishing pads with Medium, Fine and Very Fine grits are applied to slowly but surely polish the stone, achieving a very pleasant and shiny appearance. In most cases, the tiles come out looking better than they did when they were originally installed!

Once burnished, the floor was left overnight.

Sealing Polished Limestone Kitchen Tiles


The following day, we returned to seal the tiles. We did this using two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, a sealant which is formulated to protect the floor and grout lines against dirt build-up and staining.

Polished Limestone Floor After Cleaning Ashton

The very happy customer was given a complimentary bottle of Tile Doctor Stone Soap, which is a highly concentrated neutral stone cleaner that helps to maintain the patina on polished stone. This will help her keep the appearance of the floor maintained until her next maintenance clean with Tile Doctor.

Polished Limestone Floor After Cleaning Ashton
 
 

Professional Renovation of a Dirty Limestone Tiled Floor in Northamptonshire



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Cream Limestone Kitchen Tiles Burnished and Sealed in Ilkley


Ilkley is a wonderful little spa town in North West Yorkshire and a popular destination for tourists visiting the Yorkshire Dales. It’s particularly notable for its quaint tearooms, beautiful countryside and challenging rock climbing opportunities. The town itself is well populated, with approximately 15,000 residents.

Recently, I visited one of the homeowners in the town who was in the process of selling the house. To help make the house more attractive to potential buyers they wanted to make sure the Cream Limestone tiles laid throughout the Kitchen and Dining room were in the best possible condition. The floor was comprised of four different sizes of Limestone tile, laid geometrically.

The floor had originally possessed a natural matte finish, but a satin sealer had been applied at some point in the past to enhance its appearance. Over the years, this sealer had worn away and the Limestone had become dull and dirty, especially in the high foot traffic areas. The grout was similarly in a bad way.

Cream Limestone Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Ilkley Cream Limestone Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Ilkley

I spoke with the property owner about the options for cleaning the floor, outlining the merits of a restoration using our Tile Doctor burnishing pad system, a process which involves polishing the tiles with special diamond encrusted pads of various grit levels. The result would be a high-quality finish which could subsequently be preserved using a sealant.

I felt it was the best course of action to restore the appearance of the Limestone tiles. Even though the customers didn’t want to spend a lot (understandable as they were moving out), they agreed to proceed.

Cleaning a Cream Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

I started the restoration by cleaning the grout lines with Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which is a suitable alkaline-based cleaner for natural stone tiles and grout. The product was scrubbed into the grout lines with a stiff brush. Once I was happy that the grout had been completely cleaned of any soil, I rinsed the cleaning solution away and extracted the slurry using a wet vacuum.

The next step as to apply each of the four diamond encrusted burnishing pads in the Tile Doctor system. In this process, we start with the Coarse grit pad to grind away the very top layer of the dirty stone. We then move through the system to apply Medium, Fine and finally the Very Fine pad to gradually refine the polish on the floor. Each pad is used with a small amount of water for lubrication.

Sealing a Cream Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

Since this was a large area to restore, it took around two days before the grout cleaning and tile burnishing work was completed.

Some fabulous results were achieved by the burnishing work, and I came back on the third day to seal the tiles with Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal. Ultra-Seal is a natural-look impregnating sealer that will protect the floor for some time to come.

Cream Limestone Floor Tiles After Cleaning Ilkley Cream Limestone Floor Tiles After Cleaning Ilkley

The customers were so pleased with the outcome that they even joked that they no longer wanted to move! I’m glad that they are happy with the results and I’m sure the new property owners will be too.
 
 

Professional Renovation of a Cream Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor in Yorkshire



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Polishing Dull Limestone Floor Tiles to a High Shine in Boxworth


Boxworth is a very small village situated to the north-west of Cambridge. In the Middle Ages, it had a significant population, but in the modern day there are only around 100 houses in the area including one belonging to my customer.

I was there to take a look at a large installation of Polished Limestone floor tiles which had been laid throughout the ground floor including the Kitchen, Dining, Utility room and hallway.

Limestone Tiled Kitchen Before Polishing Boxworth Limestone Tiled Dining Room Before Polishing Boxworth

Many people will already know that Limestone is a premium, yet somewhat sensitive natural stone. It’s also porous, meaning that dirt can easily become ingrained if the tiles are not sealed properly, or if the sealant has worn away. This leads eventually to a very unappealing, dirty, and dull appearance which often happens so slowly it hardly get’s noticed until one day you think, “I’m sure my floor looked better than that before!”.

Limestone Tiled Hallway Before Polishing Boxworth Limestone Tiled Utility Before Polishing Boxworth

In this case the sealer had degraded over time and my customer had called me in because she was now no longer happy with the appearance of the tiles. The lustre the tiles once had eventually disappeared and there was also damage in some areas caused by the placement of table and chair legs. I was asked to restore a high-quality polished finish to the tiles.

Cleaning and Burnishing Limestone Tiles

Before beginning the restoration, I took the necessary precaution of covering the walls and kitchen units to protect them from exposure to any cleaning products or mess.

To begin, I applied Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which is a high-performance stripping agent, to break down any old sealant remaining of the tiles. This product can also be used to clean the stone itself, as well as the grout lines.

After completing the initial cleaning process, I moved on to restoring the polish to the tiles. At Tile Doctor, we do this using a system we have developed called Burnishing. This system involves the application of Diamond encrusted pads – each possessing a different level of grit – to grind away the dirt from the stone, which is often stained or damaged. The process effectively resurfaces the stone leaving it looking new and fresh.

Firstly, I applied the Coarse 400 grit pad, fitted to a rotary machine, to grind away any excess muck and sealant lubricated with a little water. The resultant slurry was rinsed away and I followed up with the application of the Medium 800 grit pad to start the restoration of the polish again with a small amount of water, followed by the Fine 1500 grit pad for the second polish.

Finally, I applied the Very Fine 3000 grit pad to achieve the most refined and highest quality polish possible. The process of burnishing is a gradual but highly effective means of achieving this kind of finish.

Any slurry that was created through this process was removed using my truck-mounted hot water cleaning and extraction machine, resulting in minimum mess.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

After burnishing the tiles and to achieve a really hard wearing and high polish I covered the floor in Tile Doctor Shine Powder crystals and buffed them into the Limestone tiles using a White buffing pad. Then to give the floor extra protection I applied a coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which impregnates the pores of the stone to prevent ingrained dirt.

Colour Grow also intensifies the natural colours in the Limestone, thus improving the appearance of the stone to an even greater extent. Following the application of Colour Grow, I gave the tiles a final light buffing with a soft red pad.

Limestone Tiled Kitchen After Polishing Boxworth Limestone Tiled Utility After Polishing Boxworth

The customer was extremely happy with the outcome, remarking that the work was carried “quickly and efficiently with no fuss.” I took lots of photographs of the process, so you can really appreciate the difference that was made.

Limestone Tiled Hallway After Polishing Boxworth Limestone Tiled Dining Room After Polishing Boxworth

 
 

Professional Polishing of a Dull Limestone Tiled Floor in Cambridgeshire



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Polishing and Sealing a Dirty Limestone Kitchen Floor in Cobham


This customer, who lives in the small village of Cobham had the unique situation of having been abroad for six months, leaving her adult children in charge of the house. During this time, the fantastic Limestone tiled floor in the kitchen had not received adequate maintenance and its appearance had rapidly degraded. To make the situation worse, it seemed to me that the wrong products had been used on the rare occasions that it had been cleaned.

With the customer now back in the UK and living in the house again, he was keen to have the Limestone tiles restored to their original condition. He contacted me to get the job done.

Limestone Floor Tiles Cobham Before Cleaning Limestone Floor Tiles Cobham Before Cleaning

Cleaning and Polishing Dirty Limestone Kitchen Tiles

My first task was to tackle the dirty grout lines between the Limestone tiles, which were brown and stained. Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which is our reliable alkaline-based tile cleaner, was applied with a grout brush and the stains immediately vanished.

The next stage of the restoration involved polishing the Limestone using our four-pad Tile Doctor diamond-encrusted burnishing pad system. Firstly, I applied a Coarse 400 grit pad to strip away what remained of the old sealer which had been worn down in the high traffic areas of the floor. I then applied the Medium 800 grit and Fine 1500 grit pad to gradually close the pores of the stone which, in turn, restores the polished effect.

Each pad is used in combination with a small amount of water and any excess moisture is removed with a wet vacuum. To end the first day of work, I left the floor to dry and arranged to return in 48 hours to finish the job with sealing.

Sealing Limestone Kitchen Tiles

Upon my return, I ran some quick damp tests to check the floor could be sealed and quickly polished the surface again using a soft white nylon pad to remove the paw prints caused by the customer’s dog in the interim period!

Next, using a small quantity of water, I used the Very Fine 3000 grit burnishing pad to hone the stone to its highest possible quality. Once dry, I applied to the floor two coats of Ultra- Seal, which is a penetrating sealer designed to provide maximum stain protection while providing a natural look finish. One final polish later and the restoration was complete.

Limestone Floor Tiles Cobham After Cleaning Limestone Floor Tiles Cobham After Cleaning

Here’s what the customer said:

“Very professional service, very thorough, and careful with moving furniture. Very informative about the ongoing care and treatment of the flooring. Would most certainly recommend Rupert.”

Professional Tile Cleaning, Polishing and Sealing for a Dirty and Stained Limestone Kitchen Tiled Floor Restoration in Cobham



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