Slate Tiled Floor Rejuvenated at New Barn Conversion in Farnham


Converting a barn into a property can be an exciting project, but it certainly doesn’t come without a range of challenges. If done correctly, they can look amazing and are well worth the effort.

A recent customer of mine had spent the last six months converting a barn into a residential property in the West Surrey town of Farnham. While the project had been a big success, the house had been subjected to high traffic from dozens of carpenters, electricians and builders. This had taken its toll on the newly installed Slate tiled floor – so the property owner asked me to restore it to its peak condition to complete the conversion once and for all.

Slate Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Farnham

Before accepting the job, I strongly advised the customer that I should be the last workman out of the door. In my experience few tradesmen are known to take care of other peoples work and any further work being done in the property could potentially spoil the appearance of the Slate tiles.

Slate Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Farnham

Cleaning a Slate Tiled Floor

The customer was happy for me to proceed, so on the agreed date I returned and started the work by laying down a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean across the floor. Pro-Clean is an alkaline-based cleaner which breaks down all manner of dirt and grime.

This was a large area of tiles, so I worked on individual sections of 3m2, first soaking the Slate in Pro-Clean and then waiting ten minutes for it to soak in and then following with a nylon black scrubbing pad fitted to a 17-inch rotary buffing machine to work the cleaning product into the stone. The tiles immediately came up looking much cleaner. Any excess water and chemical slurry was vacuumed up promptly with a wet vacuum.

The tiler had done a good job of laying the floor and removing any excess grout as normally my next step at this point would be to give the floor an acid wash, but it wasn’t necessary.

Once the tiles had been cleaned to the best of my abilities and given a thorough rinse, I left the property for 48 hours to allow any water that had seeped into the tiles to evaporate. This is important as excess moisture problems can prevent the tiles from being sealed correctly.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Floor

On returning to the property a couple of days later, I swept away any bits of dust and debris and then proceeded to seal the tiles with Tile Doctor Colour Grow.

Slate Tiled Floor After Cleaning Farnham

This impregnating, colour-intensifying sealer enhanced the stunning natural brown, gold and orange shades in the stone. Two coats of the sealer were applied to achieve a brilliant natural-look finish and robust protection against future wear and tear.
Restoring the appearance of these Slate tiles put the finishing touches on this fantastic barn conversion. Needless to say, the customer was very pleased with the results.

Slate Tiled Floor After Cleaning Farnham
 
 

Recently Laid Slate Tiled Floor Given Builders Clean to Restore Appearance in Surrey



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Large Grey Brazilian Slate Tiled Floor Rejuvenated in Studham


Brazilian Slate is amongst some of the highest quality available in the world and the grey variant is particularly striking when used for large areas of flooring. I mention this as I recently encountered a fantastic Grey Brazilian Slate tiled floor in what turned out to be one our largest domestic restoration projects to date.

Grey Brazilian Slate Floor Before Cleaning in Studham

The floor, located at a property in the ancient, yet picturesque parish of Studham in South Bedfordshire, covered over 200m2. Unfortunately, it had been installed several years ago with very minimal sealant to keep it protected. This sealant has since worn away and the tiles had suffered as a result. They have become ingrained with dirt, leaving them dull and difficult to clean. Thankfully, we at Tile Doctor are perfectly equipped to resolve these common and highly problematic situations.

Grey Brazilian Slate Floor Before Cleaning in Studham

The owner was also concerned that areas of the hallway portion of the floor were missing grout and asked if this could be resolved as part of our restoration work. As I mentioned before it was a very large installation with slate tiles laid in four bedrooms, a large hallway with stairs, corridor to the kitchen and dining area, the kitchen and dining area itself, the utility room and the main sitting room. In short, it was no small area and I could envisage being there some time!

Fortunately, the customer arranged to have all furniture moved into storage, so we could have a clear area to work on and were able to get straight to work on arrival.

Cleaning a Brazilian Slate Tiled Floor

Due to the size of the job, the cleaning process was carried out over the course of four days by two Tile Doctor technicians on site. Our first course of action was to mix a strong solution of our reliable high-alkaline cleaner, Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. The solution was applied and agitated into the tiles and grout using specialised grout brushes and a rotary machine with a 17” black scrubbing pad. This not only cleaned the tiles but also removed any old sealant remaining on the floor.

The resulting slurry was quickly soaked up using a wet vacuum. We then applied a dilution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up to all the grout lines, brushing the product in with grout brushes and using the wet vacuum to remove any excess chemicals. Grout Clean-Up is a concentrated phosphoric acid cleaner which removes grout smears from the surface of the tile to ensure there’s nothing that can detract from its natural appearance.

We rinsed and mopped the floor with plain water to neutralise the floor in preparation for sealing and performed a final go over with the wet vacuum. Each area was dried with fans and the cleaning process began again in the next room. This work was repeated in each area as we moved from room to room.

Grey Brazilian Slate Floor During Grouting in Studham

Once the hallway was cleaned, the next course of action was to grout to the areas where it was missing. We did this by matching the colour to the original grout as best as possible. The new grout was then allowed to dry before any excess was removed and a quick clean was performed to avoid any grout haze.

Sealing a Brazilian Slate Tile Floor

Each area was given at least 24 hours to dry before sealing and then sealed with five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go sealant. This sealer works really well on Slate adding robust protection whilst achieving a light sheen finish which gave the customer the look they were hoping to achieve.

Grey Brazilian Slate Floor During Sealing in Studham

The Grey Brazilian Slate floor was given a new lease of life and no longer looked dull, as can be seen in the photographs below. Additionally, the customer was delighted with the results and left us the following positive feedback:

“Excellent service. Very friendly and very professional. I would certainly recommend.”

Grey Brazilian Slate Floor After Cleaning and Sealing in Studham

As I mentioned at the start of this post it was a very large floor and as you can imagine it took some time to complete but was well worth the effort.

Grey Brazilian Slate Floor After Cleaning and Sealing in Studham
 
 

Professional Renovation of a Grey Brazilian Slate Tiled Floor in Bedfordshire



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Salvaging Heavily Damaged Slate Flagstones in Hawkshead


Stone and Tiled floors will degrade over time so much that they can appear to be simply beyond being restoration. It goes without saying that years of neglect will do this to any surface but it’s worth knowing that the appearance of Tile and Stone can be extended when treated to routine maintenance using the right products and methods.

I’m sure many other tile cleaning companies had passed up on the opportunity to restore this Slate Flagstone tiles at a cottage in Hawkshead, simply because they did not feel they had the resources to make a good job of it. The tiles were in such a rough state that the property owner felt like there might be no alternative other than to rip them up and replace them.

Slate Flagstone Floor Before Milling in Hawkshead Cumbria Slate Flagstone Floor Before Milling in Hawkshead Cumbria

However, while the floor was certainly past its best, it remained secure. Some areas had been concreted to reinforce them, but the floor was mainly suffering from an aesthetic problem, rather than a structural one.

We knew that a general clean and seal job would not do the trick, but Tile Doctor have developed a system to successfully salvage tiles in these situations. It is called ‘Milling’ – here’s how it works.

Milling a Slate Flagstone Tiled Floor

Milling is a process which uses very coarse diamond encrusted pads to remove the old, damaged surface layer of stone to re-face the stone with a new, smoother surface.

This not only makes the floor look completely like new; it also makes it much easier to start cleaning regularly again to maintain its appearance for the long-term. Additionally, it means that we can successfully seal the stone to protect it against ingrained dirt and staining.

Once we had completed the milling process the stone and grout was given a thorough scrub with a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean agitated with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. This was needed to remove the soil generated by the milling process and also to ensure the grout was clean. Once done the soil was rinsed away with water and this was then removed using a wet vacuum.

It had become apparent during the milling process that much of the grout had also failed so the next step was to rake out the grout and replaced with a flexible floor grout and the floor left to dry out completely.

Sealing a Slate Flagstone Tiled Floor

Since there was no damp-proof membrane present (due to the floor being very old), we sealed the tiles using Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer that allows for moisture vapour transmission and therefore helps to eliminate damp issues.

Colour Grow is also a colour intensifying sealer, so it really helped to elucidate the natural dark shades in the Slate. The outcome of the restoration is pictured below.

Slate Flagstone Floor After Milling in Hawkshead Cumbria Slate Flagstone Floor After Milling in Hawkshead Cumbria

The customer was absolutely amazed by the transformation and left the feedback below on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

“We found old flagstones under the carpet which were in need of cleaning. Russell came out to view work and he recommended painting areas of cement with grout paint to match flagstones. Pleased with the work carried out and help and information received from himself and Heidi.”

It can be hard to believe that floors which appear so far beyond salvation can be saved but this example goes to show that anything is possible with the right knowledge and techniques!
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Dirty and Damaged Original Slate Flagstone in Cumbria



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Slate Tiled Conservatory Floor Covered in Sticky Oil Residue Restored in Bicester


A recent customer of mine had a Slate tiled conservatory that had not been used in a long time since it had become covered in a sticky oil residue and couldn’t be walked over. I can’t go into detail as to how it became it this sate however suffice to say my customer had not been successful in removing it and having tried a number of products and suggestions had decided to call in their local Tile Doctor to remedy the situation.

The customer lives in Bicester just off Junction 9 of the M40 and famous for its Bicester Village outlet shopping centre, which has recently been expanded and is popular for containing discount retail outlets for several major designer clothing stores as well as restaurants and coffee shops.

Slate Conservatory Floor Before Cleaning Bicester

Cleaning Conservatory Slate Tiles

I could see this was going to be a tricky job so to begin, I created a cocktail of cleaning products consisting of Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU and Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel. NanoTech HBU is one of our most powerful cleaners (HBU = Heavy Build-Up) as it uses Nano-sized particles to penetrate deep into the pores of the stone to release ingrained dirt. Oxy-Gel is an alkaline-based cleaner and degreaser, which helps to break down oily and sticky residues.

I applied this cleaning solution across the floor and left it to work its magic for about four hours. Next, I rinsed the floor with fresh water and extracted the soil using a wet vacuum before proceeding to clean the tiles again using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean.

Once again, I rinsed away any remaining chemicals with fresh water, before giving the floor an acid wash using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up. Giving the stone and Acid Wash removes grout smears, mineral deposits and efflorescence and really gets the stone clean. After completing the cleaning process with another rinse, I left the floor to dry for a couple of days.

Sealing Conservatory Slate Tiles

On my return to the property 48 hours later, I treated the tiles to fresh sealant to protect them from stains and ingrained dirt for the long term. To do this, I used six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which works really well on Slate to provide a high-quality and highly aesthetic low-sheen finish.

Slate Conservatory Floor Before Cleaning Bicester

The customer was very pleased with the transformation – not least because it meant she could use the conservatory again!
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Dirty and Sticky Slate Tiled Conservatory in Bicester



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Lacklustre Multi-Coloured Slate Tiled Floor Transformed in Datchworth


Slate is a very popular choice for floor tiles due to it being hard wearing with a relatively low porosity making it more stain resistant. Some property owners opt for darker Slate, while others prefer wonderful multi-coloured Slate, such as that used in this kitchen in Datchworth, a small village in between the towns of Herford, Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City.

Multi Coloured Sawn Slate Play Room Floor Datchworth Before Cleaning

What can be said for certain is that no-one likes a dull looking and dirty floor! Unfortunately, Slate tiles can easily lose their lustre if not treated to routine maintenance. This customer felt that her Slate tiles, which covered the kitchen, utility room and a child’s playroom, were well overdue a refresh. Here’s what we did.

Cleaning a Slate Tiled Kitchen and Utility Room

We followed our tried-and-tested process for restoring the natural lustre and appearance of Slate tiles.

To begin, we removed any old sealant on the tiles using Tile Doctor Remove & Go, which is both a coatings stripper and cleaning product. The product was applied liberally across the floor and worked into the tiles using a buffing machine fitted with a black buffing pad. Hand-held brushes were used to tackle the fine grout lines. This process removed old sealers and gave the tile and grout an initial clean.

Multi-Coloured Sawn Slate Kitchen Floor Datchworth Before Cleaning Multi-Coloured Sawn Slate Utility Floor Datchworth Before Cleaning

Next, we applied Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is our industrial strength tile and grout cleaner which was scrubbed into the Tile and Grout as before to remove remaining ingrained dirt. The resultant slurry was promptly removed using a wet vacuum.

To complete the cleaning process, we steam cleaned the Slate to remove any further residue trapped in the pores of the stone and any trace of cleaning product. The floor was then left to dry off overnight so it would be ready for sealing in the morning.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Kitchen and Utility Room

Upon returning to the property, we ran some quick damp tests, since even a small quantity of moisture can cloud the sealant and damage its performance. Thankfully, the tiles proved dry and we were able to seal the Slate using three applications of Tile Doctor Colour Grow.

This impregnating sealer helps to enrich the natural colours in the stone, while offering a natural-looking matte finish and robust protection. Between each application of sealant, we machine-buffed the surface of the floor to help dry the stone naturally while maintaining the matte finish.

Multi-Coloured Sawn Slate Kitchen Floor Datchworth After Cleaning Multi-Coloured Sawn Slate Utility Floor Datchworth After Cleaning

This two-day job was truly transformative for these Slate tiles. Just compare the before and after photos above – the customer was certainly very impressed with the speed and quality of the work. Another satisfied customer.

Multi Coloured Sawn Slate Play Room Floor Datchworth After Cleaning
 
 

Professional Renovation of a Dull and Lacklustre Multi-Coloured Slate Tiled Floor in Hertfordshire



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Refreshing Dull Slate Kitchen Floor Tiles in Ticknall


This post comes from a lovely house in Ticknall, Derbyshire where the owner had installed a Welsh Slate Tiled Floor in their Kitchen ten years earlier. Welsh Slate is renowned the world over for its quality however ten years of use in a high traffic does take its toll and the customer complained that she wanted the tiles to look colourful with a matt finish but they always looked dull and dirty even after cleaning with mop.

Welsh Slate Kitchen Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Ticknall Derby

Interested to know the history of the floor I asked when it was last sealed and apparently it had not been redone since it was installed. It was clear to me that any sealer had long since long worn off and now dirt was becoming trapped in the pores of the stone making it difficult to clean effectively.

Cleaning a Dirty Slate Tiled Floor

To get the Slate clean I applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which as well as cleaning deep into the pores of the tile should also deal with any remaining sealer. I left it to soak into the tile for about ten minutes before working it in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary buffer machine. After this I rinsed the floor with water and extracted the now soiled cleaning solution with a wet vacuum.

At this point it became apparent there were some stubborn stains in front of the oven that needed dealing with so I scrubbed in a solution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up which is an acid based product that is great for removing mineral deposits such as salts as well as grout smears. This worked well and the floor was now in ready for sealing so I gave the floor a good rinse to remove any trace of product and left it to dry.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Floor

The floor was about 7 square meters in size and being relatively modern it had a Damp Proof Membrane and Underfloor Heating installed, as a result it was fully dry within three hours and ready to take a sealer.

With the floor now dry I started applying the sealer which in this case was Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that penetrates deep into the pores of the stone, thus acting as a shield against ingrained dirt whilst enhancing the natural colour of the tiles to provide an aesthetically appealing appearance. You may recall the owner had requested a matt finish so after applying a couple of coats the job was done.

Welsh Slate Kitchen Floor Tiles Part Sealed Ticknall Derby

With the tiles clean and now protected with the colour enhancing matt sealer I asked the customer to inspect the floor. As you can imagine she was very pleased with the result and left the following comment on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

“Mr Mall was a very efficient, hardworking and helpful worker. The end result was excellent and I am delighted with the outcome. Highly recommend…”

Welsh Slate Kitchen Floor Tiles After Cleaning and Sealing Ticknall Derby
 
 

Professional Deep Cleaning of a Stained Slate Kitchen Floor in Derbyshire



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Bleach-Damaged Slate Poolhouse Tiles Restored in Oundle


This very nice house in a village near Oundle in Northamptonshire features something we don’t see too often in residential property – an indoor swimming pool. The pool is surrounded by some very complementary and rustic looking Slate tiles which act as the flooring in the poolhouse.

Slate Tiled Pool Surround Oundle Village Before Cleaning

However, over the years, the Slate tiles had been badly damaged by the chlorine bleach which is used to sterilise the pool water. The cumulative effect of people splashing water onto the tiles or walking around wet on the floor had caused the sealant to break down and the bleach had left a white blotchiness on the stone. I was asked to rectify the situation by deep cleaning the tiles, resurfacing some of the damaged stone, and applying a fresh sealant.

Slate Tiled Pool Surround Oundle Village Before Cleaning

Cleaning Bleach-Damaged Slate Tiles

My first course of action in restoring these tiles was to clean the entire floor using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a strong alkaline-based cleaner for most types of natural stone. This product was scrubbed into the tiles using a stiff brush fitted to a rotary machine. After cleaning, I rinsed the floor with fresh water and used a wet vacuum to soak up the resulting slurry. Although the pool was protected with a cover I had to take care not to allow any of my cleaning water to contaminate the pool.

Slate Tiled Pool Surround Oundle Village During Cleaning

The process was effective in removing most of the white calcium deposits caused by the bleach, but not all of them. I tackled the more embedded stains with Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids which treats stubborn smears such as these. The gel was brushed onto the tiles and left to dwell for 15 minutes, and then agitated using a black stripping pad fitted to a rotary machine.

After rinsing the floor again, I found that there were yet still stubborn stains remaining that didn’t respond to chemical cleaning. I decided that removing these would necessitate a more aggressive approach, and so used a set of diamond-encrusted burnishing pads to literally remove the damaged layer of stone and resurface the face of some of the badly damaged tiles.

Slate Tiled Pool Surround Oundle Village During Cleaning Slate Tiled Pool Surround Oundle Village During Cleaning

Sealing Slate Tiles

The tiles were left to dry overnight after being cleaned and repaired. The next day, I returned to the property to applying the fresh sealant. For this I used Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a sealant which impregnates the stone to provide maximum protection and enhances its natural colours.

Slate Tiled Pool Surround Oundle Village After Cleaning

The customer was very impressed with the result and was very much keen to make sure the tiles remained in such good condition, so I made sure to provide the groundsman with instructions on routine maintenance.

Slate Tiled Pool Surround Oundle Village After Cleaning

I informed him that each time the pool is used the entire area needs to be hosed and brushed down as no sealer can withstand continuous exposure to chlorine bleach. I also left a complementary tin of Colour Grow sealant with him for periodic top-ups, as well as information on the yearly maintenance plan we offer at Tile Doctor.
 
 

Professional Removal of Calcium Deposits from Slate Pool House Tiles in Northamptonshire



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Slate Shower Cubicle Cleaned and Sealed to Achieve Natural Look Finish in Kidlington


Just Southwest of Bicester, Kidlington is one of the largest villages in England with a population of nearly 14,000. There are a lot of amenities, making it a great place for families to make their homes and I recently visited the area to see a customer with a Slate tiled shower cubicle in need of restoration.

Slate Bathroom Kidlington Before Cleaning Slate Bathroom Kidlington Before Cleaning

It’s not unusual to get asked to restore natural stone shower cubicles because they can suffer with mould, water marks and Limescale issues and can easily get into poor condition. Quite a lot of these problems can be avoided by rinsing the tiles down after a shower to remove traces of shampoos and soaps and ensuring the room has adequate ventilation. If you want to read more on this subject take a look at http://shower.tilecleaning.co.uk/

Cleaning a Slate Tiled Shower Cubicle

The first process involved in restoring this cubicle was to cover the entire area in Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which is a multi-purpose cleaner designed to strip away any old sealers, synthetic finishes, adhesives and paint stains. It also helps to draw out ingrained stains and remove heavy grease build-up.

The product was left to dwell for roughly ten minutes before I scrubbed it into the tiles and grout with a stiff hand brush. Next, I rinsed the area with water to remove traces of chemicals and wiped it dry with a cloth.

Following this, I covered the tiles with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up, which is a concentrated phosphoric acid cleaner formulated to remove grout smears and mineral deposits such as Limescale. The product was scrubbed into the grout a couple of times, before the area was rinsed again with water and wiped dry with a cloth. Grout Clean-up is an acidic product and so shouldn’t be left on stone for too long as it can damage it.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Shower Cubicle

To seal the Slate, I used Tile Doctor Stone Oil, which is an easy-to -apply, impregnating sealer that is particularly effective on low porosity stone. It is formulated to restore the naturally dark colour and patina in the stone.

To finish I applied a single coat of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is an impregnating sealer that gives a natural look finish to the slate. I applied the sealer with a lint-free cloth, left it for about 30 minutes to cure and then wiped off any excess with a clean cloth.

Slate Bathroom Kidlington After Cleaning Slate Bathroom Kidlington After Cleaning

The results were fantastic and the customer was especially pleased with the clean, natural look the sealer had given the Slate.
 
 

Professional Tile Cleaning and Sealing for a Slate Tiled Shower Cubicle Restoration in Kidlington



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Rejuvenating a Slate Tiled Bar Area at a Pub in Leamington Spa


The Drawing Board is a Gastropub and bar in Leamington Spa with a fantastic homely aesthetic. Leamington Spa itself is a spa town in Warwickshire, home to The Royal Pump Rooms, the most famous of the spa baths that were opened in England in the late-18th and mid-19th centuries.

Slate Tiled Floor Before Restoration in Leamington Spa Pub Restaurant

I have eaten at the Drawing Board a few times in the past (great food!) and was really pleased to help the owner rejuvenate the Slate tiled floor in the bar area. He wanted the area cleaned and sealed to achieve a wet-look finish, however, because the pub is very popular amongst customers, I would only have a period of five hours to undertake the work. This meant an early morning start. I had carried out some maintenance work on the floor about 18 months ago, but during this time it had suffered a lot of foot traffic.

Slate Tiled Floor Before Restoration in Leamington Spa Pub Restaurant

Cleaning and Sealing a Slate Tiled Floor in a Bar Area

To begin, I used our product called Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel, which is an effective cleaner and coatings stripper, to remove the old acrylic coat on the tiles. Being in a gel form it’s easy to manage and holds in position allowing it to dwell on the stone and get to work on breaking the existing sealer down. Once applied it was left to soak into the Slate and then scrubbed in using a buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The floor was then rinsed with water and the now soiled Oxy-Gel and water was removed with a wet vacuum.

With the tiles stripped of any remaining coatings, I turned my attention to the deep cleaning the grout lines with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a strong alkaline cleaner. The product was diluted with water and then scrubbed in manually using a stiff brush.

Following this, I rinsed the whole floor with fresh, cold water to remove any traces of product. Air movers were then installed to speed dry the stone as I needed to move quickly with only five hours to get the job done.

Once the floor was completely dry, I was able to seal it using two coats of Tile Doctor High Shine, which is a a specially formulated water-based blend of acrylic polymers designed to protect and enhance the appearance of natural stone whilst leaving a high sheen finish. Another advantage of the sealer is that being water based it leaves no smell as it dries which was important as being a pub we didn’t want to put the customers off.

Slate Tiled Floor After Restoration in Leamington Spa Pub Restaurant

I think you will agree the Slate floor looks significantly better and the new sealer will provide them with the protection they need to withstand heavy foot traffic. The owner of the pub was very pleased indeed!

Slate Tiled Floor After Restoration in Leamington Spa Pub Restaurant
 
 

Commercial Natural Stone Floor Maintenance at a Leamington Spa Public House



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