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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