This is the second black limestone tiled floor we have dealt with this year where the tiler struggled to get the right finish. In this case the floor tiles were newly fitted but unfortunately the tiler had decided not to seal the tiles prior to grouting which resulted in grout becoming trapped on the tile surface (aka Grout Haze). To remedy this problem brick acid was used which removed the grout but this stripped off the black finish turning the tiles grey then in a further attempt to improve the appearance the tiles were covered in boiled linseed oil which just sat on top locking in the grout haze. Linseed oil is a traditional method of sealing stone tiles and is normally used with Terracotta tiles but it’s not ideal and does not have the performance of a modern sealer, certainly in this case it didn’t help at all.
Removing Oil and Grout from Limestone Tiles
To resolve the problems with the floor it had to be fully stripped back to remove the linseed oil so the grout haze problem could be tackled. This was done by applying a solution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was mopped on to the floor and left to soak in for a while before being scrubbed using a rotary machine fitted with a black pad. This process lifted the linseed oil off the tiles and was removed using a wet vacuum.
Once the Linseed oil was gone I could get to work on the grout haze and for that we have a special product called Grout Clean-Up, it’s a very strong acid based product and normally you would need to be very careful using it on stone as it can damage the stone, in this case however the surface of the Limestone had already been damaged by the brick acid. Once the floor was free of coatings and the grout haze problem had been treated I gave the floor a thorough rinse down to make sure all trace of products had been removed from the floor before the next step.
Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles
There was a lot of Limestone to cover so on the first day I focused on the kitchen and on day two the lounge, hallway and toilet. On the third day I went over the whole area applying Tile Doctor Stone Oil to restore the black colour of the Limestone that had been damaged by the brick acid.
By the third day the Grout Haze was gone but was still looking washed out. To restore the colour back into the black limestone it was treated with stone oil which as you can see turned the tiles back to their original colour. Stone Oil is an interesting product, if you check the tin it will tell you it’s “an easy to apply pre-polish impregnating sealer, ideal for low porosity stone and terracotta designed to enhance the colour and texture of floors and improve mechanical strength once cured”. Certainly from the customer’s point of view the floor now looks how it was intended and they were much relieved.
Resolving Limestone installation problems in Warwickshire
These photographs are from a Terracotta Tiled Kitchen at a house in the historic town of Warwick. You should be able to see from the photographs that the tiles had a heavy build-up of wax and oil coating which besides being very unsightly made them difficult to clean.
Removing Wax and Oil from Terracotta Tiles
I knew I was going to struggle to remove the build-up of wax and oil so I decided to go apply Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a product specifically designed to safely remove sealers and coatings from Tile and Stone. It was diluted and applied to the floor where it was left to soak into the tiles for a good twenty minutes before being worked in with a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad.
The resultant soiled solution was removed using a wet vacuum and the floor washed down with clean water. At this point I could see more work was required so as well as applying more Remove and Go I also applied steam from a heavy duty steamer. Slowly but surely using a combination of the above tools and product the wax and oil was stripped from the floor.
The next job was to give the floor a deep clean using a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was worked into the pores of the Terracotta tile and grout using a slow speed rotary machine fitted with another scrubbing pad. The dirty solution was removed and the floor rinsed thoroughly with water, again we used the wet vacuum to remove the water and get the tile as dry as possible.
Sealing Terracotta floor tiles
I left the floor overnight to dry overnight with the assistance of an air blower and then came back next day to seal the floor; I used a damp test meter first to verify the floor was dry and ready for sealing. Once happy I proceed to apply three coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is a no-sheen, natural-look penetrating sealer that provides maximum stain protection by occupying the pores in the tile. It’s also highly recommended for use in in food preparation and serving areas
It was a tough job but the results were well worth the effot.
Terracotta tiled floor stripped, cleaned and sealed in Warwick
This Victorian Tiled Hallway at a house in Radford near Coventry had been well preserved under a carpet for many years and the owners of the house now wanted it brought back to life. Physically the tiles were in good condition however they did suffer from the usual issues of paint splashes and adhesive stuck to the surface.
Cleaning Victorian Tiles
To clean up the tiles and remove the paint and glue I used a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go. The edges of the floor was done first as this was where the most pain splashes were to be found due to the skirting being painted at some point in the past. The usual procedure still applied allowing the product to soak in and soften the paint before being scrubbed off by hand. Once the edges were done I moved onto the main part of the floor using the same process however this time I had the advantage of being able to use a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. The dirty solution was rinsed away with water and removed with a wet vacuum.
To finish off and remove some signs of efflorescence (white salt stains) the tiles were then scrubbed in a dilution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up. This did the trick but you can’t leave this product on the tiles for too long as its an acid so as soon as it had done its job it was washed off and then the tiles were then given a thorough wash down with clean water.
My work was done for the day so I left a fan running to help speed dry the floor overnight and left for the day.
Sealing Victorian floor tiles
I came back the next day to seal the floor using Tile Doctor Seal and Go sealer which provides stain protection as well giving a nice sheen to the tile, the tiles were quite porous and needed six coats before they were fully sealed.
Victorian tiled floor cleaned and sealed near Coventry
Popular as they are in the UK it wasn’t long before I was called back to refurbish another Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor this time in the town of Allesley near Coventry. This tiles were heavily soiled and had been splashed with paint from decorating, on top of this there was evidence of adhesive from when the floor had been previously covered in carpet and there were a number of damaged tiles that needed replacing.
Cleaning Victorian Tiles
To get the tiles clean of paint and dirt I decided to go straight for a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was left to soak into the tiles for around thirty minutes before scrubbing it in with a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. The dirty solution was rinsed away with water and removed with a wet vacuum and stubborn areas and grout re-treated with a scrubbing brush by hand.
I wasn’t entirely happy with the condition of the tiles at this stage so the next step was to scrub in a dilution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up which is an acid based product that removed grout haze, mineral deposits, rust stains and efflorescence. This did the trick but being an acid based product you can’t leave it on the tiles for too long and so was washed off soon after and the tiles washed down with clean water.
I scraped out the grout surrounding the damaged tiles and lifted them out, I had already arranged replacements so once that was done and tidied up it was just a question of putting the replacement in place with tile adhesive and re-grouting using a sympathetic grout colour to match the aged existing grout.
My work was done for the day so I left a couple of fans running to help dry the floor and left for the day.
Sealing Victorian floor tiles
I came back the next day to seal the floor using Tile Doctor High Shine sealer which provides stain protection as well as a very shiny finish; five coats were needed to get it fully sealed.
Victorian tiled floor deep cleaned, repaired and sealed near Coventry