Slate Tile Cleaning

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

Milled Slate Tiled Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Broadwell

These mixed milled slate floor tiles were installed in the Kitchen, Hall and toilet of a house in Broadwell, Warwickshire. The Slate was staining easily from drink spills and proving hard to clean; on top of that all the tiles were covered in a slight grout haze and had not been sealed or cleaned properly after installation. The customer needed the floor to be easy to clean and manage and was keen to bring out the rich colour and texture of the floor but keep a matt finish.

Slate Tiles Before Cleaning in Broadwell1 Slate Tiles Before Cleaning in Broadwell2

Cleaning black slate floor tiles

The first job was to give the floor a deep clean using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was worked into the pores of the Slate tile and grout using a slow speed rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. I then used a wet vacuum to remove the resultant soiled solution and rinsed the floor down with water.

Removing Grout Haze from Slate

The next step was to tackle the grout haze which was evident across the tiles; for this we used Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up which is an acidic product that you allow to dwell on the tile for a one to two minutes and then agitate with a scrubbing pad and then remove shortly afterwards with a wet vacuum washing the floor down quickly to ensure the acid is removed.

Further cleaning was required to some areas which had proven stubborn to clean earlier and for this we used Pro-Clean again mixed 50/50 with NanoTech UltraClean which adds tiny abrasive particles to make a more effective cleaning product; again this was scrubbed in and then once we were happy with the result the floor was washed down with clean water in order to neutralise it before sealing.

Sealing Slate floor tiles

I left the floor overnight to dry then came back next day and used a damp test meter to verify the floor was dry and ready for sealing. Once happy I proceed to apply four coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which matched their requirements in a sealer exactly as it provides a matt finish brings out the colour in the stone and offers great stain protection.

Slate Tiles After Cleaning in Broadwell1 Slate Tiles After Cleaning in Broadwell5


Slate tiled floor cleaned and sealed in Warwickshire

Restoring a Kitchen Slate floor in Royal Leamington Spa

This Slate tiled kitchen floor at a house in Royal Leamington Spa needed a full clean and seal plus some of the tiles were reclaimed having been used originally outside and as well as loosing colour were suffering from salt damage.

Slate Floor Restoration Before

Cleaning Slate Tiled Flooring

To remove the sealer, clean the floor and tackle the salt damage the floor we used a 50/50 mix of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and Nanotech Ultra-Clean worked into the floor with a buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. This product combination creates a powerful cleaning solution with Nano sized abrasive cleaning particles that’s ideal for cleaning difficult floors. It’s also very good for cleaning up grout however I find that’s best tackled manually using a stiff brush.

The next step was to remove the salts from the floor, this problem is more commonly known as efflorescence and results in white salt deposits being left on the surface of the tile, the only way to remove it is with an strong acidic cleaner such as Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up, you do need to be careful not to allow it to dwell too long as it can damage the tile surface.

Last step in the process was to remove the soiled cleaning solution with wet vacuum and then wash down the whole floor with clean water in order to neutralise it before sealing. We have invested in a powerful indoor spinner tool for this purpose which is a fantastic product that applies and removes water under high pressure. We then left the floor so it could dry overnight.

Slate Floor Restoration Cleaned

Sealing and Colouring Slate Tiles

The reclaimed slate tiles were a different colour to the rest and the owner was keen to have them dyed to make the floor uniform, fortunately we access to an industrial stone colouring product and were able to apply this to darken the stone.

Slate Floor Restoration Adding Colour Slate Floor Restoration Adding Colour

The next step was to seal the slate floor and for this we applied a coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which seals and deepens the black colour of the Slate, the floor was left to dry fully and then we applied a further three coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go to bring out more colour and add a low sheen.

Slate Floor Restored Final

Cleaning and Sealing Slate Tiled Floor in Royal Leamington Spa

Removing Grout Haze from Slate Tile Flooring

You may remember a previous Limestone floor job we did for a Mrs Schwartz from Stourbridge, well true to her word she invited us back to clean and seal the slate tile flooring in her hallway which had been left with grout smears (aka grout haze) on the surface after tiling. Grout smears can be removed however if the floor is sealed it’s necessary to remove the sealer first.

Slate Hallway Before Cleaning

Cleaning Grout Haze off Slate Tile Flooring

To remove the sealer and clean off the grout smears we used a 50/50 mix of Tile Doctor Remove and Go combined with Nanotech Ultra-Clean for added effect, the solution was left to dwell on the surface of the slate for 15 minutes to break down the polymers in the grout. The next step was to turn on a high pressure spinner tool which is a very effective cleaning tool on its own; the water from the spinner tool also washes away any chemicals and neutralises the floor ready for sealing.

Slate Hallway Before Cleaning

Sealing Slate Tiles

We speed dried the slate tile flooring using a number of industrial fans and applied three coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which offers a good combination of stain resistance with a low sheen finish that brings out the natural colours in the slate.

Slate Hallway After Cleaning and Sealing Slate Hallway After Cleaning and Sealing


Cleaning and Sealing Slate Tile Flooring in Stourbridge

Triumph Club Slate Tile Cleaning and Sealing

Slate Tile Cleaning and Sealing at the Triumph Working men’s club

It’s often difficult for a set of photographs to capture the difference cleaning and sealing a stone floor can make, however I think you will agree the photographs below which were taken at the Standard Triumph working men’s club in Coventry show an amazing transformation.

The slate floor had one coat of sealer put down by the tiler some ten years ago and due to the nature of the environment it had been covered in drink spills and the resulting cleaning products, overtime this had made floor sticky and dull.

Slate Floor before Tile Cleaning
Slate Floor before Tile CleaningSlate Floor Before Tile Cleaning  

Slate Tile Cleaning Process

The first step in the Slate Tile Cleaning process was to get it completely clean and free of any residual chemicals, we did this with the application of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean (a strong 1/2 mix with water) which we left to dwell for 15 to 20 minutes allowing it to chemically soak into pores of the slate tile. We then scrubbed the floor with a heavy weight floor buffer allowing the scrubbing action to break the soil down, we worked the soil and grout lines four square metres at a time, removing the soiled water with a wet and dry vacuum. The slate floor was then washed down with cold water applied at a pressure or 1200 psi with a special Spinner Tool. The whole tile cleaning process took around 8 hours to complete.

An inspection of the cleaned slate floor revealed ten years of wear and tear had resulted in a few holes which we repaired before leaving the floor to fully dry overnight.

Slate Floor After Tile Cleaning and Sealing
Slate Floor after Tile Cleaning and Sealing 

Sealing the Slate Tile

The next day we coated the floor with 5 coats of a Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water based sealer ideal for Slate floors that provides stain resistance and a durable low-sheen finish. Sealers do break down over time and given the high foot traffic over this floor we have agreed to go back once a year to provide a tile cleaning and sealer top up.


Warwickshire Tile Doctor

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