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

Flood Damaged Jura Limestone Floor Restored in Kirkby Lonsdale

The recent winter floods had a devastating effect on Cumbria, with many houses suffering severe damage from exposure to the water. This property in Kirkby Lonsdale had been flooded, and while the contract cleaners had made some basic repairs, the Jura Limestone floor had been left dull and patchy, and in dire need of a professional restoration.

Jura Limestone After Burnishing Kirkby Londsdale
Jura Limestone has been around for over 180 million years and is an absolutely top quality stone, consisting of up to 97% dense calcium carbonate. Thanks to its density it is far less porous than other types of Limestone available on the market. Generally speaking, this makes it easy to look after as it is more difficult for dirt to become ingrained.

Jura Limestone Before Burnishing Kirkby Londsdale

Burnishing and Cleaning a Jura Limestone floor

To restore the surface of the floor we used a process known as burnishing, which achieves particularly good results on polished stone tiles. It involves the application of several burnishing pads with different grades of grit to break down any old sealer and dirt, and to gradually smooth and polish the rough surface of the tiles.

In this case, I worked my way through through the four pad system, starting with a Coarse pad lubricated with a little water before moving on to Medium, Fine and Very Fine pads to achieve the desired polished finish.

Following this, we decided that the grout would also benefit from a special clean with Tile Doctor Pro Clean, and so applied the high alkaline cleaner to tackle the outstanding stains and dirt. The whole floor was then rinsed with clean water to remove any remaining slurry and then left to dry.

Sealing a Jura Limestone floor

We returned to the property the following day, by which time the floor had dried completely. I gave the tiles another polish with an Extra Fine burnishing pad, before proceeding to seal the floor with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone to provide durable protection whilst enhancing the natural shades in the Limestone.

Jura Limestone After Burnishing Kirkby Londsdale
Finally, I gave the floor one last polish with the Extra Fine burnishing pad just to tighten up the hone and polish off any extra sealer.Jura-Limestone-After-Cleaning-in-Kirby-Lonsdale

You can see the results in the corresponding photographs, and needless to say, the customers were exceptionally pleased to have their fantastic floor back to looking its best, especially considering the significant damage caused by the floods.

Limestone Floor Restoration in Kirkby Londsdale

Milling and Polishing Blue Lias Limestone tiles in Silverdale

The owner of this Blue Lias Limestone tiled floor in the village of Silverdale was not happy with the installation which had occurred two years earlier and several attempts by the Builder/Tiler to put it right had not resolved the problem. Basically the floor was not flat and had several raised tile edges resulting in what is known in the trade as a Lippage problem. Fortunately natural stone can be ground down to remove this issue.

Milling Blue Lias Limestone Before Milling Blue Lias Limestone Before

Milling and Polishing Limestone Tiles

To level a stone surface such as Limestone you need to use a special grinding disc formed of diamond segments that is attached to a heavy rotary machine and run over the tiles until the desired effect is achieved, in our case up to 4mm of Limestone had to be removed in some areas to ensure the tiles were flat. Once this was done the floor was rinsed down to remove the slurry that was generated from the milling process and also scrubbed clean with a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean with particular attention paid to the grout lines.

Milling Blue Lias Limestone Milling Pad
Once the surface was level the next step is to burnish the Limestone tiles and restore the polish which is done via the application of a different set of diamond encrusted pads which come in a set of four. You start with a coarse stripper pad with water to strip back the surface and then move onto the finer pads to polish the floor.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

Being a natural stone the tile needs protecting from contaminates which can stain and this is especially relevant in a kitchen. So the next step was to wait for the floor to dry and then seal it using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone. Colour grow is a great sealer to use on natural stone as not only does it offer good stain protection but it also brings out the colours in the stone.

Whilst sorting out the floor we noticed that the skirting boards and kitchen units had not been sealed to the tile with silicone to prevent water ingress that could damage the wood so to finish the job off we sealed in-between.

Milling Blue Lias Limestone Tile Silicone
The customer was extremely pleased with the end results as they were considering taking it all up and starting again, and left the following feedback on the Tile Doctor website.

We’re absolutely delighted with the result. The floor, of blue limestone, was laid unevenly and unpolished. Russell and Heidi removed the lippage, polished and buffed the stone and sealed it properly, so it now looks the way it ought to have looked in the first place. It was certainly not cheap; but it was considerably cheaper than having a new floor laid – and it was done in three days without putting the kitchen completely out of action.

Milling Blue Lias Limestone After Milling Blue Lias Limestone After

 

Uneven Limestone tile problems resolved in Lancaster

Jerusalem Limestone Floor in Whalley, Lancashire

Few pictures below of a Jerusalem Limestone Floor refresh that we did in Whalley, Lancashire; hopefully you can see the improvement in the photographs.

The first photograph below shows a crack in one of the Limestone floor tiles.

Jerusalem Limestone before and after repair by Tile Doctor Lancashire

Jerusalem Limestone Before and after Repair

To repair the crack we applied Mapei Ultra-Color thinly grained Grout using the Jasmine 130 colour and spread on the Tiles, polished off with a sponge and then allowed to dry.

Jerusalem Limestone Floor Before Cleaning by Tile Doctor Lancashire

Jerusalem Limestone Floor Before Cleaning

To polish the floor we used a Green Burnishing Pad and then sealed using Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour intensifying sealer that provides durable surface protection as well as allowing the surface to breath.

Jerusalem Limestone Floor After Cleaning by Tile Doctor Lancashire

Jerusalem Limestone Floor After Cleaning

Needless to say the customer was very pleased with the results