We were asked to come and advise a customer regarding their stone floor which the customer was struggling to keep clean. The property was in High Bentham which lies on the River Wenning, just West of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
We often get customers who give up looking after their tiles after a while as some stone like this Black Riven Slate need quite a bit of upkeep to keep them looking good and a standard mop and bucket at times isn’t enough to keep them looking pristine. In this case the sealant had worn away in the high traffic areas and the floor had a slightly rough texture to the surface which meant it was holding onto dirt making it difficult to keep clean. We proposed the floor should be cleaned and resealed, discussed the cost and agreed a time for the work to be carried out.
Cleaning a Black Riven Slate Tiled Floor
To get the tiles clean we burnished the stone floor with a coarse 200-Grit Diamond pad fitted to a weighted buffing machine using water for lubrication. The floor was then rinsed and then the process repeated using a series of different graded pads, namely the 400 and 800 grit burnishing pads which further cleaned and resurface the appearance of the stone.
The grout was cleaned using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was scrubbed into the grout lines by hand; Pro-Clean is a heavy-duty cleaner which gets to the really stubborn stains and it did a great job at getting the grout looking like it should. The cleaning process was then finished off by rinsing the floor with water and extracted the slurry with a wet vacuum. The floor was inspected and retreated to the same process where more work was required. We usually find leaving Pro-Clean on a stain for longer and assisting with a bit of steam helps to lift the dirt out of the pores of the stone.
Once cleaned thoroughly we rinsed the floor again and then extracted as much moisture from the floor as possible with a wet vacuum before leaving it to dry off fully overnight.
Sealing a Riven Black Slate Tiled Floor
We called back the following day to apply a sealer first checking the floor was dry using a moisture meter. All was well, so we started to apply the first of two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a third coat was attempted but the slate would not accept any more sealer, and this was removed with a cloth. It is important to know if you have reached FCS (Full Cure Sealability) if not then the pores of the tiles will still be open to accepting dirt and the job won’t last long. Over a very short period of time the tiles will diminish in stature and finish.
The sealer really restored the black colour to the Slate and transformed the look of the floor. As always, we left the customer a free bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner, using the correct cleaning product in future will ensure they get maximum life out of the sealer.
The floor looked lovely when finished and the customer was very happy with the overall result.
Professional Renovation of a Black Riven Slate Tiled Floor in Lancashire
Rough Slate is notorious for homeowners to maintain as dirt can quickly become trapped in the rough surfaces. The example on this page is that of Brazilian Semi Riven Slate installed in the Kitchen of a house in the village of Hornby, which while naturally cleft from the rock loses none of its texture and style and yet has a much smother appearance than the typical rough Slates from China. Less processing means it’s not quite completely smooth but it is a lot less expensive to buy than say a honed or polished Slate which is more difficult to maintain due to various polishing techniques required to keep up the appearance. Brazilian Slate is in fact one of my favourite slates to clean and also one of the most rewarding of Slates to seal as the sealer really does bring out the colour and character of the stone.
Sealers provide a protective barrier on natural stone floors and without it dirt can penetrate into the pores of the stone making it more and more difficult to clean effectively. Unfortunately on this floor the new homeowners were unaware on what sort of Stone it was and had no idea how to look after it which resulted in the sealer wearing down prematurely and the floor becoming dull and un-inviting.
Cleaning Black Semi-Riven Brazilian Slate Tiles
To restore the appearance of the Slate floor we started by taping up the edges of the new kitchen units to protect the wood from splashing. This was followed with an application of a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-clean worked in with a black buffing pad fitted to a buffing machine running at slow speed (working at a slower speed results in less splashing). The pads can struggle to reach the edges and corners so these were cleaned by hand.
Once we had finished on the main floor area we then concentrated on the grout using a steam cleaner and more Pro-clean scrubbed in with a narrow stiff brush.
Last step of the cleaning was to rinse the floor with water to remove any trace of cleaning products from the Slate and then dried off the floor the best we could with our high wattage wet vacuum machine and left the floor to dry off naturally over night.
Sealing Black Semi-Riven Brazilian Slate Tiles
The next day we returned to seal the floor checking first that the floor had completely dried. The customer had requested a matt finish however we have worked on Brazilian Slate many times before and we knew how good they can look with this Satin finish sealer. Naturally its the customers decision so we offered to do a test piece and let them decide if they didn’t like it we would strip off the test piece and apply a Matt finish sealer like Tile Doctor Colour Grow instead.
The floor was dry so a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go were applied to one Tile so that they could appreciate how it would look. Luckily the customer agreed with us and so we set about sealing the whole floor with Seal and Go.
To speed up the drying process Air Blowers were installed as we worked and it wasn’t long before the sealer was dry and the customers were able to walk on the floor and inspect every area before we left. I’m please to report that they were over the moon with the floor and my recommendation of sealer.
To maintain the slate tiles going forward we always give our customers a free bottle of Tile Doctor pH neutral tile cleaner, which is a little incentive for them to provide some feedback via our website.
Professional Semi Riven Slate Floor Renovation in Lancashire
A customer in Leyland near Preston reported a grouting issue with their porcelain tiled kitchen floor, the tiles were fine but the grout had become discoloured and grey, they were also finding it difficult to keep clean. This is not an unusual story for Porcelain or Ceramic tiled floors which are generally very low maintenance and you find the grout needs attention before the tiles do.
Applying Grout Colourant
On arrival I set up my equipment and cleaned the floor to make sure all the grout joints were free from any dirt etc., I then did a colour test on a less obvious part of the floor with the grout colour. I wanted to make sure the colourant would take to the grout and also to make sure the customer was happy with her colour choice.
The process for grout colouring is fairly tedious but straightforward, it involves giving the bottle a good shake and applying a small amount to a toothbrush and working the grout colorant into joints using a back-and-forth motion. I find the best way to apply it is by working in small areas and adding thin even coats to limit the amount of grout colorant that gets on the tile. They were large format tiles covering 9m2 so I only needed one bottle of buff grout colourant to do the entire floor.
After the Grout Colorant dries (it takes between twenty and sixty minutes depending on how warm the house) you mist the surface with water and let stand for five minutes, excess grout colorant is then removed from the tile surface using a white nylon scrub pad.
The floor was ready for surface traffic in 2 hours but there was a white mist over the floor which you can get with porcelain tiles so I fitted a white buffing pad to my rotary floor polishing machine and buffed the floor to remove the power and water marks, once finished the floor looked like new. Before leaving I left the customer with some after care instructions and how to keep it floor looking good for the future.