Cleaning a Sandstone Fireplace and Victorian Floor Tiles Preston

We often get asked to do a combination of jobs at Tile Doctor so we have to be prepared for the unexpected, like getting asked to clean an old Sandstone fireplace whilst your cleaning a Victorian tiled floor at a house in Preston. We normally charge extra for these types of jobs but it depends how much cleaning is required.

Red and Black Victorian Tiles Preston Before Cleaning

This Fireplace had been in use for a number of years and due to its grainy texture was hard to keep clean, dirt and soot had built up on its surface and there was no sealer visible, either that or it had worn off with the heat.

Sandstone Fireplace Preston Before Cleaning

Cleaning and Sealing a Sandstone Fireplace

To clean the uprights and Hearth I applied Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which being in Gel form and not a liquid, stays in place increasing dwell times and doesn’t drip where it shouldn’t. In this case I let it soak into the stone for about forty minutes before scrubbing it in with a stiff hand brush and steam. Some marks were still visible after this process so we opted for using handheld Diamond blocks in 50.100.200 and then 400 grit to grind off the staining and restore the surface finish. Using these small handheld blocks takes off some of the heavier texture as well as cleaning the stone at the same time, but is really useful to use where chemicals alone struggle to get the results required. Once fully clean the fireplace was rinsed with water a couple of times and the slurry removed using a wet vacuum. After speed drying the stone with a heat gun it was ready for a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, even we were impressed with the results.

Sandstone Fireplace Preston After Cleaning

Cleaning and Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

The Red and Black Victorian Tiles were cleaned with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is very similar to Oxy-Gel only in a liquid form. The product was left to soak into the tiles for about ten minutes before being scrubbed in with a black buffing pad attached to a slow speed buffing machine. I used the wet vacuum again to soak up the residue and stubborn stains were retreated until I was satisfied.

Old Victorian floors rarely have a damp proof membrane installed and so it’s not uncommon for damp to rise-up through the ground and tile resulting in white salt deposits being left on the surface. To prevent this process, which is commonly referred to as Efflorescence, Tile Doctor Acid Gel was applied. The solution is scrubbed into the tiles and then rinsed off with clean water and removed with a wet vacuum ready for sealing.

Victorian Tiles can take a while to dry and in this case I left it two days before returning to apply a breathable sealer to protect the tiles from ingrained dirt and staining. In this case a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow were applied. If you recall this was the same sealer we used on the fireplace as the customer wished to bring out the colour and have a Matt finish.

Red and Black Victorian Tiles Preston After Cleaning

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Sandstone Fireplace and Victorian Floor in Lancashire

Old Flagstone Tiled Flooring Resurfaced in Great Harwood

This customer in Great Harwood was so fedup with their Flagstone tiled flooring on the ground floor of their property. In fact they were ready to take up the floor, put a new concrete base in place and lay a wood floor down on top. However this is the original floor from when the house was built in 1894 so was not replaceable as such, and the customer really wanted to restore the floor back to its original condition, as well as other material’s in the house, to recreate the Original Victorian feeling that had been missing for many years.

Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Great Harwood Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Great Harwood

We have completed quite a lot of this type of work for customers in the past and we publish all out work on our website and it was one job similar to this that convinced the customer that we had the answer to her problem.

Milling an Old Flagstone Floor

A few years ago Tile Doctor invented a system called Milling to deal with problematic stone floors like this one. The system uses very coarse Diamond pads fitted to heavy machinery to mill the stone until it is a smooth as possible. This action gets rid of years of traffic marks, ingrained dirt as well as old wax and sealers. There’s nothing harder than Diamond so we find this system woks really well on an old damaged floor like this one.

The process will leave the stone looking rough so once finished with the coarse pads we then apply a lighter Diamond grit pad to remove the scratch marks that the heavy diamond grits leave behind. The floor is rinsed between pads and a little water is also used to provide lubrication.

After resolving the stone issues we re-grouted the whole floor and conduct one more final clean using Tile Doctor Neutral Clean before leaving it to dry out ready for sealing a few days later.

Sealing an Old Flagstone Floor

On our return the sealer we chose for these old flagstone was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, it penetrates into the pores of the stone protecting it from within and in the processes lift the natural colours in the Stone.

Colour Grow is a breathable sealer which you need when sealing these old stone floors which won’t have a damp proof membrane installed. A wet look or polishing sealer will eventually spoil in damper wetter weather.

Another advantage of Colour Grow is it leaves a Matt finish which is a more natural look for Sandstone Flagstones like these. They will also be easier to clean as the milling process made the stone much smoother to the touch, so it becomes a lot easier to maintain in the future.

Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Great Harwood Flagstone Floor Before Restoration Great Harwood

The results were fantastic, and the customer is really pleased that they will no longer have to replace the tiles. The appearance and condition of the Flagstone had been improved so much that most people would not believe it had been laid 123 years ago!
 
 

Restoring an Old Flagstone Floor in Lancashire

Milling and Sealing Uneven Flagstone Flooring in Haslingden

Flagstones are a durable Sandstone based material that give a solid feel to any floor, however while large and impressive to look at they can be very rough and un-even. This isn’t so much of a problem when Flagstones are used externally for patios and pathways, but rough surfaces trap dirt and when these tiles are used internally, they are much easier to maintain if the stone is smooth and sealed.

This customer, who lives in the Lancashire town of Haslingden, had this problem with their Flagstone tiled floor and like most things related to tile, stone and grout we have a solution in the form of a process known as milling. This basically involves grinding down the surface of the tile using coarse diamond encrusted pads to make it smooth.

Flagstone Floor Before Milling Haslingdon Flagstone Floor Before Milling Haslingdon

The customer booked me in to get the job done, having seen some previous milling work of ours on our website and liking what we had achieved for other people with similar floors.

Flagstone Floor Before Milling Haslingdon

Milling an Uneven Flagstone Tiled Floor

Milling the stone involves the use of a set of thee millings pads of different grades (50, 100 and 200 grit) which are applied in sequence. You start with the coarse and abrasive 50 grit milling pad and follow this by smoothing this surface with the finer 100 and 200 diamond grit milling pads. Water is used to lubricate and capture the dust which is created during the process resulting in a slurry which needs to be rinsed away and extracted between each pad. The process requires the use of a solid weighted rotary machine and a fair bit of muscle power to guide it.

We successfully managed to mill the Flagstone tiles virtually flat in places and the process removed the unappealing stained and dirty layer of stone that was ruining the appearance of the floor. Interestingly we usually find that by grinding away the old and dirty layer of stone the true colour of the tiles that had been hidden under many years’ worth of muck is revealed. Unfortunately, in this case, due to the darkness of this stone it was difficult to see a great deal of colour change.

Sealing Flagstone Floor Tiles

Finally, the floor needed to be sealed to protect against future instances of staining and ingrained dirt. To do this I sealed the tiles using several coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is an impregnating, colour enhancing sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone and occupies that space preventing dirt from become ingrained. The sealer also leaves a matte, natural looking finish, which is a perfect match for the rustic character of the Flagstone tiles.

Flagstone Floor After Milling Haslingdon Flagstone Floor After Milling Haslingdon

Now that the floor has been levelled and sealed, the surface is smooth and protected. This means the customer will not be ruining any more mops when the cleaning bucket comes out!

Flagstone Floor After Milling Haslingdon

 
 

Professional Milling and Sealing of Stained and Uneven Floor in Lancashire

Sandstone floor restored in Leyland

These pictures are of a Sandstone floor installed in a house in Leyland, the dog seems quite content with the floor but the owner wasn’t; the trouble with Sandstone is that is a relatively soft sedimentary stone which doesn’t provide the best foundation for a sealer causing it to breakdown faster. To counteract this I usually apply as much sealer as the floor will accept and then leave any spare with the customer so they can top it up when the shine starts to wear off. I find this works better than to let the Sealer break down as this will allow dirt to get trapped in the stone and then you have to start all over again with the clean and seal. Applying a regular top up of sealer will keep the floor in good condition for several years before it needs to be done again saving the customer time and money in the long run.

Cleaning Sandstone flagged flooring

We cleaned the Sandstone flags with a 1 to 10 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and warm water agitated with a Black buffing pad attached to our floor scrubbing machine. The soiled solution was then removed using a wet vacuum and the floor rinsed off with water, judging by the colour of the dirty water it was clear we had managed to dislodge a large amount of dirt. The process was repeated a few times until we were confident the floor was as clean as it could be and then we left it to dry overnight.

Sandstone floor in leyland before

Sealing Sandstone floor tile

The next morning the floor had dried and we proceeded to seal the sandstone with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is highly recommended for this type of stone providing a good level of stain protection combined with a nice low sheen finish. Five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go were needed to cover the floor which can take some time to apply as each coat needs to dry first before you can apply the next.

Sandstone floor in leyland After

 
 

Restoring a Sandstone Tiled Floor in Lancashire