Sandstone Tile Cleaning

Milling a Rough Sandstone Kitchen Floor Smooth in Bamber Bridge

This client at a property in Bamber Bridge was really fed up with his Indian sandstone kitchen floor. The sandstone suited the age of the property but due to its course rough texture he was having issues keeping the stone clean and maintaining it to a decent standard. Ideally, he wanted something long lasting that was easier to keep clean.

Indian Sandstone Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Bamber Bridge Indian Sandstone Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Bamber Bridge

Sealers can only help so much on a rough stone like this, in my opinion really rough stone is best sold for use outside in patio’s etc. My client didn’t want to rip it up as it ran underneath the kitchen units and it cost them a lot of money to have it laid, so having been on our website and checked out our previous work they realised we could mill the stone and smooth down the rough texture to a much smoother finish and yet still leave enough texture in the stone for it to look very natural.

Milling an Indian Sandstone Tiled Kitchen Floor

We have developed a system at Tile Doctor called “Milling” which is very similar to sanding rough wood to reveal the inner patina. Once done we then we give it one more clean before adding a fresh sealer to add protection. Milling does change the look of the stone as you will see on the before and after pictures on this page, so it is not for everyone. It is however a one-off process so once done it will never need to be milled again. Like all stone floors it will still benefit from a deep clean and re-seal every five years (depending on use) just to keep it looking its best but after milling you will be able to walk on the stone in bare feet or socks and slippers as it really does make a big difference to the finish.

Indian Sandstone Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Bamber Bridge

By milling we mainly use coarse-grit burnishing pads that contain segments made from hard industrial diamonds. Working our way up the different grits the pads are applied using a weighted floor buffer which is run over each tile several times to cut the stone back. The process is so effective we often find that the pads are all you need to clean the stone so hardly ever use any chemicals with this process, apart from the sealer which is applied once fully dry.

I should mention that Milling is not something a customer should consider doing themselves as you need invest in a heavy-duty weighted buffing machine which are rarely available for hire.

Sealing an Indian Sandstone Tiled Kitchen Floor

To seal internal Sandstone floors, I usually use Tile Doctor Colour Grow which brings out the natural colours in the stone. On this occasion however two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal were applied to the stone and grout which results in an invisible natural finish and better matched the clients’ requirements.

Indian Sandstone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Bamber Bridge Indian Sandstone Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Bamber Bridge

My client was really pleased with the new floor and left the following feedback:

“Only finished today but looks so good now. Russell did a great job milling the flags to a much smoother finish. Two coats of sealant applied by Heidi on last day which hopefully will keep it looking that way. Mark F. Bamber Bridge”

For aftercare cleaning I left them with a bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner which is specially designed for cleaning sealed floors. You need to be very careful when using supermarket cleaners as many are tool strong and will slowly strip the sealer off the floor, always read the label.

 

Professional Restoration of a Sandstone Kitchen Floor in Lancashire

Black Spot Removed from an Indian Sandstone Patio in Bolton-Le-Sands

This Indian Sandstone Patio in Bolton-Le-Sands near Lancaster had not been cleaned successfully for several years. Although the owner had power washed it on occasion, that won’t rid you of Black Spot, Mould, Lichen etc and this will build-up over the years. It does clean the stone up to a certain standard but at some point, it will need further treatment.

My client had now reached this point and decided to give Tile Doctor a call to have it renovated. We discussed the Patio which ran around the house and calculated that it measured approximately 60m2. With the measurements and a summary of the issues I was able to work out a quote which they were happy to accept.

Indian Sandstone Patio Before Cleaning in Bolton-Le-Sands

Removing Black Spot from an Indian Sandstone Patio

To improve the appearance of the stone I started by giving it a power wash to remove the general grime and dirt. I used a top of the range Karcher Pressure Washer for this which can apply up to 20 bars of pressure. The machine also comes with a spinner attachment results in a much more even clean than simply using the spray head.

The patio was left to dry for thirty minutes before applying neat Tile Doctor Patio & Brick Driveway Cleaner. Please note this is a very powerful product meant for professional use so if you’re using it always wear gloves and protective glasses. You leave it on the stone for ten minutes or longer before working it in. The directions on the back of the bottle say recommend leaving it for two to four hours, but its general advice. Personally, I find it is best to test the timing on a small inconspicuous area first, leave it on for say ten minutes then add a bit of water, scrub the surface and if the Black Spot disappears then that is all the time you need. If the stain is stubborn, increase the time. The two to four hour recommendation is really for difficult Black Spots that have become ingrained into the stone and then the product needs longer to digest the stain before it can work.

Once that was done, I used the power washer on low pressure to wash the products off the stone and into the sewerage drain, a wet vacuum comes in handy for this. Don’t dispose of it into the grass or planting areas as the strong chemicals in the product could upset them. Many properties have a soak away to capture rainwater from gutters, so you need to make sure it’s the sewage drain you are using.

Indian Sandstone Patio After Cleaning in Bolton-Le-Sands

As you can see on the pictures, this product really does work and got rid of the Black Spot completely. To maintain the patio a regular jet wash was recommended, the household versions are ideal for keeping it clean and tidy.

Due to the size of the Sandstone patio the whole process took around six hours to complete. Once done though the patio looked transformed and was all ready for a barbeque and some guests. Hopefully, it will stop raining long enough for this to happen.

Indian Sandstone Patio After Cleaning in Bolton-Le-Sands

 

Professional Restoration of an Indian Sandstone Patio in Lancashire

Renovating Flood Damaged Flagstone Floor in a Whalley Listed Building

This Flagstone floor was under water in 2015 due to a flood that affected the beautiful village of Whalley resulting in many residents being evacuated from their homes. Four years later and the floor had settled in places and large chunks of Limecrete pointing had become loose. As you can imagine the floor hadn’t been the same since.

It took a while before the customer could get back into the house and the insurance assessor said that because this was an original floor and the building was grade 2 listed the flagstone floor had to stay in place. There is no guarantee from the local council that the house and adjacent streets won’t get flooded again in the future, but this type of floor is probably the most hardwearing for this situation so is best left in place. Wood flooring, carpet, vinyl etc will not stand up to another flood and would have to be replaced every time.

Flagstone-Floor Before Restoration in Whalley Flagstone-Floor Before Restoration in Whalley

I was asked to come up with some solutions for renovating the flagstone floor and replacing the Limecrete pointing which was tricky as whatever replaced the Limecrete pointing needed to be fully breathable as did the sealer that went on the stone.

After some research we decided to use a German product called VDW 800 for the pointing instead of Limecrete. it’s designed to be fully breathable (permeable) and suitable for outside use such as patios and porches etc which made it ideal for a floor that may face flooding again. Its highly flexible, durable and comes in four colours. It can be cleaned via a pressure washer on a wide fan and it won’t loosen, so I was confident that if another flood hit the town all this floor would need was a clean down.

The client was very happy to hear this news and wanted us to go ahead as soon as possible and get the floor restored. With a restoration plan worked out we agreed a date for our return to complete the work.

Cleaning and Repointing a Flagstone Floor

On our return our first course of action was to clean the stone using a 100 and 200-grit milling pads which were run several times over each flagstone using water for lubrication. The resulting slurry was removed using a wet vacuum and the floor was then treated to an acid rinse using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up. After a rinse with water and extraction with the wet vacuum the flagstones were given a final clean using a 400-grit diamond burnishing pad.

With the floor now clean we set about removing the old pointing using an 8lb pneumatic drill, whilst noisy it did make quick work of the task. After a another clean to remove the debris the floor was repointed using the VDW 800 product mentioned earlier. The floor was then left to dry overnight.

Flagstone-Floor During Restoration in Whalley Flagstone-Floor During Restoration in Whalley

Sealing a Flagstone Tiled Floor in Lancashire

I came back the next day to review the previous days work and ensure I was happy with the state of the floor before applying a sealer. This is important as otherwise you risk sealing in dirt which would affect the appearance. It’s tricky to tell when a floor it wet and on this occasion I felt the stone would benefit from another clean so I cleaned the floor one last time using a black buffing pad and water. The water was then removed as before with a wet vacuum.

Flagstone-Floor After Restoration in Whalley Flagstone-Floor After Restoration in Whalley

The floor was left to fully dry out for a further 24 hours and I called back one more time to review the floor and apply three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a breathable sealer that also enhances the natural colours in the stone.

Once finished the floor looked great again and the clients were over the moon with the result. Fingers crossed there would be no further flooding in the future, however even if there was the new grout should stand up to it.

 

Professional Restoration of a Flood Damaged Flagstone Floor in Lancashire

Rough Textured Indian Sandstone Grinded Smooth in Barnoldswick

The pictures below show a Rough Textured Indian Sandstone floor installed in the Kitchen and Hallway at a property in Bernoldswick which is a small town just outside the Yorkshire Dales national park. The client called us out to have a look at their floor which was very dirty. They were undecided as to what to do with it and were even considering ripping it up and putting a more practical floor down. This Sandstone has a rough texture which traps dirt and can shred mops making it very difficult to maintain so it’s not surprising that the client was close to giving up on it.

Textured Indian Sandstone Before Cleaning Barnoldswick

Initially we were asked just to deep clean and seal the Stone, but I realised that wouldn’t resolve the problem completely, so I offered a service we call Milling. This is a process involves applying coarse diamond pads with special machinery to remove a good chunk of the rough texture (about 80 to 85% ). It would leave the stone with a much smoother finish which is easier to keep clean, easier to seal and a lot easier to maintain in the future.

Textured Indian Sandstone Before Cleaning Barnoldswick Textured Indian Sandstone Before Cleaning Barnoldswick

After a demonstration was done and a price given for either a clean and seal or to Mill first followed by a clean and seal the customer opted for the latter. This would also prove significantly cheaper than ripping up the floor, hiring a skip to take away the stone, then self-levelling the concrete to get it ready for the new floor, not to mention the cost of the new floor covering.

Cleaning and Milling an Indian Sandstone Tiled Kitchen and Hallway Floor

Milling the stone involves the use of a set of thee milling 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 with a wet vacuum between each pad. The process requires the use of a solid weighted rotary machine and a fair bit of muscle power to guide it.

As you can see from the pictures the difference is immense but what you can’t tell from these photos is how smooth the stone feels to the touch as its the rough texture of Sandstone that catches all the dirt and makes it hard to clean, even after it has been cleaned and sealed professionally.

To refine the surface of the Sandstone even further the Milling process is followed by the application of finer grade Burnishing pads, again applied with water and the soil rinsed off between each pad. This process uses no chemical cleaning products only water, Diamond pads and machinery.

Sealing an Indian Sandstone Tiled Kitchen and Hallway Floor

After allowing the stone to fully dry out overnight we finished the job with several coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing impregnating sealer that protects the stone from within. It gave the stone a nice low-key matt colour enhanced finish that really showed off the character in the stone.

Textured Indian Sandstone After Cleaning Barnoldswick Textured Indian Sandstone After Cleaning Barnoldswick

The client was over the moon with the result and were so pleased they had not ripped up the floor!

Textured Indian Sandstone After Cleaning Barnoldswick

 

Professional Restoration of Indian Sandstone Floor in Lancashire

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

Restoring Red Jurassic Sandstone Steps and Landing in Preston

We often get called out when other trades with less experience in stone cleaning fail to make a difference which was the case with these Red Jurassic Sandstone Stone steps at a house in Preston which had been stained with paint splashes and years of grime. The customer had tried several solutions to restore these steps including having a go themselves buy applying some Chemicals from a local Tile Shop, however again this didn’t achieve the results the customer wanted so they called us after we were recommended to them.

Red jurassic sandstone steps before Red jurassic sandstone landing before cleaning

Burnishing Red Jurassic Sandstone

I took a look at the Sandstone and tested a few methods before deciding to go with a process called Burnishing which involves the application of diamond encrusted burnishing pads. The pads come in a set of four and are applied in sequence from Coarse, through medium, fine and super fine; you need to use a little water to lubricate as you go and also rinse with water between the application of each pad. Naturally due to the tight space I couldn’t use a set of full size pads, only he smaller 6 inch pads which fit a small hand buffer.

Red jurassic sandstone steps after burnishing

Sealing an Indian Sandstone Tiled Floor

The floor was left to dry off overnight and then I returned the next day to seal the whole floor with two coats of our impregnating sealer Tile Doctor Colour Grow. The sealer fills the pores of the stone to prevent ingrained dirt and stains, while also emphasising the natural colours in the stone.

Red jurassic sandstone steps after sealing Red jurassic sandstone landing after sealing

The full process successfully restored the red colour in the Sandstone and have come up quite well considering they are over 300 years old.

Professional Restoration of Old Sandstone Steps Lancashire

Milling and Sealing a Large Indian Sandstone Tiled Floor Near Lancaster

Here we have a six year old Indian Sandstone tiled floor located a property on the outskirts of Lancaster. Measuring 100 metres squared, the very large floor had under floor heating in the concrete sub base. The type of stone used inside the property is what we commonly refer to as ‘patio Sandstone’, a material which is usually used outside because of its very rough texture. It’s not particularly comfortable to walk across in bare feet, hence why many people consider it be impractical for internal flooring.

Indian sandstone floor Lancashire before restoration
Nonetheless, the property owner was keen to make the rough textured floor as feet-friendly as possible for people walking over it. At Tile Doctor we have developed a process known as milling, which utilises diamond encrusted pads combined with a weighted rotary machine to smooth the rough surface, leaving it looking and feeling a lot nicer and more practical to live with. The milling process is only done once, but while the Sandstone will still need cleaning and sealing in the future, it won’t be nearly as difficult as when it was rough.

The job would take over two weeks to complete due to the fact that the existing grout needed to be removed and replaced with a flexible floor grout: a very time consuming process.

Milling an Indian Sandstone Tiled Floor

As mentioned, the surface of the Sandstone was very rough, and so needed to be milled down to make it a lot smoother to look after and make it easy to clean and seal. This was achieved by using Tile Doctor’s 50 Grit diamond encrusted burnishing pads, fitted to a weighed rotary machine and run along the entire surface area of the floor. Through this process the stone became much smoother and more aesthetic – completing one of our main objectives for the customer.

Indian sandstone floor Lancashire during restoration
Next, we started breaking out the already loose and badly applied grout with our grout removal tools. The builder who had installed the floor had used a sand/cement-based grout which wasn’t flexible. As a result, it started to crumble and loosen quite quickly after exposure to the underfloor heating. We removed this and replaced it with a far more flexible grout.

Indian sandstone floor Lancashire during restoration

Sealing an Indian Sandstone Tiled Floor

Once the whole area had been successfully milled and the grout replaced, the Sandstone floor was left to dry out over the weekend. Upon our return to the property, we cleaned off any dust and resin left over from the milling and grouting processes, before leaving it to dry for a further 24 hours.

Indian sandstone floor Lancashire after restoration
The next day we returned to seal the whole floor with two coats of our impregnating sealer Tile Doctor Colour Grow. The sealer fills the pores of the Sandstone to prevent ingrained dirt and stains, while also emphasising the natural colours in the stone. It also provides a robust matte finish, which is what the customer wished for.

Indian sandstone floor Lancashire after restoration
It wasn’t the easiest of processes to get the Indian Sandstone into a condition where it would be both suitable for internal flooring and aesthetically pleasing, but the results proved to be very much worth the time and effort invested. The customer was very pleased with the transformation.

Smoothing, Regrouting and Sealing a Rough Indian Sandstone Tiled Floor in Lancashire

Rough Sandstone floor milled in Lancaster

Sandstone is generally a rough textured surface requiring regular cleaning and sealing to keep it looking good, I’ve also known customers to complain that the rough texture can shred mops during regular cleaning. This Sandstone tiled floor installed in a house in Lancaster was no different and so with the owner’s approval we decided to gently grind the sandstone to produce a smoother more manageable surface. At Tile Doctor we refer to this process as Milling and it’s especially useful for flattening a raised surface between tiles often called lippage.

Sandstone Floor Lancaster Before Milling Sandstone Floor Lancaster Before Milling

Milling and Sealing a Sandstone Tiled Floor

As far as I know Milling was developed at Tile Doctor to basically smooth down a rough textured surface to make it easy to clean, seal and maintain; it’s a one off process and is akin to sanding down a rough piece of wood with sandpaper. We don’t use sandpaper for this purpose but diamond encrusted burnishing pads which like sandpaper come in different levels of coarseness. Milling actually reveals more of the character in the surface of the stone which is further enhanced during sealing for which recommend the use of a matt finish sealer such as Tile Doctor Colour Grow or if there is still a bit of texture in the stone we recommend the use of a topical sealer such as Tile Doctor Seal and Go which also leaves a nice low sheen finish.

Milled Sandstone Floor Lancaster After Milled Sandstone Floor Lancaster After

The customer was on holiday when the work was done but was so pleased with the effect of the milled Sandstone floor she rang me up personally to say thanks and left the comment below on the Tile Doctor feedback system, she was experiencing a lot of trouble cleaning this floor and we managed to resolve that and still keep the texture and character of this beautiful floor.

“Total transformation of our floor. Can’t quite believe the results. No mess and an amazing result. Thank you v much
D. Rix, Lancaster”

Smoothing a Rough Textured Sandstone Floor in Lancashire

Sandstone floor maintained in Stodday, Lancashire

This sandstone floor was installed in a house in the village of Stodday, Lancashire, the floor was looking dull and if you look closely you should be able to see surface staining, there were also a number of marks the customer was eager for us to deal with.

Sandstone floor in Stodday before Sandstone floor in Stodday before

Cleaning Sandstone

We cleaned the floor using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted with 10 parts warm water and worked in using a Black Scrubbing pad. This action certainly gave the floor a good clean but the marks mentioned earlier were proving stubborn to shift so we tried a stronger product called Remove and Go combined 50/50 with NanoTech UltraClean which add nano sized abrasive particles. We left the resulting formula to soak into the stone for about an hour and then used a steam cleaner to penetrate deep into the pores of the stone and lift out the dirt, this did the trick and so we then removed the cleaning products with a wet vacuum and washed down the floor with clean water to neutralise the floor before sealing and left for the evening so the floor could dry overnight.

Sandstone floor in Stodday after

Sealing a Sandstone Tiled Floor

We came back the next day and tested the floor with a damp meter in a few different locations to make sure no dampness remained in the stone. The sandstone was dry so we proceeded to seal the floor with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which gives a nice low sheen finish, Sandstone is fairly porous so it took five coats of sealer in the end. Seal and Go is a topical sealer and really brings out the true colour of the Stone and also leaves them a lot easier to clean with a mop as it takes a lot of the rough texture out of the stone.

Sandstone floor in Stodday after
 

Sandstone Floor Cleaned and Sealed 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

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Lancashire Tile Doctor

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