Renovation of a Black Slate Kitchen Floor in Lancaster

The photographs below are of a dull and dirty Black Slate floor that I was recently asked to renovate at a property in the City of Lancaster which is a few miles south of our base in Carnforth.

Black Slate Floor Before Renovation Lancaster

Slate isn’t very porous which is why you often find it being used as roofing; however, this means any sealer applied is primarily active on the surface where it is more prone to wear from foot traffic. Regular cleaning with a pH neutral tile cleaner combined with topping up the sealer every 12 to 18 months will make the sealer last a lot longer. This rarely happens though and once a sealer has been worn off dirt will begin to penetrate the stone making it difficult to clean and dull.

In this case my client explained that the sealer had been applied by the tiler a few years ago and that they had been using washing up liquid to clean the floor. pH levels for washing up liquids vary but the most popular product has a pH level of 9 which is far too acidic for use on a sealed tile and slowly stripped the sealer away. I discussed with the client the process for renovating the slate floor, agreed a price for the work and arranged to come back a few weeks later.

Cleaning a Black Slate Floor Tiled Kitchen Floor

To renovate the floor, I first attached a coarse 200-grit Diamond pad to a buffing machine and ran it over the floor using water as a lubricant. This removed what was left of the old sealer deep cleaned the stone. The Grout was then scrubbed with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and the floor was then rinsed with water and the soil extracted with a wet vacuum.

The floor was then inspected, and stubborn areas were spot treated with a little Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was sprayed on and left to soak in for ten minutes before being scrubbed in and rinsed off.

We finished the clean with a 400-Grit diamond padf followed by an Acid Wash with Grout Clean-Up, this left the Slate with a slightly acidic pH which helps bond the new sealer and counters the alkaline pH of the floor following the use of alkaline cleaning products.

Sealing a Black Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

Before we sealed the whole floor, we always do some damp testing to make sure it is dry before sealing. This was an old floor with no damp proof membrane underneath so it needed to be very dry before we could apply the sealer.

Black Slate Floor Moisture Testing Before Sealing Lancaster

The client wanted a very high gloss finish, so we applied four coats of Tile Doctor High Shine sealer which is an acrylic sealer ideal for achieving this affect. If the floor wasn’t fully dry, we would have left it another day or two, but we find you can often speed up the drying process with the use of a dehumidifier and some air blowers.

Black Slate Floor During Renovation Lancaster

The client was very happy with the transformation in the Black Slate floor, they had looked dull and drab for quite a while and it was refreshing to see them look like new again. They also felt more confident that now they understood what had caused the problem and would be better able to maintain the floor going forward.

Black Slate Floor After Renovation Lancaster

 

Professional Restoration of a Black Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor in Lancashire

Renovating a Bolivian Black Slate floor in Blackpool

This kitchen floor in Blackpool was laid 20 years prior and comprised of Bolivian Black Slate inlaid with White Ceramic Tozzettos. The slate was now looking dull and unloved and the owner now wanted the floor deep cleaning and resealing to restore its appearance.

We visited the property in Blackpool to inspect the floor and discuss what would be needed to restore the floor. It was clear that the old seal had worn away with use which left the stone vulnerable to ingrained dirt and hard to keep clean. Additionally, there were a few broken tiles near the glazed patio doors that would need replacing but the rest of the floor was solid and just in need of some love and care.

Bolivian Black Slate with White Ceramic Tozzettos Before Cleaning Blackpool Bolivian Black Slate with White Ceramic Tozzettos Before Cleaning Blackpool

We discussed the process which would involve tile replacement, tile and grout cleaning and then sealing. I worked out a price to complete the job which was accepted and booked in for later in the month.

Cleaning and Repairing a Bolivian Slate Kitchen Floor

We cleaned the tiles with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was sprayed onto the floor and left to soak in for ten minutes before being scrubbed in. To scrub the floor, I used a rotary buffing machine fitted with a with a black scrubbing pad and approximately 15kg of additional weight to give the pad more bite. This removed what was left of the original matt sealer which was still evident in the less used parts of the floor. This process released the ingrained dirt from the stone into the cleaning solution which was then rinsed off the floor and extracted with a wet vacuum.

The grout was then deep cleaned with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was scrubbed in with a narrow brush and finished with a wire brush on some of the more stained grout lines. After this the wet vacuum was used again machine to extract the loose dirt and sediment and the floor rinsed down with water a few times to restore the pH balance in the floor. With the cleaning finished the floor now needed to dry off so it would be ready for sealing the next day.

Bolivian Black Slate with White Ceramic Tozzettos During Repair Blackpool

Next step was to turn my attention to the cracked tiles near the patio door. I suspect the patio doors were not an original feature and there had been some settlement over the years in the underlying cement. The cracked tiles were removed, and old adhesive and grout scraped out. Fortunately, the customer still had some spares, so these were laid in place with rapid setting adhesive and then grouted in.

Bolivian Black Slate with White Ceramic Tozzettos Before Cleaning Blackpool

Sealing a Bolivian Tiled Kitchen Floor

On the 2nd day we applied a tester of 2 coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go in a corner area as the customer wasn’t sure if she should stick with a matt colour enhanced finish or satin. The customer liked the satin finish, so we applied four further coats of the Tile Doctor Seal and Go throughout. Each coat is left to dry before applying the next so this process can take some time.

The floor looked fabulous when finished in fact the customer said it almost looked like new, which wasn’t bad for a floor that was 20 years old!

Bolivian Black Slate with White Ceramic Tozzettos After Cleaning Blackpool Bolivian Black Slate with White Ceramic Tozzettos After Cleaning Blackpool

As usual before leaving we discussed aftercare which for the regular cleaning of the Slate I recommend Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner. Neutral Cleaner as its name suggest is pH neutral so it won’t damage the sealer which can be a problem for cleaning products you find in supermarkets which are basically too strong. You really do need to check the label when choosing a cleaning product for a natural stone or sealed floor as many products are made from a derivative of a bleach which will erode the sealer prematurely with regular use.

Bolivian Black Slate with White Ceramic Tozzettos After Cleaning Blackpool

 

Professional Restoration of Black Slate Kitchen Tiles in Lancashire

Cleaning Black Slate with White Marble Inserts in Southport

An unusual but attractive combination of semi riven black Slate with white Marble inserts had been installed in the hallway of this residence in the town of Southport. This floor had not been cleaned properly in some time, in fact the local Tile Shop had given the customer the incorrect tile cleaning product for the job which had slowly stripped the sealer off the tile leading to dirt becoming ingrained into the tile and making it difficult to clean which resulted in the deteriorated condition you see on the picture below:

Black Slate with White Marble Inserts Southport Before Cleaning

Cleaning Black Slate and Marble Inserts

The remedy was to give the floor a good deep clean and then reseal so I got to work and applied a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean onto the floor leaving it to soak in for fifteen minutes before working it in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary buffing machine. This process soon had the dirt running out of the floor and the soiled solution was removed using a wet vacuum. The process was repeated for stubborn area and this time the grout was scrubbed by hand using a stiff brush and more Pro-Clean. Pro-Clean is a multi-purpose alkaline based cleaning product that’s safe to use on Tile, Stone and Grout and given there was hardly any sealer left it wasn’t necessary to use a stronger dilution.

Once I was happy with the floor it was washed down with more water to remove any trace of cleaning products and then the water removed using the wet vacuum and then left to dry overnight.

Sealing Black Slate and Marble Inserts

We have a number of sealing products suitable for Slate and Marble each one with a different effect but given then floor was predominately slate I decided opt for four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which provides stain protection and leaves a nice low sheen finish.

Black Slate with White Marble Inserts Southport After Cleaning
Before leaving I let them know about Tile Doctor Neutral Clean which is a cleaning product that has a near neutral PH and is specially designed for cleaning sealed floors.

Cleaning and Sealing a Slate Tiled floor in Southport