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

Grout Colour Restoration on a Ceramic Kitchen Floor Ulverston

This client got in touch to see if we could clean the grout in her large kitchen floor which was tiled with Terracotta style Ceramic tiles. As per usual we visited the property first which was in the market town of Ulverston to survey the floor and get a better idea of what was required.

Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Grout Colouring Ulverston

Believe it or not the grout had originally been Sandstone in colour, but poor cleaning practices had reduced the colour back to grey as all floor grouts (apart from white) are basically a cement grey with a colour dye added. I suspect the customer had been using a strong bleach-based product to clean the floor with which as well as removing colour can also lead to dehydration resulting in cracking. It’s work knowing that even the “Green Cleaning Products” on the market generally contain at least 5% of “non-ionic surfactants” which can also impact grout with constant use.

Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Grout Colouring Ulverston Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Grout Colouring Ulverston

Our recommendation was to re-colour the grout using a durable Tile Doctor Grout Colourant which seals and rejuvenates existing grout and is available in ten popular colours. The client was happy that we could improve the appearance of the floor, we agreed a price and scheduled the work in which would take two days to complete.

Cleaning and Colouring Grout on a Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor

It was a large 45m2 kitchen and so it took most of the first day just to clean the grout using Tile Doctor Grout Colourant Pre-Treater. This is an effective ready-to-use acidic cleaner which is designed to lightly etch and clean the grout joints so that you achieve a superior bond with the colourant. The product comes in a spray bottle so its just a question of spraying it onto the tile, leaving it for five minutes and then scrubbing it in with a brush. Afterwards you rinse it off with water and extract with a wet vacuum.

We worked our way across the large floor area in sections leaving an air blower in place over the completed section to accelerate the drying process. Once we managed to get a cleaned area dry, we started to apply the first coat of Grout Colourant. The colourant is relatively easy to apply with a small brush, you just need to ensure that any excess that gets on the tile is wiped off before it dries.

Once the second of coat of grout colourant had been applied and had dried the floor was inspected and touched up further where required. Before leaving we gave the floor a dry polish with our buffing machine just so it all looked spick and span before we handed the floor back to the customer. There was no need to seal the floor, Ceramic tiles won’t accept a sealer and the grout will now be protected by the colourant which acts like a barrier.

Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor After Grout Colouring Ulverston Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor After Grout Colouring Ulverston

The transformation to the floor was huge as you can see in the pictures. My customer was over the moon with the results and left the following feedback:

‘I can recommend the professional services of Russell and team, nothing was too much trouble and the job was completed on time with excellent results’
Karen. Ulverston

Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor After Grout Colouring Ulverston

 

Professional Grout Restoration of a Ceramic Tiled Kitchen 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