Ribchester

Renovating Copper Slate Tiles with a Semi Riven Finish in Ribchester

This Copper Slate tiled floor at a property in the Ribble Valley village of Ribchester had been sealed just twelve months before by another company who used a topical acrylic sealer as the client wanted a shiny finish. However, this was a bad choice for a semi-riven tile and exacerbated by the fact that the client had three large dogs. The topical sealer just couldn’t cope and the shine on the Slate faded in a few months.

Semi Riven Copper Slate Before Cleaning Ribchester

After discussing the problem, I suggested stripping off what was left of the topical seal and then re sealing with a sturdier impregnating sealer. I recommended a product called Tile Doctor X-Tra seal which is a premium product that improves colour and is very durable so much so it can also be used externally. Since releasing this product last year it has proved to be very popular and has proven to be the answer in numerous tricky situations. It also adds a lustre and patina to the stone. The client was happy to go ahead with my quote.

Semi Riven Copper Slate Before Cleaning Ribchester

Cleaning a Semi Riven Copper Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

My first concern when dealing with a floor situated in a kitchen is to prevent water being absorbed by the kitchen base units and plinths. Normally the plinths can be removed but if not, the solution is to run a bead of silicone around the area of concern. MDF is easily blown by moisture, and it doesn’t take us long to add so it’s well worth doing.

Semi Riven Copper Slate Before Cleaning Ribchester

The cleaning started with the application of a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was scrubbed into the floor to remove the old sealer. On this occasion it was scrubbed in using a 200-grit milling pad fitted to a rotary machine. As well as stripping off the old sealer this action deep cleans the tile and grout. A lot of soil is released during the process, and this is brushed and rinsed away with clean water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

The next step was to give the floor an Acid Rinse using a product called Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up, this not only cleans the grout but also neutralised the pH of the floor after cleaning with The Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an alkaline product.

An acid wash removes grout smears, unwanted mineral deposits and roughens the stone at a microscopic level to provide a better bond for the sealer. You must be careful what you use it on, and we wouldn’t recommend it for use on acid sensitive materials such as Limestone, Marble, or Travertine. Grout Clean-up is however safe to use on Slate, but I wouldn’t leave it on for a long period of time.

After another rinse with water the wet vacuum was deployed again to remove as much moisture from the floor as possible. The floor was then left to dry out fully overnight.

Sealing a Semi Riven Copper Slate Kitchen Floor

The next day after confirming the floor was dry, work started with the application of what would be two coats of Tile Doctor X-Tra seal. X-Tra seal is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the Slate ensuring dirt cannot reside there.

Semi Riven Copper Slate After Cleaning Ribchester

I would be the first to admit that a topical sealer would have resulted in a shiner finish but clearly this was not a practical choice when you have 3 big dogs who will run around the floor and tear at the sealer with their claws. Topical sealers as the name suggest sit on the surface and are simply not a very practical option for this situation.

Semi Riven Copper Slate After Cleaning Ribchester

Once completed the Copper colour in the Slate was really enhanced, the grout looked much cleaner and overall, the floor looked great; more importantly the client was very happy with the work we had carried out.

For the cleaning of sealed Slate tiles, I recommend the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Clean which is pH neutral and gentle enough for regularly use. Its also provided in concentrated form so a small amount goes a long way. Many of the floor cleaning products you find in supermarkets are bleach based and far too strong for use on a sealed tile resulting in premature damage to the sealer. I forgot to ask what they had been using to clean the floor previously, but this may also have been a factor in why the previous sealer only lasted a few months.

 

Professional Restoration of a Semi Riven Copper Slate Kitchen Floor in Lancashire

Poorly Maintained Victorian Tiled Floor Revitalised in Ribchester

This post details the work we did at a house in the Lancashire town of Ribchester where the floor had been covered with a carpet for many years and the owner now wanted the floor restoring. As you see from the photographs, these Victorian tiles were in an extremely dirty condition and in dire need of a deep clean.

Upon visiting the property and witnessing the condition of the tiles first hand, I decided that rather than spending time attempting to penetrate through the thick layers of ingrained dirt, it would be more effective to go with the application of coarse 200 grit diamond encrusted pads (also known as burnishing pads).

Victorian Tile Restoration Ribchester Before Cleaning Victorian Tile Restoration Ribchester Before Cleaning

Usually we only use this type of pad on stone floors, including Limestone; however, we have been successfully experimenting with them on other surfaces at the Tile Doctor training centre including Victorian Tiles so I was confident they would do well.

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Floor

In the case of this floor a carpet underlay had been in place and this is something that has often proved very difficult to remove in the past, but by using the 200 grit pads to open the pores of the clay it proved not to be a problem. The pads worked well on the main floor however being circular they do struggle to get into corners and right up to the edges so ensure these areas were equally cleaned I used small hand held burnishing pads.

One problem I did find, nonetheless, was that the pads revealed a pattern had been impressed onto the floor. To remove this I applied Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in gel form. This was so effective that within ten minutes the pattern had completely disappeared.

Victorian Tile Restoration Ribchester During Cleaning
Following this, I gave the floor a thorough wash with water, and the resulting slurry was extracted by a wet vacuum. The property owner and I then agreed that I would return to the house in a few days, leaving the area enough time to fully dry.

I returned to the property two days later to find that alkaline salt deposits (commonly known as efflorescence) had appeared on the floor while it was drying out, with the exception of the area to which I had applied Acid Gel. I polished off the efflorescence with a cloth, before giving the whole floor a rinse with Acid Gel to neutralise the salts. The floor was then given another rinse with water to remove any trace of the product, and was thoroughly dried using a wet vacuum to extract the moisture.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

I left the floor to dry unassisted for a few hours before running damp tests. All tests came back with decent results, and so I proceeded to seal the floor using three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow.

This is a breathable solvent sealer, particularly notable for its capability to cope with any further efflorescence salt issues that could potentially affect most normal surface sealers. It also contains properties which intensify the natural colours and shades in the stone, leaving a bold and vibrant appearance.

Victorian Tile Restoration Ribchester After Cleaning and Sealing Victorian Tile Restoration Ribchester After Cleaning and Sealing

The owner was very happy with the big improvement in the floor, leaving the following feedback:
“Thanks Russell for doing such a good job on the Victorian tiles.”

Professional Victorian Tiled Floor Restoration in Lancashire

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