Deep Cleaning and Sealing a Beautiful Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor in Spencer’s Wood

Slate tiles do look incredible but like any natural stone you really need to maintain the sealer if you want them to stay that way. Unfortunately it’s usually the case that the sealer wears off overtime especially in the high foot traffic areas such as Kitchens and within a few years the tiles become dull with ingrained dirt.

This process happens so gradually it goes un-noticed until the floor becomes difficult to keep clean and a decision is made to have it sorted out. This was certainly the case with this Semi Riven Multicoloured Slate tiled kitchen floor at a house in the Berkshire village of Spencer’s Wood. The floor had been installed about fifteen years prior and over the years the Slate had become soiled to the point where domestic cleaners weren’t having any effect.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Spencers Wood Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Spencers Wood

Cleaning Dirty Slate Kitchen Tiles

To begin the restoration I soaked the tiles in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go and left it to dwell for about twenty minutes re-applying extra solution when it had dried. Remove and Go is our go to product for removing old coatings such as in this case sealers, although much of the old sealer had worn off it was still present in the less busy areas of the floor and to get an even final result I needed to ensure all of it was removed. Once the old sealer had started to weaken I agitated the product using a black pad fitted to a rotary buffing machine. The rotary pad struggles to reach into the recesses of the grout lines so I also made sure to scrub the solution into the grout with a grout brush.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Spencers Wood Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Spencers Wood

I suspect there were multiple layers of sealer on this floor that had been applied over the years as some areas were proving particularly stubborn. Something stronger was going to be needed particularly in the grout lines. So I applied Tile Doctor HBU remover; HBU stands for Heavy Build-Up and allowed this to dwell for thirty minutes while I cleaned other areas.

Once I was satisfied that the Slate and the Grout was clean and clear of old sealers I gave the whole floor a rinse with water using a wet extraction machine. One the soiled cleaning solutions were removed you could really see the difference that the combination of cleaning products had made.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Spencers Wood

The final step in the cleaning process was to give the floor an Acid Wash using a mild solution of Grout Clean-up which removes any surface grout (aka grout smears) and other mineral deposits from the slate to ensure they true beauty of the stone will be visible. Once this was removed the whole floor was rinsed with water to remove any trace of product and then dried as much as possible. After a final inspection the floor was left overnight to dry off fully.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Spencers Wood

Sealing Slate Kitchen Tiles

Returning to the property the next day, I ran some quick damp tests to check for any excess moisture that might have prevented me from sealing the floor. We will always do this as excess moisture can affect the sealer curing.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor During Sealing Spencers Wood

The customer was very happy with the clean and the floor was dry so we discussed sealer options to find out their preference for Matt or Satin finish. With the decision made to go with a Satin finish I began the application of the Tile Doctor Seal and Go which enhances the look of the stone with an aesthetically pleasing low-sheen finish, as well as providing on-going protection against ingrained dirt and staining.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor After Sealing Spencers Wood Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor After Sealing Spencers Wood

A total of five coats of Seal and Go were needed to seal the Slate tiles and as you can see from the photos the sealer really put the life back into the floor.
 
 

Rejuvenating a Semi Riven Multicoloured Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor in Berkshire

Exterior Slate Patio Paving Tile Renovation in Thatcham

Details below of a job I completed earlier in the summer in the Berkshire town of Thatcham which is just east of Newbury. The customer had a lovely Slate Patio installed the year before which had not been sealed by the builder and it had since become dull, light grey and unpleasing to the eye. Additionally there was a haze on tiles from sand and cement that had been used to point between the paving which the customer couldn’t remove.

Exterior Slate Before Renovation Thatcham

I first went round there to take a look at the job and work out a price; we often get asked to quote over the phone but it’s really difficult to do that without look at the job as you never know how things are going to work out unless you do a test clean. In this case I was able to demonstrate the process to the customer on one of the paving tiles which you can easily pick out in the photographs below.

Exterior Slate Before Renovation Thatcham

Happy with the demonstration I was given the job to do the whole patio so I arranged to a date to come back and do the work.

Cleaning Slate Patio Paving

On my return the first job was to tackle the sand and cement haze that was covering much of the slate patio. Fortunately for me the builder had not sealed the tiles so this was just a straightforward case of applying a solution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up, leaving it to dwell for ten minutes and then scrubbing it into the paving with a mechanical scrubbing machine to release the sandy haze as well as breaking down the soils on the tiles.

You should be aware that Grout Clean-Up is an acid based product and Slate like most natural stone is acid sensitive so it’s important to remove it as soon as its done its job and rinse down the stone with water soon after.

To rinse the slate patio I used our specialist truck mounted systems which gently blasts the soils from the stone with hot pressurised water whilst simultaneously recapturing the waste back into a tank on the van. This action also neutralises the stones which is important before applying sealer. The Slate pavers were then allowed to dry and being a very hot day this only took a couple of hours.

Sealing a Slate Patio

After a long lunch I returned to find the Slate was dry but still looking rather grey so to restore the natural dark colours to the stone I applied a coating of Tile Doctor Stone Oil then after approximately 1 hour any excess stone oil was buffed off the tiles leaving it to fully dry off overnight.

The following day I returned to apply two liberal coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is a solvent based no-sheen, natural-look penetrating sealer that will provide the needed protection from the elements and make it easier to clean in future.

Exterior Slate After Renovation Thatcham

My customer was very pleased with the final results and left the following feedback on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

“I had my patio and path cleaned and sealed. The service from the whole team has been exemplary from start to finish and I am delighted with the work that has been carried out. My particular thanks to Dennis who was friendly, helpful and exceptionally professional. He explained everything he was going to do and why, kept me informed throughout and worked really hard to produce a fantastic finish on my patio and path. I’m really grateful and will most definitely be recommending to friends. Thank you”

Exterior Slate After Renovation Thatcham

 
 

Restoring the Look of a Slate Paved Patio in Berkshire

Rejuvenating a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor in Windsor

If you’ve ever rented out a property for a long period of time, you’ll likely to have been concerned, at one point or another, about whether the tenant can be relied on to maintain the condition of carpets, walls and, of course, tiled floors.

This customer, who owns a property in Windsor (home to Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of the Royal Family) had encountered this very problem. The property had been rented out to a tenant for the last five years, but the Slate tiled floor in the kitchen, which was itself only 10 years old, had not been maintained correctly.

Consequently, the sealer on the tiles was worn out and no longer capable of protecting the stone against ingrained dirt and stains. There were also lots of efflorescent salts on the floor, predominantly contained in the high trafficked areas of the kitchen. I was contacted to correct the situation and restore the entire floor by providing a deep clean and seal.

Slate Kitchen Floor Before Restoration in Windsor

Cleaning Dirty Slate Kitchen Tiles

To begin the restoration, I mixed a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean and water. Pro Clean is a high alkaline cleaner capable of stripping away any old sealer and eradicating any soils and grease on the floor.

The solution was spread liberally across the entire floor and left to dwell for a short period of time before being agitated and worked into the stone using a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine.

This process left the stone fresh and clean, but the grout lines were still suffering from efflorescent salts. Efflorescence is the deposit of salts on the surface of porous materials such as natural stone tiles as moisture rises through the floor, causing unsightly stains. These alkali salts were neutralised by acid washing the floor using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up, which is a concentrated phosphoric acid cleaner.

Slate Kitchen Floor After Cleaning in Windsor

After deep cleaning the tiles, I left the floor to dry thoroughly for 24 hours, which is usually the minimum drying period that we would suggest.

Sealing Slate Kitchen Tiles

Returning to the property the next day, I ran some quick damp tests to check for any excess moisture that might have prevented me from sealing the floor. We will always do this as a precaution – especially with older floors that lack a damp proof membrane – because damp issues can damage the performance of the sealer and render it ineffectual.

Thankfully, the floor proved try and I sealed the floor with Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which is an acrylic polymer sealer that provides an aesthetically pleasing low-sheen finish, as well as, of course, strong stain and ingrained dirt protection.

Slate Kitchen Floor After Restoration in Windsor

As you can see from the photos above, the restoration really brought this Slate tiled floor back to life after five years of poor maintenance. The customer was very pleased to have it restored back to its optimum condition – ready for the property to be rented out again!
 
 

End of Tenancy Clean and Seal of a Dirty Slated Tiled Kitchen Floor in Berkshire

Smelly Slate Toilet Floor Problems Resolved At Slough Bowling Complex

Although we do get a lot of residential work we also cover commercial properties such as this local bowling complex in Slough where complaints of a bad odour in the male toilets had been received. The owner of the bowling complex realised the problem was coming from the slate tiled floor and decided to call in their local Tile Doctor to identify and eliminate the odour.

Slate Floor Gents Toilets at Bowling Alley Inspection

Upon closer inspection, it was identified that the unsealed slate floor in the toilets had been contaminated by urine ingress. Urine ingress is a common problem for people who have small animals like cats or dogs as household pets, but it also quite often affects public toilets.

Slate Floor Gents Toilets at Bowling Alley Inspection

Urine ingress occurs because urine, after leaving the body as an acid, becomes a white alkali crystal salt as it dries. Using normal detergents (including bleaches) for cleaning will actually add to both the odour and the problem overall since they are alkaline-based cleaners. At the same time, neglecting to clean can also be damaging, as urine in its initial acidic form will start to eat away at the sealer if not removed quickly.

Cleaning Slate Tiles

Our first action was to use Tile Doctor Remove & Go, a tile and stone friendly stripper, which we applied liberally to the toilet floor. This particular solution is highly effective at removing protective sealers, whilst also drawing out ingrained stains and removing any heavy grease build-up. The solution was allowed to sit for a short period of about ten minutes. It is important not to leave the product to dwell on the surface for too long in case it dries completely. Next, we added a small amount of water to the Remove & Go, before employing a heavy weighted rotary with a nylon brush to carefully scrub the slate and grout lines.

Slate Floor Gents Toilets at Bowling Alley Stripping

After the soils and sealers had been successfully removed, the next task at hand was to neutralise the bad odour caused by urine ingress. This was achieved using a mild mix of the phosphoric acid-based detergent Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, which was able to neutralise the alkali crystal salts back to a neutral state. The floor was then scrubbed again, before being thoroughly rinsed with plenty of fresh water.

Slate Floor Gents Toilets at Bowling Alley Stripping

Sealing a Slate Floor

As the bowling complex experiences high volumes of customers on a daily basis, it was essential to use a sealer which would provide the floor with durable protection. We advised our client that an impregnating sealer rather than a topical sealer would be the most suitable for use in this type of environment and recommended a combination of Tile Doctor Stone Oil and Ultra-Seal (suitable for use on all natural stone, including slate) be used instead.

Slate Floor Gents Toilets at Bowling Alley Sealing

We left the floor to dry overnight before applying the Stone Oil. Stone oil reconditions the Slate tile and enhances the colours within the stone. The product then needed a further period of time to dry before we applied two coats of Ultra-Seal impregnating sealer to the stone.

Slate Floor Gents Toilets at Bowling Alley Sealing

Why did we use an impregnation sealer instead of a topical sealer?
Impregnation sealers, such as Ultra-Seal and Colour Grow, are absorbed by the pores in the stone, offering both stain and soil resistance, and providing protection from within. In addition, they are usually solvent-based, and provide durable protection even in areas which experience high traffic. By comparison, topical sealers will essentially build up layers on top of the stone in order to offer protection. The downside to using this is that, in high traffic areas, the sealer can be effectively ‘kicked’ or walked off the surface of the stone.

You’ll notice in some of the photos that the grout appears to be a different colour after cleaning. That’s because the grout had been repaired by the bowling complex prior to our work on the floor. This mistake has been realised, however, as they have matched the grout in with the dirty discolouration, rather than the clean so addressing this issue will be another job on their list!

Slate Floor Gents Toilets at Bowling Alley Sealing

In summary I’m happy to report we were able to effectively clean the slate floor and eliminate the bad odour caused by urine ingress in the process; then due to the busy nature of the bowling complex a combination of sealing products were applied to the stone to provide long-lasting protection.

Overall, our client was left with a cleaner and more durable slate floor.
 
 

Elimination of Odour in the Toilet’s Slate Floor at a Bowling Complex in Slough

Revitalising a Slate and Flag Stone floor in Cookham

Details below of a tired Slate and Flag Stone floor installed in a house in Cookham, Berkshire; the client was actually the son of an existing client whose floor we had also cleaned recently. The existing sealer had been wearing away over time and the floor had becoming increasingly ingrained with dirt making it difficult to keep clean, the solution was to strip the floor back and re-seal it.

Flagstone Floor Cookham Before Cleaning Slate Floor Cookham Before Cleaning

Stone Floor Cleaning

To clean and strip the tiles of the remaining sealer the floor was soaked in a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and scrubbed in using a weighted rotary machine to help loosen the soils and break down the sealers. The soiled solution was removed and it was clear some areas of the floor needed further attention to remove the sealer so an application of Tile Doctor Remove and Go was applied which was left to soak in for a while to assist in breaking down the sealer before being scrubbed again. Once the floor was clean and the sealer was gone the floor was rinsed using our hot truck mounted extraction system and was then allowed to dry for 36 hours.

Stone Floor Sealing

When we returned I checked to make sure the floor was dry and ready to seal, all was well so I then sealed both the Slate and Flagstone floors with six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go using a paint pad applicator.

Slate Floor Cookham After Cleaning Flagstone Floor Cookham After Cleaning

The floor looked much improved when finished I took time to explain how to clean the floor using a Neutral Cleaner that will extend the life of the sealer, the customer was pleased with the service and left the following comment on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

“We are very pleased with the results.
Peter Young, Cookham

Stone Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Berkshire