Recently I visited a client in the town of Maidenhead, Berkshire who needed assistance restoring a very dirty pitted Limestone tiled floor which had suffered over the years due to poor maintenance choices. The pressures of a busy family life had, understandably, prevented my client from undertaking regular cleaning and the products and methods used for cleaning were by and large unsuitable for this type of natural stone. In addition, the pits in the tiles had been filled with grout; however, they were not flush to the tile and therefore a large amount of soil had collected in the pockets. The result was a Limestone tiled floor in considerably poor condition that was increasingly difficult to keep clean.
My client had tried and tried to get the floor clean, using methods such as scrubbing with toothbrushes, steam cleaners, and mopping – but they weren’t getting anywhere! I explained to my client that steaming is, in fact, one of the worst cleaning systems to use on natural stone floors. Steam not only damages sealers, it also thins out greasy soils. Some of these soils are absorbed onto the domestic microfiber pads, however a lot of the soil becomes thinner allowing it to penetrate deeper into the pours of the stone and grout. This in itself starts the vicious circle to rapidly soiled and dirty tiles and grout. This happens because the grease soils magnetise dirt!
Solution: cleaning a Limestone tiled floor
My first task in the cleaning process was to mix a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a high alkaline cleaner. This solution was applied liberally across the entire Limestone tiled floor and grout. It was allowed to dwell for 30-40 minutes, giving it time to seep into the stone to get underneath and lift the ingrained dirt to the surface. During this time, I scrubbed the grout lines using a specialist stiff grout brush. The Limestone tiles were then scrubbed with heavy mechanical rotary agitation machine.
I then gave the floor a thorough rinse using the latest in cleaning and capture technology, which involves firing hot water at high pressure in a spinning motion across the floor, in effect blasting away the ingrained soils from the grout and pitting in the limestone. The high pressure is delivered from a system mounted inside my van which also contains waste tanks to capture the extracted soiled water.
Solution: sealing a Limestone tiled floor
After being allowed to dry thoroughly for 24 hours, I returned to seal the floor with Tile Doctor Colour Grow which would have brought out the deep colours in the stone, however after discussing the options with the client it became clear that they wanted to keep the floor looking as light as possible so Tile Doctor Ultra Seal was applied. Ultra Seal is a natural look impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone and protects it from within.
The floor now looks fantastic and the sealer should ensure it remains looking that way for some time to come and before leaving I made sure to provide my client with some professional maintenance advice.