I received an enquiry from a property in Crowthorne to come and survey an unknown Flagstone Floor in a converted barn that was ready to be rented out. The owners where concerned the stone was letting the rest of the property down due to it being dirty and heavily stained, particularly around the kitchen and entrance areas. If your selling or renting out a property it really needs to look its best if you want to achieve a good price. Having spoken over the phone we agreed a date for me to pop over to complete a survey.
From further inspection I confirmed the stone was in fact a Sandstone, it was also clear that the sealer protecting the stone from ingrained dirt had worn away and was now allowing dirt and staining to ruin the appearance of the flagstones. It was a large floor so I measured up so I could work out the quantities of cleaning and sealing products needed and then walked the customer through the cleaning process. Later that day I sent over a detailed quotation which was accepted, and a date agreed for my return.
I should mention this work took place during the Covid restrictions, fortunately being a rental property, I was able to work in the property alone.
Deep Cleaning the Sandstone Tiled Floor
To deep clean the floor and remove the ingrained dirt and staining I used a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. It is sprayed onto the floor and left to soak in for five minutes before agitating with a Black scrubbing pad fitted to a weighted buffing machine. The resultant slurry was then wet extracted away using a powerful high-pressure van mounted extracting system.
This action cleaned up most of the stone nicely however certain areas where heavily stained, particularly in the kitchen area where food and drink stains were more apparent. To tackle this, I applied a stronger cleaner/stripper product called Tile Doctor Remove and Go this time allowing ten minutes for it to soak in before scrubbing the surface with a very coarse 100-grit soft milling pad. This took quite a few attempts each time extracting the slurry away and then inspecting the floor to see if more work was needed.
Happy the stains have been removed, I then focused on renovating the surface Sandstone after the application of the coarse pad. This involves the application of several finer grit burnishing pads which close the pores and adds a subtle polish to the Sandstone. As I started with 100-grit pad it was necessary to gradually refine the surface with an incremental series of pads that included 200, 400 and finally 800-grit pads. Then to ensure a uniform finish across the floor I continued the 400 and 800 grit pads throughout the property. Water is used to lubricate the process and this turns into a fine slurry that is rinse extracted as before.
The cleaning process took up the whole of the first day and I am pleased to say the Sandstone floor looked very clean after I had finished.
Sealing the Sandstone Floor
The stone was then allowed dry off overnight with the aid of an industrial air mover and I returned later the next day to apply a new protective seal. In the meantime, my customer had been over to check out the floor and were over the moon with how it looked and wanted to keep the finish as natural as possible.
With this in mind, I applied Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal sealer to the Sandstone throughout, only two coats were needed. This is a premium sealer that is almost invisible and works by penetrating the stone thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained. Once done the floor looked very clean and much brighter than before, it now had that wow factor which will help it attract a good yield in the rental market.
The trouble with rental properties of course is making sure the tenant uses the right product to maintain the floor and not a typical supermarket tile cleaner that are only designed for use on Ceramic and Porcelain tiles. In fact, these types of cleaning product can slowly strip the sealer off the floor so it’s always worth checking the label before purchasing. Fortunately Tile Doctor sells a product called Neutral Cleaner that is ideal for maintaining sealed stone floors, so I left them with a complimentary bottle and recommended they get some more to leave under the sink for the new tenant.