Black Limestone Patio Ruined with Brick Acid in Highclere Village

Black Limestone has become very popular in recent years, unfortunately however we find installers ruin its appearance with the use of unsuitable cleaning products. This was the case with this relatively new property in Highclere Village near Newbury in Berkshire.

Black Limestone had been installed throughout the exterior by a landscaping company, but the owner wasn’t satisfied with they had left the stone. It turns out they used brick acid to wash away the remaining residue that had been left from a messy installation. Limestone is acid sensitive, and this resulted in the stone being stripped of its natural oils that give it the rich black colour. The stone now looked very grey, bland and was extremely porous. It certainly wasn’t how the client expected the patio to look.

Black Limestone Paved Steps Before Renovation Highclere Village

I visited the house and conducted a test in a small inconspicuous area. Luckily the Limestone hadn’t been sealed which was fortunate as stripping back exterior stone sealers can be a very time-consuming process. After the demo was completed the client was very satisfied and a provisional date was booked in. The client was eager to have the Black Limestone patio looking lovely ready for the summer weather, but we would need a dry day to be able to complete the work.

Black Limestone Paving Before Renovation Highclere Village

Highclere is a village situated in the North Wessex Downs, an area of natural outstanding beauty. It is also home to Highclere Castle, which has been used in many films and TV series, including Downton Abbey.

Renovating Black Limestone Patio Tiles

The first job was to remove all the surface dirt that had built up on the surface of the stone since it had been laid. I did this using a cleaning and extraction system that’s run from my vehicle. It’s a high-pressure cleaner with long hoses that can clean and extract dirt keeping things as mess free as possible. Once the area was cleaned the stone was left to bake and dry out in the hot sun.

Later that afternoon I conducted several moisture tests with a damp meter. The readings were good so I was happy the stone was dry, and I could move onto the next stage of re-oiling the stone. I used Tile Doctor Stone Oil for this purpose, it’s a conditioning product that penetrates the stone and revives the colour. Two coats were applied throughout and any excess oil that hadn’t penetrated the stone was buffed off. The oil was then left to cure overnight.

Sealing a Black Limestone Patio

I returned the next day and was very pleased how the Limestone looked, the rich colour was now showing. The oil had cured, and the stone was ready to seal. Two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal were applied to seal the stone. Rated for external use Ultra-Seal works by occupying the pores in the stone thereby preventing dirt from become ingrained there. This product doesn’t change the appearance of the stone, resulting in a completely natural look.

Black Limestone Paving After Renovation Highclere Village

My client was over the moon with how her Black Limestone now looked and left the following feedback: “Dennis oiled and sealed our newly laid black limestone paving. He transformed it from grey and stained looking into a beautiful black even colour. He takes great pride in his work and I would recommend him highly.”

Black Limestone Paved Steps After Renovation Highclere Village

 

Professional Restoration of a Black Limestone Patio in Berkshire

Restoring a Large Red Marble Patio at a Newbury Villa

I recently had a call out to an unusual property in Newbury to renovate a large Red Marble Patio. The design of the house was clearly inspired by the Mediterranean and resembled a Spanish Villa. The UK winter had not been very kind to the large Red Marble patio and now looked faded and lifeless.

Marble Tiled Patio Before Renovation Newbury

I inspected the patio and could see that it had been previously sealed with a topical product that had deteriorated in parts over time leaving the stone looking patchy and dull. After having the same stone installed throughout the interior of the property she wanted to know if the exterior stone could be renovated to match.

To get a better idea of what it would take to complete the work and produce an accurate quote I ran some cleaning tests on a spare tile. The demonstration went very well, and it gave the client a good idea of the outcome they could expect. Happy with the potential result and my quote I was booked to return and complete the renovation.

Marble Tiled Patio Before Renovation Newbury

Cleaning a Red Marble Tiled Patio in Newbury

This was a large Patio to clean so I worked in sections and starting with brushing and vacuuming to remove all the surface dirt and debris that could impact the stone burnishing process. Then using water for lubrication, I started refinishing the Marble with a very coarse 100-grit diamond pad fitted to a weighted rotary machine. This pad cut through the layers of remaining topical sealant that had built up on the surface of the stone. After a rinse with more water I followed this with a less coarse 200-grit pad. I found that in some areas, such as along the edges of the tile, a thick build-up of old sealer needed to be weakened first using Tile Doctor Remove and Go before the pads could cut through.

Marble Tiled Patio During Renovation Newbury

Once the old seal had been removed, I could focus on burnishing the stone which is a polishing process that hones the stone and brings back its polished appearance. I did this using a set of diamond burnishing pads starting with a 400-grit pad and working my way through the sequence of pads with 800 and 1500-grit. The pads are applied using a rotary floor buffer and again lubricated with water, the stone is rinsed with water afterwards and the slurry picked up with a wet vacuum. The last pad to be applied is an extra fine 3000-grit pad which leaves the stone with a good sheen, the pad is applied dry with only a little water sprayed onto the tile.

Marble Tiled Patio Before Renovation Newbury

Sealing a Red Marble Tiled Patio

I returned the following morning to check the stone had thoroughly dried and could be sealed. Fortunately, the warm weather had persisted, and I was able to finish the stone with three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This sealer is known for bringing out the natural colours in stone and it didn’t disappoint making the deep red colours in the Marble really stand out against the white veins. Colour grow is also an impregnating sealer that seeps into the pores of the stone protecting it from within and will fare much better protecting the stone in the UK elements.

Marble Tiled Patio After Renovation Newbury

This burnishing and sealing process was repeated in the numerous areas that made up the entire patio except for the stairs which had to be done using the same method but with a handheld polisher as the rotary machine was simply too large. Being external the work was weather dependant and so had to be done in stages as it rained between visits and the stone had to be left to dry out again before continuing. This slowed up the process, but we got there once the weather had improved.

Marble Tiled Patio Before Renovation Newbury Marble Tiled Patio During Renovation Newbury

Overall the client was very pleased with the work and was happy that both the newly installed interior and the rejuvenated old stone looked uniform.

For aftercare I recommended the use the Tile Doctor Stone Soap Cleaner which will clean and help maintain the patina on the stone, also it won’t prematurely erode the sealer like more aggressive cleaning products you find in supermarkets.

Marble Tiled Patio After Renovation Newbury

 

Professional Restoration of a Red Marble Tiled Patio 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