Viakal Etched Limestone Shower Tiles Restored in Farley Hill

This enquiry about a Limestone tiled shower came from a customer in Farley Hill which is a village near Reading. Unfortunately, in an attempt to freshen up their Limestone shower tiles ready for family visit they ended up etching them with a Limescale remover called “Viakal” leaving it in quite a sorry state.

Limestone Shower Tiles Etched by Viakal Before Renovation Farley Hill Limestone Shower Tiles Etched by Viakal Before Renovation Farley Hill

Limestone being calcium based reacted with the acid in the product resulting in the surface becoming etched and ruining its appearance. Viakal can be brought from just about every household cleaning aisle however it is acidic and should never be used on natural stone; in fact, if you read the label, you will find they do mention this.

Naturally the owner was horrified but fortunately this problem happens a lot and lot and Tile Doctor have worked out a solution, so after finding us on the Internet we were asked to pop round and work our magic.

Acid Etched Limestone Renovation

To remove acid etching the solution is to burnish the stone and repolish using a set of six-inch diamond pads of different grits from coarse to smooth. However, given the extent of the damage was quite small I decided to start using a set of smaller abrasive diamond hand blocks instead.

The process started by applying a 50-grit hand block to cut back the stone and remove the etching, water is used along the way to help lubricate and remove the soiling. This was then followed by applying a 100, 200 and finally 400-grit block.

Once the etching was removed, I moved onto the application of a set of burnishing pads to re close the pores in the stone and restore its final appearance and colour. The pads are applied to the Limestone tiles in sequence using a handheld buffer with water for lubrication. As with the blocks the sequence runs from a coarse 400-grit to very fine 3000-grit rinsing off the watery slurry with more water as I went.

Sealing Limestone Tiles in a Wet Room

The limestone tiles were then left to dry out and then after an early lunch l returned to apply a protective sealer. The sealer opted for in this case was Tile Doctor Colour Grow which as its name suggests restores colour and beauty to stone. Two generous coats were applied allowing an hour between coats.

Limestone Shower Tiles Etched by Viakal After Renovation Farley Hill Limestone Shower Tiles Etched by Viakal After Renovation Farley Hill

Once done my customer was so relieved the etching and limescale had been removed and ecstatic with the transformation. It’s a beautiful shower that has had its beauty restored. My customer has vowed never uses Viakal anywhere near her shower again and instead would use a natural cleaner like Tile Doctor stone soap.


Professional Limestone Tiled Shower Tile Renovation in Berkshire

Red Wine Stains Removed from Travertine Floor in Swallowfield

Earlier this year I was contacted by a homeowner from the village of Swallowfield near Reading about the removal of Red Wine staining from their Travertine tiled floor. Normally these requests are related to a few slashes of wine following a party however in this case the problem was much bigger.

Travertine Floor Before Red Wine Stain Removal Swallowfield Reading

It turns out that their cottage was undergoing some renovations and had a variety of different trades working on various things throughout. After returning to the property following a weekend away it became apparent that an expensive wine rack had fallen over, and two bottles of red wine had been smashed in the process. Consequently, a litre and a half of red wine had spilt onto the Travertine tile and grout and rather than mopping up the spill the contractors threw over some kitchen roll and then left for the weekend.

If you have a Travertine floor you will appreciate that its best to clean up a mess like immediately, leaving it any longer increases the chance the stain will breach the sealer and stain the stone and grout. In this case it had been left far too long and the red wine had penetrated the tile darkening its appearance, understandably my Customer was not happy.

Travertine Floor Before Red Wine Stain Removal Swallowfield Reading Travertine Floor Before Red Wine Stain Removal Swallowfield Reading

One of the advantages of being part of a group like Tile Doctor is they have developed numerous products and techniques for dealing with all types of situations related to the cleaning of stone, tile, and grout. Whilst the most popular work we do relates to the cleaning and sealing of floors sometimes we get asked to resolve more unusual issues such as this. Long story short I was able to arrange a visit to the property where I completed a successful cleaning demonstration, happy with the result from the demo the work was booked in.

Removing Red Wine Staining from Travertine

The first task was to clean the tiles to remove any remaining residue wine, I did this using Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner rinsing with plenty of water and extracting the soil with a wet vacuum. Though this did improve the stain slightly it was obvious the wine had penetrated deep into the stone. At this time, the customer was quite concerned that it wasn’t going to budge however I reassured him this was only the first stage of the process and trick up my sleeve.

I mentioned earlier Tile Doctor have developed numerous products and techniques and this includes Tile Doctor Reduxa which is a specialised stain remover that’s sole purpose is to remove acidic stains from stone.

Travertine Floor During Red Wine Stain Removal Swallowfield Reading Travertine Floor During Red Wine Stain Removal Swallowfield Reading

Working in small sections Reduxa is sprayed onto the stain tile, left to soak in and the dried out using a heat gun. Each time the treated area is dried in this manner the heat causes the product to evaporate taking the stain with it. It sounds simple but the process needed to be repeated six to eight times until the stain was invisible to the eye.

Following the removal of the stain I needed to restore the finish of the stone in the affected area by applying a series of Burnishing Pads from 400 to 3000 grit. These pads remove old sealers and then re-build the finish on the Travertine. It’s necessary to lubricate with water and then rinse the floor and extract afterwards as the coarser grit pads do generates some soil.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Floor

I returned the next day to reseal the stone however the floor needs to be dry before applying the sealer, so I checked the moisture levels first with a damp meter. Happily, the floor was dry, so I was able to move straight on to sealing by applying two good coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal.

Travertine Floor After Red Wine Stain Removal Swallowfield Reading Travertine Floor After Red Wine Stain Removal Swallowfield Reading

Ultra-Seal is a no-sheen, natural-look penetrating sealer that provides maximum stain protection without darkening or changing the appearance of the stone. It’s also an excellent grout sealer.

Travertine Floor After Red Wine Stain Removal Swallowfield Reading

By the time I had finished the floor looked much fresher and any sign of the wine stain was now long gone, my customer was delighted and much relieved.


Professional Removal of Wine Stains from Travertine in Berkshire

Limescale Stained Slate Effect Shower Tiles Renovated in Burghfield Bridge

A customer recently moved into a property in Burghfield Bridge with a luxurious slate tiled shower that was badly stained with Limescale. Limescale is a big problem in hard water areas and results in the build-up of tiny mineral deposits on wetted surfaces causing staining. A water softener was being installed prevent this happening in future, but he wanted to know if anything could be done to renovate the shower tiles.

Limescale Stained Slate Effect Porcelain Shower Tiles Before Cleaning Burghfield Bridge

Removing Limescale is not a problem but the solution will depend on multiple factors, so I went over to the property to survey the tiles and work out an accurate price for the renovation. I ran several cleaning tests and as it turns out the tiles were not Slate but Micro-Porous Porcelain made to look like Slate. It’s difficult to tell from these photographs but I could see the tiles had repeating patterns which you only get when a tile has been manufactured from the same mould. Slate being a natural product results in each tile being unique.

Limescale Stained Slate Effect Porcelain Shower Tiles During Cleaning Burghfield Bridge

After demonstrating a successful cleaning process, I was able to provide my customer with an accurate quote which was accepted and as it was convenient for both me and the customer I continued with the work.

Limescale Stained Slate Effect Porcelain Shower Tiles Before Cleaning Burghfield Bridge

Removing Limescale from Micro-Porous Porcelain Shower Tiles

The first obstacle to overcome was the heavy build-up of limescale that was ruining the appearance of the shower. I had worked out during testing that the best way to treat the problem was to apply Tile Doctor Acid Gel which being a gel works very well on vertical shower tiles where other products would simply run off. I wouldn’t use this on natural stone so as acidic products can etch stone however it was fine to use on Porcelain and was left to dwell for around thirty minutes.

The other advantage of gel-based products is that they don’t dry out, which is perfect when a longer dwell time is necessary. Once the gel had enough time to break down the mineral deposits, I agitated it with a black pad fitted to a rotary floor buffing machine and gave the grout lines a good scrub with a stiff grout brush before rinsing with plenty of water and vacuuming up the contaminated solution.

Although the whole area wasn’t effected with limescale I proceeded with the same process throughout to ensure the whole room would be uniform in appearance. For the vertical wall tiles I used a hand buffer fitted with a six-inch scrubbing pad. Acid Gel also worked well removing the Limescale on the glass shower screen, again it was left on for some time before being rinsed off. Any puddles or water streaks remaining were mopped up with towels and each tile was dried thoroughly with a heat gun.

Limescale Stained Slate Effect Porcelain Shower Tiles After Cleaning Burghfield Bridge

Sealing Micro-Porous Porcelain Tiles

I left the tiles to dry off naturally for a couple of house and then returned to apply a sealer. I took moisture readings first to ensure the tiles were dry and ready to be sealed. Some porcelain tiles won’t take a sealer and may end up rejecting it so I conducted a small test in an inconspicuous area under the bath first to make sure it would take. Micro-Porous Porcelain will normally take a sealer and my test proved positive.

Happy with the result of my test I started applying Tile Doctor Colour Grow which has a colour enhancing formula that worked well on the dark tile and deepened the black colour. The sealer will make the shower tiles much easier to clean going forward and any water should run straight off the tile and into the drain.

Limescale Stained Slate Effect Porcelain Shower Tiles After Cleaning Burghfield Bridge

The customer was over the moon with the transformation and left feedback below.

“Our tiles were extremely limescale damaged in our bathroom and Dennis done an amazing job making them look as good as new. Dennis even managed to finish the job earlier than expected which reduced our bill from the original quote. Excellent job and would highly recommend “

With some new knowledge on how to maintain his newly sealed tiles he was now keen to go ahead with the water softener installation in order to reduce the chances of limescale building up again.

Limescale Stained Slate Effect Porcelain Shower Tiles After Cleaning Burghfield Bridge


Limescale Stained Porcelain Shower Tiles Renovated in Berkshire

Stained Limestone Tiled Wet Room Renovated in Sonning Eye

This enquiry came from a theatre buff at a house in Sonning Eye near Reading who regularly hosted cast members playing at the local Mill Theatre. Five years prior he had a Limestone tiled wet room installed and unfortunately the floor tiles were laid unevenly and the fall on the tiles didn’t allow the water to drain off efficiently. The water would therefore tend to pool in the centre and overtime heavy limescale built-up and mould had also started to appear.

Limestone Shower Before Renovation Sonning Eye

Cast members staying at his house although grateful of the hospitality had often mention the state of the unsightly shower and so we were asked to pop round and see what could be done to renovate it and restore its appearance.

Shower Tile and Grout Cleaning

The first task was to remove the mould that had ingrained the Limestone, to do this I used Tile Doctor Duo Clean and scrubbed it into the tile with assistance from a steamer. I repeated this action three times, after each time I could see a visible improvement in the affected area and once it had lightened to a very faint grey, I knew that the next cleaning process to burnish the stone would see it disappear completely so left it at that.

Limestone Shower During Renovation Sonning Eye Limestone Shower During Steam Cleaning Sonning Eye

Next job was to remove the limescale build-up and re polish the Limestone tiles. I found the best way to do this was with a small hand-held machine, this allowed me to get into all the edges and groves that would have been impossible with a larger machine which would have struggled to cope with the uneven tiles.

Limestone Shower During Polishing Sonning Eye

I started with a 400-grit burnishing pad, but this struggled to cut into the years limescale build-up, so I switched this for 100-grit soft milling pad which did the trick. Once all the limescale had been removed it was time to rebuild the polish on the surface of the stone, so the process was repeated working through finer and finer burnishing pads 200, 400, 800,1500 and finally 3000-grit until the appearance of the Limestone was restored. This is quite a time-consuming process as the pad are quite small, additionally each pad is applied with water to provide lubrication which turns into a slurry that has to be rinsed off before applying the next pad. The result however is worth at as it really restores the polished appearance of the Limestone.
The last part of the cleaning process was to give the grout a quick clean I did this by scrubbing in Tile Doctor Pro-Clean along the grout lines with a grout brush, again rinsing off the slurry afterwards. Pro-Clean is a strong alkaline tile and grout cleaner that’s safe to use on natural stone.

Sealing Limestone Tiles in a Wet Room

The final task was to seal the Limestone and replace the worn mastic/silicon sealant around the edges. Usually I would leave the stone to dry out overnight but as it was a small area, I was able to thoroughly dry it out using a heat gun. Once dry two good coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal were applied to provide on-going protection. Ultra-Seal is an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the small pores in the stone thereby preventing dirt from becoming ingrained, also it doesn’t change the colour of the stone in any way leaving a very natural appearance.

Last step before finishing was to apply a fresh application of white mastic sealant along the edges of the tiling to ensure a good seal and no leaks.

Limestone Shower After Renovation Sonning Eye

My customer was over the moon with the result as initially he thought he might have to have it replaced. He was so pleased in fact that he left the following feedback on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

“Excellent prompt and courteous service from Dennis who I cannot recommend too highly. After completion of the work a previously very tired looking wet-room looked better than it did when new.”

Limestone Shower After Renovation Sonning Eye


Professional Stone Tiled Wet Room Renovation in Berkshire

Soiled Yellow and Black Victorian Quarry Tile Restoration

These Yellow and Black Quarry tiles are though to be original feature of this Victorian house in Reading and the owner was keen to get them renovated. The tiles were in basement of the house and over the years the tiles had suffered from water damage due to various small floods, they were now heavily soiled and the most challenging task would be to remove a large build up of mortar and cement.

Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles Before Cleaning Reading Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles Before Cleaning Reading

I ran a test clean in a corner of the smallest room to demonstrate the cleaning process and although confident I could significantly improve the appearance of the Quarry tiles. I had to explain to my customer that due to the years of neglect the outcome would not be perfect, however the test clean went well and the customer was happy with the outcome so booked me in to do the work.

Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles Before Cleaning Reading

Soiled Quarry Tile Cleaning

The first issue to tackle was to remove the dirt and ingrain soil which I did by scrubbing in a strong mix of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong tile and grout cleaner. The solution was left to soak in before ten minutes before being agitated with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. I then rinsed off the now soiled cleaning solution off using a hot water truck mounted extraction system.

Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles During Cleaning Reading
Now the ingrained dirt was taken care of, the most difficult task was to remove the cement/mortar built up that was covering a high percentage of the tiles. I did this using a combination of Tile Doctor products including Grout Clean-Up, Acid Gel and 50,100 grit diamond pads. I started with Grout Clean-up but found that Acid Gel worked better on this occasion. To deal with stubborn areas I left the Acid Gel to dwell overnight covered with plastic sheeting so it wouldn’t dry out.

The Acid Gel worked wonders and I was able to complete the cleaning process when I came back the next day giving the floor another rinse with the hot water extraction system. With the quarry tiles now clear I able to do a final spot check and used hand held burnishing blocks and very coarse 50 grit milling pad followed by a 100 grit diamond pad and another rinse to finish it off.

Quarry Tile Sealing

After leaving the floor to dry out over the weekend it was ready to be sealed. We had agreed on giving the Quarry Tiles a matt finish so I used three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a fully breathable colour enhancing sealer that works well on old clay tiles.

Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles After Cleaning Reading Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles After Cleaning Reading

I’m happy to say the floor turned out very well considering its condition, certainly my customer was very happy with the outcome and left the following feed back on the Tile Doctor Feedback system.

“Fantastic job – completely revived our Victorian cellar tiles, the before and after photos accurately show the difference the work has made! Also impressed by Dennis’s communication and responsiveness to our needs with the work”.

Yellow and Black Quarry Tiles After Cleaning Reading

Professional Restoration of old Victorian Quarry Tiles in Berkshire

Limestone Sign Wall Cleaning at Reading Business Park

This was an unusual request to clean a large Limestone wall used to mount a sign at a Reading Business Park that had been installed approximately 8 to 10 years prior and never cleaned. The old sign had been removed from the stone which had exposed the unprotected areas of stone leaving a shadow. Pollutants, carbon soils, road dirt and weathering had discoloured the Limestone and the client was unable to get it satisfactorily clean. You can see from the photo below how obviously dirty the stone had become.

Limestone sign before cleaning reading

Deep Cleaning a Limestone Wall

To get the Limestone cleaned I applied a liberal 50:50 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean with a roller brush and allowed it to dwell for on the stone for around twenty minutes.

Limestone sign during cleaning reading
The chemicals got to work on the dirt whilst I set up our truck mounted medium pressure hot water clean and capture system which uses a twin rotary jet system to fire hot water at 90 degrees at 1200psi onto the stone in a circular spinning motion. It’s a great tool that immediately vacuums the waste water away to a separate tank in the van. This mess free clean and capture system is self-contained and doesn’t require the disposal of hot water or dirty water on site either. Using the tool I was able to blast away the soils and pollutants from the stone and then left it to dry.

Limestone sign after cleaning reading

Sealing the Limestone Wall

When I returned I checked the stone was dry, fortunately it hadn’t rained and the sun and wind had dried it out well. To seal the Limestone I used Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that occupies the pores in the stone to prevent contaminates discolouring it, additionally it’s suitable for internal and external applications and has the added effect of enhancing the natural colour in the stone. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to take a final photograph once it was sealed due to a rather irritating traffic warden.

Cleaning and Sealing Limestone Sign Wall in Reading

Cleaning Antalya Limestone Tiles in Reading

I don’t mind a few stairs but these Antalya Limestone tiles were installed in a flat at the top of a three storey residential block in Reading with no lift. The sealer had worn down over time which was making the floor hard to clean and always looking dirty.

Cleaning a Limestone Tiled Floor

To clean the floor we applied a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a heavy duty alkaline cleaning product specially designed for cleaning stone floors. This was left to dwell for a while and then agitated using a rotary machine fitted with a Black Scrubbing pad. The soiled solution was then removed using a wet vacuum and the floor was then rinsed down with fresh clean water.

Antalya Limestone During Cleaning

Limestone Tiled Floor Polishing

We used a set of diamond encrusted Twister Burnishing Pads fitted to a rotary buffing machine to polish the Limestone floor. These pads are ideal for restoring the shine on hard stone surfaces such as Limestone and Marble, the come in a set of four and you start with the Red pad together with plain water and this cuts through and removes surface grime and any surface seal. You then progress through one by one until you get to the final Green pad which provides a high polish.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

Once the floor was dry I sealed it using two coats of Tile Doctor Pro-Seal which is a penetrating sealer that provides a natural look and will help protect the floor going forward.

Antalya Limestone After Cleaning

Restoring Antalya Limestone Tile in Berkshire

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