Restoring a Limescale Stained Slate Tiled Ensuite in Stevenage

Our client contacted Tile Doctor as they were having problems cleaning their Slate tiled ensuite bathroom. We visited the property in nearby Stevenage, a London commuter town which is between Letchworth Garden City and Welwyn Garden City. The bathroom had been fitted some time ago, but due to the hard water in the area, there had been a large build up of limescale. The dark slate tiles showed this up even more.

Slate Tiled Bathroom EnSuite Stevenage Before Cleaning

My client had tried numerous household products on the tiles, but nothing was shifting the heavy build up. I discussed with them what Tile Doctor could do and completed a small demonstration. They were surprised how easily we were able to improve the tiles. We agreed a price and a timescale and booked the work in for a few weeks’ time.

Cleaning and Restoring a Slate Tiled Ensuite Bathroom

The ensuite shower required intensive cleaning to the shower walls and floor where excessive limescale was present so we got to work cleaning with Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel, this is a strong alkaline based cleaner and degreaser, it is a gel so it works well on vertical surfaces where a long dwell time is required to break down dirt, grime, soap scum, oil based products. We left the product on the surface for approximately 10 minutes, removing all previous sealers and dirt. The residue was rinsed off and followed this up with a second clean using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up.

Grout Clean-Up is an acidic product designed to remove mineral deposits however you need to be careful with some types of stone as it can etch the surface if used incorrectly. To apply the product was diluted with water in a spray bottle and sprayed on to the wall tiles where it was scrubbed in and then rinsed off. The process was then repeated on the floor rinsing down thoroughly afterwards with water.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Ensuite Bathroom

Once the slate was clean and dry we proceeded to cut out the existing silicone sealant which was equally stained and was beyond cleaning. This is a slow job and care needs to be taken not to scratch the tiles. It is important to ensure all the old silicone is removed so there is a nice clean surface to reapply the new. This also gave the shower area more time to dry out.

We tested with the moisture meter to ensure the shower area was fully dry and then applied the sealer. We chose to apply three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, this is an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the pores in the stone, so dirt can’t become ingrained there, its also a colour enhancing sealer that provides durable protection. We applied the coats then lightly buffed off the excess with a soft cloth and allowed the slate to dry. The following day we returned to re-silicone all the edges and joints.

Slate Tiled Bathroom EnSuite Stevenage After Cleaning

We recommended to the customer to use a mild solution of Tile Doctor Stone Soap as a maintenance cleaner for the slate. The client was very happy with the result and could see that cleaning with the appropriate product would ensure the ensuite bathroom continued to look good. The whole job took a day and a half to complete.

 

Professional Restoration of Slate Tiled Ensuite Bathroom in Hertfordshire

Lacklustre Multi-Coloured Slate Tiled Floor Transformed in Datchworth

Slate is a very popular choice for floor tiles due to it being hard wearing with a relatively low porosity making it more stain resistant. Some property owners opt for darker Slate, while others prefer wonderful multi-coloured Slate, such as that used in this kitchen in Datchworth, a small village in between the towns of Herford, Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City.

Multi Coloured Sawn Slate Play Room Floor Datchworth Before Cleaning

What can be said for certain is that no-one likes a dull looking and dirty floor! Unfortunately, Slate tiles can easily lose their lustre if not treated to routine maintenance. This customer felt that her Slate tiles, which covered the kitchen, utility room and a child’s playroom, were well overdue a refresh. Here’s what we did.

Cleaning a Slate Tiled Kitchen and Utility Room

We followed our tried-and-tested process for restoring the natural lustre and appearance of Slate tiles.

To begin, we removed any old sealant on the tiles using Tile Doctor Remove & Go, which is both a coatings stripper and cleaning product. The product was applied liberally across the floor and worked into the tiles using a buffing machine fitted with a black buffing pad. Hand-held brushes were used to tackle the fine grout lines. This process removed old sealers and gave the tile and grout an initial clean.

Multi-Coloured Sawn Slate Kitchen Floor Datchworth Before Cleaning Multi-Coloured Sawn Slate Utility Floor Datchworth Before Cleaning

Next, we applied Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is our industrial strength tile and grout cleaner which was scrubbed into the Tile and Grout as before to remove remaining ingrained dirt. The resultant slurry was promptly removed using a wet vacuum.

To complete the cleaning process, we steam cleaned the Slate to remove any further residue trapped in the pores of the stone and any trace of cleaning product. The floor was then left to dry off overnight so it would be ready for sealing in the morning.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Kitchen and Utility Room

Upon returning to the property, we ran some quick damp tests, since even a small quantity of moisture can cloud the sealant and damage its performance. Thankfully, the tiles proved dry and we were able to seal the Slate using three applications of Tile Doctor Colour Grow.

This impregnating sealer helps to enrich the natural colours in the stone, while offering a natural-looking matte finish and robust protection. Between each application of sealant, we machine-buffed the surface of the floor to help dry the stone naturally while maintaining the matte finish.

Multi-Coloured Sawn Slate Kitchen Floor Datchworth After Cleaning Multi-Coloured Sawn Slate Utility Floor Datchworth After Cleaning

This two-day job was truly transformative for these Slate tiles. Just compare the before and after photos above – the customer was certainly very impressed with the speed and quality of the work. Another satisfied customer.

Multi Coloured Sawn Slate Play Room Floor Datchworth After Cleaning

 
 

Professional Renovation of a Dull and Lacklustre Multi-Coloured Slate Tiled Floor in Hertfordshire

St Albans Slate Floor Renovation

The Slate floor in the kitchen and conservatory of a house in St. Albans was laid around five to six years old and now required deep cleaning and re-sealing. Previously a grout repair had been carried out but unfortunately after the initial clean the grout applied was the wrong colour and needed to be replaced.

Slate floor before restoration

Cleaning the Slate Floor

The Slate floor was pre-cleaned using a diluted solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mixed with Nanotech Ultra-Clean scrubbed with a buffing machines fitted with a polypropylene brush running at a slow speed. The dirty solution was removed using a wet vacuum, floor rinsed with clean water and left to dry.

It’s not a good idea to apply new sealer on top of a different product so it was necessary to ensure all the old sealer had been completely removed. Sealers are by nature stubborn to remove so it was necessary to apply Remove & Go (a product designed for the removal of sealers) which we left to dwell on the surface for an hour. Often a strong solution of Pro-Clean is sufficient but not in this case.

The dirty solution was removed with the wet vacuum and rinsed with water to remove any residues and neutralise the floor.

Removing Grout

To remove the grout we used a specialist “Oscillating Grout Tool”, if there was a large area to do we would normally recommend the user of an epoxy Grout Colourant however there wasn’t a great deal to remove so it was quicker to cut out the offending Grey grout and replace with a matching sandstone.

Grout removal and repair Cutting out with an Oscillating grout tool

Sealing the Slate Floor

We sealed the floor with a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which really helps bring out the deep colour from the slate. To finish and build up the lustre and richness of the colour we then applied seven coats of Seal & Go.

Finished Slate floor with new grout
All of the job took two full days and was ready for soft foot traffic after two hours of completion and fully dry in 24 hours. For maintenance we recommended the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner, diluted 1:30 with water and applied with a microfibre flat mop, rinse with water and then remove with a clean microfibre flat mop.

The customer was very pleased with the results and left the following comment:

We are delighted with the results achieved by the Tile Doctor on our slate floor. It looks like we have laid a completely new floor in our kitchen and conservatory! Rob was a true professional and we would thoroughly recommend the Tile Doctor to anyone considering using their services

Ms. S. Hiller, St Albans, Hertfordshire

 

Slate Floor Renovation in St. Albans

Cleaning Natural Slate Paving

We were asked to take a look at a natural slate paving leading up to the entrance of a lovely old residence in North London. The slate path had only been recently laid, grouted and sealed and the owner was not best pleased with the results and a request was made to remedy the situation and return the slate back to its natural colour and appearance.

Natural Slate Path Before Cleaining Natural Slate Path Before Cleaining

We carried out a series of tests to ensure we could remove both the sealer and grout haze from the surface of the tile. It’s not a good idea to apply a different sealer on top of an existing product as the end results will be inconsistent and the products maybe incompatible. We cleaned up the tile, sealed it and left it to weather for a few days to demonstrate to the customer the durability of the finish.

Natural Slate Path Pre-testing Natural Slate Path Pre-testing

Cleaning Natural Slate Paving

All was well with the test and we got the green light to do the whole slate path. We started by cleaning the path with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was then washed off and allowed to dry. We then applied Tile Doctor Remove and Go mixed 50/50 with Tile Doctor NanoTech Ultra Clean; this is a really powerful combination which we left to dwell on the tile for an hour in order to soften up the current sealer and ingrained dirt. The solution was then removed and the slate tile washed down with more water.

Natural Slate Path Mid-Process
With the sealer removed we tackled the Grout Haze by using Grout Clean Up and a fair amount of elbow grease with stainless steel and polypropylene detail brushes.

Last step before sealing was to neutralise the floor with another rinse down, this time washing the tile with Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner, it’s important that any remaining chemical is removed from the surface otherwise it may upset the sealer.

Sealing Natural Slate Paving

Finally once the slate had dried, we applied 3 coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow and buffed off the last coat with a buffing pad to bring out the deep colour from within the Slate; the sealer was fully dry and path ready for normal use 12 hours. For maintenance we recommend using Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner, diluted 1 to 30 with water applied with a microfibre flat mop, rinse with water and dry with second microfibre mop. The customer was very happy with the results and left the following message:

Robert’s communication was excellent and he always kept us informed on what to expect and the timescales involved. He was very reliable and punctual and the quality of his work was to a very high standard. We were very pleased with his work and overall service.
Mr. M. Vaughan, Alexandra Park, London

Natural Slate Path Cleaned and Sealed

Cleaning Natural Slate Paving in North London