Limestone Tile Cleaning and Polishing

Cleaning a Flood Stained Limestone Fireplace in Chelmsford

The UK has been experiencing an increasing amount of rain over the last few years and this has resulted in quite a few areas being flooded. One of those areas is the old city of Chelmsford in the middle of Essex which is prone to flooding due to the rivers Cam and Chelmer that run through the town.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Flood Staining Chelmsford

I was asked to visit a property in the town that had been flooded over winter and the red dye in the carpet that was lying on the floor adjacent to their lovely Limestone Fireplace had stained the hearth in several places but primarily around the edges.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Red Dye Staining Chelmsford

The fire place had never been sealed and because of this the stone had sucked up the flood water like a sponge. They had drying equipment installed and as the moisture evaporated the red staining became more and more evident. Since then several companies had been to try and remedy the problem and each one was unsuccessful. The couple contacted us, and we went to assess the problem fully equipped to carry out the work.

Cleaning a Dye Stained Limestone Fireplace Hearth

Had the Fireplace been sealed we our first task would have been to remove to ensure we would have no issues sealing the fireplace later. In this case however that wasn’t an issue, so we were able to move straight onto cleaning up the stone using a set of diamond encrusted hand-held burnishing blocks. We started with the coarsest block (50 grit) and rubbed the stone with a bit of added water as lubrication, before wet vacuuming away the excess residue. This process was then repeated with progressively finer blocks (100, 200 and 400 grit), and the hearths were given a final rinse with fresh water.

The burnishing blocks are excellent tools to remove scratches and marks from tile and stone and did a good job of removing the red dye from around the hearth. They also took care of some marks that had appeared where the owner had placed a couple of slate tiles on the flat part of the hearth.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Rust Stain Spots Chelmsford

Along with these marks were some corrosion spots where a metal ornament had been sitting on the hearth for several years. I treated these with Tile Doctor Rust Away which is a specialist product for removing rust stains from tile and stone after a few applications the stain was gone.

Limestone Fireplace Showing Rust Stain Spots Chelmsford

Sealing a Limestone Fireplace Hearth

After we had cleaned the fireplace up to the satisfaction of the client we used a smail dryer to dry everything out so that we could finish the job and seal the fireplace the same day. Once the stone moisture levels were at the correct level the Limestone Fireplace was sealed using three coats of Tile doctor Ultra-Seal leaving twenty minutes between coats.

Ultra-Seal is a no-sheen product that impregnates the pores of the stone protecting from within without changing the look of the stone thereby leaving it with a natural appearance. I’m please to say our efforts paid off and the Limestone Fireplace and Hearth is now stain free and looking like new.

Limestone Fireplace After Rust Stain Removal Chelmsford Limestone Fireplace After Flood Stain Removal Chelmsford

 

Dye Stained Limestone Fireplace and Hearth Restoration in Chelmsford

Shine and Lustre restored to a Limestone Tiled Floor Witham

These Limestone tiles had been laid in a modern property in Witham, an Essex town that sits between Chelmsford and Colchester. The property owners had spent many hours over the years cleaning and sealing the floor to maintain its condition, but while the tiles were in certainly in good shape, they had lost their shine and lustre. The result was quite a dull looking floor that could certainly be improved on.

When the property owners contacted me about the problem, I informed them that due to the hardness of the stone only a process known as burnishing, which involves cleaning and polishing with special gritted pads instead of a liquid product, would do the trick to restore the Limestone tiles.

Burnishing a Limestone Tiled Floor

We use burnishing to restore several types polished stone to looking their best, including Limestone, Marble, and Travertine. Tile Doctor’s burnishing system consists of four diamond encrusted twister pads with varying levels of grit. The pads are graded so that each hones the stone to a greater degree than the previous one, resulting in the build-up of a durable polish and shine on the stone.

Using a small amount of water as lubrication, I worked my way through the system, applying each pad in succession, beginning with the Coarse grit pad, before on to Medium, Fine and Very Fine pads. While polishing the tiles, the diamond encrusted pads also serves to break down any dirt. Thankfully, these tiles were already well taken care off and were not currently suffering from heavy soil build up.

After completing the burnishing process, I promptly rinsed away any cleaning slurry and left the floor to dry.

Limestone tiles before cleaning Witham Limestone tiles after cleaning Witham

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Floor

I returned the property once the floor had dried completely to seal the tiles, with my choice of sealer being Tile Doctor Colour Grow. I applied three coats of the sealer to the tiles, before buffing them for a final time.

Colour Grow is an ideal sealer for Limestone for two main reasons. Firstly, it is an impregnating sealer, meaning it penetrates deep into the pores of the Limestone to provide robust protection against ingrained dirt. Secondly, it contains colour intensifying properties which enhance the natural colours in the Limestone.

I took a couple of photographs before and after (above) in which you can see a significant improvement in the shine and lustre of the Limestone tiles. Most of the cream and tan shades in the Limestone were practically invisible before the burnishing was carried out and a fresh seal was applied – now the tiles stand out as the most prominent feature of the room. Needless to say, the customer was very satisfied.
 
 

Restoring the appearance of a Limestone tiled floor in Essex

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