Work History

Flood Damaged Jura Limestone Floor Restored in Kirkby Lonsdale

The recent winter floods had a devastating effect on Cumbria, with many houses suffering severe damage from exposure to the water. This property in Kirkby Lonsdale had been flooded, and while the contract cleaners had made some basic repairs, the Jura Limestone floor had been left dull and patchy, and in dire need of a professional restoration.

Jura Limestone After Burnishing Kirkby Londsdale
Jura Limestone has been around for over 180 million years and is an absolutely top quality stone, consisting of up to 97% dense calcium carbonate. Thanks to its density it is far less porous than other types of Limestone available on the market. Generally speaking, this makes it easy to look after as it is more difficult for dirt to become ingrained.

Jura Limestone Before Burnishing Kirkby Londsdale

Burnishing and Cleaning a Jura Limestone floor

To restore the surface of the floor we used a process known as burnishing, which achieves particularly good results on polished stone tiles. It involves the application of several burnishing pads with different grades of grit to break down any old sealer and dirt, and to gradually smooth and polish the rough surface of the tiles.

In this case, I worked my way through through the four pad system, starting with a Coarse pad lubricated with a little water before moving on to Medium, Fine and Very Fine pads to achieve the desired polished finish.

Following this, we decided that the grout would also benefit from a special clean with Tile Doctor Pro Clean, and so applied the high alkaline cleaner to tackle the outstanding stains and dirt. The whole floor was then rinsed with clean water to remove any remaining slurry and then left to dry.

Sealing a Jura Limestone floor

We returned to the property the following day, by which time the floor had dried completely. I gave the tiles another polish with an Extra Fine burnishing pad, before proceeding to seal the floor with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone to provide durable protection whilst enhancing the natural shades in the Limestone.

Jura Limestone After Burnishing Kirkby Londsdale
Finally, I gave the floor one last polish with the Extra Fine burnishing pad just to tighten up the hone and polish off any extra sealer.Jura-Limestone-After-Cleaning-in-Kirby-Lonsdale

You can see the results in the corresponding photographs, and needless to say, the customers were exceptionally pleased to have their fantastic floor back to looking its best, especially considering the significant damage caused by the floods.

 

Limestone Floor Restoration in Kirkby Londsdale

Limestone Fireplace Hearths Stained by Flooding Rejuvenated in Morecambe

Morecambe is a large town on Morecambe Bay in Lancashire, and is a tourist hotspot within the region – particularly amongst beach goers during the summer. However, due to its location of being right next to the coast and near to the River Lune, Morecambe is an area which is commonly affected by flash flooding. Just last year there were several episodes of severe flooding.

This flooding has a big impact on houses and businesses – the damage water can cause can come as quite a surprise if you have not experienced it before. I recently visited to a business in Morecambe which had been affected by flooding. The business was, in fact, a fireplace showroom and a pair of the Limestone fireplace hearths on display had been stained by the water.

Floor Damaged Limestone Fireplace Hearth Before Cleaning Floor Damaged Limestone Fireplace Hearth Before Cleaning

We were asked to remove the water marks left by the flooding. One of the hearths has been in use as a test model, with a coal burner installed, and it hadn’t been cleaned properly in some time. As you can imagine, there were more problems than just the water stains to overcome! Both hearths would require a deep clean and fresh seal.

Cleaning Stained and Dirty Limestone Fireplaces

To begin, we applied Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel to the hearths. This product is a specially formulated, alkaline-based degreaser and cleaner. As it comes in a gel form, not a liquid, Oxy Gel can be brushed into vertical surfaces and left to soak, without risk of it either disappearing into the Limestone or, even worse, trickling down the side of the surface. We would not want it coming into contact with the carpet, for instance.

We left the Oxy-Gel to dwell for a short period on one hearth while we worked on the other, applying the same treatment. After around twenty-five minutes we rinsed off the gel with clean water and then extracted any excess moisture with the use of a wet vacuum.

This process did a good job of cleaning the Limestone, but more work was required to restore its appearance, so the hearths were polished 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.

There were some odd ring marks on one of the Limestone hearths that we couldn’t remove. Thankfully, the owner put our minds to rest on this problem, as he said they were there when he initially purchased the stone over 20 years ago. They had been covered with dirt ever since and the customer was surprised, but not shocked, to see them again. I suspect that these marks were caused by the natural mineral deposits within the stone. These should not be seen as a stain, but just a characteristic of the stone – and no amount of cleaning will get these marks out.

We would normally seal a light-coloured stone like this with Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, as this no-sheen product helps to retain the natural patina of the stone. Alternatively, if we wanted to darken the tone of the Limestone, we would apply Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a colour-intensifying, impregnating sealer. Two coats of either sealer would suffice, in this case despite being very pleased with the results of the cleaning, the customer decided that he wanted to take care of sealing of the stone himself.

Floor Damaged Limestone Fireplace Hearth After Cleaning Floor Damaged Limestone Fireplace Hearth After Cleaning

 

Water Stained Limestone Fireplace Hearth Restoration in Morecambe

Grout Colour Restoration on a Ceramic Kitchen Floor Ulverston

This client got in touch to see if we could clean the grout in her large kitchen floor which was tiled with Terracotta style Ceramic tiles. As per usual we visited the property first which was in the market town of Ulverston to survey the floor and get a better idea of what was required.

Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Grout Colouring Ulverston

Believe it or not the grout had originally been Sandstone in colour, but poor cleaning practices had reduced the colour back to grey as all floor grouts (apart from white) are basically a cement grey with a colour dye added. I suspect the customer had been using a strong bleach-based product to clean the floor with which as well as removing colour can also lead to dehydration resulting in cracking. It’s work knowing that even the “Green Cleaning Products” on the market generally contain at least 5% of “non-ionic surfactants” which can also impact grout with constant use.

Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Grout Colouring Ulverston Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Grout Colouring Ulverston

Our recommendation was to re-colour the grout using a durable Tile Doctor Grout Colourant which seals and rejuvenates existing grout and is available in ten popular colours. The client was happy that we could improve the appearance of the floor, we agreed a price and scheduled the work in which would take two days to complete.

Cleaning and Colouring Grout on a Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor

It was a large 45m2 kitchen and so it took most of the first day just to clean the grout using Tile Doctor Grout Colourant Pre-Treater. This is an effective ready-to-use acidic cleaner which is designed to lightly etch and clean the grout joints so that you achieve a superior bond with the colourant. The product comes in a spray bottle so its just a question of spraying it onto the tile, leaving it for five minutes and then scrubbing it in with a brush. Afterwards you rinse it off with water and extract with a wet vacuum.

We worked our way across the large floor area in sections leaving an air blower in place over the completed section to accelerate the drying process. Once we managed to get a cleaned area dry, we started to apply the first coat of Grout Colourant. The colourant is relatively easy to apply with a small brush, you just need to ensure that any excess that gets on the tile is wiped off before it dries.

Once the second of coat of grout colourant had been applied and had dried the floor was inspected and touched up further where required. Before leaving we gave the floor a dry polish with our buffing machine just so it all looked spick and span before we handed the floor back to the customer. There was no need to seal the floor, Ceramic tiles won’t accept a sealer and the grout will now be protected by the colourant which acts like a barrier.

Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor After Grout Colouring Ulverston Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor After Grout Colouring Ulverston

The transformation to the floor was huge as you can see in the pictures. My customer was over the moon with the results and left the following feedback:

‘I can recommend the professional services of Russell and team, nothing was too much trouble and the job was completed on time with excellent results’
Karen. Ulverston

Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor After Grout Colouring Ulverston

 

Professional Grout Restoration of a Ceramic Tiled Kitchen Floor in Lancashire

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