Limestone Tile Cleaning and Polishing

Large Area of Limestone Tiled Flooring Burnished in Uckfield

This customer owned a large house in Uckfield, East Grinstead with honed Limestone tiled flooring throughout the whole downstairs, which comprised the living room, dining room and kitchen.

The Limestone floor was in good condition and had been treated to regular professional care, however, the customer wanted the floor to be pristine and I was asked to further refine the appearance of the floor. Limestone is a very tough stone so this is done primarily through the process of burnishing using diamond encrusted pads.

Burnishing Honed Limestone Tiles

I began with the dining room area, first shifting the furniture out of the way to allow space for the burnishing to take place, before bringing in my three main tools: the buffing machine, a set of four diamond burnishing pads, and the wet-vacuum.

To start the process, I attached the red coarse grit pad to the buffer, and then, using a litre of water per square metre as lubrication, I cleaned and stripped away any existing sealer. Since, Limestone is particularly porous, I limited myself to working on nine tiles at a time.

Once I’d removed any excess residue with the wet-vacuum, I changed to the blue medium grit pad, repeated the cleaning process, and again soaked up the soiled residue. Finally, I completed the process once more with the yellow fine grit pad. Once this was completed I buffed the floor with a soft white pad to clean up any dried residue, leaving it ready to be sealed.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

Two days later, once the floor was completely dry, I returned to the property to seal and polish the floor. To begin, I restored the shine to the tiles by applying the last of the four burnishing pads – the green very fine grit.

I then used the three cloth method to apply Tile Doctor Ultra Seal, a solvent-based, impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the Limestone to provide durable protection against ingrained dirt. Colour enhancing sealers such as Tile Doctor Colour Grow were available to the customer, but he stated that he was very happy with the current appearance and wanted the more natural look.

After an hour, the floor was ready to be buffered once again with the very fine pad, which I attached to a hand held buffing machine to work around the corners and electrical sockets.

Polished Limestone Floor After Being Maintained in Uckfield
Given the size of the property, this job took me three days – a day spent in each room. The customer was very exact with his requirements, and was very happy with the results, being left with fantastic looking Limestone tiles throughout the entire downstairs of the house.

Polished Limestone Floor After Being Maintained in Uckfield

Professional Maintenance of a Honed Limestone Floor in East Sussex

Deep clean and seal of a dirty Limestone tiled kitchen floor in Icklesham

Earlier this year I was contacted by a lady in Icklesham which is a small village near Hastings. My client requested a deep clean for her Limestone tiled kitchen floor which had, over time, become quite dirty, with the grout in particular being very much worse for wear. Limestone is a popular choice for tiled floors however it needs to be sealed to ensure dirt doesn’t get into the pores of the stone otherwise it becomes difficult to clean and if the sealer is not maintained it will wear down and the floor will lose its protection especially in high traffic areas such as kitchens.

Filthy Limestone Kitchen in Icklesham Before Cleaning Filthy Limestone Kitchen in Icklesham Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Limestone tiled kitchen floor

My product of choice for cleaning this floor was Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which I found to be particularly effective in lifting ingrained dirt out of the grout. I used a stiff grout brush to work the solution of Pro-Clean diluted with warm water to work the cleaner deep into the grout. I also used a buffing machine fitted with a scrubbing pad and more Pro-Clean to lift the dirt out of the Limestone tiles. It wasn’t long before the dirty grout lines began to disappear, and the floor was well on its way to looking great again.

Once I’d also cleaned the nearby utility room, bathroom and cloakroom in a similar manner, I gave the floor a thorough rinse with fresh water before using a wet-dry vac machine to remove the soiled water from the surface of the tiles. I removed as much moisture from the Limestone tile and grout as possible to speed up the drying process as it’s important to ensure a stone floor is bone dry before sealing it as any excess moisture will compromise the sealer.

Applying Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer to Limestone tiles

I left the floor for three days to dry before returning and used a damp meter on my return to confirm the floor was in-deed dry, spring had arrived and the sunshine really helped. My choice of sealer for the Limestone tiles was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a product which soaks into the pores of the stone to enhance the colour of tiles whilst also providing durable protection. In this case two coats of Colour Grow were applied and as you can see from the photographs this really did bring out the fantastic natural colours in the Limestone and exaggerate the shading. At the same time, the added surface protection will help the floor stay looking great for longer, even with a lot of usage.

Filthy Limestone Kitchen in Icklesham After Cleaning Filthy Limestone Kitchen in Icklesham After Cleaning

When she returned from dog walking, my client was so pleased with the final result that she almost screamed the house down! She was so pleased, in fact, that she promised to have me return every year to ensure her floor was maintained to a high standard. I was also really happy with my work, particularly in terms of getting the grout into far better condition than it had been before.

Cleaning and Sealing Limestone Kitchen Floor in Icklesham

Cleaning and Grout Colouring of a Limestone tiled floor in Hove, East Sussex

Recently, I was called to a work on a Limestone tiled floor in a house near Hove Park. Hove Park is a popular park in Hove, East Sussex, which was once opposite to the Goldstone Ground, the traditional home of Brighton and Hove Albion football club until the ground was demolished. My client informed me that the house was used a meeting place every Friday, and the high traffic of people was taking its toll on the floor.

Grout Colouring Limestone Tiled Floor in Hove Park Before Grout Colouring Limestone Tiled Floor in Hove Park Before

Cleaning a Limestone tiled floor

The floor was clearly in need of a good clean, especially the grout. You do need to take care when cleaning Limestone as it can be affected by the acidic substances you get in some cleaning products which can break down the surface of the Limestone and cause further damage. The results of my test clean showed the Limestone tiles responded well to the cleaning, but I was concerned about the grout, which was not cleaning very easily. I suspected that the grout had, in fact, been discoloured by a bleach-based cleaner, turning it grey. Bleach contains strong chemicals, so there is a good chance that any bleach-based cleaners used on tiled floors will discolour the grout over time. After discussing this issue with my client, I quoted separately for a possible grout recolour.

On the first day of working on the floor, I started the cleaning process using a black buffing pad attached to a floor buffer machine, in combination with a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which I applied to the floor. This combination really helped to remove the heavily built up grime and dirt. Although the tiles looked great after the clean, I still wasn’t convinced by the state of the grout. After drying a test area with a heat gun, I confirmed that the grout was not continuous in colour and would need a recolour to get it back to looking its best again.

Recolouring the grout

I left the rest of the floor to dry for a period of two days, allowing any residual moisture to evaporate, before returning to recolour the grout with a white Grout Colourant which was applied using a good old fashioned toothbrush and baby wipes to remove any excess. I was careful to apply thin, even coats in order to prevent the possibility of the Colourant staining the tile.

After several hours of knee-breaking work, the recolouring was complete, and I was extremely pleased to be able to show my client the finished product. She was very happy to be able to show off the floor to her friends, which was now white all the way through, without the dark lines caused by the discoloured grout.

Grout Colouring Limestone Tiled Floor in Hove Park After
Another satisfied client.

Restoration Process on Limestone Tiled Floor in Hove Park

Six Day Cleaning And Sealing Of Limestone Bathrooms And Hallway In Brighton

This was a substantial engagement at a luxury rental apartment in Brighton rejuvenating the Limestone tiles in two bathrooms and a hallway taking six days of hard work. In addition, I would be working around two decorators, making for even more testing work conditions.

Brighton Luxury Flat Limestone Floor Before Cleaning

Cleaning Limestone bathroom tiles

I first set to work on the smallest bathroom, which featured limestone tiles from floor to ceiling, as well as a large bath, copper sink and a tiled surround. Limestone is a very popular choice for interior and exterior decoration, but the tiles in this bathroom were in need of some care to get them looking their best again. My initial task was to strip away any previous sealer by hand; this was done using a mixture of warm water and Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which, along with Limestone, is also suitable for use on other types of natural stone, such as Granite, Slate and Travertine. Pro-Clean serves both as an effective stripper and cleaner, meaning that once the sealer had been stripped away, the tiles also received a thorough clean. Once I had cleaned the tiles, I sucked up any excess water and residue using a Wet-Dry Vac machine.

Brighton Luxury Flat Limestone Bathroom Before Cleaning
Since the tiles would have to be left to dry for a couple of days, I offered to restore the copper sink for the customer, even though this was not actually part of my job description. After conducting some research into copper cleaning, I opted to use a combination of lemon juice, vinegar and salt. The research paid off as, once I began to apply the solution to the sink, the bright orange and brown colours of the copper quickly rose to the surface. Within the space of an hour, I had transformed what initially appeared to be a ruined sink into a lovely, shimmering copper feature for the bathroom. Both the decorators and I were truly amazed at the results – but all credit goes to Google!

Brighton Luxury Flat Copper Sink Before Cleaning Brighton Luxury Flat Copper Sink After Cleaning

The larger of the two bathrooms was a much stiffer test for the Tile Doctor products. It had not been left in great condition, as the shower area had clearly not been sealed correctly, and the tiles had been left in such a manner that soap scum from shampoos, soaps and shower gels had built up on the window sill. In fact, the damage was significant enough that I had to explain to the customer before starting the work that whilst I could greatly improve the appearance of the tiles, I would not be able to restore them to new. This is because many shampoo and body wash products are acidic and can cause permanent damage to stone work especially when left to dwell for a long time.

My choice of product was Tile Doctor Mould Away, a formula which, over time, seeps deeply into the pores of the stone, effectively lifting away the muck. In cases of particularly stubborn areas, it is necessary to apply another covering of Mould Away and leave it for an extended period of time. This is exactly what I did over the next few days, leaving the product overnight to work its magic. The change was certainly drastic, if not perfect.

Brighton Luxury Flat Window Sill Before Cleaning Brighton Luxury Flat Window Sill After Cleaning

Cleaning and sealing the hallway and bathrooms

As both bathrooms required extended periods of drying, I spent two days working on the hallway, which had been partially covered with a plastic sealing for the previous six months due to building work. Needless to say, the hallway was in need of a good clean. I set about cleaning the hallway with a solution of warm water and Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, before once again using a Wet-Dry Vac machine to remove any excess water to prepare the floor for sealing at a later point. It is very important to remove any residue of cleaning solution before sealing, as this may impact the performance of the sealer. Following this, I left the hallway to dry for two days, providing the builders with strict instructions to cover it with blankets for protection while they were working.

While the floor was drying, I sealed the bathrooms – both now fully dried – with Tile Doctor Colour Grow Sealer, a solvent-based sealer that was highly effective at enhancing the colour of the brown tiles around the sinks. The product will also provide durable surface protection. I spent the final of the six days sealing the hallway floor with Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which provides both a stain-resistant surface seal and a durable, low-sheen finish. This was an ideal choice of product, as the customer requested a hard-wearing, yet shiny finish.

Brighton Luxury Flat Limestone Bathroom Before Cleaning Brighton Luxury Flat Limestone Bathroom After Cleaning

The hard work really paid off, as both the customer and the decorators were very impressed with the final results in the two bathrooms and the hallway. I was extremely pleased that I was able to complete this big job to the highest possible standards.

Brighton Luxury Flat Limestone Floor After Cleaning Brighton Luxury Flat Limestone Floor After Cleaning


Huge Limestone Tile Restoration Process Done In Brighton

Deep Cleaning a Textured Limestone Kitchen floor in Horsham

This property near the town of Horsham was a converted from a pig barn many years ago and had a lovely textured Limestone tiled floor installed on the ground floor kitchen and dinning room. The Limestone tile and adjacent grout were now looking rather grubby and we were asked if we would give them a deep clean and re-seal.

Textured Limestone Before Tile Cleaning in Horsham Textured Limestone Before Tile Cleaning in Horsham

Deep Cleaning Textured Limestone Tiles

Once I’d helped the customer move the furniture I set about soaking the tiles in a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean applied with a deck brush and then left to dwell for around five minutes. Leaving the product to dwell on the tiles gives it time to break down and soften up and old sealer left of the tile making it easier to remove. To get the Pro-Clean worked into the tile and grout I used a rotary buffing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad and ran a stiff brush along the grout lines. The result was immediate, especially the grout. I then rinsed the floor with warm water and extracted the now soiled cleaning solution with a wet vacuum.

After this I inspected the floor and re-treated any areas which need further attention using the same process giving the floor a good rinse with clean water at the end and using the wet vacuum to remove as much water as possible before leaving the floor to dry off.

Sealing Textured Limestone Tiles

I returned two days later to give the tiles plenty of time to allow the moisture to evaporate; it’s important that the tiles are bone dry before sealing or you will get unexpected results. All was well so I sealed the floor with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which soaks into the pores of the stone protecting it from within and enhancing the natural colours within the stone at the same time.

While I was waiting for the sealer to dry between coats I gave her front step a good scrubbing with some left over cleaning product.

Textured Limestone After Tile Cleaning in Horsham Textured Limestone After Tile Cleaning in Horsham


Restoration of a Textured Limestone in Horsham

Maintaining a Limestone Kitchen floor in Hastings

The photographs below are of a Limestone tiled floor installed in the kitchen and dining area of a house in the historic town off Hastings. The house was being put on the market for sale and with two dogs, a cat and four adults having left their marks on this floor it was looking rather grubby and the owner had decided to get the tiles deep cleaned before any viewings took place. I ran a test clean on a small patch of tile to demonstrate I could achieve a good result which came out well and so we agreed a date.

Limestone Tiles before cleaning in Hastings Limestone Tiles before cleaning in Hastings

Deep Cleaning Limestone Tiles

To get the Limestone clean and strip off any remaining sealer a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean was poured onto the stone then left to soak in for around ten minutes. The solution was then worked into the tile using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary buffing machine. After a couple hours work and more Pro-Clean the floor looked much cleaner but very washed out which is to be expected as the remaining sealer was is no longer protecting the tile and left it to look exposed. Before leaving for the day I gave the floor a good rinse to remove any trace of cleaning product and then left the floor to dry out for three days. Usually 48hrs will suffice but Limestone is particularly porous so it does take time for the moisture to evaporate and the floor to fully dry out.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

On my return I check the floor was dry and then proceeded to sealed the Limestone with Tile Doctor Seal and Go. Six coats were applied to give it a deep shine and a long lasting seal. The new sealer gave the floor the glossy appearance that the customer desired. She was over the moon with the transformation and hopefully this helped her sell the property.

Limestone Tiles after cleaning in Hastings Limestone Tiles after cleaning in Hastings


Kitchen Limestone Cleaning in Hastings

Limestone Kitchen floor Maintenance Clean in Hartfield

If you have ever had to look after a polished stone floor you will appreciate that it needs a bit of attention if you want to keep it looking good. This was this case with the small Limestone tiled kitchen floor that had been installed in a house in the old village of Hartfield which is famous for being the location where A.A. Milne wrote and based many of his famous tales about Winnie the Pooh.

Limestone kitchen floor before cleaning in Hartfield

Maintenance Clean of Limestone Floor Tiles

My main focus was to give the floor a good clean and the then top up the sealer so I began by applying a weak dilution of Tile Doctor Pro clean which was then scrubbed into the tile and grout using a deck brush and a hand brush in the corners. Pro-Clean is a multipurpose product and if you use a strong dilution it will strip the sealer from the floor which was not the intention. The floor was then washed down with warm water and you could see at this point how much cleaner the floor had become which is testament to the fact that Pro-Clean does works very well on Limestone and especially grout. Limestone is extremely porous and water is easily absorbed so once I had sucked up any excess water with a wet vacuum I left it to dry for 48 hours before returning.

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

On my return I quickly carried out a damp test in a number of spots to check if the Limestone was ready for sealing. Everything was fine so I applied a top-up coat of Tile Doctor Colour grow which penetrates into the pores of the stone enhancing the colours and protect the floor from staining.

Limestone kitchen floor after cleaning in Hartfield
For regular cleaning of sealed floors we recommend the use of a non-acidic/weak alkaline cleaning product such as Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner, most supermarket cleaners are acidic and designed for un-sealed ceramic tiles and will reduce the life of the sealer over time.

Restoration of Limestone floor in a house in Hartfield

Maintaining a Limestone Kitchen floor in Iford

This kitchen and dining area at a house in Iford was installed ten years prior and had not been given a thorough clean since. Dirt had become ingrained into the stone and as you can see from the photos below tiles and grout were now overdue for a deep clean. On the home survey visit I ran a test clean on the grout up with Tile Doctor Pro-clean and the grout cleaned up easily so I was in no doubt this floor was going to look fantastic one complete.

Limestone Tiles Before Cleaning Iford Limestone Tiles Before Cleaning Iford

Deep Cleaning Limestone Tiles

I was booked in and on my return continued with a 4:1 dilution of Pro-clean and warm water leaving it to soak into the tiles for a few moments before agitating with with a deck brush. Then working in small sections at a time I introduced the buffer machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. Straight away the tiles and grout gave up the dirt and after a couple of hours of cleaning and washing down with warm water the tiles were free from any remaining sealer and dirt. Limestone has many natural holes and cracks that trap dirt so before I left for the day I got down on my hands and knees and worked them with a toothbrush.

Limestone Tiles During Cleaning Iford

Sealing Limestone Tiles

I returned two days to seal the floor, two days had been enough to get the floor dry and ensure any moisture in the tile would evaporate. The customer wanted a matt look so on my recommendation we went with Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer which is an impregnating sealer that occupies the pores in the stone and further improved the depth of colour. The floor benefited from three coats which had to dry fully before starting with the next so whilst I was waiting for I jet washed their small driveway.

Limestone Tiles After Cleaning and Sealing Iford

Limestone Tile Refresh in Iford

Maintaining a Limestone Patio in Crowborough

A sealer for internal use had been applied to this external black limestone patio in Crowborough and as you can see from the photograph below it had become badly affected by weather and was basically looking a real mess.

Limestone Patio in Crowborough Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Limestone Patio

Working outside does have advantages in that there is a lot less preparation to do to protect other surfaces so it wasn’t long before we got to work with the application of a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a multi-purpose cleaner and stripper. The Pro-Clean was left to soak into the Limestone for a while so it could get to work on the remaining sealer and make it easy to remove; the next step was to use a high pressure washer fitted with a spinner attachment so not to upset the grout between the tiles. This action removed the dirt and old sealer and just needed a final rinse to wash off any remaining cleaning product before sealing.

Sealing a Limestone Patio

The patio was left to dry off overnight and fortunately due this year’s warm summer we were able to return the next day to seal the Limestone with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which unlike the previous sealer can be used on external applications, it will also protect the patio going forward making it easier to clean as well as bringing out the natural colours in the stone.

Limestone Patio in Crowborough After Cleaning
I think you will agree the patio has been transformed.

Limestone Patio Cleaning in East Sussex

Limestone Tiled floor cleaned and polished in Hastings

Photographs below of a job we did restoring the shine on a Limestone tiled floor at a house in the town of Hastings which is down on the south coast of England and well known as the location for that famous battle in 1066. The homeowner wanted an easy to maintain low sheen Limestone floor; we advised that Limestone is a soft sedimentary Stone and is not usually classed as a low maintenance surface however with the right treatment and equipment they should be able to maintain it which is a bit like buying a carpet without having a vacuum to keep it clean.

Limestone Tile Before

Cleaning and Polishing Limestone Tiles

To get the Limestone Tiled floor back to its original condition we used a set of diamond encrusted 17” Burnishing Pads fitted to a heavy rotary buffing machine. It’s important to give the floor a clean first to ensure there’s no dirt that could get picked up by the machine and cause deep scratches on the surface. You start off with the coarse red pad together with a little water which can remove sealers and then move onto the White pad which grinds off ingrained dirt again used with a little water. Next step is the Yellow Polishing pad which smooth’s the surface prior to the final Green pad which gives that high shine finish.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

The floor was washed down to remove any particles left over from the polishing and left to dry before we set about sealing using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow is recommended for a number of stone surfaces and does well to lift the natural colours in the stone as well as providing on-going surface protection.

Limestone Tile After
I think you will agree the process has really transformed this tired looking Limestone tiled floor; for maintenance we left the customer with a Green polishing pads and recommended that he purchase a rotary machine to use with it, A3 machines do a low cost reconditioned polishing machine for about £100.

Limestone Tiled Floor Restored in East Sussex


East Sussex Tile Doctor

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