Old Slate Flagstone Tiled Floor Brought Back to Life in Banbury

Every so often we come across exceptionally old tiles that are in desperate need of restoration. These Slate flagstones at a property in Banbury, Oxfordshire had to be a couple of hundred years old, the grout had come loose and I wagered that it’d been covered by bitumen (also known as asphalt), plaster, and concrete for a significant portion of its life.

The property owner was keen to try and restore them and had tried to clean them, only to realise that it was a bigger task than initially thought. Flagstones are known to be hard wearing and durable, but no floor can be easily restored when subject to this kind of treatment. However, at Tile Doctor we are experienced with cleaning tiles in this kind of condition – and I was more than happy to help this customer get these fantastic Slate flagstones back to looking their best.

Old Slate Flagstone floor before cleaning Banbury

Cleaning Old Slate Flagstones

Upon arrival at the property, the first thing I did was to cover the walls to protect them from splashes of cleaning products I would be using. I then started the process by mixing two products – Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU and Tile Doctor Remove & Go – in a bucket and spread it over the entire floor. These two products are both very powerful cleaners on their own and work even better together: NanoTech HBU utilises nano-sized particles to penetrate areas that normal cleaners simply can’t reach, while Remove & Go is specifically designed for the removal of coatings such as old sealers.

For added impact and so the blend of cleaning products would not dry out, I covered the floor with a plastic sheeting, leaving the solution to dwell and work to break down the bitumen, plaster and concrete overnight.

The following day, after removing the plastic sheeting I used my rotary floor machine fitted with a silicone carbon brush to slowly scrub the floor, beginning to loosen the soil. After this, I thoroughly rinsed the floor with water. I then used Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, which is a concentrated phosphoric acid cleaner to remove the plaster and thin layers of concrete, before again rinsing the floor with water.
Next, I had to remove the particularly thick chunks of concrete carefully using a chisel, before scrubbing the floor with Grout Clean Up once more. To complete the cleaning process, I then mixed a solution of our strong alkaline cleaner, Tile Doctor Pro Clean, with water and scrubbed and rinsed the flagstones with water.

Sealing Old Slate Flagstones

The next day I returned to the property to grout the floor, before leaving it again for another day to fully cure. On the final day, I sealed the floor using Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which is a topical water-based blend of acrylic polymers that provides a stain resistant surface seal combined with a long-lasting low-sheen finish. This eliminates traditional two-step sealing methods. I applied eight coats of this to give the floor the strong sheen (seen in the below photo), that the customer requested.

Old Slate Flagstone floor after cleaning Banbury

The floor had been in awful condition, for decades or perhaps even hundreds of years, yet using the right methods and products I successfully completed the full restoration within a single week. The customer was absolutely over the moon with the result.
 
 

Old Slate Flagstone Floor Restoration in Oxfordshire

Removing Carpet Glue from Quarry Tiles in Banbury

This Quarry tiled floor at a house in Banbury had previously been covered in carpet which had been stuck to the floor with an adhesive when once removed left a stain of white marks all over the floor. The customer had taken the floor as far as they could so I got the call to complete the restoration.

Quarry Tiled Floor Banbury Before Cleaning

Restoring Quarry Tiles

The first process was to tape the newly papered wall to protect them from any splashes during the cleaning process. I then scrubbed in a dilution of Tile doctor Pro-Clean with the assistance of a rotary floor machine fitted with a black pad and then rinsed off the resultant slurry.

This process defiantly made an improvement but I can see more work would be needed so I then applied a mixture of Pro-Clean and HBU (Heavy Build-up Remover) to the floor and scrubbed this with a carbon brush attached to a rotary floor machine. This proved to be more effective removing the carpet glue marks so I then rinsed the floor with water and used my wet vacuum to remove the slurry. I then gave the floor a thorough rinse with water again using the wet vacuum to extract the solution afterwards.

To finish the cleaning of the floor and remove any grout smears and other minderal deposits I applied Tile Doctor Acid Gel to the floor; this was left to dwell for a short time before scrubbing in with a stiff brush and then rinsed away with more water and extracted again using the wet vacuum.

The last job of the day was to fill in some holes in the tiles with a colour matching resin filler.

Sealing a Quarry Tiled floor

I returned two days later and confirmed the floor was dry ready for sealing. To seal the floor I first applied a coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating seal that also enhances the colour of the stone. This leaves a Matt finish and I showed the client this as they was not sure what finish they wanted, after seeing this that wanted more shine to the floor so once dried I applied a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go which is a topical sealer that gives a sheen finish to the floor.

Quarry Tiled Floor Banbury After Cleaning

The client was very pleased with the end result leaving this as feedback.

Our options were a completely new floor or renovate the existing quarry tiles. We were glad we chose renovation; the results are amazing and a lot less messy and expensive than a new floor!
 
 

Restoring a Quarry tiled floor in Oxfordshire

Quarry Tiled Floor Restoration Banbury

This house near Banbury was the tied accommodation for an old village police station from the days when the local bobby would live in the house next door. I’m sure the Quarry tiled floor had a rich history which no doubt contributed to its poor state and was eventually was covered up with linoleum which had been stuck to the tiles with adhesive. Recently however the house had been sold and redecorated and the new owner wanted the floor restoring to its former glory.

Quarry Tiles Before Restoration in Banbury

Restoring Quarry Tiles

I started by covering the floor with a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove & Go which was left to dwell for 20 minutes taking care to ensure it didn’t dry out; it was then scrubbed into the floor with a black pad attached to my Rocky floor machine. This process removed most of the glue on the floor so after removing most the slurry and inspecting the floor I could see it would be necessary to repeat the whole process again and get down on my hand and knees to scrape off the thicker parts of the glue.

Once the glue had been removed the floor it was rinsed with clean water which was then removed using a wet vacuum. The next process was to clean the dirt out of the pores of the tile using a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean and warm water. Again the solution was left to soak into the tiles before scrubbing, rinsing and removing with the wet vacuum.

After a lunch break the surface of the floor was drying and I noticed that the tiles we’re going white which would need to be dealt with before sealing. Older floors tend not to have a damp proof course which can lead to damp rising up through the tile depositing white salts on the surface in the process. This problem is called efflorescence and to resolve the tiles needed to be treated with Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up which was scrubbed into the tiles and washed off as before. The floor was then vacuumed dry and then left so it could dry out completely.

Sealing a Quarry Tiled floor

I returned a couple of days later and the floor was dry and clean but looking rather dull; to put some life back in the floor it was going to need to be sealed. I first put a coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow down which brought the colour back into the tiles plus this is a good sealer on its own as it impregnates the pores of the tile and makes a terrific base seal. To complete I followed up with a number of coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go which Is a topical sealer that provided the shiny finish the customer wanted.

Quarry Tiles After Restoration in Banbury

The quarry tiled floor is now restored from what was once a very old neglected floor to a nice clean easy to maintain surface.
 
 

Restoring a Quarry tiled floor in Oxfordshire

Cleaning Old Slate Flagstones Tiles in Banbury

These photographs from the hallway of a house in Banbury where old thick slate tiled floor had been laid and the customer was unable to get them clean or restore any colour back into the stone.

Banbury Slate Flagstone Tiles Before Cleaning

Cleaning Slate Flagstone Tiles

I prepped the skirting boards with masking tape to protect them and then cleaned the floor with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to dwell on the floor for a while before being worked into the flagstones by hand using a stiff bristle brush. Normally I use a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad for this but given it was a small area it made sense to get on my hands and knees and apply some elbow grease. This process soon saw the dirt coming out of the tile and the dirty solution was removed using a wet vacuum before rinsing the floor down with clean water. This allowed me to see the stubborn areas where more Pro-Clean and elbow grease were applied, again this was removed and the floor given a thorough rinse using a wet vacuum to remove the liquids and get the floor dry.

Sealing Slate Flagstone Tiles

The floor soon dried so it wasn’t long before I could seal it for which I used two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow Sealer which as its name suggest enhances the natural colours in the stone. Once this was dry I continued with a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds a nice low sheen to the stone as well as adding to the protection provided by the sealer. As you can see it brought all the dark slate colour back and the sealer should ensure the floor is easy to clean in future.

Banbury Slate Flagstone Tiles After Cleaning

 
 

Large Slate Flagstones Cleaned and Sealed in Banbury

Ruined Limestone Tiled Floor Restored in Banbury

If you’re passionate about tiled floors and easily upset I suggest you look away now as believe it or not the photographs below are from a recently laid Limestone tiled floor in Banbury. It had been left in a very poor state by the tiler who had managed to cover in Grout Haze and then in the process of trying to rectify the problem by cleaning it off with acid managed to etch the surface of the Limestone making the situation even worse. Limestone being a calcareous stone can in fact be dissolved by acids, in face it’s not unknown for mildly acidic cleaning products to cause holes to appear in the surface over time.

Restoring Limestone Tiles

To resolve we had to strip back the Limestone surface using a set of burnishing pads, these diamond encrusted pads come in a number of different colours each one does a different job from honing to polishing. I started with the coarse pad together with water and then carried on through the set until I got to the finer pad removing the soiled water with a wet vacuum along the way. Finally when I had dried the floor I used a finishing pad to buff the floor up. This activity took most of the day so left the floor to completely dry overnight.

Sealing Limestone Tiles

The following day I checked the floor to make sure it had dried, which it had and started to seal the floor which was done using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow Sealer which is an impregnating sealer which gets into the pores of the Limestone to prevent dirt being trapped, the formula as well as providing stain protection also enhances the natural colours in the stone.

I think you will agree we achieved a good result given the original condition of the tile. I should also mention that I also gave the customer a finishing pad as they owned a floor machine and using this on the floor even once a month will keep the honed surface tight and keep the seal working longer.
 
 

Limestone Tile Restoration in Oxfordshire