Apologies in advance for the quality of the photographs below, they were taken in the sitting room of an old 18th century cottage near Weymouth and the lighting was not its best, although I’m sure fans of the TV series Poldark would have loved it. The floor was 20m2 Portland Limestone flags which hopefully you can see was not looking its best and I suspect it had been some time before it had been given a thorough deep clean as it was now grey, grimy and generally tired.
This type of floor is quite common in houses before the 19th century and usually consisted of the beaten earth being covered with thick slabs of stone. When left over time it becomes grey and dry and flaky but when cleaned and sealed it turns almost as black as its near relative Purbeck marble and even shines when polished.
Cleaning Portland Limestone Flagstones
To get the floor clean I applied a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to soak into the floor for about ten minutes before being scrubbed in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a Numatic buffing machine. I also ran a stiff narrow brush along the grout lines to get them clean.
The floor was rinsed down with water to dilute the now soiled cleaning solution and this was extracted using a wet vacuum. To add a little polish to the Limestone I ran over the stone using a fine diamond encrusted burnishing pad, the floor was still a little damp which helped lubricate the process. Once done the floor was given another rinse again using the wet vacuum to remove as much liquids as possible before leaving it to dry off fully overnight.
Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles
The next day I sealed the floor using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer which impregnates the pores of the stone to provide lasting protection. The floor now looks clean and bright and a lot closer to the near-black colour that it should be.
Black Limestone Floor Polished and Sealed in Dorset
I had a rather long conversation with this worried terracotta flooring customer in Weymouth. This was a new installation of around 30 m2 of terracotta tiles. The tiler had laid the tiles and was in the process of sealing with a rather nasty rubber based yellow coloured sealer when his assistant walked through from outside with dirty boots. Being a very absorbent tile the dirty prints penetrated into the tiles within the sealer leaving lovely dirty chevrons all over the new floor.
To rectify this the tiler tried first of all with Nitromors and then with Gripex paint and glue strippers. Using these on any tile is not a good idea but on terracotta due to porosity all it was sink in and remain there along with the foot print. So at this point the tiler decided to try angle grinding one of the tiles which eventually he did manage to take out one of the prints although damaging the integrity of the tile. After visiting a tillers forum he was wrongly advised to sand the tiles with an industrial sander so he hired a sander for a day and set about sanding the tile back. After spending a fortune on sandpaper that just got gunked up with rubber sealer and a days of labour he had managed to sand around 5sqm and cover the whole house with orange dust…
This was when he said ‘ok enough is enough just don’t pay me for the tiling’ and walked off the job!
I spent two days stripping the sealer out with Tile Doctor Remove and Go and cleaning with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean assisted with a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad in order to remove both the sealer and the dirty foot prints. After a hot pressure wash to clear the pores and remove any remaining chemical from the floor we left it to dry for a week.
Sealing Terracotta Tiles
We sealed the Terracotta Tiles with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a low sheen water based sealer recommended for Terracotta floors. Terracotta is quite porous and in this case the tiles required a lot of sealer where tops had been sanded off and in the end it took 12 coats before if was fully sealed.
The results were outstanding, you wouldn’t know that there had been any damage at all and the customer was very happy, not only that the job cost less than what was due to the tiler.
Terracotta Tiles Restoration in Weymouth