Limestone Tile Cleaning and Polishing

Welcome to my Work History archive where you will find detailed examples of the cleaning and renovation of Limestone tiles carried out in Hampshire

Cleaning and Renovating Limestone tiles

Limestone is a sedimentary stone, as such it’s generally very porous and acid sensitive and can be damaged through the use of even mildly acidic soaps, shampoos and body washes. Because of this we do not recommend it for use in wet rooms, shower cubicles or near swimming pools.

Like any stone Limestone needs to be sealed to prevent dirt becoming ingrained in its pores and many varieties including Blue Lias, Blue Moleanos, Jerusalem and White Moleanos to name a few can be polished to a high shine using a series of burnishing pads.

We have found that Black Limestone has become very popular in gardens where it contrasts well against green planting and looks fantastic when wet. One issue we find however is it easily upset by the use of acidic patio cleaners that leave the stone looking dull and lifeless. If this has affected you then not to worry we do have a way of restoring the beauty of the stone back to its original condition.

Below you will find detailed examples of work we have carried out in the past, it should give you some idea of what’s involved and what can be achieved with the right techniques and products.

Limestone Patio Before After Levelling Wickham

Levelling an Uneven Limestone Kitchen Floor in Wickham

The client in the small village of Wickham had recently had a new Limestone tiled floor laid in his kitchen/conservatory on top of electric underfloor heating or UFH as its commonly known. Although the Limestone looked great the tiler had not laid the tiles very level and there were many tiles with 2 to 5 mm lippage between them. Not only was this unsightly it also created a tripping hazard. It was unacceptable to the client and they were very disappointed with the new floor.

Uneven limestone tiled floor Wickham before levelling

Wickham is a small village close to Fareham and actually only ten miles from our base in Portsmouth, so it wasn’t long before I was able to head over and survey the floor and come up with solutions.

As I saw it, we had three options,

  1. Live with it as is.
  2. Rip it all up and damage the electric underfloor heating matt, which would then also need replacing.
  3. Mill the stone with abrasive pads to grind down the lippage.

We discussed all three options and the cost implications; they really were not happy to live with it so that option was out and taking the floor up was going to cause huge disruption and cost. He chose wisely and went for option 3! We confirmed the price and arranged a time to return to carry out the work.

Uneven limestone tiled floor Wickham before levelling

Levelling an Uneven Stone Floor with Milling Pads

We returned a few weeks later to carry out the work. We used two technicians who very slowly they started grinding the floor level with a heavy rotary machine fitted with milling pads. The pads are applied in sequence with water from 50-grit, 100-grit, 200-grit, 400-grit, 800-grit and then finally 1500-grit. The floor is rinsed with more water in between each pad to remove the fine slurry that is generated. This can be a messy job, but we make use of a wet vacuum to extract the slurry and try hard to keep the dust created to a minimum.

The 50, 100 and 200 grit milling pads are very coarse and grind down the stone flattening the lippage difference between the tiles, the 400, 800 and 1500 grit burnishing pads then refine and hone the stone bringing back its polished appearance. Once we were satisfied that the floor had been milled successfully and the level of the floor was now acceptable, we gave the floor a final rinse and extraction, then left it to dry out.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

After a couple of days, we came back to seal it with Tile Doctor Colour Grow. The floor was checked before sealing with a moisture meter to ensure it was nice and dry. The seal would not cure property otherwise.

Three coats of the Tile Doctor Colour Grow product were applied to the Limestones. This product is an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the pores in the stone thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there. Colour Grow enhances the natural colours in the stone and works well on Limestone where it brings out the cream and brown shades and really enhances the appearance of the stone.

Uneven limestone tiled floor Wickham after levelling Uneven limestone tiled floor Wickham after levelling

After completion the floor was completely level and it looked lighter and cleaner. You can see the results in the pictures, the floor was transformed, and the kitchen now looks stunning. The client was ecstatic and recommended Tile Doctor to the shop where he had purchased the stone as they had felt he would never get the finish he had hoped for. He also left the following testimonial on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

We had a new limestone floor installed in a large and difficult area but the result was not satisfactory in that there was too much “lippage” from stone to stone in many parts of the floor. All the advice we received was that it would not be feasible to mill the floor level and that we would either have to live with it or lift and replace it – a terrible prospect. However, Charles persuaded us that it could be done and his team managed to mill it and polish it such that it now looks superb. The process was relatively quick and very clean. The team was thorough, professional and a pleasure to have around. We are delighted with the result and would recommend them strongly for any similar work
Philip G., Wickham


Professional Milling of a Limestone Tiled Kitchen in Hampshire

Levelling an Uneven Limestone Kitchen Floor in Wickham Read More »

Limestone floor during cleaning Lyndhurst New Forest

Limestone Kitchen Floor Polished in Lyndhurst, New Forest

Limestone is a beautiful flooring material however it’s a porous sedimentary rock which is not as tough as its cousins, Marble and Travertine, and therefore will need more Maintenance over time. This Limestone tiled kitchen floor in Lyndhurst is a great example of how this material can lose its appearance without a regular maintenance regime in place.

Limestone floor before cleaning Lyndhurst New Forest Limestone floor during cleaning Lyndhurst New Forest

Cleaning Limestone Kitchen Tiles

To restore the appearance of polished Limestone we use a set of diamond encrusted Burnishing Pads which effectively cut back the layer of dirt on the floor and then build back up the polish. It was a reasonably large kitchen with an island worktop to so we worked in sections removing the kick boards as we went.

You can see the effectiveness of the process from the test patch below.

Limestone floor before cleaning Lyndhurst New Forest

We stated the burnishing process with the coarse pad fitted to a rotary machine and applied with a little water. The coarse pad is very good at removing dirt and old sealers from stone and once completed the resultant surface water and loose dirt is removed using a wet vacuum.

At this point the grout was also cleaned by applying a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was scrubbed in along the grout lines, this is necessary as the recessed nature of the grout makes it difficult for the pads to reach it.

Limestone floor during cleaning Lyndhurst New Forest

I mentioned earlier there are four pads in the burnishing system, so once the floor was rinsed with water following the grout cleaning the other three pads were applied to the stone floor in sequence finishing on the finer polishing pads one after the other until we were left with a high shine finish.

Sealing Limestone Tiled Floor

We left the floor to dry and came back later to seal the floor, the floor must be dry before sealing otherwise it can effect the performance of the sealer. Once we were happy the floor was dry we proceeded to seal the Limestone tile using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing product that impregnates the pores of the stone bringing out the natural colours and protecting it from within.

Limestone floor after polishing Lyndhurst New Forest Limestone floor after polishing Lyndhurst New Forest


Maintaining Limestone Floor Tiles in the Hampshire New Forest

Limestone Kitchen Floor Polished in Lyndhurst, New Forest Read More »


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