Sealing Slate

Removing Varnish from a Slate Tiled Floor in Walton on Thames

Our client had previously employed another company to tackle this large Slate floor in Walton on Thames but they hadn’t managed to remove the old sealer due to it being an old varnish seal. Varnish was used as a traditional way of sealing stone but can be damaged by scratching and it does little to improve the look of the stone. Varnish is also very difficult to break down which is a problem as it’s important to remove the old sealant before applying new, applying a new sealer onto Varnish simply wouldn’t work.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning Walton-on-Thames

I visited the property to survey the floor and work out which combination of products and methods would work best and after some testing and I was able to confirm that not only could the old varnish be removed but once re-sealed with a modern sealer the slate would be transformed.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning Walton-on-Thames

The client was over the moon to hear this news as they had thought there was nothing, they could do to improve the floor.

Removing Varnish and Deep Cleaning Slate Floor Tiles

With a price and schedule agreed I returned to the property at a later date and started by tackling the varnish. The method I used was to apply Tile Doctor Remove and Go, let it soak into the floor for ten minutes and then work it in with a heavy rotary scrubbing machine fitted with a black pad. The soil was then rinsed with water and extracted off the floor with a wet vacuum.

The floor was then inspected, and each tile checked to ensure the varnish was completely gone, any stubborn areas were then spot treated and scrubbed by hand. Once I was satisfied, I set about giving the stone a deep clean by repeating the same process with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. As before all the soil and cleaning products were then low pressure rinsed off the stone and vacuumed away. The floor was then left to dry overnight.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

I returned the following day to apply a new modern sealer. First, I tested the floor was dry using the moisture meter. It was in the acceptable readings range, so I was able to start applying the sealer straight away.

Slate Floor After Cleaning and Sealing Walton-on-Thames

For this floor I chose to apply Tile Doctor Seal and Go, it works really well on Slate tiles and as you can see from the photographs it completely transformed the appearance of the stone. Seal and Go is a water-based blend of acrylic polymers that provides both a stain resistant surface seal and a durable low-sheen finish, being water based it has the added advantage of not giving off any odour as it dries. The client had specified earlier that they didn’t want the floor to look shiny to the resultant silky appearance was the perfect solution. Thee coats were applied, and my client was very pleased with the finish.

Slate Floor After Cleaning and Sealing Walton-on-Thames


Professional Restoration of a Slate Tiled Kitchen in South Middlesex

Renovation of Slate Tiled Patio in Brentford

This Slate patio that had been installed at a property in Brentford one year prior to our visit last year. It had not been sealed after installation and as you can see from the pictures it was now looking very tired after a very short period. Additionally, the pointing had not been cleaned off the slate entirely leaving a haze over the stone which detracted from its appearance.

Slate Patio Before Renovation Brentford

I explained the process to tackle the grout haze, clean the Slate then finally seal it. I worked out a quote which was accepted, and a date scheduled for my return to complete the work which would take a couple of days.

Cleaning a Slate Tiled Patio in Brentford

My first task was to sweep up all the detritus that typically builds up on a patio, especially grit and small stones which can get caught in the cleaning pads and scratch the surface of the stone.

Once that was done it was time to tackle the grout haze. This was done by applying Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up to the slate and scrubbing it in with a heavy-duty scrubbing machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. This product is specifically designed to remove excess grout and cement from the surface of tile and contains concentrated phosphoric acid. You need to be very careful with the use of acids on stone as it can cause surface etching if left on too long. In addition, I wouldn’t recommend the use of the brick acid products you typically find in DIY stores which are stronger and are likely to cause damage.

Once satisfied all the soil and haze had been released from the stone the patio was rinsed off with water and the soil extracted away with a wet vacuum.

Slate Patio During Renovation Brentford

The next step was to seal the stone however it would need to be dry before that could happen. Fortunately, I had managed to find a couple of days where the weather was unseasonably warm and for once it hadn’t rained for a while. So, the next day I was able to return and apply a sealer to help protect the patio.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Patio Floor

I used Tile Doctor Colour Grow for this, it’s an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the pores in the stone which would otherwise become occupied by dirt. Tile Doctor Colour Grow is also rated for external as well as internal use and enhances the dark tones in the Slate. Additionally, It should cope well with the weather in this part of the UK as long as we don’t see a really severe drop in temperatures over the winter.

Two coats of Colour Grow were applied to the slate which restored the floor to a nice dark charcoal colour. The client was extremely pleased with the outcome and were keen to recommend us to their friends.

Slate Patio After Renovation Brentford

For aftercare the Patio should be regularly hosed down to keep the grit and debris from accumulating and for cleaning I recommended using Neutral Tile Cleaner which is a pH neutral product which is safe to use on sealed Stone.


Professional Restoration of a Slate Tiled Patio in South Middlesex

Renovating a Limescale Stained Riven Slate Shower in Teddington

The client was thinking of having their riven Slate tiled bathroom re-tiled but before doing so they thought to give Tile Doctor a call about having it renovated first. The property was in Teddington which is a popular commuter area on the River Thames, it is on a long meander of the Thames between Hampton and Strawberry Hill

Thames Water define Teddington as a hard water area with high levels of calcium carbonate which leaves deposits known as Limescale. The tiles had not been professionally cleaned or sealed since installation ten years prior and now Limescale had built up on the tiles which was very thick in places.

Limescale Stained Slate Shower Tiles Before Renovation in Teddington Limescale Stained Slate Shower Tiles Before Renovation in Teddington

I visited the property to see how bad the problem was and to give the client a quote for the work. Whilst I was there a ran some cleaning tests on the shower tiles to work out the best solution. The tests were successful, and they were really pleased to see that their idea of restoring the tiles was a viable option. This would mean they could avoid the need to retile the whole bathroom, which would have been expensive and disruptive. They agreed to my price and we booked in a time to carry out the work, which would be completed over two days.

Removing Limescale from a Riven Slate Tiled Shower

Had this been polished Slate I would have used burnishing pads to grind off the limescale and polish up the stone. In this case however the slate had a riven appearance which means they have a rough surface. I didn’t want to alter the rough appearance as this is part of their natural beauty, so I decided on a different course of action.

The solution would involve hand scrubbing every tile using Tile Doctor Acid Gel which being in gel form sticks well to vertical surfaces. This action broke down the limescale and cleaned away all the dirt and product residue in the stone. The tiles were then rinsed down with water to remove any trace of product.

Sealing a Riven Slate Tiled Shower

After allowing the slate to dry off overnight, I first checked the tiles were nice and dry with the moisture meter. If they were still damp the seal would be ineffective and would not cure. The tiles were nice and dry, so we then applied three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer. This is a colour intensifying sealer which enhances natural colour and will provide durable surface protection going forward. The colours in the slate now look great and it has brought the bathroom back to life, as you can see from the pictures.

Limescale Stained Slate Shower Tiles After Renovation in Teddington Limescale Stained Slate Shower Tiles After Renovation in Teddington

The client was really pleased with the result and happy they had saved some money too. I recommended to them that spraying Tile Doctor Aqua-Pro on the Slate after showering as it will eliminate build-up from the use of soaps, shampoos and body-washes, and will help to keep the limescale at bay. We recommend this product as it’s designed for cleaning sealed surfaces and will not prematurely erode the sealer.


Professional Restoration of a Riven Slate Tiled Shower in South Middlesex

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