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 Worcestershire

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 Tiled Kichen Floor Before and After Renovation Worcester

Grubby Limestone Kitchen Floor Restored in Worcester

This client from Worcester contacted us about their Limestone tiled floor that was installed in their kitchen and utility room. The couple had only recently moved into the property and had wanted something done about the tile and grout which was looking worse for wear and thoroughly neglected by the previous owner.

Neglected Travertine Floor Before Renovation Worcester

I’m based in Worcester, so it wasn’t long before I was able to visit the property and survey the floor and create a quote for renovating it. Hopefully you can see from the photos that the grout had darkened in places and the Limestone tiles looked dull and grubby. The problem with natural stone floors like this is over the years the protective sealer becomes worn down leaving it vulnerable to ingrained dirt. Without a sealer to protect the stone it had become heavily soiled and loses its original polished appearance.

Neglected Travertine Floor Before Renovation Worcester

The quote (which was accepted) included deep cleaning the stone and grout to remove deep seated dirt and then to polish and seal the Limestone to protect it.

Deep Cleaning a Neglected Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

To bring the Limestone tile back to life my first step was to run a coarse 400-grit burnishing pad, fitted to a weighted Italian Hypergrinder rotary machine, over the floor using a dilution of Tile Doctor Stone Soap to help with the cleaning and provide lubrication. The 400-grit pad deep cleans the stone and can remove light scratches, old sealers and etching caused by the use of acidic cleaning products such as bleach.

Neglected Travertine Floor During Renovation Worcester

After rinsing the floor with water and then extracting the soil with a wet vacuum I moved onto the 800-grit Burnishing Pad which is the first step in rebuilding the polished appearance on the Limestone. The process is the same as the 400-grit pad and after another rinse and extraction it was repeated using the 1500-grit pad all of which further build on the polished appearance of the stone.

Deep Cleaning Grout on a Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

The cleaning and burnishing took up much of the first day however floor pads do struggle to reach into the recesses of the grout lines so before leaving I turned by attention to the grout. For this I made up a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and applied to the grout lines where it was left to soak in for ten minutes. Then I hand scrubbed the grout using a grout brush. Once done the soil was rinsed off the floor as before and extracted using the wet vacuum. The floor was dried as much as possible using the wet vacuum and then allowed it to dry off fully overnight.

Polishing and Sealing a Limestone Tiled Ground Floor

The following day the final 3000-grit pad in the four-pad set was applied to the floor to bring up the polish even further. The pad is applied dry with only a little water sprayed onto the tile. We call this process a “Spray Burnish” and as well as leaving the floor nice and dry ready for sealing it adds a nice subtle shine to the stone.

To seal the Limestone and further enhance the shine on the Limestone I applied Tile Doctor Shine Powder which is a crystalised powder that is worked into the stone with a White buffing pad running at a slow speed. The crystals add a tough durable deep shine to the stone that provide protection from ingrained dirt.

Neglected Travertine Floor After Renovation Worcester

Once done the floor looked transformed once complete and before leaving, I left a bottle of Tile Doctor Stone Soap with the client and gave them some information about how best to maintain the floor. This product is pH neutral and cleans whilst maintaining the patina on the stone helping to keep the floor in great condition.

Neglected Travertine Floor After Renovation Worcester


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Limestone Patio Before and After Renovation Stourton

Colour Restored to Limestone Patio Tiles in Stourton

I was recently contacted about a faded Limestone patio which needed attention in the small village of Stourton. Having spoken to the owner on the phone I arranged to visit the property so I could assess the issues in full and prepare a quote. We have found that during the Covid-19 pandemic, people have been spending so much time at home outside, Tile Doctors have been getting more requests for patio restorations which are ideal considering the situation.

Limestone Patio Before Renovation Stourton

We visited site to carry out a survey following social distance guidelines. The limestone flags were very washed out and grey, nothing like when they were first set in the patio area. The owner of the house explained that the flagstones had never been sealed and had been washed weekly with a jet wash. Over time the elements had got to the stone and disrupted the oils which are present in the stone causing the washed-out look. I recommended a restorative treatment involving deep cleaning, oiling and the application of a colour enhancing sealer. This process which restore its original appearance and get the patio looking great again.

Limestone Patio Before Renovation Stourton

Cleaning and Restoring a Limestone Tiled Patio

My quote was accepted, and I set to work cleaning the stones with a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean worked in with a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. Pro-Clean is a concentrated, multi-purpose high-alkaline cleaner, stripper and degreaser that can be diluted at varying strengths (see directions) and is safe to use on stone. The slurry was then extracted with a wet vacuum and the process repeated until I was satisfied.

On this occasion the stone wasn’t that dirty, it was just bleached of colour so I was able to clean it with Pro-Clean, had the stone been heavily stained I would have opted for Tile Doctor Patio Cleaner. You must be very careful with that product through as its very strong.

After several hours of scrubbing, the stones were looking clean, so I left the patio to dry out in what was becoming a very hot day. The Limestone dried quickly so it wasn’t long before I was able to move onto the next treatment which was to apply Tile Doctor Stone Oil. Stone Oil puts back the natural oils in the stone improving texture and colour. Once done I left the patio to dry out overnight.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Patio

This work was done in May which turned out to be a really hot month with hardly any rain, ideal conditions for applying a sealer to external stone. Therefore, I was able to return the following day and seal the patio. For this I used three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer, this is a breathable colour intensifying sealer which will protect the stone going forward and make it easier to clean. In this instance it enhanced the beautiful natural colours of the limestone and left it sealed and in great condition.

Limestone Patio After Renovation Stourton Showing Water Test

Being breathable this sealer will cope well with the damp weather we often get in the UK, however its worth noting that particularly cold winters where the temperature consistently drops below minus 5 degrees Celsius can cause problems.

Limestone Patio After Renovation Stourton

The client was very satisfied with the work we had carried out and they were looking forward to the lockdown easing so they could show it off to family and friends once they are able to visit again- hopefully very soon.


Professional Restoration of a Limestone Patio in Worcestershire

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Limestone and Slate tiled floor Before and After Restoration in Worcester

Limestone and Slate tiled hallway restored in Worcester

I recently had a chance to complete a job at a house down in the bustling city of Worcester, home to one of the UK’s fastest growing universities, the University of Worcester, along with the much-loved condiment, Worcestershire sauce.

Limestone and Slate tiled floor before Restoration in Worcester
I was asked by my client to restore an interesting hallway floor that was made up of Limestone and Slate tiles laid in a diamond pattern. Both Limestone and Slate are reputed for their durability, and are popularly used for both interior and exterior flooring. However, this particular floor, situated in a high-traffic area of the house, was covered with many layers of dirt built up over the course of several years, and was marked by a number of loose tiles.

Limestone and Slate tiled floor before Restoration in Worcester

Cleaning and replacing Limestone and Slate tiles

My first job in the process of restoring the hallway was to give it a deep clean. I mixed up a solution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean and clean water, before scrubbing it into the tiles. I use Pro-Clean to clean most natural stone floors as it works very well to lift out ingrained dirt and stains.

Limestone and Slate tiled floor before Restoration in Worcester
Nonetheless, as the floor had suffered from more than its fair share of dirt over the years, I opted to also use Tile Doctor Remove & Go stripper which, in addition to removing any old sealer from the surface of the tiles, contains cleaning properties to ensure any remaining muck is eradicated.

Limestone and Slate tiled floor During Tile Replacement Restoration in Worcester
After completing the clean, I set about refitting the loose tiles, and in one particular area I had to remove and re-build the base back up. In order to effectively reuse the tiles, I had to grind off all the old adhesive.

Limestone and Slate tiled floor rebuilding base Restoration in Worcester

Sealing Limestone and Slate tiles

After leaving my work to set and dry for a period of a few days, I returned to put the finishing touches on the job with by sealing the hallway floor. I made sure that the surface was completely dry before commencing the seal, as any excess moisture might have affected the performance of the sealer, Tile Doctor Seal & Go.

This product is used to provide internal, porous surfaces with a stain resistant surface seal and, as you can see from the photos, a nice low-sheen finish. The low-sheen finish really helps to bring out the distinct colours in the Limestone and Slate tiles.

Limestone and Slate tiled floor after Restoration in Worcester
My client was amazed at how quickly I was able to rejuvenate the appearance of her hallway floor, especially considering the many years’ worth of dirt there was to tackle, as well as some tricky loose tiles.

Slate Hallway given new life in Worcestershire

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