We were asked to clean and seal a large Limestone floor at a restaurant on the outskirts of Chester. The large hostelry and Steak House was reopening after being closed since lock down and the floor had not been cleaned since.
I arranged a visit to survey the floor and could see that although the Limestone tiles were still stained with beer, wine, and other detritus they were in good condition for a busy commercial floor. On the back of that visit, I was able to provide a detailed quote and at the request of the manager agreed to do the work three days before it was due to open.
Although this did not leave much time in the way of contingency it made a lot of sense for the manager as the floor would be pristine for the grand opening. I had calculated that the work should take two days and that left them a day for final preparations, including setting out the furniture and last-minute staff training.
Cleaning a Limestone Tiled Restaurant Floor
To get the limestone floor clean I sprayed the area with a mixture of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean (a multi-purpose degreaser tile cleaner) and Tile Doctor Remove and Go (a multi-purpose stripper and coatings remover). The cleaning cocktail was left to soak into the stone for a good twenty minutes to allow it time to break down ingrained dirt and marks in the old polish from around the fixed furniture and skirting boards that had been applied by the cleaners over the years.
To help the process of taking the stains out of the limestone the cleaning mixture was worked into the tile using a coarse 400-grit diamond encrusted burnishing pad. The pads are fitted to a rotary buffer machine applying weights were required to maintain a better contact with the stone. The cleaning solution turns into a dark slurry as the dirt is released from the floor and once the pad has been over each tile at least three times as vet vacuum is used to extract it.
This process was then followed up with the application of a finer 800-grit pad but applied only with water which helps lubricate the process. Again, the slurry was removed with a wet vacuum and the floor rinsed with water which is vacuumed off once more. This process is then repeated with a 1500-grit burnishing pad which starts putting the polish back on the floor. These large 17-inch pads can struggle around the edges of the floor so small six-inch burnishing pads fitted to a hand polisher are used. Once the whole floor had been treated in this manner it was rinsed down once more and dried with the wet vacuum before being left to dry out fully overnight.
Sealing a Limestone Tiled Restaurant Floor
The next day the last burnishing pad in the series was run over the floor, this is a very fine 3000-grit pad which completes the polishing process and leaves the Limestone with a healthy shine. This final pad is applied dry with only a few squirts of water applied to the surface, a process we call spray burnishing.
Lastly to protect the floor it was sealed using two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which is a premium natural look penetrating and durable sealer. The sealer prevents dirt from becoming trapped in the pores of the stone and allow it to be easily cleaned off the surface. Once the last coat of sealer was dry the floor was dry the floor was buffed with a White buffing pad to improve the sheen and remove any excess sealer.
I am pleased to say we didn’t encounter any complications during cleaning, so the timings worked out beautifully and the owner was able to open on schedule.
For future maintenance I recommended the use of Tile Doctor Stone Soap cleaner which is a pH neutral that will gently cleans the tile whilst improving patina. Many commercial tile cleaning products are simply too strong for sealed floors and can degrade the sealer prematurely.