A builder had made a real mess of this customer’s new Slate tiled wet room. When installing any new natural stone tiles, it is always recommended to apply the sealer before grouting, since – as was the case here – the porosity of the stone can cause the grout to stick with to the stone, leaving a terrible blotchy and uneven appearance.
Restoring the appearance of a Slate Tiled Wet Room
To begin, I had to tape up all the chrome and metal fittings found around the bathroom to stop them coming into contact with the cleaning products. I them started the restoration by applying Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a PH1 blend of Phosphoric and Hydrochloric acids for the removal of grout haze.
As it comes in a gel form, this product is especially effective on vertical or sloped surfaces, where more dwell time is required. A liquid product would, of course, simply run off the tiles. So, working on small areas at a time, I allowed the gel to dwell for around five minutes, before agitating the solution with a pan scrubber, and rinsing the gel off with water. Once I had completed this process on the whole of the wet room, I allowed the tiles to dry out before repeating the process on some of the areas suffering from thicker smears of grout.
Sealing Slate Wet Room Tiles
When I was happy that I had removed all of the grout smears, I ensured that all the tiles were dry before applying Tile Doctor Stone Oil. This product is an easy-to-apply, pre-polish impregnating sealer which is ideal for low porosity stone and also suitable for more porous stone, such as Terracotta. It is also specially designed to enhance the natural colours and textures of tiles, and improve mechanical strength once cured. The oil is particularly effective when used on dark stone, like this Slate, as it really helps to deepen the colour.
I returned the next day to seal the tiles completely using one coat of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal to lock in the Stone Oil applied the previous day. Ultra Seal is a premium, no-sheen, natural-look, solvent-based penetrating sealer formulated to provide maximum stain protection. It allows moisture vapour transmission and is an excellent grout sealer.
Professional Slate Tile Restoration in a Kent Wet Room
The photographs below are of a black slate tiled floor in the kitchen and utility room of a house in Knatts Valley, Sevenoaks Kent, it was laid around six years ago when the kitchen was installed. The owner was now having the whole kitchen re-decorated and was considering laying a new floor as the current slate looked so tired and was difficult to clean.
Cleaning Black Slate Tiled Floor
Normally I would use a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean solution mixed with Tile Doctor Nanotech Ultra-Clean and a floor buffing machine, but due to the deep riven nature of the slate, the floor would have to be scrubbed manually. The floor had been sealed originally and although old and broken there was still a lot of sealer on the floor which all had to be removed. I decided to use the blanket system, which involves a mixture of Tile Doctor Remove & Go mixed with Nanotech Ultra-Clean 70:30 mix. This mixture was applied to floor, and covered in plastic to prevent the solution from drying out. This was left on the floor for two hours, and then scrubbed off, you can just use a natural bristled scrubbing brush, but I find them cumbersome with the solution, so I opt for oversized pan scrubbers, which are pliable for getting into deep riven tiles. As the solution was scrubbed it was rinsed with water and removed with a wet vacuum. When everything was removed for from the floor and vacuumed up, I rinsed the floor again with water and vacuumed up to ensure all the solution had gone, the floor was then left for 48 hours to ensure it had fully dried out.
Sealing Black Slated Tiles
The slate floor was sealed using five coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which despite being a low sheen finish, it really enhanced the colour of the black slate giving it more depth. The tiled floor was ready for light foot traffic in a few hours, achieving a full cure in 24 hours. The beauty of using a topical sealer such as Seal & Go on a riven stone is that the feel of the stone is smoother and therefore easier to mop. For everyday cleaning purposes we recommend Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner, diluted 1:30 with water.
The customer was very pleased with the result and was pleased not to have to replace the floor.
Restoration of tired black slate floor in Sevenoaks
Kent Tile Doctor