Removing Limescale from Slate Shower Tiles in in Stevenage

Our client contacted Tile Doctor as they were having problems cleaning their Slate tiled ensuite bathroom. We visited the property in nearby Stevenage, a London commuter town which is between Letchworth Garden City and Welwyn Garden City. The bathroom had been fitted some time ago, but due to the hard water in the area, there had been a large build up of limescale. The dark slate tiles showed this up even more.

Slate Tiled Bathroom EnSuite Stevenage Before Cleaning

My client had tried numerous household products on the tiles, but nothing was shifting the heavy build up. I discussed with them what Tile Doctor could do and completed a small demonstration. They were surprised how easily we were able to improve the tiles. We agreed a price and a timescale and booked the work in for a few weeks’ time.

Cleaning and Restoring a Slate Tiled Ensuite Bathroom

The ensuite shower required intensive cleaning to the shower walls and floor where excessive limescale was present so we got to work cleaning with Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel, this is a strong alkaline based cleaner and degreaser, it is a gel so it works well on vertical surfaces where a long dwell time is required to break down dirt, grime, soap scum, oil based products. We left the product on the surface for approximately 10 minutes, removing all previous sealers and dirt. The residue was rinsed off and followed this up with a second clean using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up.

Grout Clean-Up is an acidic product designed to remove mineral deposits however you need to be careful with some types of stone as it can etch the surface if used incorrectly. To apply the product was diluted with water in a spray bottle and sprayed on to the wall tiles where it was scrubbed in and then rinsed off. The process was then repeated on the floor rinsing down thoroughly afterwards with water.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Ensuite Bathroom

Once the slate was clean and dry we proceeded to cut out the existing silicone sealant which was equally stained and was beyond cleaning. This is a slow job and care needs to be taken not to scratch the tiles. It is important to ensure all the old silicone is removed so there is a nice clean surface to reapply the new. This also gave the shower area more time to dry out.

We tested with the moisture meter to ensure the shower area was fully dry and then applied the sealer. We chose to apply three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, this is an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the pores in the stone, so dirt can’t become ingrained there, its also a colour enhancing sealer that provides durable protection. We applied the coats then lightly buffed off the excess with a soft cloth and allowed the slate to dry. The following day we returned to re-silicone all the edges and joints.

Slate Tiled Bathroom EnSuite Stevenage After Cleaning

We recommended to the customer to use a mild solution of Tile Doctor Stone Soap as a maintenance cleaner for the slate. The client was very happy with the result and could see that cleaning with the appropriate product would ensure the ensuite bathroom continued to look good. The whole job took a day and a half to complete.

 

Source: Slate Tile Cleaning and Renovation Service in Stevenage, Hertfordshire

Acid-Damaged Slate Shower Tiles Restored with Burnishing in Churt

One problem we encounter a lot at Tile Doctor is damaged caused to natural stone tiles by unsuitable household cleaning products. This customer, who lives in the small West Surrey village of Churt, had done this by attempting to use Cilit Bang, which is an acidic product, to remove limescale from his fantastic Slate tiled shower cubicle. While the product may indeed remove Limescale, it does say on the label that it should not be used on natural stone.

Slate shower before cleaning Churt Slate shower before cleaning Churt

Putting these types of products in contact with acid-sensitive stone typically results in some sort of etching, however, I had never before seen the type of damage that had occurred on these Slate tiles. At first, I thought the damage – which appeared as a sort of white staining – might simply be damage to the sealer. But when I did a test clean to remove the sealer, it became clear that the stone had suffered from very deep staining and the only way to remove it would be to use a process we call burnishing.

Slate shower before cleaning Churt

Burnishing an Acid-Damaged Slate Tiled Shower Cubicle

The burnishing process is a type of polishing which involves the application of diamond burnishing pads in sequence. Each pad has a different level of grit, allowing for dirt and stains to be broken down before the stone is gradually polished. We typically use burnishing on Limestone, Marble, and Travertine, but it can be used on all manner of stone in the right circumstances. This being a vertical surface, I had to complete the process using smaller six-inch pads fitted to a handheld buffer.

I started by applying the 400 grit (Coarse) pad, and followed on through to the 800 grit (Medium) and 1500 grit (Fine) pads, using a small amount of water as lubrication. I then left the tiles to dry until the next day.

When I arrived back at the property, the customer remarked that the tiles looked massively improved. Nonetheless, I found I hadn’t removed all the staining possible, so decided to repeat the burnishing process once – but this time used the pads without any lubrication. Once I was satisfied with the results, it was time to seal the tiles.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Shower Cubicle

My choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which impregnates the stone to block ingrained dirt and staining. As the name of the product suggests, it also enhances the dark natural shades in the Slate, giving the shower cubicle a bold, healthy and rich appearance.

Slate shower after burnishing Churt Slate shower after burnishing Churt

The customer was really pleased with the end result, which can be seen in the photographs above and below. So pleased was the customer, in fact, that he asked me to quote for the restoration of his Limestone tiled patio.

Slate shower after burnishing Churt

 
 
Source: Restoring the Appearance of Black Slate Tiles in a Surrey Shower Cubicle