Interesting Flagstone Cleaning Durham City Project

My client was looking for a professional stone cleaning maintenance restoration services to remove an ugly coating of sealer on a dining room flagstone floor in Durham.

Flagstone Floor Details

The flagstone dining room floor is in a building is situated across the river from Durham Cathedral and this part of the building dates back to the 17th Century.

This building, in South Street, has one of the best unobstructed views of the Cathedral and castle.
project was opposite durham cathedral

This is one of Durham’s oldest streets, and the fact that it is named “Street” rather than “Gate,” as most of Durham’s older street names are, has led to suspicion that it was formerly a Roman road.

Although Roman origins are a possibility, whether or not people resided here during the period of the Romans is a different story.

However, people have lived on South Street since the Middle Ages.

My client suspects that the walls and the floor of the room are made from local sandstone , the same quarry that may have supplied some of the stone to build the Cathedral.

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Problems With The Existing Sealer

flagstone floor in durham with heavy urethane coating

The flagstone floor had a thick layer of Urethane topical sealer, originally applied over 30 years ago and then topped up a number of times.

My client had done a great job of maintaining the floor, and it was very clean.

Maintaining the floor was not a difficult task because the coating was so thick.

The heavy build-up of the sealer smoothed out a lot of the pits and crevices in the flagstone tiles and the grout.

However, the Urethane had turned different shades of brown, making the floor look ugly and hiding the natural beauty of the flagstone.

This had happened because the Urethane sealer had been damaged by Ultra Violet Light.

The discolouration is a common problem with old coatings of Urethane sealer.

In some areas, it looked as though layers of brown paint had been applied.

I explained that it would take a few days to remove the sealer and that they would not have access to the kitchen while I was working.

I also explained that there would probably need to be some grout repairs, as I could see that there were areas of deep-set and uneven grout.

Preparing The Work Area

Before my arrival, my client had cleared the room.

They have a large dining table, and had to call on a local removals company to move the table into another room.

It is important to fully clear the work area to allow access for cleaning and allow the floor to be sealed.

I started by protecting the wood skirting boards, door and static furniture with plastic protection.

Protection is essential because the coating removers I use will soften and dissolve paint.

Removing The Flagstone Sealer

Flagstone urethane sealer remover

I tested a number of popular sealer removers, however, as I suspected, they had little effect on the Urethane coating.

So I had to use a very caustic sealer remover that is not a pleasant product to use.

The sealer remover comes in the form of a gel, to trap the solvents and give them time to break down the coating.

I applied a thick coating of sealer remover to small sections of the floor and waited for around 30 minutes for the chemicals to break down the coating.

Then I agitated and removed the slurry.

urethane sealer remover breaks down urethane coating

I repeated the process until all traces of the old sealer were removed.

Some of the grout needed a number of treatments to remove all traces of the old coating.

Then I moved on to the next area.

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Deep Cleaning The Flagstone Tile Floor

Once the old sealer had been removed, I scrub cleaned the floor with a rotary scrubbing machine and a medium-grade polypropylene brush to remove any remaining dirt.

scrubbing a flagstone floor to remove ingrained dirt
I pressure rinsed the floor to remove all traces of the cleaning slurry and any ingrained soil.

I use similar equipment to that used on outdoor Patio floors.

However, my equipment immediately vacuums up the water, so there is no splashing.

I also operate at lower pressures, so there is no chance of damaging the surface of the stone, which can sometimes happen with patio cleaning.

During the cleaning process, I had to take care not to damage the grout because old cement grout can be easily damaged when it it damp.

After cleaning, I left the floor to dry.

Flagstone Grout Repair

Owing to the age of the floor, there had been a number of repairs with different coloured cement. So I had to make a judgement on the grout colour.

After discussing the colours with my client, we agreed on a mid-range colour grout.

I grouted the damaged areas of grout and also areas of deep-set grout and lost grout.

repairing a flagstone floor in durham
I took care not to get too much grout on the flagstone because it can be difficult to remove grout from the pores of the tiles.

After grouting, I left the grout to dry overnight

We offer a number of stone sealing options for this flooring type.

Giving a matt, satin or gloss finish

After discussing the options with the customer, we decided on a hard-wearing, topical finish.

flagstone sealing durham
The coating gives a hard-wearing finish, protecting the surface of the flagstone and the grout.

A topical coating also gives more time to wipe spills before they damage the floor

Importantly, the finish makes the floor much easier to clean.

My client was delighted with the results.

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Our Stone Floor Restoration Experts Will Make Your Floors Look Beautiful!

Sandstone Maintenance Advice

I explained the importance of correct maintenance.

In particular, how a microfiber damp mopping would lift more soil off the floor than a round cotton mop.

Meaning that the tiles and the grout will stay cleaner for longer.

If you are looking for natural stone cleaning maintenance restoration in Durham or the surrounding area that you need help with, please drop me a line.

I’ll be happy to help.