They had sandstone flags installation in the kitchen, hallways and w/c in the home. The same slabs were laid on the outdoor patio but thankfully that area did not need cleaning.
How Come Some Sandstone Gets So Dirty?
The surface of the stone flooring looked soiled and grubby and my client could not get it clean to her satisfaction.
This type of rough texture riven natural stone makes it difficult to clean, compared to a smooth stone like marble. Even when you use hot water and a strong cleaner, it’s difficult to remove all the grease and grime.
The time had come to have the floor cleaned and re-sealed by a professional stone floor restoration company.
Exotic Sealers Can Be Difficult To Remove From Natural Stone
The floor was originally laid over 30 years ago as part of a barn conversion project. No one knew what was used to seal the floor. The original contractor could have used a natural stone sealer, paint-based product or even an epoxy-based industrial concrete coating.
I started by testing various natural stone sealer removers on a small area of the floor containing a sample of each coloured paver. Unfortunately, the sealer removers could not remove the heavy deposits of the old coating. I tried paint stripper, but it had little effect on the residual coating.
The only option was to scrub the floor with a carbide brush on my rotary machine to mechanically remove the old coating. Thankfully, this work removed most of the old finish coating off the surface of the pavers
Uneven, riven sandstone tile causes the brush to make splashes. The cleaners I use are quite strong and can stain paintwork. So I installed protection to the walls and adjoining floors.
How To Clean Sandstone
I started the cleaning by scrubbing the floor with a silicon carbide impregnated brush and a strong cleaner degreaser chemical, then rinse with clean water. The cleaning was extremely effective, removing ingrained dirt and the majority of the old coating. This stone was very tough so I had no worries about causing damage to the surface of the slabs.
The scrubbing did remove some of the degraded sand in the grout mortar on some areas of the floor, but not enough to create any issues.
The sandstone scrubbing took a full day to complete.
Sandstone and mortar grout can be very porous. So, while I was working I decided to install a couple of air movers to help the floor dry.
I decided not to leave the air movers working overnight as the house was quite warm, which encouraged drying.
Sandstone Sealing Durham
Natural Stone such as; Sandstone, Indian Sandstone, Limestone, Slate, Granite and Travertine, is often sealed with an impregnating sealer. Impregnating sealers are absorbed into the stone, without changing the natural appearance of the tiles. Indoor installations are sometimes overcoated with floor wax.
However, this sandstone has a rough uneven finish which is difficult to clean. So I recommended sealing the stone with Stonetech, a film-forming sealer. The surface film helps protect the finish and makes the surface of the flags easier to clean.
Sealing Rough Sandstone With A Film Forming Sealer
Most topical film-forming sealers just sit on the surface of the stone. However, Stonetech is also absorbed deep into the surface of the stone just like an impregnating sealer. So this sealer gives all the advantages of an impregnating sealer and a film-forming sealer.
The solvent-free Stonetech sealer does not smell, so there are no nasty fumes disturbing the homeowner.
Stonetech also provides exceptional protection against water and stains.
I applied 2 coats of sealer using a roller and cloth. Application is not a quick job and each coat took me three hours to apply.
The sealer takes six to eight hours to cure. So I sealed the floor over two days to make sure the first coat was dry.
How To Keep A Sandstone Floor Looking Clean
Cleaning rough sandstone with deep grout is not a simple task. Mopping with a standard cotton mop will not keep the floor clean. A mop will move soiled cleaning solution into the grout, gradually making it darker. Cleaning with a microfiber flat mop is not simple because the flags and pavers have a rough finish.
My suggestion is to clean riven sandstone using a combination of a mop, bucket and a wet and dry vacuum.
Thoroughly dry vacuum the floor to remove all traces of dry soil. You must remove the dry soil because if it gets wet, the grit in the soil turns into a cutting paste. When you mop the floor the grit will scratch the surface of the tiles, damaging the finish.
Mix a solution of sandstone cleaner, for example, LTP Floorshine in a bucket and mop the cleaning solution over the floor to loosen any sticky soils. Don’t be tempted to use strong alkaline cleaners, bleach-based cleaners or acid based cleaners. These cleaners will damage the sealer, reducing the life of the finish.
Use a wet vacuum with a hard floor tool to vacuum away the cleaning slurry, making sure there is no cleaning slurry left in the grout or any stone crevices.
Using this cleaning method will help you keep your sandstone floor clean for years to come.
My client was delighted with the results and will enjoy a beautiful, easy to clean floor for years to come.
If you want your sandstone floor or any other natural stone floor to look clean and beautiful for years rather than months, please drop me a line. I will be happy to help.
On the subject of cleaning sandstone, here is an answer to a very popular question.
How Do You Get Stains Out Of Sandstone?
If sandstone is not fully sealed, some spills can stain the stone.
First, try your sandstone cleaner with a cloth. If this does not work, and you know what caused the stain, you have two options. Don’t expect a perfect result, but the mark should be lighter after you have finished.
Option 1 – A Coloured Stain
Mix a small amount of hydrogen peroxide with fullers earth or baby powder to create a thick cream consistency creating a poultice mix. Apply the poultice to the stain and cover with a plastic sheet or cling film. Tape the edges to secure the plastic and leave for 48 hours. Hopefully, the poultice will absorb the stain. Remove the plastic, vacuum away the residue and damp wipe. Repeat until the stain has disappeared or lightened sufficiently not to be noticed.
Option 2 – An Oily Stain
Organic, oil-based stains will darken the stone and need to be chemically dissolved. Try cleaning with a cloth and Clean gently with a soft cloth and mineral spirit, acetone, or nail polish remover. If there is still a stain. Make up a poultice as above using mineral spirit, acetone or nail polish. Apply the poultice as above. Leave for 48 hours and repeat until the stain has disappeared.