The pictures below are from a York Stone flagged hallway floor in an old building in the historic and picturesque market town of Newark, Nottinghamshire. The building dates back to the late 17th Century so the flagstone were likely to be very old, additionally the building is now the busy offices of local solicitor and so does get a lot of wear. The flagstones had a heavy build-up of soiling and old worn down coatings, there was also evidence of remove paint spots and I suspect adhesive residues suggesting at some point the floor had been covered in a carpet.
Cleaning Old Flagstones
The first step was to remove any previous coating such as sealers so a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean was applied and left to soak into the stone for twenty minutes. Pro-Clean is a multi-purpose heavy duty cleaner & coating remover that due to its alkaline formula is safe to use of Tile, Stone and Grout. The cleaning solution was scrubbed by hand into the wall edges and corners and paint spots and adhesive contamination marks were spot treated whilst the solution on the main part of the floor was getting to work breaking down the years of soiling. Once the edges were done it was time to agitate the flagstones on the main part of the floor with a weighted low-speed rotary machine fitted with a special restoration brush.
After thoroughly scrubbing the floor, the resulting slurry was vacuumed away and stubborn areas re-treated. The floor was then given a further rinse and the floor then left to dry off overnight.
Sealing York Stone Flags
The following day I returned to seal the floor. As the property dates back to the 17th Century it’s unlikely the floor has a damp proof membrane installed so it would be important to choose a breathable sealer that will allow moisture to pass up through the stone. We chose Tile Doctor Colour Grow for the job, it’s a breathable impregnating sealer that occupies the pores in the stone preventing contaminates from staining the floor and also enhance the natural colours in the stone. The flagstones were quite porous so three coats were required to ensure complete protection.
I think you will agree from the photographs that flagstones have been transformed and the Colour Grow sealer will provide a durable barrier to both water & oil based spills. Tracked in soiling is also easier to remove when damp mop cleaning for which I recommended the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner which unlike acidic cleaners will not impair the integrity of the sealer.