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With a straightforward cleaning and maintenance routine, limestone flooring should give many decades of satisfaction. Have you inherited limestone floors that haven’t been properly looked after? Never fear, here’s our handy guide on how to refurbish your tiles.
As a sedimentary rock, limestone is porous. This means that water (and other liquids) can soak into its top layer. This can lead to staining and marks over time. This is why tiles should always be sealed, to protect them from discolouration. This is normally done as part of the floor-laying process.
How to refurbish limestone floors
If your limestone flooring has been neglected for some time, it will probably need to be resealed. But first, it’s important to give it a thorough deep clean. If you don’t, you’ll just be sealing in years of dirt!
1. Choosing the right cleaning materials
Make sure you buy a floor cleaning detergent that’s specially formulated for ‘calciferous’ stone. Normal floor cleaners often contain acids (most commonly citrus-based acids). These are likely to damage the surface of your limestone flooring.
Dilute the detergent as specified by the manufacturer. Test it on a hidden area of your limestone flooring first – e.g. under a rug or in a corner. If possible, leave it for a few days after testing, just in case the tiles react adversely to the cleaner.
2. Get cleaning!
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You’ll probably need to scrub badly discoloured/stained areas. Pay particular attention to the grout. This is often more porous than the stone and therefore more susceptible to staining.
A nylon brush (e.g. a toothbrush or nailbrush) may help to deep clean grout and badly stained parts of the limestone flooring itself.
3. Wipe away residue
In most cases, you’ll need to rinse off the residue detergent and dirt, but check the manufacturer’s tips. After rinsing, mop up as much of the surplus water as possible from the tiles. This will help speed up drying.
You may even want to soak up any excess dampness with a cloth or paper towelling. Turn on underfloor or regular heating – basically anything you can do to make sure the floor dries out fully.
4. How to refurbish limestone floors – resealing
You’ll need to buy floor sealant that is specifically designed for limestone flooring. Sealants are available from specialist stores, flooring stockists or online. Don’t start sealing your floor tiles until they are absolutely dry! If in doubt, leave them for a few days to make absolutely sure they are completely dry.
5. Apply the sealant
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to apply the sealant. Usually, this is done with a mop or roller. Make sure you don’t miss any bits of the limestone flooring. Apply a uniform layer of sealant and leave it for 10-15 minutes to sink into the porous stone.
6. Remove any surplus sealant
Don’t leave any excess sealant sitting on the surface of your limestone floor tiles. Wipe up with a mop or cloth, leaving an even finish across the whole floor, with no puddles or drips!
7. Let it dry
As with previous stages of the process for how to refurbish limestone floors, here’s yet another drying stage! Make sure no-one walks on the surface of the floor until it is completely dry.
Be guided by the manufacturer as to how long this takes. It will also depend on the temperature of the room and the limestone flooring itself. Gentle underfloor heating may help this drying process, but check the instructions.
Avoid putting down rugs and replacing furniture too quickly. This could make marks in the sealant if the sealant isn’t fully dry.
Anyone reading these instructions on ‘how to refurbish limestone floors’ could be forgiven for thinking that looking after limestone flooring is a full-time job.
This couldn’t be further from the truth! Ongoing maintenance simply involves sweeping (or hoovering) up dust, and washing with floor cleaner and a mop.
Enjoy your newly refurbished limestone flooring!