Points for care and consideration of a limestone floor 

Of the many flooring options available on the market today, there is something special about a solid wood or stone floor.  There is a quality that just cannot be matched with veneers or other imitation materials and this will be evident the moment you step on it.  Feeling the firmness of the floor under your feet will let you know instantly that you are standing on a quality, solid floor made from quality materials.  Of these materials, some of them are far harder to care for effectively than others, and one that requires a good degree of understanding to care for properly is limestone.  If not treated properly, a limestone floor could begin to deteriorate within two or three years, but with proper care it can last centuries.  Even when damaged, a limestone floor can be salvaged, but if you are going to attempt fixing it yourself, make sure that you do your research so that you can ensure a high quality limestone restoration, and don’t make things any worse.  The same is true of simple maintenance, ensuring you understand the best ways of caring for a limestone floor is important before taking any steps to clean or restore one, if you get it wrong, the damage can be irreparable.

Loose tiles and grout

Not strictly limited to limestone floors, but given limestones tendency to erode quite easily floors constructed from this material can be quite prone to this problem.  Loose grout is normally a symptom of movement within the floor the tiles are adhered to.  If installed on a wooden floor, the natural flexibility in the wood can cause the floor to flex when it is walked on and over time this will cause the grout to crack.  Once the grout has cracked it will begin to work its way loose and start being knocked out of the space it is supposed to fill.  Obviously it is fairly simple to repoint the area and apply fresh grout, but if the floor continues to move then the problem will simply reoccur.

Loose grout can also be caused by movement in the tiles themselves.  This is normally due to the tiles being fitted badly in the first instance where the installer did not apply the adhesive evenly causing blobbed patches and as such some areas to be higher than others.  In addition to higher points of the adhesive layer, the lower areas will have no adhesion and this will leave voids between the tiles and the floor.  Both of these factors will cause the tiles to work their way loose over time and subsequently crack the grout.

Cleaning

Once you’ve established that the underlying floor is stable, the tiles are adhered properly and the grout has been replaced the floor will need a clean.  Categorically never use chemicals on a limestone floor, either use approved limestone cleaners or a pH neutral stone soap and water.  Gently wipe over the floor and don’t put too much force or focus on any one area unless a stain is particularly prolific.  The biggest problem with cleaning a limestone floor is that once damage has been done, further cleaning without the proper treatment will simply exasperate the damage further.

Protection

With the limestone floor stabilised, repointed and cleaned, it will be time to ensure that it is protected against future damage.  Limestone, like most masonry, requires sealing to ensure it is protected against wear in the long run.  If there is any remaining sealant from previous treatments it is important that they are removed before a new coat is applied.  Only use an approved sealant removal product to ensure there is no damage to the limestone and make sure that you clean it again after using the chemical on it.  Make sure the floor is clear of dust and debris and then apply the limestone sealant as directed by the products instructions.  This should leave you with a wonderful looking limestone floor that should last for years to come.

Alternatives

If this all sounds like a lot of time and work, it is; so what alternatives are there is you don’t want to undertake this project or don’t feel as though you will be able to do your limestone floor justice.  Well, the simplest answer is that you should employ the services of a professional stonemason and limestone repairer such as Perth based Kernow Stone.  Companies such as this will have all the tools and expertise to repair your floor and leave it as a gem of a feature in your home for you to enjoy.

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