This beautiful Geometric Victorian Tiled Hallway at a property in the small Cumbrian town of Sedbergh had been covered by carpet and then Vinyl beneath the carpet. Far from causing an issue with the floor however it had protected the beautiful old tiles, but they needed a deep clean and seal. The client really wanted to make the most of the character features of the property and the hall floor was their first priority.
I discussed with the client the process of cleaning and we agreed a quote for the work, arranging a date for the work to be carried out later in the month. If you have never been Sedbergh is well worth a visit, it sits just within the Yorkshire Dales National Park at the foot of the Howgill Fells making it very popular with walkers.
Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
The floor had a lovely decorative tile border that ran along the perimeter of the hallway however some damage had occurred when fitting central heating pipers many years earlier. There were also small holes around the edges that I suspect were used to secure the carpet gripper. To resolve this my first task was to replace the damaged tiles and fill the small holes with grout in a matching colour.
Once the repairs had set, I started the cleaning process with a coarse 200-grit Diamond pad followed by a 400-grit pad which were run over the floor using a weighed buffing machine. Only water is used during this process to add lubrication, no chemicals are needed and once done the floor is rinsed with water and the slurry removed with a wet vacuum.
The corners and edges which were are not accessible with the machine had to be done by hand, so we used small burnishing blocks for these. The Green block is great at getting the dirt off the tiles, but leaves the pores of the clay open, so this needs to be finished with the Black 100, Red 200 and Yellow 400 Diamond Block used in sequence which then matches the pores of the clay tiles in the rest of the floor.
We finished the clean, with a light acid rinse using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up, left on the surface for no more than 5 minutes before rinsing and extracting. This process further cleans the floor and counters any potential efflorescence issues by neutralising alkaline salts in the floor. This is a common problem with old Victorian tiles which don’t have a damp-proof membrane.
Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
The floor was left to dry out overnight and the next day I came back to inspect the floor and make sure it was dry so it could be sealed. Usually one night to dry is fine during the summer although in the winter sometimes it takes two or even three days. Sealers don’t cure well on damp floors resulting in a patchy appearance so before sealing we always check the floor is fully dry with a damp meter in several areas. Only once we are happy that the moisture readings in the floor are below a certain level do go ahead and apply a sealer.
To seal and protect the Victorian tile, a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow were applied to the floor. Colour Grow is a fully breathable, colour enhancing sealer which ticks a lot of boxes for this type of floor as old floors don’t have a damp-proof membrane fitted. This is an important consideration as moisture will be also to rise through the tile from the subfloor and not get trapped underneath where it could spread to the walls. Other types of sealer such as acrylic, wax, polishes etc don’t last long if there is dampness in the floor. Tile Doctor Colour Grow copes well in these conditions and can be used in wet rooms, shower cubicles and external patio areas so its’s more than suitable for a slightly damp floor which is often the case with a Victorian base.