Sealing Victorian Tiles

Red and Black Victorian Tiled Period Floor Restored in Beetham

The floor of this property in Beetham had been covered with carpet and underlay for what the client believed was between 25 and 30 years. Now under new ownership the carpet had been partially removed to reveal an original Red and Black Victorian tiled floor hidden underneath. Before considering other options, the customer wanted to investigate having it renovated and preserving as an original period feature so they called their local Tile Doctor to see what could be done.

Classic Red Black Victorian Period Floor During Restoration Beetham

We have a long history of successfully restoring old Victorian floors back to their original state so did not anticipate having any issues. Having said that however you can never be sure what your going to find with old floors like these so where possible we like to visit the property to run a few tests before quoting. Older properties do not have a damp proof membrane therefore damp was an obvious consideration and so before running any cleaning tests we took a few damp readings from the floor. We worked out a quote which the client was happy with and we set a date for the restoration.

Cleaning Repairing a Victorian Tiled Kitchen Floor

To start with we had to hack up the old black underlay, which had been glued down to the floor, this was hard work but had to be done. We then worked on removing the remnants of the underlay and started cleaning the whole floor with a weighted buffing machine, a black buffing pad and Tile Doctor Remove and Go to breakdown the glue.

Classic Red Black Victorian Period Floor During Restoration Beetham

Once the majority was removed, we went a bit harder with the deep clean as it still didn’t look clean enough so we switched to milling pads, starting with a 100-grit, then 200-grit and finished with a 400-grit diamond pad. The soiling was rinsed away and then the floor was given and acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel. This last step is designed to neutralise any alkaline salt issues, aka efflorescence, that may be have been trapped in the tile over the years.

Classic Red Black Victorian Period Floor During Restoration Beetham

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Kitchen Floor

When choosing a sealer for a floor with no damp-proof membrane you have to be aware of the need for moisture to rise through the floor and evaporate at the surface. The moisture readings we took on our first trip out to the property did indicate damp around the edges of the room even after being allowed to dry for quite a while.

To allow for this you need to use a fully breathable sealer, so we advised the use of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This sealer also enhances the natural colours and will protect the tile from ingrained dirt by impregnating the tiny holes in the clay tile with sealant. Using a non-breathable sealer on a floor like this would prevent it from breathing and result in rising damp as the trapped moisture is forced out to the walls. Worst case tiles can be destroyed by the rising salt issues.

Classic Red Black Victorian Period Floor After Cleaning Beetham

It was quite a big floor and it took longer to clean than we had planned for. The client wanted the kitchen fitted before being sealed in case the fitter made a mess, so we returned later to seal the floor with four coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Unfortunately, it didn’t occur to me take photos afterwards so the pictures on this page are before it was sealed.

Classic Red Black Victorian Period Floor After Cleaning Beetham

Before leaving we discussed on-going cleaning and so I recommended Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner which having a neutral Ph will not prematurely erode the newly applied sealer. Its mild enough to use daily and leaves a nice fresh fragrance.

The client was very pleased with the newly restored floor and glad they could retain the period feature of the Victorian tiles which was much more in keeping with the property than the awful carpet that had been laid previously.

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Kitchen in Lancashire

Cream and Black Victorian Hallway Floor Restoration in Ulverston

This property located near the pretty market town of Ulverston was built in 1874 as inscribed on the front of the building. The Victorian Tiled floor comprised of Cream and Black tiles was original from when the house was built so that made the tiles at least 145 years old, in fact this was one of the oldest Victorian tiled floors I have ever worked on.

Cream Black Victorian Hallway Floor Tiles Before Restoration Ulverston

The floor was in good condition for its age but had experienced problems with broken and loose tiles around two of the door thresholds which is a common problem with floors of this age. Unfortunately, those tiles had been lost over the years and now the customer wanted this part of the floor rebuilding as part of the restoration. Fortunately, these tiles are still popular so finding suitable replacements wasn’t a big of a challenge as you might think.

Cream Black Victorian Hallway Floor Tiles Before Restoration Ulverston

I discussed with the client what needed to be done and after finding a suitable supplier for the replacement tiles was able to produce a quote which was accepted, and we agreed a price for the work.

Repairing a Cream and Black Victorian Hallway Floor

My first task was to rebuild the areas of broken and missing tiles. For the larger areas I mapped out a suitable pattern and set about cutting the replacement tiles to fit. A thick bed of flexible rapid set floor adhesive was applied to the floor and the replacement tiles bedded into the old cement base. Once the adhesive had hardened the tiles were grouted, cleaned-up and left to dry.

Cream Black Victorian Hallway Floor Tiles Before Restoration Ulverston

There were several areas that needed this treatment, so the work took some time to complete.

Cream Black Victorian Hallway Floor Tiles During Restoration Ulverston

Cleaning/Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Returning the next day, I first checked that the replacement tiles had set and that there were no further problems that needed addressing. All was well so I began cleaning the floor using a 200-grit followed by a 400-grit Diamond pad fitted to a weighted buffing machine running at slow speed and lubricated with water. The floor was rinsed with water after each pad and then the soil extracted using a wet vacuum.

The floor was then given an acid wash using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up, which at this stage acts in two ways for these old floors:

1. The Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up product is made from Phosphoric Acid (not a brick Acid, which is a lot cheaper, more widely available but too strong for use on tile.) The acid we use works with us not against us and gives us time to change the pH of the floor to a slightly acidic pH. This is important on old floors like these where no damp proof membrane has been installed and it’s important to counter any alkaline salts in the floor which could lead to efflorescence later.
2. The sealer will bond to the surface a lot better when it has had this treatment and as a result you get a sharper cleaner finish.

Cream Black Victorian Hallway Floor Tiles Before Restoration Ulverston

Once done the floor was given another rinse and extraction with water and the wet vacuum and then left to dry out for a few days,

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

We returned as promised to seal the whole floor using a couple of coats of a breathable colour enhancing sealer called Tile Doctor Colour Grow. As you can see form the pictures this really brought the hallway floor to life. Colour Grow works from the inside by occupying the pores in the tile and will protect it from ingrained dirt staining going forward.

Cream Black Victorian Hallway Floor Tiles After Restoration Ulverston

It’s very important for a customer to use the correct cleaner after having there tiles cleaned and sealed professionally as using the wrong product can prematurely degrade the sealer. As a result, we recommend Tile Doctor Concentrated Neutral Tile Cleaner, its pH balanced and will not upset the sealer, thus getting maximum longevity out of the whole process.

Cream Black Victorian Hallway Floor Tiles After Restoration Ulverston

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in South Cumbria

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