Victorian Tile Sealing

Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Floor in Prizet, Kendal

The photos below are of a 1.7 metre by 3 metre Victorian tiled floor at the entrance to a property in Prizet, south of Kendal. As you can see the hallway and porch was in a poor state due to old age and neglect. Some tiles were cracked, missing and stained with cement, and what I suspect was carpet adhesive. One of the tiles had a four-inch hole down to the cellar where a soil pipe was installed previously when the room was used as a downstairs W.C. The client was doubtful that we would be able to restore the floor but thought it would be worth contacting us just in case.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Floor Before Rebuild Prizet Kendal Victorian Tiled Entrance Floor Before Rebuild Prizet Kendal

I visited the property to take a proper look and found their description of the floor was accurate and clearly overdue some serious attention. I also noticed that some point in the past cracked tiles had been removed and replaced with cement. However, I was confident the floor could be restored and gave them a price for the restoration which they were happy to proceed with.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Floor Before Rebuild Prizet Kendal

Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Work started by rebuilding the worst part of the floor which would require the services of my partner Russell. This involved removing the existing tiles, then preparing the concrete base which needed to be level and smooth before we started tiling.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Floor During Rebuild Prizet Kendal

We had previously managed to source very similar tiles which would be needed to replace those that were missing or damaged. Once the floor was prepped, the replacements were cut to fit taking care to ensure they matched the original pattern. Once cut they were fixed in place with flexible adhesive. We recommend the use of flexible floor adhesive on old floors due to the potential movement and the flexible floor adhesive doubles up as a grout as well. The floor was then left overnight to dry.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Floor During Rebuild Prizet Kendal

Deep Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

On day two the floor was deep cleaned using a 100-grit resurfacing pad followed by a 200-grit pad and then a 400-grit burnishing pad. The pads are attached to a rotary machine and the floor is rinsed with water and the soil extracted with a wet vacuum in-between.

We then finished the clean with an acid rinse using Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up. This is needed to remove the cement stains from the surface of the Victorian tiles and neutralise any potential efflorescent salt issues in the tiles. Another advantage is the acid slightly etches the tiles making a better bond with the sealer.

The floor was given another rinse with water and then the wet vacuum was pressed into surface again to extract the fluids and get the floor as dry as possible before leaving for the day.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

We returned on the third day and first checked the floor was fully dry using a moisture meter. Four coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow were applied to achieve a strong enduring seal that will cope well with the traffic coming through the entrance.

Colour Grow is a colour intensifying sealer that provides durable surface protection to the tiles, but at the same time allows the surface to breath which is important in a floor such as this where no damp proof membrane is present. The results speak for themselves I was particularly happy with the area where we had repaired the hole, it was barely noticeable.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Floor After Rebuild Prizet Kendal

Many thanks to my customer for sending over the before photos and for leaving the following testimonial.

“Great restoration job done on our Victorian hall and porch tiles including replacing broken tiles and cleaning. Now looking better than ever. Russell was very professional and knowledgeable. Nicola F. Kendal”

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in South Cumbria

Original Victorian Hallway with Loose Tiles Restored in Kendal

A customer who lives in Kendal recently called us out to examine their Victorian tiled hallway which when walked upon, sounded like it was a making a crunching noise. This may seem like an odd phenomenon, but it can be reasonably easily explained. These tiles, being made of Victorian-style encaustic cement, are very hard-wearing. However, the cement screed upon which they were laid had lost its bond with the tiles and the tiles were now loose.

Most other types of tile would crack under the pressure of being walked upon, but since Victorian tiles are quite small and hard-wearing, they don’t seem to suffer this problem. Instead, they just make this crunching noise when walked upon.

So, what would we need to do to resolve the situation? In theory, it should be the simple matter of taking up the loose tiles and relaying them. Yet this takes a lot of preparation, including removing the old cement from the back and sides of the individual tiles and then smoothening the floor so that the tiles can be re-laid flat. This is easier said than done with a floor of this age.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Being Relaid in Kendal

Repairing and Cleaning Loose Victorian Tiles

We began the restoration by lifting the loose tiles, cleaning the old cement off and then re-laying them using a suitable tile adhesive. Once the adhesive had set, we grouted the tiles with a grout that matched the original.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Being Relaid and Grouted in Kendal
The floor was left to set overnight, and we returned to the property the next day. The floor was checked and then we carried out a full deep clean of tiles using Tile Doctor Pro Clean, our go-to cleaning product for tile, stone and grout. The product, which is alkaline-based, was worked into the tiles using a black buffing pad fitted to a rotary machine.

In some of the harder to reach areas and corners of the room – those which the buffing rotary machine struggles to reach – we used diamond-encrusted handheld blocks to grind away the stubborn dirt and stains.

The soiled cleaning solution was rinsed off the tiles with water and extracted using a wet vacuum to get the as much moisture off the tiles as possible.

Sealing Victorian Tiles

After the cleaning process was complete, we left the floor for another few days to dry off completely. A suitable drying period is especially important for Victorian tiles, since most of these old properties do not have a damp proof membrane installed.

We then returned to seal the tiles with several coats of a breathable, impregnating sealer called Tile Doctor Colour Grow that not only protects it also enhances the natural colours in the tile. Now, much to the customer’s pleasure the tiles are fully functional again with there’s no crunching noise when you walk on them. They also look amazing as well.

You will see in the photos below the level of work that goes into a job like this but, as this is an original Victorian floor, a restoration will add great value to the house upon re-sale.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Full Restoration in Kendal
 

Professional Restoration of a Loose Victorian Tiled Hallway in Cumbria

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