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

Victorian Tiled Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Ulverston

Ulverston is one of several historic market towns in Cumbria which has some excellent views of Morecambe Bay and the Southern Lake District. It is also home to some lovely old properties, including one that I visited recently to provide some repairs, cleaning and sealing for a Victorian tiled floor.

Although the floor was in good condition overall, the tiles were starting to loosen in some areas because the grout had come adrift and needed to be replaced.In fact, several tiles had broken as a result of this and so they would need to replaced too.

Victorian Hallway Before Cleaning in Ulverston Victorian Hallway Before Cleaning in Ulverston

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Floor

As I’ve mentioned, the floor had been well maintained, but I opted in any case to give the tiles a routine clean with our reliable high alkaline product, Tile Doctor Pro Clean, scrubbed in using a pad fitted to a rotary machine. This helped to remove any debris and dirt left over on the tiles.

After the initial clean I proceeded to replace the broken tiles with matching reproduction Victorian tiles, as well as the grout in the areas where the tiles had loosened.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

After finishing the cleaning and repair processes, it was time to seal the floor with a combination of sealers.

To do this I firstly applied one coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is an impregnating, colour intensifying sealer. We find that by applying a base coat of Colour Grow we can lock out the damp that can come through from underneath as many old floors don’t have damp proof membranes fitted, unlike many modern floors. What’s more, acrylic polymer sealers such as Tile Doctor Seal and Go do not respond well to a damp environment.

Once the Colour Grow had been applied and had dried completely, I applied five thin coats of Seal and Go to add further protection and a quality sheen finish. This sealer is also fully breathable and allows Vapour Moisture Transmission (VMT).

Victorian Hallway After Cleaning and Sealing in Ulverston Victorian Hallway After Cleaning and Sealing in Ulverston

The finish was exactly what the customer was looking for and they were very happy with the overall restoration of the floor. Another satisfied customer!

Professional Tile Repairing, Cleaning and Sealing for a Victorian Tiled Floor in Ulverston

Victorian Black and White Tiles Cleaned and Sealed in Windermere

This job was at a house in near Windermere in South Cumbria, a place which is very popular amongst tourists to the Lake District. My client had a Black and White Victorian tiled floor in dire need of a clean and re-seal.

Victorian Black and White Tiles before cleaning and sealing Windermere

Cleaning a Victorian tiled floor

Prior to the application of any cleaning products, my first task was to run damp tests to make sure there were no inherent damp problems. With old floors of this type it’s good to know if there is a damp problem as this will affect the choice of sealer and also the length of time the floor requires to dry.

Fortunately, there were no damp issues present, and I was able to proceed however had the floor been damp and being December I would have offered to carry out the clean and seal in the Summer, when the water tables were lower and the damp levels would be more settled, thus creating a better environment for the sealer to operate in.

I started cleaning the Victorian tiles with Tile Doctor Remove & Go, a product which breaks down old sealers in preparation for a fresh seal to be applied. The product is diluted with water and then scrubbed into the floor with a scrubbing pad fitted to rotary machine; the resulting slurry is then removed using a wet vacuum.

Next step was to apply Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was applied liberally to the floor, left to dwell for a short period and then agitated with a black scrubbing pad to lift out the ingrained dirt. I also paid special attention to cleaning the grout lines with a stiff scrubbing brush. The floor was then rinsed with clean water, and the resulting residue was extracted using a wet-vac machine.

Sealing a Victorian tiled floor

After the cleaning was completed, the tiles were left for a couple of days to allow them ample time to dry. Upon my return to the house I checked the damp levels again and then applied two coats of the impregnating, colour enhancing sealer Tile Doctor Colour Grow which gives the black tiles more depth of colour, along with the robust surface seal and Matt finish my client had requested.

Victorian Black and White Tiles after cleaning and sealing Windermere

My client was exceptionally pleased the results – but really, the photographs speak for themselves.

Professional Victorian Floor Restoration in the Lake District

Bitumen removed from Victorian Tiles in Barrow in Furness

I was asked to take a look at restoring a Victorian Tiled Floor in the Cumbrian town of Barrow in Furness where the floor had been covered in black bitumen; the bitumen was so thick it was difficult to gauge the condition of the floor underneath. I did a test clean which came out well but I had to explain there could be tile damage and other hidden problems so very difficult to quote for however we agreed a date and price and I came back a couple of weeks later to do the job.

Victorian Tiles Covered in Bitumen Barrow in Furness

Removing Bitumen form Victorian Tiles

Removing the bitumen from the floor without damaging the tiles underneath was a slow process involving spraying on a strong solution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go, letting it soak in, applying steam and then carefully scraping off the bitumen. The floor was treated in this manner a small area at a time and a wet vacuum was used to rinse and remove the resulting slurry. This process took up the whole day and was completely successful at removing the bitumen, before finishing I gave the floor a thorough rinse with clean water and used the wet vacuum to dry the floor was much as possible before leaving.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

I had used a lot of water cleaning the floor so I agreed with the owner to leave the floor for a few days before sealing it so it could thoroughly dry out. When I did return I used Tile Doctor Colour Grow to seal the tiles, the customer had wanted a satin finish but having weighed up the options including the fact that there was a damp problem in the house I felt Colour Grow which is a penetrating and breathable sealer would have the best longevity.

Bitumen Cleaned from Victorian Tiles in Barrow in Furness
The customers were very happy with the results and before leaving we discussed aftercare cleaning, with sealed surfaces you have to be careful not to use acidic products as this can reduce the life of the sealer.

Victorian tiled hallway floor Restored in South Lakes

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