Recently Heidi and I worked on a Victorian tiled hallway floor at a house in Turton, Lancashire, an area which lies on the southern slopes of the West Pennine Moors. Victorian tile floors are commonly found in the reception area and hallways of older houses and public buildings, many of which date back to the reign of Queen Victoria (hence ‘Victorian’ tiles). It was during this time that the tile industry really started to boom.
Upon inspection it was evident that the floor in question had suffered from some settlement in the past resulting in a crack in the base under the tiles which had lifted one side and dropped the other; this is quite common in old houses resulting in some of the tiles becoming loose and would need to be fixed back in place before the floor could be given a good clean and re-seal.
Removing Lippage from Victorian Tiles
The concrete floor under the tile was patched as best as could be without pulling up more of the floor and the tiles were fixed in place, unfortunately however many of the triangular tiles in the adjacent border would not lay flat resulting in a lippage issue between them which naturally the customer was not very happy about.
Not wishing to cause the customer the extra expense of pulling up more tiles and relaying the concrete subfloor I left the tiles to fully set and then came back a few days later with a handheld Flex Machine fitted with a small 220 Grit Diamond pad to grind the tiles flat. As the pictures show, this made the difference and the diamond did not scratch the tiles despite the surface being dry.
Diamond pads are usually used on stone floors but after some investigation back at the Tile Doctor training centre we also realised they can be used on other types of tile including Victorian.
Once this was resolved the entire floor was given a thorough clean using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean worked in with a scrubbing pad. As well as cleaning the tile and grout it also removed any remaining sealer which is important if you don’t know the history of the floor as the previous coating maybe incompatible with the new sealer. Once done the floor was given a thorough rinse with water which was then extracted from the floor with a wet vacuum.
Sealing Victorian Tiles
The floor was left to dry and I returned later to seal the tiles with a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the tile and intensifies colour whilst also providing durable protection from within. Normally I use Seal and Go on Victorian Tiles however in this case the customer had specified a matt finish.
The results were fantastic and the client was very pleased with the now flat Victorian tiled floor which, thanks to the cleaning and sealing, was back to looking its best. Another happy customer for the Lancashire Tile Doctor!
Source: Professional Tile, Stone and Grout Restoration service in Lancashire