Removing Old Paint from a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Kettering, Northamptonshire

The customer called me after she had removed the lino in her hallway to discover a traditional Victorian tiled floor hidden underneath. Unfortunately, at some time in the past this floor hadn’t been protected whilst decoration was carried out and had been heavily stained with splashes of paint. Although the customer had tried her best to clean the paint off the floor, she had found it was impossible to remove. She was really keen to restore the floor back to its’ former glory and see the back of the nasty looking lino!

I visited the property in Kettering which is a lovely town in Northamptonshire, approx. 15 miles from Northampton itself. The area is now very popular with commuters with regular trains heading to London St Pancras taking just one hour. As the pictures she had sent me showed the floor needed professional cleaning as no amount of household products would be able to remove the problem areas. I discussed with the customer what we could do to get the floor restored and we agreed a price for the work, scheduling it in for a few weeks later.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Kettering Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Kettering

Deep Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

To clean the floor, it was first sprayed with a solution of Tile Doctor Remove & Go which was left to dwell for fifteen minutes to help soften the paint. We then used our heavy-duty scrubbing machine with the appropriate attachments to scrub the floor. A little warm water was added to the solution on the floor to help remove the paint as the scrubbing was underway. Once done a wet vacuum was used to remove the slurry generated by the scrubbing process.

This process was repeated several times in the most stubborn areas to ensure the floor was as clean as possible. This action removed around 90% of the paint which was a huge improvement, but more work was required before it would meet my standards.

To further improve the condition of the tiles my next course of action was to apply Tile Doctors 100 and 200-grit burnishing pads to the floor with water to help lubricate. After each pad the find slurry that was generated was extracted off the floor using the wet vacuum. This process reconditions the surface of the Victorian tile and removed the remainder of the paint, it also cleaned the remaining areas that needed further attention leaving the floor spotless. I left the floor to dry overnight and arranged to return the following morning to complete the restoration with the application of a sealer.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The customer wanted the floor to look natural so requested a matt finish sealer, also being an old floor without a damp proof membrane I specified the sealer should be fully breathable so moisture can pass up from the sub floor and not become trapped under the tile where it could cause problems. With these factors in mind we agreed on Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which ticks all these boxes.

As you can see from the after pictures, the restorative cleaning process really did the trick. The colours in the floor were now nice and clear and the floor looked as it should.
The customer was over the moon with the outcome, she had not expected the finish achieved to be as good.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning Kettering Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning Kettering

No matter how bad you think the floor is with the use of professional machinery and Tile Doctor products we can restore most floors to a high standard, which certainly in this case exceeded the customers’ expectations.

 

Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Kettering, Northamptonshire

Restoring a 200 Year Old Victorian Floor at Sutton Coldfield Vicarage, Staffordshire

This property in Sutton Coldfield dates to the early 1800s and was owned by the local church until recently. The property needed a lot of work and the new owners had asked me to restore the beautiful Victorian Tiled Flooring which I suspect was as old as the property itself. The property was in the process of a complete refurb when I first visited to survey the floor and so I recommended that they call me in to work on the floor when all the other work was complete. I find leaving the floor restoration until last is the best approach as tradesmen usually exacerbate the problem.

Old Victorian Tiled Floor Sutton Coldfield Vicarage Before Cleaning Old Victorian Tiled Floor Sutton Coldfield Vicarage Before Cleaning

Although incredibly dirty the Victorian Tiles were in good condition for their age, however there were some areas where tiles were missing or damaged and replacements would need to be sourced and fitted. Sourcing replacements is not usually a problem for Victorian Floors as there are a few companies such as the Vintage Floor Tile Company that still sell them due to their popularity. I also find you can pickup old tiles at restoration yards and eBay.

Old Victorian Tiled Floor Sutton Coldfield Vicarage Before Cleaning Old Victorian Tiled Floor Sutton Coldfield Vicarage Before Cleaning

Day 1 – Replacing Damaged Victorian Floor Tiles

On the first day I set about replacing the missing and broken tiles; I had taken photographs of the floor before hand and had plenty of time to source replacements. This process involves carefully removing the damaged tiles and scrapping out the subfloor to remove old adhesives and grout. This is followed by cutting the replacement tiles to size and fixing them in place using a flexible adhesive. If the subfloor has crumbled away, then this also needs cleaning out and building backup with cement to the right level before fixing the tiles. Needless to say, this is painstaking work and takes time to get right, in this case most of the day.

Day 2 – Deep Cleaning Victorian Floor Tiles

On the second day I set about giving the tiles a good deep clean using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which a very effective alkaline cleaning product that’s safe to use on tile, stone and grout.

The Pro-Clean was applied to the floor and then left to soak into the pores in the tile for about ten minutes before being scrubbed in using a rotary machine. The machine was fitted with a Polyscrub brush and run over the tiles at slow speed. This process worked well, and it wasn’t long before the cleaning solution had turned black with the dirt that had been released from the floor. The soiled solution was then extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum and the process repeated in areas that I felt could do with more work.

Old floors like these don’t have a damp proof membrane installed and can suffer from white alkaline salts being deposited on the surface of the tile and damp evaporates up through the tile as it dries. To counter this problem, I decided to follow up the cleaning by giving the tiles an acid wash using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up, not only does this neutralise the salts it also removes old grout smears and other mineral deposits from tiles making them much cleaner.

Old Victorian Tiled Floor Sutton Coldfield Vicarage During Cleaning

I scrubbed the product into the tiles using a deck brush and then rinsed it off with water and extracted with the wet vacuum. Being an Acid, we don’t recommend you leave it on the floor for too long.

Day 3 – Sealing Victorian floor Tiles

The next day I confirmed the floor had dried and then proceeded to apply five coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go Extra. This product is fully breathable and will cope well with any inherent damp issues that can cause problems in an old floor such as this, it also adds a nice shine to the tile as you can see in the photographs below.

Old Victorian Tiled Floor Sutton Coldfield Vicarage After Sealing

The final result was a huge transformation and my customer was very happy with the outcome and booked me in to seal the new flooring in the kitchen/utility and conservatory areas.

Old Victorian Tiled Floor Sutton Coldfield Vicarage After Sealing Old Victorian Tiled Floor Sutton Coldfield Vicarage After Sealing

 

Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Sutton Coldfield, Staffordshire

Restorative Cleaning of an Edwardian Tiled Hallway in Nottingham

The pictures below detail the restorative clean and seal of a Black & White Edwardian Geometric Tiled Hallway at a residence in West Bridgford near Nottingham. The tiles had previously been covered in carpet trapping years of dirt and soiling into the pores of the tile which were also stained with paint spots and traces of carpet adhesive.

These floors are amazing to look at, and it’s a shame that due to changing fashion trends over the decades, that many became covered with other inappropriate floor coverings. At least in the case the carpet was fixed with glue, I have worked on others before were tiles were smashed in order to secure gripper rods.

Edwardian Black and White Geometric Hall Floor Before Restorative Clean and Seal

I could see a lot of work would be needed to bring it back, however having restored countless number of Victorian and Edwardian tiled floors before I was confident we could achieve a good result and was pleased to get the go ahead to complete the work.

Restoring an Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor

The first part of the cleaning process was to apply a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove & Go coatings remover allowing it to dwell and soak into the tiles and break down the adhesive and paint stains. The solution was then agitated using a black scrubbing pad to help break down the historic-soiling and soften the glue and paint so they could be carefully scraped off. This process generated a lot of soil which was rinsed off and extracted using a wet vacuum.

Old tile installations such as these were never designed to be covered as damp proof membranes were unheard of at the time. Instead the tilers of the day used a breathable lime screed to allow moisture to pass freely from the sub floor. This combined with coal fires of the day, and air movement kept a controlled temperature to ensure moisture didn’t build-up.

Covering these floors stops them from breathing and moisture inevitably can build-up and potentially lead to white salts to be deposited on the surface of the tile as it dries. To avoid this problem, which is known as Efflorescence, the salts need to be counteracted with the application of an acid. To this end my next step was to liberally apply Tile Doctor Acid Gel to the tiles and leave it to dwell for time. This process dissolves the efflorescence salts and also removes any other unwanted deposits such as grout smears from the tile.

The last phase of the cleaning process was to remove the Acid Gel and then rinse with water again to remove any trace of product. The floor was then dried as much as possible with a wet vacuum to remove moisture and then left for a few days to fully dry out.

Sealing an Edwardian Tiled Floor

On our return the floor was checked for dampness using a damp meter in a number of different places. All was well so the floor was then sealed in two stages, starting with an application of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that improves colour. Once the sealer had dried it was followed with a number of coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which works really well on Victorian and Edwardian tiles adding a lovely subtle shine. Both these products are fully breathable which is vitally important where efflorescence is a concern. Otherwise, moisture will build up and causing staining and direct moisture into the supporting walls.

Edwardian Black and White Geometric Hall Floor After Restorative Clean and Seal

Once our Restorative Cleaning & Sealing process is complete you should avoid the use of steam cleaners and strong cleaning products as they can prematurely erode the sealer. Ideally we recommend you maintain the floor with Tile Doctors Neutral Tile Cleaning Solution which is pH neutral once it has been correctly diluted.
 
 
Source: Edwardian Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire