Renovating a Dull Victorian Entrance in Edinburgh

If you visit Victorian era houses throughout the UK, you will find that many them have colourful tiled entranceways (also sometimes known as vestibules). The tiles are commonly made from encaustic cement, stylised with distinct geometric patterns that really help to add character to the property.

The reign of Queen Victoria was a prosperous and confident time for Scotland – and many new houses and buildings were built in the well-known ‘Victorian’ style during the period. One of the best-known buildings to be built was Balmoral Castle, which is still in use by the Royal Family as a holiday home.

Homeowners who are fortunate enough to be in possession of original Victorian tiles will find that they are not easy to keep clean without the right products and methods. The entrance to any house of course is subject to high amounts of foot traffic, which means the tiles can become dirt and discoloured very quickly indeed.

Here is an example that we cleaned and sealed recently in Edinburgh, although in good physical condition for its age the sealer on the floor had worn off and dirt had become ingrained in the tile reducing its overall appearance.

Small Victorian Porch Before Cleaning Edinburgh

Cleaning Dirty and Discoloured Victorian Tiles

Having restored hundreds of Victorian tiled floors in the past, Tile Doctor has developed tried and tested methods for cleaning all types of tiled floors so tackling this small floor would not be a problem.

To begin, we gave the floor a deep clean to break down any old sealants and to cut through thick layers of dirt and grime. The cleaning solution we employed consisted of two products: Tile Doctor Pro Clean (which is a strong alkaline cleaner) and Tile Doctor Remove and Go (which is a stripping agent formulated for the removal of old sealants, synthetic coatings, glues, and paints). The solution is applied and left to soak into the tile for ten to twenty minutes before being scrubbed in, which for a small area such as this needs to be done by hand. The soiled solution is then rinsed off with water and this is then extracted using a wet vacuum. This deep cleaning process was repeated several times to make sure the tiles were as clean as possible.

Once we were happy that all the dirt and grime had been removed, we gave the floor a quick acid wash using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up to remove any old grout smears and to neutralise any potential salt efflorescence issues. The floor was then given a final rinse before leaving it to dry off fully overnight and a turbo air mover was left running to help speed up the process and ensure the floor was completely dry to be sealed the following day.

We are very conscious of the fact that many of these old Victorian tiled floors to have damp-proof membranes installed beneath them, so we wanted to guarantee there would be no damp issues that would prevent us from applying a fresh sealant. This is because even a small amount of excess moisture can potentially damage the performance of the sealant.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Entrance

Returning to the property on the second day, we proceed to seal the tiles with three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This sealant soaks into the pores of the tile protecting it from within and providing long term protection, it also enhances the colours in the tile in the process.

The difference made by this two-day restoration is shown below. It is quite amazing how quickly these results can be achieved considering the age and previous condition of the tiles. Our customer was absolutely thrilled.

Small Victorian Porch After Cleaning Edinburgh

Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Edinburgh

Victorian Porch Tiles hidden under Lino Restored

Some Floor Tiles can be too damaged to be able to do anything with, but Victorian Tiles are nearly indestructible and we often find we can restore them to like new condition. Additionally, period features are very much sought after by potential buyers and add a lot of value to a house so well worth taking the effort to restore.

This small Victorian Tiled porch at the entrance to a house in Lytham near Blackpool is a good example of just how resilient these floors can be. There was some damage to it and I suspect at some time in the past a previous owner had decided to cover it up with Linoleum rather than face the expense of repairing it, fortunately for the floor the current owner was keen to restore it.

Victorian Porch Before Restoration Lytham Victorian Porch Before Restoration Lytham

Cleaning a Dirty Victorian Tiled Doorway

The first job was to strip off the old Vinyl covering which had been glued down with some strong adhesive. We carefully scraped off as much as possible by hand and then soaked the floor in Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which is a strong tile cleaning product which being in a gel doesn’t run off and for stays in position. We left it to dwell on the tiles in order to break down the glue and then scrubbed it in and followed up with a steamer and a rinse with water to remove the soil.

Victorian Porch Before Restoration Lytham

To finish off he cleaning the tiles were treated to an acid rinse by applying Acid Gel which will remove any grout smears and treat any mineral salt issues rising through the floor overnight as the floor dries.

Once the floor was clean and free of all the glue etc. it was time to repair the corner of the floor where several tiles were missing. Before started work I had managed to source replacements from Original Style Tiles who offer a wide range of colours and styles to suit the original floor. I set the replacement tiles in place and then grouted them in.

Victorian Porch Before Restoration Lytham

After the tile adhesive and grout had set I gave the floor a light clean with a damp sponge and then covered the floor with a clean dust sheet before leaving it to fully dry overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Porch

The next day the floor was checked for any issues and also dampness before moving onto seal the tiles. To seal the tiles, we then applied two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a fully breathable sealer that is suitable for internal and external use, it also lifts the colour of the tiles and will prevent them from ingrained dirt in the future making the tiles easy to clean.

Victorian Porch After Restoration Lytham

Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Restoration in Lancashire

Restoring Dull Victorian Hallway Tiles in the Derbyshire

From The 1860s Victorian tiled floors started to appear in public buildings and by the 1890s they had become an essential feature in the most ordinary Victorian terraced houses. Although these floors fell out of fashion during the 1960s and ’70s, when many of them were covered over, they are now being rediscovered by their present owners and this is exactly what happened to my customer in the village of Littleover.

Victorian floor before renovation in Littleover

The customer had attempted to clean the floor by themselves but they couldn’t archive the result wanted, fortunately they discovered the Derbyshire Tile Doctor and after their call I went over and did a test for cleaning to make sure I can archive the needed results. They were happy with what they saw, so they booked me in to complete the work.

Victorian floor before renovation in Littleover

Cleaning a Victorian Floor Tiles

For cleaning the hallway I used a strong dilution of Tile Doctors Pro Clean which is strong multi-purpose high-alkaline cleaner. I left the Pro Clean to dwell for 10 minutes and then worked it in the tiles by using a strong black scrubbing pad fitted to my rotary machine. After scrubbing I rinsed the floor several times with clean water to remove any trace of cleaning product from the floor.

After successfully cleaning the hall I moved on to the porch which still had some old topical sealer on less walked areas. On these areas I had to use Tile Doctors own very effective stripper Remove and Go. Remove and Go has a long dwell time to remove any given sealer or wax so I left it to soak in for fifteen minutes followed by scrubbing it in with black pad fitted to rotary machine. The next step was to wash off the residue with water which was then removed using a wet vacuum.

Victorian floor before renovation in Littleover Victorian porch floor before renovation in Littleover

Following this the tiles were given a rinse with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up which is an acid based product that can remove grout smears and mineral deposits. Last step before sealing was to give the floor a thorough wash down with clean water to remove any cleaning product left on the tiles and then I left the floor to dry overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

Next day when I returned I used my damp tester to make sure that the floor is completely dry. Luckily for me floor was all dry and I started sealing. For sealing I used Tile Doctors Colour Grow Sealer which is colour enhancing breathable sealer. I applied 2 coats of the sealer and after every coat I polished off the excess with clean cotton cloths.

Victorian floor during sealing in Littleover

The result was really good and my customer was very happy with the work and said that now the floor looks transformed.

Victorian floor after renovation in Littleover

Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Maintenance Service in Derbyshire