Deep Cleaning Dull Victorian Hallway Tiles in Newport

I was contacted by a professional couple who were despairing over the state of their Victorian tiled hallway floor which was dull and uninviting. The property was in Newport which is on the south east side of Wales around twelve miles east of the bustling city of Cardiff.

I went over to visit the property which was a beautiful Victorian period terrace house nestled amongst other properties of a similar age properties. The couple wanted their Victorian hallway floor to be brought back to life, so I demonstrated the cleaning process I intended to use on a small part of the floor. Immediately it had the desired effect and the floor looked much cleaner. I could see that there were no structural issues with the floor and the test clean proved it was just ingrained dirt that was the problem. The clients were happy with the result of the demonstration and subsequent quote, so we arranged a suitable date to come back and complete the work.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Newport Gwent

Cleaning/Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

When I arrived, I started by protecting the skirting boards with tape and then set about giving the Victorian tiles a deep clean. I applied a combination of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and Remove and Go leaving it to dwell for a short time to allow the products to soak into the pores of the tiles and start breaking down the ingrained dirt. After about ten minutes I scrubbed the floor with black scrubbing pad attached to a rotary floor buffer which released the years of grime and dirt. The floor was then rinsed with water and the soil removed using a wet vacuum. I repeated the process to ensure the floor was as clean as possible.

A further inspection of the Victorian tiles revealed a few stubborn marks which were dealt with using handheld diamond burnishing blocks. These are also handy for getting into the corners of the floor which were difficult to reach with the rotary machine. The floor was then left overnight to dry out.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The following day I returned, and I checked the floor was dry using a moisture meter to ensure it was dry. Once I was happy, I started to seal the floor with Tile Doctor Seal & Go which is a water-based sealer that works well on Victorian tiles. Several coats were applied building up layers to produce a stunning satin finish.

Once I had finished the floor was looking so much cleaner and brighter and the addition of the sealer will protect the floor from dirt and keep it looking good for some time to come. My clients were over the moon with the floor!

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning and Sealing Newport Gwent

For aftercare I recommend Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner, which unlike the stronger products you find in supermarkets is ideal for cleaning sealed floors and will ensure the sealer stays in good condition.

 

Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Renovation Service in Newport, Monmouthshire

Classic Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Restored in Lancaster

We often get asked to restore old Victorian tiled floors which are generally over 100 to 150 years old and as I’m sure you can imagine they experience a lot of wear over that length of time.

Victorian floor tiles before restoration Lancaster

We recently visited a property with such a floor in Lancaster after the client got in touch looking to have their hallway floor tiles restored. We arrived to inspect the floor and could see straight away that it was looking a little tired and in need of care and attention. Some tiles had become loose and had broken apart, especially around the doorways. Also, this floor had suffered from subsidence in the past and this had created a crack line near the top end of the hallway which pushed up several of the tiles. We went through what could be done to restore it, the client agreed a price and we arranged a time to come back.

Cleaning and Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

My first task was to take the loose tiles up, grind the concrete screed back so it was as level as we could make it and then we needed to refit the tiles. Once all loose tiles were fixed, we left them to dry and cure.

Victorian floor tiles during restoration Lancaster

We then came back to start the main clean of the floor, we used Tile Doctor Diamond Burnishing pads for this, which bite in deep to the clay face and remove ingrained dirt far better than conventional alkaline cleaners can. We used a series of different grades of these diamond pads to get the finish we required and then rinsed with clean water once were finished, removing the slurry created with a wet vacuum.

Any areas we couldn’t reach with our weighted buffing machines we had to get on our hands and knees and use small handheld Diamond Blocks, using a bit of clean water and elbow grease, this is especially good on intricate edges and around doors and corners.

Victorian floor tiles during restoration Lancaster

The floor was given a quick rinse with water to remove any remaining clay resin and soil generated by the burnishing process. A wet vacuum is then used to extract the soil and remove as much moisture from the floor before being left to dry off fully overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Before we seal the Victorian Tiles, they looked very dull and washed out however this all changes once we apply the sealer. We checked the moisture levels in the floor which were fine. Our favourite sealer for this type of tile is called Tile Doctor Colour Grow, this is a fully breathable sealer which restores the colour lost in the cleaning process and allows for the floor to breathe, which is an absolutely necesity on an old floor without a Damp Proof Membrane where Efflorescence can be an problem.

Tile Doctor Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the pores in the tile, so dirt cannot become ingrained there. It leaves a matt finish and enhances the colours in the tile bringing them to life, as you will see on the photos.

Victorian floor tiles after restoration Lancaster

For aftercare we always advise our customers to use Tile Doctor pH Neutral tile cleaner as it’s specially designed for cleaning sealed surfaces without damaging the sealer like cheap supermarket cleaners that contain anionic surfactants.

The client was very pleased with the restoration of her floor which is now in good physical condition and looks much brighter.

 

Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Lancaster, Lancashire

Choosing a Sealer for Victorian Tiled Floor near the Swansea Coast

I was called to a property in the Mumbles area of Swansea, one of my favourite places and in fact listed in 2018 Best Places to Live. In the UK report, The Sunday Times listed Mumbles as the best in Wales, so it is always a pleasure to visit this area.

The hallway at the property had a lovely example of a classic Victorian Tiled floor containing a very detailed pattern consisting of expensive blue square and triangular shaped tiles. The tiles were a lovely and unusual pattern and in good physical condition with no cracked or replacement tiles required. It had however, been some time since the floor was last cleaned and sealed and so they contacted me, their local Tile Doctor representative to renovate the floor for them. The owners of the house recognised that it’s well worth preserving original features like Victorian tiled floors as period floors like this are in demand and add value to a property. They were therefore keen to get it back to its’ near original state.

Victorian Hallway Floor Tiles Before Cleaning The Mumbles

Cleaning/Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

To restore the appearance of the tiles I used a 200-Grit diamond encrusted burnishing pad to remove the dirt and restore the condition of the tiles. This is run over the floor using water to lubricate and then rinsed off with water afterwards to remove the soil that is generated. This was then followed up with a 400-Grit pad which cleans and restores the surface which is left roughened after the application of the coarse 200-grit pad. This pad is again applied with water and then the floor rinsed afterwards to remove the soiling and the water is extracted using a wet vacuum.

The next step was to acid rinse the floor using Tile Doctor Acid-Gel, this is an important step for old Victorian tiled floors which have no damp proof membrane. It neutralises any inherent salts in the floor which rise through the tile from evaporation leaving unsightly white deposits on the surface. The acid gel is left to dwell for a short time and then it is scrubbed into the tile with a deck brush and then removed using the wet vacuum, the floor was then given a final rinse to neutralise it before sealing. However, for that to happen I needed the floor to be dry so after cleaning the floor I left it to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The next day I came back to the house to seal the floor. The floor had dried out nicely due to the fine weather, I quickly did a moisture test to be sure, then I was ready to move on to the sealing process.

The Mumbles area is close to the coast, so for this project I decided to use Tile Doctor Colour Grow which being an impregnating fully breathable sealer would cope better with the salty sea air. Colour Grow is a matt finish sealer that seeps into the tile occupying the small pores and in doing so prevents dirt from becoming ingrained there, it’s also a colour enhancing product that improves the colour in the tile.

After I had finished the floor was left looking restored, fresh and the vibrantly coloured pattern shone through. The client was very happy with the end result.

Victorian Hallway Floor Tiles After Cleaning The Mumbles

 

Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Polishing Service in Mumbles, Swansea

Renovating a Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Floor in Exmouth, Devon

The owner of this property had been intending to have her Victorian tiled vestibule professionally cleaned and sealed for several years but had always seemed to just ‘make do’ with an occasional clean with a mop and bucket. Having made up her mind to have it professionally cleaned and having seen previous examples of my work online after searching for her local stone and tile cleaning professional she asked me to come and have a look and see what I could do.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Exmouth Before Cleaning

Being the first stop upon entering the house the tiles were heavily soiled after years of not being sealed so after I conducted a moisture check which showed the tiles to be remarkably dry. I cleaned a few tiles using some diamond hand pads to test the area and give the customer an idea of what kind of result to expect. She was really pleased with the initial outcome of the test and booked me in to return shortly after receiving my quote.

Because the area was small I was able to tie it in with another job I had in the Exmouth area and was able to reduce the cost of the quote. This is a great option if you and your neighbour both have small areas to clean because I may be able to work on them concurrently which will save you both money!

Cleaning/Repairing a Victorian Tiled Vestibule Floor

The working area was quite tight, so the tiles were scrubbed using a series of diamond impregnated six-inch burnishing pads fitted to a rotary hand tool. The pads are used in sequence starting with a 100-grit and finishing with a 400-grit pad. The floor was then thoroughly rinsed using a wet vacuum to remove the soil that was generated during the process.

The next step was to give the tiles an acid rinse; now we don’t normally recommend the use of acids on tiles but in this case the product was only on the floor long enough to remove old grout smears and mineral deposits before being rinsed off. I used Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up for this and it has the extra advantage of countering any alkaline salts which can hiding in the pores of the tile, this is very useful on old floors of this type with no damp proof course. If left unaddressed the salts can rise through the tile as moisture evaporates leaving unsightly white salt stains on the floor. This process is known as efflorescence and can be tricky to remove later if not dealt with quickly.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Exmouth During Cleaning

One done the floor was given a final rinse and then dried with the wet vacuum. I then made a few small repairs to some loose tiles and then left for the evening to allow the floor the whole floor to dry off fully overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Vestibule Floor

The following day I returned and after rechecking the moisture levels of both areas to ensure that they had adequately dried out I started work, applying a coat of Tile Doctor’s Colour Grow. This is an impregnating sealer which picks out and enhances the natural colours of the tiles, not only bringing the whole floor to life but helping to disguise any damage the floor has suffered over the years.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Exmouth During Sealing

After this coat had dried sufficiently I applied four coats of Tile Doctor’s Seal and Go to finish off the floor and give it that ‘wow factor’. I left the client with some guidance on care and maintenance of the floor as well as a suitable bottle of cleaner.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Exmouth After Cleaning

The client was very happy with the result and her sealed floor is now easier to maintain and keep clean. The Victorian tiles are now in keeping with the rest of the house.

 

Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Exmouth, Devon

Small Original Victorian Tiled Hallway Restored in Exeter

I was contacted by the owners of a Victorian terraced house in Exeter who had been lovingly restoring the property over the last couple of years and during the work they uncovered this section of tiled flooring and had decided to bring me in to make it look its best. It’s possible that this section of floor was all that was left from when the house was built over 100 years ago and at some point, in the past the rest of the floor was removed and replaced with something more modern.

Exeter has an abundance of character properties and there seems to be a bit of a trend to restore period features such as fireplaces and old floors at present. It’s always worth looking under old carpets and vinyl in the search of classic floors such as this, particularly if your neighbours have them, after all it will add value!

I visited the property to take a closer look and to take some moisture readings because these old floors were laid without a damp proof membrane and high moisture levels can restrict when this type of work can be carried out due to the sealer needing the floor to be dry(ish) in order to cure. I also did a test clean on one section of the floor to show the customer what level of cleaning could be achieved and inspected the floor for loose tiles to see if any replacement tiles would need to be sourced.

Small Victorian Tiled Hallway Entrance Exeter Before Cleaning

Cleaning Victorian Tiled Reception Area

With the customers happy with the quote I returned to complete the work starting by protecting the skirting and bottom of the stair carpet. Once done I began the cleaning process by applying a strong stripper/degreaser called Tile Doctor Pro-Clean on to the floor. For best results you need to achieve an even coverage and keeping and check it regularly to ensure it doesn’t dry out. After a short dwell time I set to work scrubbing the floor with a 400-grit diamond burnishing pad fitted to a rotary buffing machine. This really works the cleaning product into the pores of the tiles releasing the dirt and removes any sealers or other old coatings in the process. These large 17” pads do struggle to reach into the corners and edges of the floor however, so I always finish off with a hand-held diamond block. Once I was satisfied that the tiles were as good as they could be I rinsed the floor of the alkaline cleaner and dirty water and extracted the soil using a wet vacuum.

Next step was to give the floor what we like to call and Acid Rinse or Acid Wash as some of my colleagues refer to it. We don’t normally use acidic products on tile or stone however they are particularly good at dealing with mineral sales and removing grout smears. Old floors like these are particularly vulnerable to a natural process called efflorescence which results in white mineral salt deposits being left on the surface of the tile as the floor fully dries out and can interfere with the sealer. To counter this, the floor is cleaned with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up, which is an acid-based product that will neutralise the alkalinity in the floor. The solution is quickly scrubbed into the floor and then rinsed off with water.

Before I left for the day I fixed any loose tiles back into place, re-grouted where needed and left an air mover on the floor to aid in the drying of the tiles. If there are radiators in the area I also suggest that they are turned on overnight to further aid the drying process. Occasionally these types of floors need to be left for several days to dry but it is worth the wait and the floors can be used in the meantime provided indoor shoes and socks only are used and care is taken not to get the floor dirty.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway and Entrance Lobby

Upon returning the next day I tested the moisture content of the floor and was pleased to find that it was well within acceptable levels for the application of the sealer that I was planning to use.

I quickly checked the floor for areas that I felt may be able to be improved and once satisfied I started the sealing process by applying a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the tile protecting it from within and improving the colours in the tile beforehand. This was following with two coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go that will add further protection and give the floor a subtle satin finish.

Small Victorian Tiled Hallway Entrance Exeter After Cleaning

The customers were thrilled and said that they wished they had brought me in sooner! For aftercare I left the customer with some guidance on care and maintenance of the floor as well as a suitable bottle of neutral tile cleaner.

 

Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Repair Service in Exeter, Devon

Rebuilding and Restoring a Victorian Hallway in Shipley

Shipley is a town in West Yorkshire that was heavily shaped by the Industrial Revolution and the Victorian period. It became particularly well-known for its textile industry and some of the original mills in which textiles were manufactured still survive in the town today. Being in West Yorkshire, Shipley is also part of what is commonly known as ‘Brontë country’ – once home to the famous Brontë sisters.

Many Victorian era properties still survive in the area too and all too often the original Victorian tiled floors contained within are not well maintained. I recently visited a customer in Shipley who had a Victorian tiled hallway that was in need of a deep clean and seal. What’s more, the customer told me that there were around 20 loose tiles in the hallway that would need to be reinstalled.

Victorian Hallway Shipley Before Cleaning Victorian Hallway Shipley Before Cleaning

On the first day, I started by refitting the 20 loose tiles in the hallway. The problem however was a lot worse than originally thought and, in the end, I had to take up 108 tiles, so I could rebuild the base of the floor, and then relay them. This process took up most of the day but at least the adhesive and grout would be set in time for cleaning the next day.

Cleaning a Dirty Victorian Tiled Hallway

On day two I focused on deep cleaning the tiles and removing any remaining sealer by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. Pro-Clean is a strong alkaline heavy-duty tile and grout cleaner that serves the purpose of both cleaning the stone and when used in a strong dilution will strip off sealers.

I applied the Pro Clean liberally across the length of the hallway and left it to soak into the tiles for about twenty minutes. This allows the product time to breakdown the sealer and dirt before being scrubbed in with a black scrubbing pad.

Special attention had to be paid to parts of the floor which had suffered paint splashes from previous decoration. I was also surprised to find that there were even some chewing gum stains marking the tiles. These were removed using the combination of a steam cleaner, more Pro-Clean and the careful use of a handheld scraper.

The floor was then given a thorough rinse with fresh water and then dried as much as possible with a wet vacuum. It was then also left to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway

Upon returning to the property the next day I checked for any moisture issues with a damp tester. Thankfully, the floor proved dry and I could proceed with sealing the tiles which was done using four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go that leaves a deep satin finish that the customer had requested.

Victorian Hallway Shipley After Cleaning Victorian Hallway Shipley After Cleaning

 
 
Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Shipley, Yorkshire

Old Victorian Hallway Renovated at Torver Near Coniston Water

We were recently asked to restore an old tiled floor that had been laid in a Basket Weave Pattern in the hallway of a property in Torver which is a small hamlet on the outskirts of Coniston Water in the Lake District. Torver has a long history however it really took off with the arrival of the Coniston to Broughton-in-Furness railway line in 1859 which was used to transport stone and Slate from the local mines. Many of the properties in the Coniston and Torver areas date from the Victorian period and contain original stone and tiled floors.

This tiled floor had been revealed when the existing carpet was removed by the new owners. It proved to be in quite good condition despite being covered for a long period, but it nevertheless suffered from the usual age-related issues. It needed an intense clean and a fresh seal, including the removal of deeply ingrained dirt, paint stains, glue deposits and bitumen.

After inspecting the situation, the quote we offered the customer was accepted and a date was arranged for us to return to complete the work.

Deep Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Floor

Our first course of action was to clean the edges of the floor, to remove the glue deposits and carpet underlay residue. This was achieved using the careful application of a sharp scraping tool and handheld burnishing blocks combined with a couple of Tile Doctor cleaning products.

Victorian Floor Tiles During Renovation Torver

The first product applied was Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU (Heavy Build-up Remover) which is a strong alkaline product specially formulated with nano-sized cleaning particles to penetrated deep into the stone and dissolve deeply ingrained dirt and stains. The second product was Tile Doctor Remove and Go, a heavy-duty coatings remover which works well particularly well at removing glue deposits, paint, and synthetic coatings.

We then addressed the rest of the floor using a coarse 200-grit burnishing pad attached to a slow speed rotary cleaning machine, applied with water as the lubricant. We used this in small areas to intensely clean the surface of the floor. The resultant slurry was then extracted from the floor a powerful wet vacuum.

The floor was then rinsed again with water and the moisture was wet vacuumed before we moved onto the next area. Once the floor was completely scrubbed and rinsed, and any remaining glue and paint issues were retreated using the same methods we used on the floor edges, we then moved onto the final phase of the clean.

The last step in the cleaning process involved giving the floor an acid wash to deal with any potential salt issues (efflorescence) which can result in white salt deposits appearing on the surface of the tiles as they dry. Damp proof membranes that can prevent this problem are a relatively modern invention, so this can be a real issue for old floors from the Victorian era, particularly if the floor has had damp issues in the past. The floor was washed with a 1:3 dilution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up which being acidic effectively counteracts the alkaline salts. The floor was then given another rinse to remove any trace of cleaning products and then left to dry off.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Floor

We actually left the floor to dry out for three full days and upon our returning to the property several moisture readings were taken to ensure the floor was dry enough to take a fresh seal.

Victorian Basket Weave Lay During Sealing in Torver

The customer had requested a natural-looking matte finish to the floor. We have the perfect product to provide this type of finish, so we proceeded to apply three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer which naturally enhances the colours in the tile, additionally it’s a fully breathable sealer so moisture can easily rise through the floor.

Victorian Basket Weave Lay After Renovation Torver

As you can see from the photographs taken during the various stages of the restoration, the intense clean and fresh seal greatly enhanced the appearance of the floor – much more so than could have been achieved with everyday products and methods. The customer was very pleased indeed.

Victorian Basket Weave Lay After Renovation Torver

 
 
Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Cumbria

Carper Stained Victorian Hallway Restoration in Streatham, South London

If you like in an older property in the UK and never looked under the carpets you might want to take a minute and have a look. I still find it surprising how many of my customers had no idea they lived in a house with a classic tiled hallway.

We were recently asked to restore a fantastic geometric-patterned Victorian tiled floor which had been found underneath carpet during decoration work in the hallway of a property in Streatham.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration Streatham Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration Streatham

The once black and white tiles were now absolutely caked in dirt, glue deposits, cement, paint stains and plaster. It would be no small feat to get the tiles back to looking their best again. Fortunately, Victorian tiles are very resilient and we have a lot of experience in their restoration so I was confident that with the right products and techniques we could get the job done to a high standard.

Cleaning Dirty and Stained Victorian Hallway Tiles

The tiled hallway was quite long, yet only around a metre wide, so I felt the best approach would be to work in small sections at a time. Our method was to soak the tiles with Tile Doctor Remove and Go and leave the product to work its magic for roughly ten minutes, before scrubbing the surface to remove the muck. Some of the more viscous and stubborn stains were scrapped away carefully by hand within the assistance of a steam cleaning machine. The resulting residue was extracted using a wet vacuum. Remove and Go is a particularly effective cleaner in scenarios like this, as it is specially formulated to strip away old sealers, adhesives and even paint without harming the tile itself.

The next step was to run a rotary machine fitted with a Coarse 200 grit burnishing pad lubricated with water over the floor to achieve a consistent finish. The floor was then rinsed to remove the soil generated in the process.

Old floors like these laid before the invention of damp proof membranes can be a concern as damp rising up through the tile as it dries can leads to efflorescence salt deposits appearing on the tile surface. So, to avoid potential issues Tile Doctor Acid Gel was applied to the floor to neutralise any salt deposits and the floor given a final rinse to remove any trace of cleaning products.

Sealing Victorian Hallway Tiles

After finishing the clean, we left the floor to dry out over the weekend. With old floors like this one, we tend to recommend allowing a drying period of at least 48 hours to ensure the floor is completely dry before applying a sealer.

Upon arriving back at the property, we ran a few quick damp tests and once satisfied the floor was dry proceeded to seal the tiles using Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow is a colour-intensifying, impregnating sealant that leaves a natural-look matte finish. It works by occupying the pores in the clay and it’s also a fully breathable sealer which is important for these old floors where damp may be any issue.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration Streatham Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration Streatham

The customer was absolutely thrilled with the results. She even went as far as to leave a review expressing how pleased she was during the weekend before we had chance to seal the tiles.

Bill and Wayne were brilliant! On time, got to work straight away, lovely and friendly and very professional. They have done a lovely job and I’m looking forward to them coming to seal the tiles to finish it o f tomorrow afternoon. Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. Thanks guys!
 
 
Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Renovation Service in South London

Deep Cleaning a Dirty Victorian Tiled Hallway in a Devon Farmhouse

I was contacted by the owners of an old Farmhouse in the East Devon village of Broadclyst to look at their Victorian Tiled Hallway floor which as you can see from the photograph below was heavily stained and had also been splashed with paint from decorating. Victorian tiles are very robust and can take a lot of punishment which you certainly get in a farmhouse, however once the sealer wears off dirt gets into the pores of the tile making it very difficult to clean.

I visited the property to take a closer look and to take some moisture readings because these old floors don’t have a Damp Proof Course and moisture levels too high can restrict when this type of work can be done due to the sealers needing the floor to be dry in order to cure. I also did a test piece to show the customers what level of cleaning could be achieved.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Broadclyst Farmhouse before cleaning

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway

With the customers happy with the quote I returned to complete the work starting by covered the skirting and bottom of the stairs to protect the paintwork and carpet. I then put a strong stripper/degreaser called Pro Clean on to the floor, ensuring even coverage and keeping and eye on the floor to make sure that it didn’t dry out.

After a short dwell time I set to work scrubbing the floor with a 400 grit diamond burnishing pad and using small hand blocks to get into the corners and any edges not reached by my machine. Once I was satisfied that the tiles were as good as they could be I rinsed the floor to remove the alkaline cleaner and soiled water.

This was followed by giving the floor an Acid rinse using Tile Doctor’s Acid Gel, this process counteracts any alkaline salts that can rise up through the tile as it dries out, a process which is more commonly known as efflorescence. This can be quite a problem on floors like this that don’t have a damp proof course (floors generally didn’t pre-1950s). I had to be careful not to leave the acid down for too long because these tiles are susceptible to acid damage.

Dealing with salt issues on these old floors (efflorescence) is essential because they can damage the sealer or become trapped under it, detracting from the beauty of the floor. Given the age of the farmhouse it’s difficult to know what the floor had been laid onto. Often it was compacted rubble and building works from the erection of the adjoining buildings; additionally some of the later Victorian floors were laid on a wet limecrete scree which contain a high salt-content.

Before I left for the day I left an air mover on the floor to aid in the drying of the tiles. If there are radiators in the area I also suggest that they are turned on overnight to further aid the drying process. Occasionally these types of floors need to be left for several days to dry but it is worth the wait and the floors can be used in the meantime provided indoor shoes and socks only are used and care is taken not to get the floor dirty.

Sealing an Old Victorian Tiled Hallway

Upon returning the next day I tested the moisture content of the floor and was pleased to find that it was well within acceptable levels for the application of the sealer that I was planning to use. I quickly checked the floor for areas that I felt may be able to be improved and once satisfied a single coat of matt-finish, colour-enhancing sealer called Colour Grow was applied before two coats of a Seal and Go sealer was used to give the floor a satin finish, which I think gives it a slight glaze and freshly mopped appearance.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Broadclyst Farmhouse before cleaning

The customers were thrilled and said that they wished they had brought me in sooner!
 
 
Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Broadclyst, Devon

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

Renovating a Small Victorian Tiled Entrance in Glasgow’s West End

Vestibules (aka entranceways) are not that commonly found in new build houses, but they certainly were a popular architectural feature back in the Victorian period. Many of the Victorian properties which are still in use today still contain their original geometric patterned encaustic cement tiles. These tiles can be very beautiful and colourful – that is if they’re kept looking that way with routine cleaning and maintenance.

I recently visited a Victorian property in Glasgow’s West End to carry out the restoration of one of these tiled floor vestibules. This Victorian tiled vestibule was in truly awful condition. Not only were the tiles caked in years’ worth of muck and paint stains – some of the tiles were completely missing or, at the very least, loose and damaged.

Small Victorian Vestibule Before Restoration

I could see that restoring these tiles back to their peak condition would require several days of work however the owner has keen to get the work done so we set a date for my return to complete the work.

Cleaning and Rebuilding Damaged Victorian Entranceway Tiles

On the first day of work, our priority was to undertake a much needed deep clean of the tiles. This was done using Tile Doctor Pro Clean combined with Tile Doctor Remove and Go. Pro Clean is an alkaline-based cleaner specialised for heavy soil removal, while Remove and Go is formulated to strip away any old sealers, as well as the paint splashes that were very prominent on these tiles.

Small Victorian Vestibule During Restoration

Th combined cleaning solution was left to dwell for a short period of time on the surface of the floor before being scrubbed into the tiles to cut through the thick muck. A steaming machine was used to ensure the products penetrated deep into the pores of the stone to extract ingrained dirt.

During the cleaning process, we could identify which tiles were loose, damaged and missing. These tiles were carefully removed and put to one side. Once the clean was completed the tiles were left to dry off overnight.

The next the floor had dried, and we started to rebuild the floor. This involved installing and grouting new tiles that we had previously sourced for the job to match as closely possible with the original pattern of the floor.

Next, the newly installed tiles were left to set, before we gave the floor an acid rinse using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up. This product removed any grout haze from the tiles and will neutralise any efflorescence salts that may rise up through the tiles as they dry. This issue can be quite a problem with older properties which don’t have a damp proof course installed.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Vestibule

Once again, we left the floor to dry out completely overnight, this is especially important when applying a sealer to a tile as sealing damp tiles will lead to issues. We recommend the use of a damp meter at this point to ensure the tiles are indeed dry before sealing.

To seal the floor, we used three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is ideal for these uniquely patterned Victorian tiles as it intensifies the different colours in the stone, while also offering a natural-look matte finish. Of course, the sealer will also provide the tiles with lasting protection again dirt and muck and is also breathable so any damp rising up through from the sub floor will be able to evaporate.

Photos really do speak louder than words in this case, as the restoration achieve some fantastic results. Take a look at the photo below – I’m sure you’ll agree the difference is incredible. Certainly, our very happy customer seemed to think so!

Small Victorian Vestibule After Restoration

 
 
Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Glasgow

Renovating Victorian Tiled Entrance for Listed Building in Edinburgh

These are photos of a Victorian tiled floor we renovated at the new Scottish head office of the Peoples Postcode Lottery in the centre of Edinburgh City where the building was going through a multi million pound refurbishment. Edinburgh has a lot of Georgian and Victorian architecture, much of which is listed and as a result many still have original Victorian tiled flooring.

I’ve not really looked at the Postcode Lottery until now but put simply you give the lottery £10 a month and your postcode is your winning ticket number, there are prize draws every day and if your postcode comes up every one in the system with that postcode wins; they also give 31% to charity which is impressive.

Victorian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Postcode Lottery HQ Edinburgh

Cleaning Original Victorian Tiles

You can see from the photograph that the floor was in good physical condition but was looking tired and dull. This is not unusual for Victorian tiles as once the sealer wears down dirt can penetrate into the pores of the tile causing it to lose its appearance.

On the first day we set about stripping the floor of what remained of the old sealant using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an industrial strength alkaline tile and grout cleaning product that is safe to use on Tile and Stone. The product is applied to the floor, left to soak in for ten minutes and the scrubbed into the tile using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary bonnet machine. The floor was then rinsed and the now soiled cleaning solution extracted using a wet vacuum.

The process was repeated several times until we were happy the floor was clean and free of sealer and then given a final rinse with water. Before leaving for the day the floor was dried as much as possible using the wet vacuum to extract as much moisture as possible.

Sealing Original Victorian Tiles

On the second day our first task was to check the floor with a damp meter in several places to ensure the tiles had dried off overnight. All was well and we began the process of sealing the floor with a Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This is a topical sealer which provides a high-quality low-sheen finish and protection against ingrained dirt and stains.

Victorian Tiled Floor After Cleaning Postcode Lottery HQ Edinburgh

Victorian tiles are quite porous and five coats were needed to fully seal the floor. This took some time to complete as you have to wait until the first coat is dry before applying the next however it was well worth the effort as the floor looked fantastic afterwards.
 
 
Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Edinburgh, Lothian

Maintaining Victorian Tiled Enterance in Yorkshire Spa-Town

Most stone and tile benefit from the protection that a sealer provides to stop dirt becoming ingrained into its pores. However, the act of walking on the tile causes wear and this over time will lead to the sealer wearing off and dirt reaching the pores; the worse thing is you rarely notice it happening because it takes a long time to wear down a sealer.

Most of my customers have this problem and call on me to clean and reseal the floors every few years when it becomes difficult to clean effectively. The alternative which I do for a number of my clients is to have the floor lightly cleaned and a new layer of sealer added every six to twelve months.

This Victorian tiled entrance at a period house in Ilkley was not in too bad a shape just a little dirty and dull and the owner was keen to have is renovated in the run up to the Christmas holidays. Ilkley is a lovely town in West Yorkshire which became very fashionable in the Victorian era due to the health benefits of the local water, this led to a lot of Victorian architecture and tiled entrance floors like this one are very typical in the area.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Ilkley Before Cleaning Victorian Tiled Entrance Ilkley Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Entranceway

To get the dirt out of the tile and grout I applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to the tiles and left it to soak in for fifteen minutes. Pro-Clean is a very reliable cleaner for all types of tile and grout including natural stone, Limestone, Slate and Travertine, amongst others; additionally, when used in a strong dilution it will strip off old sealers. The solution was then worked into the tile using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine and the soil extracted using a wet vacuum.

I gave the floor a light rinse with water to remove any trace of cleaning products and then inspected the floor to ensure it was up to standard. At this point I could see there were flecks of paint on the tile around the edges of the floor from previous decorating work and, so I removed carefully removed these with a scrapper and a hand-held diamond block.

The floor was given a final rinse and the wet vacuum used to extract as much moisture from the floor as possible before leaving it to dry for the evening.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Entrance with a Matt Finish

I returned the next day to seal the floor first discussing the finish that the customer wanted for the tiles. Typically, I recommend using a satin sealer for Victorian tiles as it adds a nice sheen to the tile however surprisingly the owner wanted a matt finish.

Tile Doctor has a full range of sealers available to cater for all requirements so for this floor I applied three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which leaves a matt finish whilst enriching the colours in the tile.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Ilkley After Cleaning

The tiles are now full of life and with the paint specs removed there is now a crisp black edge between the floor and the skirting which the customer also picked up on.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Ilkley Before Cleaning

 
 
Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Renovation Service in West Yorkshire

Old Victorian Hallway Restored in the Black Country

Sandwell forms part of an area in the West Midlands which is popularly referred to as the ‘Black Country’. This area industrialised rapidly during the Victorian period and, with the building of many new factories came the building of many new houses for workers.

A good number of these Victorian properties survive, complete with original Victorian tiled floors. However, homeowners aren’t always aware that these tiled floors exist, since they have often been covered up by carpet or linoleum. We find that when new homeowners discover these original tiles, they are usually keen to restore them to their best possible appearance. This requires professional assistance.

Victorian Tiled Floor Before Renovation Warley

A customer who lives in the Warley district of Sandwell recently contacted me about the restoration of a 120-year old Victorian tiled hallway that they had discovered underneath an existing carpet. As expected, the tiles were caked in deposits of adhesive, cement and paint which had accumulated over several years. Making matters worse, the customer had also spilt more paint on the tiles during decoration work.

Victorian Tiled Floor Before Renovation Warley

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway

I began the restoration by cleaning the tiles with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, a strong alkaline cleaner which is perfect for removing grime from heavily soiled and neglected natural stone. The product was applied liberally across the area and left to dwell for a short period. It was then worked into the tiles using a specialised rotary cleaning machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad.

The now soiled cleaning solution was subsequently rinsed away and the floor then rinsed with clean water. Stubborn paint marks and cement were carefully scraped off the tiles by hand. A solution which combined more Pro-Clean and Tile Doctor Remove and Go (a stripping agent) was applied to the tiles to help remove any old and now ineffectual sealer, as well to fully remove any of the particularly stubborn marks.

After being worked in again with a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine, the excess cleaning product was rinsed away using water and the floor was dried off with a wet vacuum.

As tiles of this age were usually laid without a damp membrane in place underneath them, they can be especially prone to efflorescence (salt) deposits. To help prevent this, Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a combination of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids, was applied. This will help to neutralise any alkaline salts that might threaten to penetrate up through the tiles to leave unsightly white marks.

After the floor was rinsed once again, I proceeded to re-grout a few areas of the floor where the grout had worn away over the years. Once I was happy with the clean tiles and fresh grout, I left the floor to dry off overnight.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway

The next day the tiles had thankfully dried completely and were ready to be sealed. Since the customer had requested a sheen finish, as opposed to be a natural matte finish, I opted to use a combination of two different sealants.

The first to be applied – to bring out the colour in the tiles – was Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This product impregnates the tiles to protect them against ingrained dirt, but it leaves a matte finish. Therefore, I added five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go to provide not only extra protection, but also a high-quality sheen finish.

Victorian Tiled Floor After Renovation Warley Victorian Tiled Floor After Renovation Warley

I left the customer, who was delighted with the results, with a bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner. This product will serve as a reliable cleaning product for the routine maintenance of the tiles, ensuring they continue to look fantastic.
 
 
Source: Victorian Tiled Floor Cleaning and Sealing Service in Birmingham

Dirty and Paint Marked Victorian Tiled Lobby Deep Cleaned Near Leeds

Roundhay is an affluent area of North Leeds which is well-known for the fantastic Roundhay Park. The park is large enough to contain two lakes, extensive woodland, formal gardens and even golf courses! It’s the premier attraction for anyone fortunate enough to live in the area, or anyone visiting from nearby.

I recently visited a customer who lives in Roundhay and was looking for help in restoring the small Victorian tiled entranceway at the front of her house. The tiles were in a shocking state, but it’s not hard to imagine why – the entrance to a house receives a lot of foot traffic and is not typically taken care of regularly. These tiles were also marked with paint splashes left over from decoration work, making them look even worse.

Small Victorian Entrance Before Cleaning Roundhay

The appearance of the entranceway did not set the right standard for the rest of the house, so the property owner was keen to have it restored professionally.

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Entranceway

I informed the customer that I could have the tiles rejuvenated within a day’s work. To begin, I used a scrapper and wire wool brush to manually remove some of the most stubborn paint marks.

Following this, I applied a strong solution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go, before leaving the product to dwell for about an hour. Remove and Go is multi-purpose stripping agent that can remove any adhesive and paint deposits, as well as many types of old coatings and sealers.

To work the product deep into the tiles, I agitated with an abrasive cleaning pad and then rinsed the area with fresh water. This had the desired affect and all the unsightly paint marks were removed.

Next, I gave the floor another thorough clean to remove any general muck and ingrained dirt. This was done using our high-alkaline cleaner, which we typically use on Victorian tiles, known as Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. In fact, Pro-Clean is a very reliable cleaner for all types of tile and grout including natural stone, Limestone, Slate and Travertine, amongst others.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Entranceway

Since I told the customer I would able to finish the job within a day, I dried the floor quickly using a heat gun so it could be sealed there and then. To seal the floor, I applied four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which is a topical sealer formulated to provide maximum protection along with a high-quality, low sheen finish.

Small Victorian Entrance After Cleaning Roundhay

As you can see from the photos above, the entranceway was absolutely transformed. These tiles are now a true asset to the rest of the property, rather than looking out of place! I’m please to say my customer was amazed by how quickly such a big difference could be made and left the following glowing feedback.

I can’t believe the before and after pictures. The restoration of the tiles is top quality, they are so much brighter and richer in colour – especially without the garage paint hiding the detail! Nigel did an amazing job, even better than I could have hoped for, and is a lovely guy as well. Would definitely recommend.
 
 
Source: Victorian Tiled Floor Cleaning and Sealing Service in North Yorkshire

Victorian Tiled Hallway Relaid and Renovated in South Cumbria

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

 
 
Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Renovation Service in South Cumbria

Investing in Property with a Period Victorian Floor Restoration in Lancashire

A property investor contacted Tile Doctor to see if we could help renovate a property that was to be sold in few weeks’ time. To get maximum value from the investment she wanted to preserve the character and period features of the house including the Victorian Tiled Hallway floor, which as you can see from the photograph below was in need a bit of TLC!.

Victorian tiled floors and other period features have become very popular in recent years and are often discovered under hallway carpets covered in years of dirt. Fortunately, they are very resilient and with the right techniques and products can be restored back to their former glory.

Victorian Tiles Before Renovation Burnley

On our initial visit I conducted a survey of the floor to check its condition and work out the most suitable products and methods to employ to restore it. One of the main concerns we have with these old floors is damp as damp-proof membranes were not invented until relatively recently. I have a damp meter to check for this and it did indicate high moisture levels which isn’t really an issue for cleaning the floor but would restrict our choice of sealer to those which are fully breathable and allow moisture to rise-up through the tile. We agreed a price and schedule with the customer and within two weeks we were able to start the work.

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The floor was in quite a state, made worse I suspect by recent restoration work by other contractors who unfortunately didn’t take as much care with the floor as the could have done.

After protecting the skirting boards and carpets with film work got underway starting by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go to the floor to strip away old sealers and other coatings. This product also helps to break down the paint stains on the surface of the tile, though I also used a handheld scraper, as well as a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad, to speed up the process. The resultant slurry was rinsed off the floor with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

With the floor clean of coatings, the next step was to deep clean the tiles with a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an effective Tile and Grout cleaning product that deeply cleans away ingrained stains. Again, we used a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine to make the job easier. Corners were tough to tackle with a machine, so we had to do them by hand.
The floor was given a final rinse to remove any soil and trace of cleaning product and the wet vacuum was used a final time to extract as much moisture out of the floor as possible. Upon finishing the cleaning, we left the floor for a few days, so it could dry out fully.

Dealing with Efflorescence

When we came back to seal the floor we noticed problems with white salt deposits coming to the surface of the tile a problem known as efflorescence. I had suspected this might become an issue but there was no indication of it happening before so was not overly concerned at the time. However, it meant I could not seal the floor as planned until the efflorescence had been dealt with. Fortunately salts like these can be treated and to resolve the problem I gave the floor a wipe with a solution of Tile Doctor Acid Gel which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in a gel form, formulated to remove grout haze (grout smears) and treat efflorescence. Once this was done the floor was given a light rinse and dried again.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

I left the floor to dry again for a few more days and on my return, I was pleased to see the problem had not resurfaced and I was able to complete the restoration with the application of a sealer.

To seal the tiles, I used a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a penetrating sealer designed to soak into the pores of the clay thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained whilst additionally enhancing the colours in the tile. The sealer really deepened the colours in the tile bringing them to life and with Colour Grow being fully breathable there shouldn’t be any issues with damp becoming trapped under the tile and causing issues later.

The customer was delighted with the results (see feedback below) and the work we did should more than pay for itself when the house goes on the market.

“Thoroughly impressed with Kamila, she was so lovely, professional and thorough! Our tiles look amazing and I was especially happy with how quick she sorted that floor out from the first email I sent. Janice M., Burnley”

Victorian Tiled After Renovation Burnley

 
 
Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Renovation Service in South Lancashire

Restoring an Old Victorian Hallway Floor in Monmouth

This beautiful black & white Victorian tiled hallway was recently discovered hidden under carpet at a house near Monmouth. As well as the years of grime that had become ingrained in the tile, the carpet had been secured with carpet grippers which had been fixed on top of the tiles and the owner was keen to recruit my help in its restoration.

It’s a lovely drive up through the Wye Valley from my base in Caldicot to the town of Monmouth which has a long history that goes back to the Roman times. In fact it’s famous for its “Monnow Bridge” which dates back to medieval times and is the only remaining stone gated bridge of its type left in Britain. Needles to say it has a strong mixture of architecture with many old houses built during Victorian times.

Victorian Floor Before Renovation in Monmouth

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The first step in cleaning the floor was to prepare it for cleaning by carefully removing the old carpet grippers and adhesive deposits using a handheld scraper. This was followed by creating a mixture of two powerful cleaning products namely Tile Doctor Remove and Go and NanoTech HBU remover. Remove and Go is a coatings remover designed to strip off old sealers whilst NanoTech HBU is a powerful Heavy Build-Up Remover that uses tiny abrasive particles to clean up tile and stone.

The floor was smothered in the cleaning solution and it was allowed to soak into the tile for about twenty minutes before scrubbing it in. It was not an exceptionally large hallway so a lot of hand scrubbing was required to get the floor as clean as possible. The cleaning solution was rinsed off with water and then extracted using a wet vacuum or wet vac as my colleagues often refer to it.

To finish off the cleaning process I scrubbed a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean into the grout lines to get them as clean as possible and then gave the floor a final rinse. I need the floor to be dry before sealing so using the wet vac I extracted as much moisture from the floor as possible.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

I left the floor to dry completely overnight and returned the next day to finish the floor off with a few coats of sealer. On my arrival I started by taking a few reading with a damp meter to ensure the floor was ready to be sealed. Fortunately by efforts with the Wet Vac the night before had paid off and it confirmed the tiles were dry and ready to be sealed.

To do this, I used multiple coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which works really well on Victorian Tiles and adds a nice low sheen that brings them up nicely. Naturally the sealer not only improves the way they look it also makes them much easier to clean and will protect them against ingrained dirt and staining.

Victorian Floor After Renovation in Monmouth

I think you will agree this old floor has been transformed and now has a new lease of life.
 
 
Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Renovation Service in Monmouthshire

Cleaning a Victorian Reception at a Listed Building in Devon

I was approached by the owner of a listed Georgian Townhouse right in the middle of the small market town of South Moulton in North Devon who was struggling to have any impact on the appearance of his Victorian tiled reception area, despite hours of back-breaking scrubbing and had become disheartened by it.

Georgian Reception Floor Tiles Before Cleaning South Molton

Upon arrival a survey on the floor was conducted where I tested the moisture level of the tiles because floors of this age and construction didn’t have a Damp Proof Course and as such were just tiled onto whatever subsurface was already there, which quite often contained rubble and other guiding materials such as lime from the construction of neighbouring properties!

Georgian Reception Floor Tiles Before Cleaning South Molton

Whilst talking to the customer he mentioned that he had some old quarry tiles in his kitchen that he also wanted cleaning, however I’ll cover that in another post. To continue I produced a quote for the work which was accepted and a date was agreed for me to return with all the equipment and products required.

Cleaning Victorian Tiled Reception Area

To clean the Victorian tiles in the reception area I applied a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and left it to soak in for ten minutes. I then set about scrubbing the solution into the tiles using a series of Diamond impregnated burnishing pads ranging from 100-400 grit.

Once the whole floor had been treated in this manner it was thoroughly rinsed with water using a wet and dry vacuum to extract the now soiled cleaning solution and I was able to see that the process had really brought the tiles up a treat.

Concerned about the damp readings I had experienced earlier I decided it would be prudent to give the floor an Acid Rinse with Grout Clean-up to counteract any potential salt issues (efflorescence) that can be a real problem on these old floors which have no Damp Proof Course. I highly recommend this step on old floors as salts can over time permeate through the tiles and the cleaning process draws them to the surface. Left unaddressed the salts can damage the sealer and leave the floor looking far from its best.

Once the tiles had been cleaned, I rinsed the entire floor thoroughly using fresh water to remove any trace of cleaning products, before leaving it to dry off completely overnight.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway and Entrance Lobby

The following day I returned and after rechecking the moisture levels to ensure that they had adequately dried out I started to seal the Victorian tiles in the reception area. To improve colour, I first applied a coat of Tile Doctor’s Colour Grow, a solvent based impregnating sealer which picks out and enhances the natural colour of the tiles, not only bringing the whole floor to life but helping to disguise any damage the floor has suffered over the years. After this coat had dried sufficiency four coats of Seal and Go were applied to finish off the floor and give it that ‘wow factor’.

Georgian Reception Floor Tiles After Cleaning South Molton Georgian Reception Floor Tiles After Cleaning South Molton

The customer was thrilled and left the following feedback on the Tile Doctor feedback system:

“The work was carried out in a professional manner, with excellent results.”

For aftercare I left the customer with some guidance on care and maintenance of the floor as well as a suitable bottle of tile cleaner.
 
 
Source: Victorian Floor Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Devon

Brown and Cream Victorian Tiled Hallway Refreshed in Derbyshire

When we encounter original Victorian tiles we can be assured of one thing – and that is that they are very likely be at least 100 years old. However, what we can’t typically be assured of is the maintenance history of these tiles. Over the course of a century, these tiles can be exposed to a variety of cleaning and sealing methods, repairs and modifications, and very often coverings such as carpet and linoleum. Fortunately, Victorian Tiles are very robust which is just as well as many customers of ours want their Victorian tiles to be restored their former glory despite years of neglect and poor maintenance.

This example is of an unusual Brown and Cream Victorian Tiled hallway I restored recently in Buxton, a wonderful area which is sometimes referred to as “The Gateway to the Peak District”.

Victorian Tiles Before Cleaning Buxton Victorian Tiles Before Cleaning Buxton

Cleaning Original Victorian Hallway Tiles

To begin the restoration, I applied Tile Doctor Remove and Go liberally across the floor and worked it into the tiles using a black buffing pad fitted to a rotary machine. Remove and Go is a multi-functional product which both strips old sealers and coatings as well as drawing out ingrained dirt and stains.

Victorian Tiles During Cleaning Buxton

Next, I treated the area with Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in gel form, and is used to eliminate efflorescence and mineral deposits. These problems are commonly caused by damp issues which affect old Victorian floors that lack a damp-proof membrane.

I rinsed off the acid gel with water to remove any trace of cleaning product. The floor in question was only around 2m2 and since it was a very warm and sunny day the tiles quickly dried out (assisted with a little help from a heat gun). It’s important the tiles are dry before sealing so later that afternoon I was able to confirm this with the aid of a damp meter.

Sealing Original Victorian Hallway Tiles

To seal the tiles, I used Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which is a topical sealer which provides both robust protection and leaves a smooth, glossy finish on the floor. Some customers choose to opt for a sealer which provides a natural-look, matte finish, but in this case the customer really wanted the floor to shine.

Since the floor is so old it’s hard to achieve a ‘perfect’ outcome, but the improvements we can make are still hugely significant. Happily, the customer was very pleased with the result and left the following testimonial on the Tile Doctor feedback system:

”Very well mannered, polite and genuine young man. The finished work is good, although only time will tell how long it lasts and continues to shine. Ask me again for feedback in 3 months’ time.”

I’m confident she will not be disappointed.

Victorian Tiles After Cleaning Buxton Victorian Tiles After Cleaning Buxton

 
 
Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Derbyshire