This Victorian tiled hallway at a house in Earlsdon near Coventry was not only in dire need of a good clean and seal, but also required some repairs to areas where the tiles were cracked or missing. The job took three days in total to complete, with one day spent on the necessary repairs, and two on the cleaning and sealing process.
Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway
Repairing Victorian Tiles is generally a straightforward tiling job, complications that can arise are usually related to making sure the floor substrate is solid and sourcing matching tiles. In this case the foundation was fine so it was just a case of scraping off the old adhesive and then re-fixing the tiles and re-grouting with a matching grout. It’s best to do any repairs before cleaning and sealing as the new tiles will blend into the floor better.
Cleaning a Victorian tiled hallway
I left the floor to set overnight and then came back to clean the floor first applying a layer of Tile Doctor Remove & Go to floor in order to breakdown any old sealers, dirt and other contaminates such as paint and plaster from decorating.
The product was left to dwell for ten minutes before being worked into the tile and grout using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a heavy rotary machine. This made a marked difference in the appearance of the tiles and the resultant slurry was rinsed off the floor using water and a wet vacuum.
Now the dirt was removed I could see there were some white salt deposits of the tile surface as well as smears of grout that were probably there since its installation. The mineral salt deposits often known as efflorescence are usually due to dampness rising up though the floor and these old Victorian floors rarely have a damp proof membrane which is a relatively new advancement. To resolve both these problems I applied Tile Doctor Acid Gel which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in a gel form so it doesn’t move around like a liquid. This product was especially effective on Victorian floor tiles, but should not be used on any tiles made of acid-sensitive stone, such as Marble or Limestone as it can damage them. Being an acid product it’s best not to leave it on too long either, so once I had managed to scrub off the efflorescence and grout smears I removed it and then gave the floor a good rinse to remove any trace and neutralise the floor prior to sealing.
Sealing a Victorian tiled hallway
After completing the cleaning process, I left the floor to dry completely overnight and came back to the house the next day to finish off with a sealer. I usually seal Victorian and Quarry tiles with Tile Doctor Seal and Go however given the previous evidence of efflorescence I need to choose a sealer that was highly breathable. Fortunately Tile Doctor recognises this issue and has such a product called Seal & Go Extra. Not only does this sealer provides a stain resistant surface seal and a durable low-sheen finish it also has excellent moisture vapour transmission properties and can even be used externally.
The before and after photos above really demonstrate the difference made to the appearance of this Victorian tiled hallway.
Source: Repairing and Restoring Victorian Tiles in Warwickshire