Pontcanna is a popular residential area in the western district of Cardiff, in South East Wales. Known for its rather large houses and spectacular foliage, interestingly enough roughly a quarter of the population are English folk.
I was called down to a property in the area to take a look at a Victorian tiled floor which was in quite poor condition. Along with the typical amount of dirt and muck seen on poorly maintained tiles, there were a number of missing tiles and a fair bit of cement caked on the surface of the floor.
It would require a robust clean, fresh seal, and several repairs to get this floor back into optimum condition.
Cleaning and Repairing a Dirty Victorian Tiled Floor
To begin, I checked for excess moisture problems using a damp meter in various places of the hallway floor and, thankfully, it was showing dry results. Any dampness could have potentially caused problems later on in the restoration process, so it was s good idea to run tests before starting.
Next, I manually scraped as much of the dry paint and cement off the tiles as possible, with no lubrication necessary. I then proceeded to clean the floor with a solution I mixed early, consisting of equal parts Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU and Tile Doctor Pro Clean, rinsing as I went. Both products are designed to tackle heavy soil build-up, with the former uniquely using nano-sized particles (as the product name suggests) to penetrate deep into difficult to reach areas in the tiles in order to lift out ingrained muck.
Following the initial clean, I removed all of the loose tiles and those heavily affected by cement, before retiling as necessary with fresh Victorian tiles, and grouting the whole floor. Of course, these replacement tiles were carefully sourced to ensure consistency, as far as possible, with the original pattern of the floor.
The next day, I went over the whole floor with an application of the acid-based Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, diluted with a little alkaline Pro Clean to form a cleaning solution. I then used a black pad to scrub the cleaner into the tiles, similarly to the previous day’s cleaning. This was followed by a through rinse with water to neutralise the floor.
It was at this point that I noticed some stubborn cement stains remained so I set about breaking them down using a 60 grade hand held diamond polishing block, and this technique proved successful.
Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor
After completing the clean, I left the floor to dry out for roughly 24 hours. Upon my return to the property to seal the tiles, I tested again for moisture. It is recommended to run damp tests before sealing, as excess moisture can cloud the sealer, affecting its performance in the long run.
Fortunately, no dampness was detected and I was proceeded to seal the floor with seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which enhances the natural colours in the stone and provides a nice satin gloss appearance, as requested by the customer.
I was extremely pleased with the results of this restoration, as was the customer. The extent of the soil build up and damage was such before the restoration that, after completion, the floor looked like it had been newly laid!
Source: Victorian Tile and Stone Cleaning and Restoration Service in South Wales