We don’t get many requests to clean garage floors but this particular floor was quite old and tiled in black and red Victorian tiles. Many would have just washed it down with a hose pipe however this garage in the city of Lancaster housed a classic British built AC sports car which doesn’t like getting dust in its Carburettor’s and as a result the owner was keen to have the floor restored.
You can see from the photograph below the floor was in quite a state and as such the whole floor needed a thorough deep clean to remove the ingrained dirt and grease and then sealing to protect it.
Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Garage Floor
With the exception of moving the vehicle little preparation was required and we soon got on with the job starting with the application of a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-clean which is a great product for deep cleaning tile and grout. The solution was left to soak into the tile for ten or so minutes before being worked in with a buffing machine fitted with a black buffing pad. This soon lifted the dirt from the tile turning the cleaning solution into a dark fluid that was rinsed from the floor with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.
With old floors like these where no damp proof course has been installed it’s not unusual to get white salt marks appearing which leave a white bloom on the surface of the tile. This problem is known as efflorescence however it can be treated early on by giving the floor a wash with a strong acid which removes the salts. So the next step was to apply a Tile Doctor Acid Gel which being in gel form makes it easy to control once it’s on the floor, naturally acids are not good in general for any floor so it was not left on the tiles for too long before being extracted.
Last step was to give the floor a good rinse with water to remove any remaining trace of cleaning products before sealing, once this was done we used the wet vacuum to suck up as much moisture from the floor as possible.
Because of the water that was used, we had to let the floor dry out for several days before the sealer could be applied, this is especially relevant in the winter months when the water tables are high and thus a longer time is required for drying. Modern floors have a damp proof membrane so drying out can take twelve hours or less.
Sealing a Victorian Tiled Garage Floor
When we returned to seal the floor we first checked the floor was suitably dry by checking for dampness using a damp meter. The readings were good so several coats of a breathable sealer called Tile Doctor Colour Grow which has a matt finish was applied. I should mention that Colour Grow has good VMT (Vapour Moisture Transmission) properties that will ensure any trapped moisture can rise up through the tile and sealer, it also lifts the colours of the clay and gives its a deeper hue, in fact its one of our most popular sealers for these tiles. Having good VMT properties also means that is , Also if efflorescence do come back, the sealer allows the substance to breathe through and you can just wash off the crystals with a wetted mop.
Last photo is of the car being parked in the garage by the owner, happy in the knowledge his prized possession is now living in a clean environment.
Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Lancashire