This is probably one of the oldest Victorian floors we have worked on, the house dates back to 1853 and is the second one we have covered on the same road in the leafy city of Carlisle . The whole street was owned by the council for several decades and the houses including floors have experienced all sorts of damage to them over the years. More recently the houses have been released to a private developer who called us in to handle the restoration and resurrect the hallway tiles which you will see on the pictures.
Cleaning and Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
The first job for us was the tile repair, and this meant preparing the surface for the new tiles, which involved carefully knocking up all the loose and cracked tiles and then re setting them using matching replacements where necessary.
To do this I like to use a multi tool to score the grout and then break out the cracked tiles with a hammer and chisel or a power drill. The replacement tiles had to be re-sized to fit, oddly enough most of the damage was along the edge of the floor where air ducts used to be in place and then these had been concreted in. The main part of the floor though was still in good order even though it was 170 years old.
Once the replacement tiles were set, a low moisture cleaning technique was used to get the whole floor clean. This involves covering the tiles in Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel and leaving it to soak into the tile for ten minutes. Being a gel cleaner, it is easier to control and there is less water involved. The gel is then scrubbed in with a buffing machine fitted with a 100-grit milling pad. A little bit of water is added to help lubricate and scrub off the dirt and soiling. A wet vacuum is then used to remove the soil which is an essential piece of kit for this line of work.
After the initial clean the floor was given an acid rinse using Tile Doctor Acid Gel which was applied neat and as before scrubbed in using a pad, this time using a finer 200-grit milling pad. Again, a little water was used to aid in the clean up being careful not to flood the floor.
The reason for the low moisture clean is that there was a basement underneath the hallway and the client had nowhere else to put certain fabrics, furniture etc so with a low moisture clean we can minimise the chance of any water finding its way into the space below. The wet vacuum was deployed again to remove the cleaning products and water and the floor was left to dry.
Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
Once clean and dry the floor was sealed using two coats of Tile Doctor X-Tra seal which as the name suggests is a little bit extra as it’s a very robust sealer, although mainly designed for outside areas it’s an oil-based formula that works really on Victorian tiles.
One done the floor looked great, and the developer was very happy with the result.