Victorian tiled floors are well-known for their colourful and unique patterns which never fail to impress and are a very sought after period feature. Recently I was very impressed with the work that had gone into this hallway floor that I came across at a property in the seaside resort of Lytham St Annes south of Blackpool on the Flyde coast. I was there to restore what I originally believed to be a stone Tesserae Mosaic floor, but after some chemical testing it was revealed to be a traditional Victorian tiled floor which are made of clay.
In the case of this floor, each tile was approximately 1cm squared and they had been painstakingly installed throughout a 15m squared area by hand in the 1880s. I can only imagine the time and effort it must have taken to do this, and it is a testament to the Victorian craftsmen of the day that despite having many loose, missing, broken, and dirty tiles, the floor was still in a reasonable condition and could be restored back to its former condition.
Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Floor
Now, if this had in fact been a stone Tesserae Mosaic floor, I would have cleaned the tiles using different methods. However, since it was a clay Victorian tiled floor, I decided – after conducting some product testing – to clean the whole floor with a black buffing pad in combination with Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel. Oxy-Gel is a powerful high-alkaline formula designed to tackle dirt and stains on Tile, Stone and Grout.
I followed this by steam cleaning the tiles and then gave the floor an acid rinse using Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in gel form. This was needed to keep efflorescent salt issues at bay which are a problem with these old floors with no damp proof membrane has been installed.
Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Floor
My choice of sealer was Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a fully breathable and colour enhancing product. The sealer is impregnating – meaning that it penetrates the pores of the stone to fill them and prevent trapped dirt and stains. We recommend Colour Grow for both internal and external applications and especially for areas where no damp proof membrane is evident, since the sealer allows for the floor to breathe moisture.
Despite the floor being well over a century old it came up really well and the sealer will now add a layer of protection that will keep it that way for some time to come.
Source: Victorian Tile and Grout Cleaning and Restoration in Lancashire