Renovating a Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Floor in Exmouth, Devon

The owner of this property had been intending to have her Victorian tiled vestibule professionally cleaned and sealed for several years but had always seemed to just ‘make do’ with an occasional clean with a mop and bucket. Having made up her mind to have it professionally cleaned and having seen previous examples of my work online after searching for her local stone and tile cleaning professional she asked me to come and have a look and see what I could do.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Exmouth Before Cleaning

Being the first stop upon entering the house the tiles were heavily soiled after years of not being sealed so after I conducted a moisture check which showed the tiles to be remarkably dry. I cleaned a few tiles using some diamond hand pads to test the area and give the customer an idea of what kind of result to expect. She was really pleased with the initial outcome of the test and booked me in to return shortly after receiving my quote.

Because the area was small I was able to tie it in with another job I had in the Exmouth area and was able to reduce the cost of the quote. This is a great option if you and your neighbour both have small areas to clean because I may be able to work on them concurrently which will save you both money!

Cleaning/Repairing a Victorian Tiled Vestibule Floor

The working area was quite tight, so the tiles were scrubbed using a series of diamond impregnated six-inch burnishing pads fitted to a rotary hand tool. The pads are used in sequence starting with a 100-grit and finishing with a 400-grit pad. The floor was then thoroughly rinsed using a wet vacuum to remove the soil that was generated during the process.

The next step was to give the tiles an acid rinse; now we don’t normally recommend the use of acids on tiles but in this case the product was only on the floor long enough to remove old grout smears and mineral deposits before being rinsed off. I used Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up for this and it has the extra advantage of countering any alkaline salts which can hiding in the pores of the tile, this is very useful on old floors of this type with no damp proof course. If left unaddressed the salts can rise through the tile as moisture evaporates leaving unsightly white salt stains on the floor. This process is known as efflorescence and can be tricky to remove later if not dealt with quickly.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Exmouth During Cleaning

One done the floor was given a final rinse and then dried with the wet vacuum. I then made a few small repairs to some loose tiles and then left for the evening to allow the floor the whole floor to dry off fully overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Vestibule Floor

The following day I returned and after rechecking the moisture levels of both areas to ensure that they had adequately dried out I started work, applying a coat of Tile Doctor’s Colour Grow. This is an impregnating sealer which picks out and enhances the natural colours of the tiles, not only bringing the whole floor to life but helping to disguise any damage the floor has suffered over the years.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Exmouth During Sealing

After this coat had dried sufficiently I applied four coats of Tile Doctor’s Seal and Go to finish off the floor and give it that ‘wow factor’. I left the client with some guidance on care and maintenance of the floor as well as a suitable bottle of cleaner.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Exmouth After Cleaning

The client was very happy with the result and her sealed floor is now easier to maintain and keep clean. The Victorian tiles are now in keeping with the rest of the house.

 

Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Exmouth, Devon

Renovating a Victorian Tiled Farmhouse Hallway in Clyst Hydon, Devon

The owners of this floor in the hallway of their Mid-Victorian farmhouse in Clyde Hydon just outside of Honiton, in Devon asked me to visit shortly after they had moved in. Whilst ripping out the old carpet throughout the house they had come across this stunning Victorian tiled floor. Honiton is a market town, more well known for its lace making. As it is my home town, it was a very short commute to work for me, so I was able to visit the property quickly and take a look.

Mid Victorian Tiled Farmhouse Hallway Clyst Hydon Before Cleaning

During my visit I took some moisture readings because these old floors will not have had a damp proof membrane installed and if the moisture levels are too high it can restrict when this type of work can be done due to the sealers needing the floor to be dry(ish), in order to cure. I also did a test clean to show the customers what level of cleaning could be achieved and looked at areas of loose tiles to see if any replacement tiles would need to be sourced. I always like to do a test clean as it demonstrates what can be achieved and it also allows me to work out which methods and products work best.

Cleaning and Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

With the customers happy with the quote I returned to complete the work starting by covering the wooden skirting and bottom of the stairs to protect the paint and carpet from splashing. I then applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean on to the floor, ensuring even coverage and keeping an eye on the floor to make sure that it didn’t dry out. Pro-Clean is quite a flexible product than can strip off old sealers when applied in a strong dilution.

After a short time, I set to work scrubbing the Pro-Clean into the floor with a 400-grit diamond pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer. I also used 400-grit hand held burnishing block to cover the corners and any edges not reached by my machine. Once I was satisfied that the tiles were as good as they could be I rinsed the floor to remove the now soiled alkaline cleaner before giving the floor an acid wash with Acid Gel to neutralise with any inherent salts in dfdfthe tiles.

Before I left for the day I fixed the loose tiles back in place, re-grouted the areas that I had replaced tiles and left an air mover on the floor to aid in the drying process. I also suggested that the radiators in the hallway were turned on overnight to further aid the drying process. Occasionally these types of floors need to be left for several days to dry but it is worth the wait and the floors can be used in the meantime provided only socks and indoor shoes are used and care is taken not to get the floor dirty.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Upon returning the next day I tested the moisture content of the floor and was pleased to find that it was well within acceptable levels for the application of the sealer that I was planning to use. I quickly checked the floor for areas that I felt may be able to be improved and once satisfied a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer was applied to the floor. Colour Grow is a colour enhancing impregnating sealer that occupies the pores in the tile thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there.

Once this was dry it was followed up by applying two further coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which is a compatible surface sealer that leaves a nice subtle sheen finish. Both sealers are fully breathable and able to cope with any damp issues that may impact the floor over time.

Mid Victorian Tiled Farmhouse Hallway Clyst Hydon After Cleaning

The customers were thrilled and said that they were going to reinstate the hallway as the main entrance to the farmhouse in order to show it off to all their visitors!

 

Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Clyst Hydon, Devon

Deep Cleaning a Dirty Victorian Tiled Hallway in a Devon Farmhouse

I was contacted by the owners of an old Farmhouse in the East Devon village of Broadclyst to look at their Victorian Tiled Hallway floor which as you can see from the photograph below was heavily stained and had also been splashed with paint from decorating. Victorian tiles are very robust and can take a lot of punishment which you certainly get in a farmhouse, however once the sealer wears off dirt gets into the pores of the tile making it very difficult to clean.

I visited the property to take a closer look and to take some moisture readings because these old floors don’t have a Damp Proof Course and moisture levels too high can restrict when this type of work can be done due to the sealers needing the floor to be dry in order to cure. I also did a test piece to show the customers what level of cleaning could be achieved.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Broadclyst Farmhouse before cleaning

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway

With the customers happy with the quote I returned to complete the work starting by covered the skirting and bottom of the stairs to protect the paintwork and carpet. I then put a strong stripper/degreaser called Pro Clean on to the floor, ensuring even coverage and keeping and eye on the floor to make sure that it didn’t dry out.

After a short dwell time I set to work scrubbing the floor with a 400 grit diamond burnishing pad and using small hand blocks to get into the corners and any edges not reached by my machine. Once I was satisfied that the tiles were as good as they could be I rinsed the floor to remove the alkaline cleaner and soiled water.

This was followed by giving the floor an Acid rinse using Tile Doctor’s Acid Gel, this process counteracts any alkaline salts that can rise up through the tile as it dries out, a process which is more commonly known as efflorescence. This can be quite a problem on floors like this that don’t have a damp proof course (floors generally didn’t pre-1950s). I had to be careful not to leave the acid down for too long because these tiles are susceptible to acid damage.

Dealing with salt issues on these old floors (efflorescence) is essential because they can damage the sealer or become trapped under it, detracting from the beauty of the floor. Given the age of the farmhouse it’s difficult to know what the floor had been laid onto. Often it was compacted rubble and building works from the erection of the adjoining buildings; additionally some of the later Victorian floors were laid on a wet limecrete scree which contain a high salt-content.

Before I left for the day I left an air mover on the floor to aid in the drying of the tiles. If there are radiators in the area I also suggest that they are turned on overnight to further aid the drying process. Occasionally these types of floors need to be left for several days to dry but it is worth the wait and the floors can be used in the meantime provided indoor shoes and socks only are used and care is taken not to get the floor dirty.

Sealing an Old Victorian Tiled Hallway

Upon returning the next day I tested the moisture content of the floor and was pleased to find that it was well within acceptable levels for the application of the sealer that I was planning to use. I quickly checked the floor for areas that I felt may be able to be improved and once satisfied a single coat of matt-finish, colour-enhancing sealer called Colour Grow was applied before two coats of a Seal and Go sealer was used to give the floor a satin finish, which I think gives it a slight glaze and freshly mopped appearance.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Broadclyst Farmhouse before cleaning

The customers were thrilled and said that they wished they had brought me in sooner!
 
 
Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Broadclyst, Devon

Victorian Tiled Hallway Discovered at a Bude Bed and Breakfast

Bude is a lovely coastal resort in North Cornwall and is home to several B&Bs for visitors to the area. It became popular during the latter half of Queen Victoria’s reign, as sea bathing became a popular trend amongst the upper and middle classes, and as a result there are plenty of period houses.

In fact, I was recently contacted by a lucky Bed and Breakfast owner who had uncovered this late Victorian tiled hallway and entrance lobby which was around a hundred years old during renovation work. It had been under carpet for at least twenty years and had a variety of stains including paint, tar and glue!

The customer rightly wanted to reinstate it as a showpiece to greet clients upon entering the upmarket guesthouse but had no luck trying to remove stains themselves and had spent many hours on hands and knees but to no avail and were nearly ready to take the builder’s advice and cover it in a self-levelling cement and install a carpet throughout which would have been sacrilege!

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration at Bude Bed and Breakfast

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway and Entrance Lobby

To begin with diamond-impregnated buffing pads were used with a rotary machine to scrub the floor and open up the pores. Small diamond hand blocks were also used to get into those difficult to reach areas such as corners and under the stairs.

Afterwards the floor was thoroughly rinsed with water which was then extracted using a wet vacuum. This was followed by giving the floor an Acid rinse using Tile Doctor’s Acid Gel. This helped to remove old mineral deposits and residue from carpet underlay. I had to be careful not to leave the acid down for too long because these tiles are susceptible to acid damage. This is also a great product to use as par for the course on floors like this that don’t have a damp proof course (floors generally didn’t pre-1950s) and the acid will neutralise any salts coming rising up through the tile later.

Dealing with salt issues on these old floors (efflorescence) is essential because they can damage the sealer or become trapped under it, detracting from the beauty of the floor. Given the age of the house It’s difficult to know what the floor had been laid onto. Often it was compacted rubble and building works from the erection of the adjoining houses. Terraced and some of the later Victorian floors were laid on a wet limecrete scree which contain a high salt-content.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway and Entrance Lobby

Once the tiles had been cleaned, I rinsed the entire floor thoroughly using fresh water to remove any traces of chemicals, before leaving it to dry completely overnight.

Upon my return to the B&B the next day, I sealed the tiles using several coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer which provides robust protection and intensifies the natural colours in the tile. It does this while leaving a natural-look matte finish which is befitting of a classic Victorian geometric patterned floor like this one.

Now cleaned and freshly sealed, the Victorian tiles will be in a much strong position to cope with the busy B&B season over the Summer. The owner was very pleased and I’m sure visitors to the B&B will be very impressed with this original feature!

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration at Bude Bed and Breakfast

As part of the package a cleaning and maintenance guide is provided once the work has been completed but unfortunately the owner’s uncle didn’t consult this when house-sitting and attempted to clean the floor with white spirit. Fortunately, I was able to return and improve the damage that was caused much to the owner’s relief and just in time for opening!
 
 
Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Devon

Renovating Old Edwardian Hallway Tiles in Devon

Colyton is a small village in the Coly Valley, which itself is part of Devon’s Area of Outstanding Beauty. As you can imagine, it was very nice to drive through the countryside to reach the village to visit a customer. The customer was keen to restore her Edwardian tiled entranceway and hallway in a classic herringbone pattern, which consists of an arrangement of rectangles.

Parts of the floor had been under carpet for a long time and other areas were covered in at least three layers of thick masonry paint. There was some damage to the floor at thresholds where the carpet grips had been hammered into the floor and a few holes with rawl plugs in scattered the area. This had left the floor looking worse for wear and all in all, there was a lot to be done to restore the tiles back to their original condition – just take a look at the photos below.

Edwardian Hallway Tiles Herringbone Pattern Colyton Before Edwardian Hallway Tiles Herringbone Pattern Colyton Before

Several methods were tried on each area during the initial visit to determine the best way forward including chemicals, diamond pads and heat plus a razor scraper. It was clear a mixture of these methods would be needed to get the best results.

Cleaning an Edwardian Tiled Entranceway and Hallway

On my return, I removed the rawl plugs filled the holes with an epoxy resin in a matching colour. Next I started on giving the tiles a deep and thorough clean to remove not just the copious ingrained dirt, but also the unappealing paint smears.

I did this by applying Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which not only cleans the stone, but also strips away any old sealer. Remove and Go is particularly good for removing most artificial coatings and finishes, adhesives, and paints – and can be used on most unpolished natural stone.

Next, I give the tile and grout an acid rinse with Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, which is a concentrated phosphoric acid product, to negate any underlying efflorescence and alkaline salt deposits. Efflorescence and salt deposits can be common problems for older, original tiled floors because they often lack a damp proof course.

Having finished cleaning the floor, I gave it a thorough rinse using fresh water to remove any traces of chemicals, before leaving it to dry overnight.

Sealing an Edwardian Tiled Entranceway and Hallway

Returning to the property next day, I ran some quick damp tests to check the floor was ready to be sealed.

To seal the floor, I used a single coat of an impregnating sealer called Colour Grow and followed this up with five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. Both sealers will allow for vapour to rise up through the floor ensuring any damp can rise up through the floor in future which is essential for an old floor like this one which has no damp proof membrane.
The also combine to provide stain resistance surface and a robust, low-sheen finish.

And, with that, the job was done. Two days of work later and the floor is back to looking it best, as you can see in the photos below. Another satisfied client for the Devon Tile Doctor who left the following feedback.

“Very good work,we are very pleased with the result.
Stuart was a very professional hard worker and gave us clear advice on taking care of the floor.“

Edwardian Hallway Tiles Herringbone Pattern Colyton After Edwardian Hallway Tiles Herringbone Pattern Colyton After

 
 
Source: Edwardian Floor Tile Cleaning and Renovation Service in Devon

Restoring Geometric Victorian Hallway Tiles Hidden under Carpet in North Devon

Barnstaple in North Devon is known to be one of, if not the oldest boroughs in the whole of the United Kingdom. The area certainly has a rich history and many of the properties built in the 19th century still exist and are in use.

It’s not uncommon for the owners of houses built in this era to discover original Victorian tiled floors and hallways. They’ve usually been covered up at some point in the past, either by carpet or linoleum, but if maintained correctly they can be a real asset to any property.

I recently visited one such customer, who lives in Barnstaple, to restore a recently uncovered Victorian tiled hallway that had been tiled in a geometric pattern. This hallway had been neglected and covered for some time by carpet so the colours had faded and there were patches of carpet underlay firmly embedded in some of the tiles.

The property owner uncovered the floor after seeing a similar one in the entrance hallway of a neighbour and was thrilled with her find. After a bit of scrubbing and cleaning the customer decided to call in professional help after a recommendation for the Tile Doctor Devon from a friend. A home visit was conducted and a test patch was done to show what was possible and to talk through options. A quote was then produced which the customer was happy with and the work was arranged for the following week.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Barnstaple before restoration

Cleaning a Neglected Victorian Tiled Hallway

As the floor was really in quite a bad state, I opted to use Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU as my main cleaning product. HBU stands for ‘Heavy Build-Up’ – and that’s exactly what the product is formulated to tackle: heavy build-up of ingrained dirt and soil. It used nano-sized cleaning particles to penetrate deep into the pores of the stone and get underneath stains to lift them to the surface.

I applied NanoTech HBU to the entire hallway and left it to dwell for several hours, before scrubbing it as thoroughly as possible with a brush fitted to a rotary cleaning machine. The soil that was brought to the surface was subsequently rinsed away with fresh water and the resulting slurry was extracted using a wet vacuum.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway

Once finished with the cleaning process, I left the floor to dry out completely. This was important as older floors which lack a damp proof membrane can suffer from moisture issues, and these issues can damage the performance of the sealer.

Thankfully there were no problems with drying the floor. I was able to seal the tiles using a colour-enhancing impregnating sealer from our range, known as Tile Doctor Colour Grow. For extra protection – and to provide the finish the customer had requested – I also applied a topical sealer called Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This left the floor with a high-quality, long-lasting satin finish.

A properly sealed floor will be much more resistant to stain as well as easier to clean. As with every job a cleaning and maintenance guide was provided which gives handy tips and do’s and don’ts for the floor and that particular sealer.

The restoration reinstated this great Victorian tiled hallway as the showpiece upon entering the property and the customer was absolutely thrilled. You can see the final result below.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Barnstaple after restoration

The customer was thrilled with the floor and was very surprised at just how well the colour came back to the tiles and provided the following feedback:

“I am so pleased with the service Stuart provided. After the initial quote and patch test I felt under no pressure to ask him to proceed, but I was happy with the quote and he arranged a date convenient to me. I am chuffed with my floor, it looks great. The after care has been great also. Thank you Stuart.”
 
 
Source: Victorian Floor Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Devon