Challenging Bitumen Stained Victorian Floor Restored in Lancashire

This old Victorian tiled Hallway floor, laid in a geometric pattern, at a house in Barrow in Furness was a challenging project. The tiles were extremely dirty and also stained with Black Bitumen which has been used as an adhesive, however we have come across these sorts of problems before and so I was confident it could be resolved.

Geometric floor before Restoration Barrow in Furness Geometric floor before Restoration Barrow in Furness

Deep Cleaning an Old Victorian Tiled Floor

I roped in Heidi and my son Lewis who spent a whole day cleaning with chemicals, steam, buffing pads and unfortunately the results were far from satisfactory; the customer wasn’t happy and Heidi wasn’t happy with it either. It was clear that the black bitumen had penetrated deep into the pores of the clay and becoming so embedded that no chemical or technique we were using would shift it fully.

Geometric floor before Restoration Barrow in Furness

To top it off I had gone out earlier to tile the old mat well with matching tiles before we started the cleaning but due to the depth of the floor matt. The matt well was at least 35mm so it was clear I couldn’t use standard floor adhesive. I opted instead for a sand cement mix, similar to what the Victorians would have used originally. This filled up the depth and allowed me to tile and grout the same day, however overnight there was a bit of shrinkage and some of the new tiles settled unevenly.

Geometric floor before Milling Barrow in Furness

I racked my head for a solution to both issues and decided the best course of action would be to Mill the clay tiles to remove the Bitumen and smooth down the uneven effect of my tiling. This is not something we would normally do on a clay tile as this system can leave scratches which potentially would look worse that the dirt. After I had milled the Tiles down with a course pad fitted to a heavy buffing machine and removed all the issues I then counteracted any scratches left over using a higher grit milling pad. This solution fully resolved both issues leaving it ready for the final step of sealing.

Geometric floor After Milling Barrow in Furness

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Floor

The floor was left to dry off overnight and we returned the next day to seal the tiles using Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a matt finish, fully breathable and colour enhancing sealer which really lifts the colour of the stone or in this case clay tile. Colour Grow 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.

Geometric floor After Restoration Barrow in Furness Geometric floor After Restoration Barrow in Furness

There were plenty of problems to overcome and It took a lot of work but I’m pleased to say the floor was transformed by our efforts and now looks fantastic and I’m sure has added a lot of value to this period property.
 
 
Source: Victorian Cleaning and Renovation Service in Lancashire

Restoring Victorian Floor Tiles Hidden Under Lino in Berkshire

Pangbourne is a large village situated on the River Thames, about 4 miles west of Reading. The village has a long, rich history – dating back to at least the 9th century. There are still quite a number of Victorian-style houses located in the village, including one that I visited recently to carry out a Victorian tiled floor restoration.

Victorian floor Covered in Lino Pangboune Before Cleaning

This floor had been hidden, unbeknownst to the property owner, under a linoleum covering for many years. Once the owner realised there was an original Victorian floor under the linoleum they were very keen to restore it as an original feature and stripped it off to expose the tiles, however, they were heavily covered in dirty, adhesive stains and other contaminants and we were asked to complete the job. You can see this in the photos below.

Victorian floor Covered in Lino Pangboune Before Cleaning

At Tile Doctor, we are very experienced in restoring original Victorian tiles, so I was more than happy to help this customer transform her floor.

Cleaning a Dirty and Stained Victorian Tiled Floor

As I’ve mentioned, the top layer of this original Victorian tiled floor was marked with all manner of staining, so I decided that it would be suitable to use a set of 100 and 200 grit coarse Diamond pads fitted to a weighted machine and lubricated with a little water to grind away the damaged surface and restore the surface of the tiles.

I then cleaned the tiles using Tile Doctor Pro Clean, which is our reliable alkaline-based cleaner for natural stone. This product really helped to break down and release the soils. Next, I rinsed the floor with hot water under low pressure to remove any remaining debris, dirt and contamination.

With the cleaning process completed, the floor was allowed to dry for a full 48 hours. In older properties like these dampness can be an issue as damp-proof membranes are a relatively modern invention and I didn’t want to take any chances.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

Returning to the property two days later, I ran some moisture tests to ensure the stone was completely dry and could be sealed. It’s always important to run damp tests on any tiled floor before sealing, since a small amount of excess moisture can undermine the performance of the sealer, and thus expose the floor to ingrained dirt and stains.

Thankfully, the floor proved dry and I could seal it using Tile Doctor Seal and Go which, as a topical sealer, offers a robust surface seal and an aesthetically pleasing low-sheen finish. It’s also water based so it doesn’t give off a smell as it dries.

Victorian floor Covered in Lino Pangboune After Cleaning

As you can see from the after photos, the restoration returned the life and colour to this fantastic original Victorian tiled floor. The customer was absolutely thrilled with the result.

Victorian floor Covered in Lino Pangboune After Cleaning

 
 
Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Renovation Service in Berkshire