Victorian Floor Damaged by Pipe Installation Repaired and Restored in Cambridgeshire

Earlier this year I was asked to quote for repairing and restoring a Victorian Tile Hallway in St Neots. The floor was in good physical condition for its age however a section of tiling had been removed to facilitate the installation of a new pipe. The contractor was not very sympathetic to the old floor and after removing the tiles and installing the pipe they had simply back filled with concrete ruining the overall look of the floor.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Repair Restoration in St Neots

The rest of the Victorian Tiled Hallway had not been properly cleaned and sealed in some time and any protective sealer had long since worn off in the busier parts of the hallway. Without a sealer in place dirt had penetrated the pores of the tile leaving them looking dull and impossible to keep clean.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration in St Neots Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration in St Neots

Period features like this floor are very desirable these days and understandably the owner was every enthusiastic to have the floor fully restored back to its best possible condition.
I discussed with him the work we needed to do, which included repairing the concreted sections, deep cleaning the floor and then finish with the application of a protective sealer. I was confident I could source similar tiles and would be able to get the floor looking great again. We agreed a price and booked the work in to be carried out.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration in St Neots

Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

I started by manually removing all the concrete at the back of the hall with a bolster and hammer. Once cleaned of rubble the hole was filled with a self-levelling compound to even out the area in order to get the surface to the right level ready for tiling.

Victorian Tiled Hallway During Restoration in St Neots

Fortunately, I had managed to source nearly identical tiles to replace the missing ones. There are a few places that keep stock, so it makes it easier to restore this type of floor.
The border was laid first followed by filling in the middle with the correct pattern.

Victorian Tiled Hallway During Restoration in St Neots

Deep Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Once grouted the whole floor was stripped and cleaned using Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a coatings remover that is designed to clean and remove old sealers from tile and stone. The product is diluted with water, sprayed onto the tiles and then allowed to soak in for ten minutes before scrubbing it in. The solution soon turns into a dark slurry as the dirt is released from the pores of the tile and this is then rinsed off with water and extracted with a wet vacuum.

Victorian Tiled Hallway During Restoration in St Neots

The next step was to treat any potential efflorescence problems that may appear later due to the lack of a damp-proof membrane under the floor. This is quite a common issue with old floors where moisture can rise through the tile carrying with it salts from the sub floor. To counter this problem and neutralise the alkaline salts the floor is further cleaned with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up which is an acidic product. To remove the product another round of rinsing and extracted is carried out.

During the cleaning I noticed that some of the tiles had damage to the surface from being concreted over, so I renovated the surface using a 200-grit burnishing pad that hones the tile. Once I was happy the floor was clean, I left it to dry off for two days.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

I came back to seal the floor first checking with a damp meter that the moisture levels in the tile were below an acceptable level. All was well so I started the application of the sealer with a base coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that will deepen the colours and add an extra layer of protection.

Once the first dry coat of Colour Grow was dry, I followed up with five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds further layers of protection and leaves the tiles with a nice subtle sheen.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration in St Neots

The job took five days in total, three days to sympathetically repair the floor followed by two days to clean and seal. You can see from the pictures that the repaired area looked very original and overall the floor looked great and the pattern is stunning. For aftercare I recommended they kept the floor clean using Tiles Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner, this will keep the floor clean and ensure the sealant isn’t eroded prematurely which can happen with stronger floor cleaning products.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration in St Neots Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration in St Neots

The customer over the moon with the results and left the following glowing testimonial for me on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

”Tom was professional, meticulous, polite and hard working. We would have no qualms about recommending his service to others – especially with mosaic Victorian flooring like ours. Good value and plenty of expert advice and guidance thrown in for free. Thanks Tom. By Alden W, St Neots”

Victorian Tiled Hallway After During Restoration in St Neots

 

Source: Victorian Tile Repair, Cleaning and Sealing Service in St Neots, Cambridge

Relaying and Renovating a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Hale Barns

We were contacted by an architect who was working on the redevelopment of a late Victorian property in Hale Barns, their client wanted to restore the property to its former glory and several internal changes meant reconfiguring the doorways on the ground floor. This in turn would impact the elegant Black and White Victorian tiled hallway floor and the request was for us to lift half the tiled floor and then replace it once the internal changes were complete.

Black White Victorian Hallway Floor Before Cleaning Hale Barns Black White Victorian Hallway Floor Before Restoration Hale Barns

Certainly, an interesting request and one we were happy to quote for. Hale Barns is an effluent part of Cheshire with a mixture of late Victorian and ultra-modern housing popular with footballers, so It’s refreshing to see a period property like this sympathetically restored instead of being demolished.

Lifting and Rebuilding a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The first part of the works involved removing the section of flooring that would be disrupted by the internal changes. Normally we would carefully cut out one tile so we can get a purchase on the remainder from underneath; however the floor had some loose tiles so it simply a question of lifting these then putting a flat plate under the rest and popping them up. I make it sound simple but doing it without damaging a tile takes patience.

Black White Victorian Hallway Floor During Tile Removal Hale Barns Black White Victorian Hallway Floor During Removal Hale Barns

The lifted tiles were stored in buckets containing a 4:1 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and water. The tiles were left so soak for a couple of days to soften the adhesives, grout and dirt before being cleaned off and left to dry out.

Once the building work was completed, we were called back into rebuilt the Victorian floor taking into account the new door thresholds. The first job was to level the floor with fast drying self-levelling compound to provide a new sub-base for the tiles. This was left to dry overnight and the next day we started laying the floor back down with fast setting tile adhesive. Once the floor was laid, we left for the day, so it could set overnight.

Black White Victorian Hallway Floor During Restoration Hale Barns Black White Victorian Hallway Floor During Restoration Hale Barns

Lifting and Rebuilding a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Next day we checked the tiles were set before starting to clean with a set of abrasive burnishing pads which attach to a slow speed weighted rotary floor machine. We started with a very coarse 100-grit pad and use water to help lubricate the process, the resulting soil is then rinsed off and removed with a wet vacuum. Using exactly the same process we continue to further refine the tiles by working our way through ever finer grades of pads until we get to 1500-grit. The floor was then washed with Tile Doctor Acid Gel and this is left to soak into the tile before being washed off with water. Giving the floor an acid wash in this fashion helps clean the tile of old mineral deposits and also neutralises any alkaline salts in the floor which could cause problems later on, this is a common issue with old floors more commonly known as efflorescence. The floor was dried using the wet vacuum to remove as much moisture as possible before being left to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

The next morning, I finished off the restoration of the floor with the application of a very fine 3000-grit burnishing pad which gave the floor a light sheen. This final pad is applied dry with only a little water sprayed onto the tile using a method we call a ‘Spray Burnish’.

The floor was then checked for moisture with a damp meter to make sure it was dry before sealing. All was well and two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer were applied to protect the floor going forward. Colour Grow is a fully breathable impregnating sealer that will enhance the colour of the black tiles and being breathable will cope well with any moisture rising through the floor. Once the sealer had dried fully the floor was buffed with the 3000-grit pad leaving a sheen as requested by the client.

Black White Victorian Hallway Floor After Cleaning Hale Barns Black White Victorian Hallway Floor After Sealing Hale Barns

The result was quite a transformation that was well received by the architect and their client.

 

Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Hale Barns, East-Cheshire