Damaged Victorian Tiled Hallway Fully Restored in Epsom

A customer from Epsom called me regarding the restoration of her Victorian tiled hallway which was previously covered in carpet and in a poor state of health. Intrigued and having spoken on the phone I agreed a time to call in and survey the floor and work out a way forward. I visited the property and could immediately see considerable repair work including resolving problems with the sub floor and tile replacement would be required and all this before cleaning and sealing.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Rebuild in Epsom

This house had undergone some serious renovations recently and the floor was left till last. I’m not a structural engineer so was unable to advise what had happened to the floor, but all the faults appeared to run in a line from the kitchen to the front door. It was an old house so who knows what might have caused it, it might even have been bomb damage from the 2nd world war.

There were three main problem areas. The worst was by the front door where an area of about a metre square was just loose tiles and laid on rubble. The family had got used to jumping across the threshold so as not to make the problem worse. Next was a strip through the middle that was totally exposed and a massive trip hazard. The floor boards were visible as was the floor base. There was another area by the front room entrance that had some loose pattern tiles that clunked every time someone entered the room. Finally, there was a small area to the entrance to the basement that had been patched in with cement.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Rebuild in Epsom Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Rebuild in Epsom

It was clearly going to be a challenging restoration for several reasons. Had the customer kept all the loose tiles? If not, could I source matching replacements? Would it be possible to level the floor that appeared to be sloping towards the front door? Could I remove loose and broken tiles without disturbing others? Could I manage the customers high expectations?

Having worked on numerous Victorian floor restorations in the past I knew where I could potentially source replacement tiles. I also had the full backing of the Tile Doctor network so knew I could always reach out to other Tile Doctors should I face any major problems. Undaunted we agreed a date for me to return and start the work and in the mean time I would talk to several specialist tile suppliers about replacements.

Rebuilding a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Before starting any tiling work, I photographed the whole floor extensively from different angles so I would have something to refer to later. Then I removed all the loose tiles placing them in buckets for further cleaning. I now had three areas that I could see beneath the floor boards and another area of cement that I broke up using a chisel drill. In total I filled six buckets with rubble and broken tiles, all of which were taken off site and disposed of at a local recycling centre.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Rebuild in Epsom Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Rebuild in Epsom

The next step was to ensure I had a level and flat base in the newly exposed areas on which to lay the tiles. I managed this by laying down a self-levelling compound. The compound is mixed in a bucket and poured into the holes up to the required level allowing gravity to do the levelling work for you. It is then left to dry and harden overnight.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Rebuild in Epsom Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Rebuild in Epsom

The next day I started by re-fixing the loose tiles in areas where the subfloor was still solid. Close packed Victorian tiles are very tough but can be brittle, often removing a single tile can cause chips or break surrounding tiles. I always buy more replicas than the job requires for this very reason. This can be very frustrating work, so I find its best approach is to remove as few tiles as possible. I explained to the customer that the floor is over 100 years old and some chips and scratches give the floor character. Perfection is an unrealistic expectation where some marks are permanent.

Part of the other renovations included the removal of two antique radiators leaving some strips of carpet and adhesive attached to the floor. I removed this using a strong mixture of tile doctor remove and go and a little encouragement from a 50-grit diamond block.

The preparation continued with the cleaning up of the three buckets of tiles recovered at the beginning of the restoration. Old adhesive and cement must be removed before refitting to ensure they can be laid flush to the adjacent tiles. Luckily for me the weather was warm and sunny, so I sat on the garden wall for the afternoon using a combination of a wet tile cutter, Fein tool and diamond blocks to get them clean while I took in the sun.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Rebuild in Epsom

The next day was spent re-laying the tiles. The tiles are in an intricate pattern and in various shapes and sizes. The main area by the front door took all day. The difference in thickness between the original and replacement tiles made the work particularly difficult. Interested neighbours came and went commenting on my progress throughout.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Rebuild in Epsom

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The next day I soaked all the tiles with tile doctor Acid Gel and left to dwell for 30 minutes. This was to work into the porous areas and to break down years of dirt. Then attaching a very coarse 100-grit diamond encrusted pad attached to a rotary floor machine I cleaned the tiles with a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. This process skims away a small layer of the tiles thus the dirt too. All the soil was extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum. I repeated this process twice for maximum effect. The customer was amazed at the result and I wasn’t finished yet. When wet the contrast between the white tiles and dark were astonishing, however this was temporary so I made sure the customer aware that without a sealer they would look washed out and colourless. I left the scene overnight with a couple of warm air movers in place to fully dry out the tiles.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

The tiles need to be dry before sealing so the next day my first action was to test the floor for moisture using a damp meter. They passed and were ready to take a sealer, so I discussed the different options and finishes with the customer. It was a very interesting house, full of retro artefacts so we needed something that would blend in, more importantly she had four children and a husband who bought a cycle through the house twice a day. I recommended Tile doctor seal and Go Extra. It’s super tough, offering great protection and gives a subtle sheen that I felt would suit the house. Three coats later and I was done, closing the door behind me as everyone was at school and work

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Rebuild in Epsom Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Rebuild in Epsom

I popped back later that evening to discuss the job. The newly applied sealer had intensified the depth of colour in the Victorian tiles and returned the brightness to the floor. She was very pleased and even gave me a carrot cake to take home with me.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Rebuild in Epsom

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in West Surrey

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Terrazzo floor Restoration Project at Cardiff University

Last summer I was asked to carry out a survey at one of the Cardiff University buildings where they were looking at having a large Terrazzo floor restored. The University was on its summer recess so with no students around it was an ideal time for major works to be carried out.

At some point in the past the whole floor had been covered in a layer of self-levelling compound ranging from 2mm – 10mm thickness, so it could be covered with square carpet tiles which had then been secured with adhesive. You can still see the outlines of the tiles in the pictures below. It’s hard to appreciate from the photo that underneath there’s a beautiful Terrazzo floor waiting to be rediscovered.

Terrazzo Floor Before Restoration Cardiff University

The University had removed the carpet tiles but were unsure of how to remove the screed without damaging the Terrazzo underneath and so asked me to quote for restoring the whole floor. I carried out a test clean on the floor first to show the architect’s and university staff an example of what could be achieved.

Terrazzo Floor Demonstration Clean Cardiff University

The method I used for the test sample was to use a process called milling with a 50 grit Milling Pad, which I used to grind off the levelling compound until the stone became visible underneath. The test clean took me a good hour to complete but the results I achieved proved very satisfying both to myself and the clients and I was awarded with the contract.

Cleaning and Restoring a Terrazzo Tiled Floor

On commencement of the work I realised after 4 hours of milling that this method although effective was very time consuming and extremely messy! So, I tried using a long handheld sharp scraper which turned out to be a lot faster and cleaner in removing the cemented compound. In the end it took four days for two men and a great deal of hand ache to remove the screed for the floor.

Terrazzo Floor During Restoration Cardiff University

After removing the compound, I started milling the floor with a Tile Doctor Milling Pads, first the 50 segment & then a 200-segment pad to cut deep in to the floor to remove the stains in the Terrazzo and scratches from using the scraper.

This was followed by burnishing the stone with a set of four Tile Doctor Burnishing Pads. This involves the application of four pads in sequence from a coarse 400 grit through to a very fine 3000 grit to refine the surface of the Terrazzo and improve the lustre of the floor with each grade of pad.

Terrazzo Floor During Restoration Cardiff University

Sealing a Terrazzo Tiled Floor

The architect had specified a hardwearing finish as this was a very busy entrance way for students entering the buildings. So, after finishing the burnishing of the floor with a very fine 3000 grit pad I sealed the floor with three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which seeps into the pores of the Terrazzo protecting it from within enhancing the colours of the chippings in the process whilst providing maximum protection. Finally, we polished the floor after sealing with another application of the 3000 pad and a polishing cloth to shine the floor further.

Terrazzo Floor After Restoration Cardiff University

It was a large floor, so I managed the project in sections, and this enabled me to start on the cleaning of a new section whilst the floor was drying in the previous section. As you can see from the pictures the floor was transformed and looked great. Needless to say the University were very happy with the result.

Terrazzo Floor After Restoration Cardiff University

 

Professional Restoration of a Terrazzo Tiled Floor in South Wales

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Carpet Covered Victorian Hallway Tiles Restored in Glasgow West End

I thought you might be interested in these pictures of a tile restoration that we carried out in the hallway of a victorian property in the West End of Glasgow. Glasgow is actually the most populated city in Scotland and the third biggest by population in the whole of the UK so naturally a busy location for us.

The floor had been previously covered in carpet and as a result was stained with adhesive and paint splashes. We popped in to do a site visit, so we could survey the floor and see for ourselves the condition of the floor. Although not in great shape, I was happy that the overall floor was in good physical condition and could be restored with the help the products and methods.

Victorian Hallway Floor Before Cleaning Glasgow West End

I discussed with the client the process involved and the costs to put it right. They were happy to accept my quote and we booked the job in for later in the month. The job would take two days to complete, one day to clean and a further day to seal the floor.

Victorian Hallway Floor Before Cleaning Glasgow West End

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The first job was to clear the floor of the wooden carpet gripper by carefully chipping it off the floor. This took a bit of time and we had to be careful not to damage the floor further.

Next, we started on deep cleaning the floor by applying Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel. This is a strong alkaline based cleaner and degreaser in gel form, its great for when a long dwell time is required to break down dirt, grime, acrylic sealers, stains and oil-based products and waxes.

We left the Oxy-Gel to dwell for twenty to thirty minutes to ensure it got to work on breaking down the layers. It was then worked into the tile using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine with the slurry rinsed off the floor and extracted with a wet vacuum. This process was carried out a few times to get the floor as clean as possible could before we gave a final scrub and rinse with Tile Doctor Acid Gel to combat any efflorescence issues that can occur on these old floors that do not have a damp proof membrane.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

I returned the following day to seal the floor checking first that it had dried using a damp meter. Once I was satisfied, four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra were applied to the tiles to give the sheen finish asked for by the client. This process takes longer that you might think as you have to wait for the first coat to dry before applying the next and naturally this can vary depending on the conditions.

I chose Seal and Go Extra as these Victorian properties were built before the invention of damp-proof membranes so you need to use a fully breathable sealer that will allow dampness to rise through the tile and evaporate. Use of a non-breathable sealer can lead to damp becoming trapped under the floor which can spread into the walls leading to rising damp. The sealer will protect the tiles and make it much easier to clean going forward, additionally it enhances the appearance of the tile leaving a sheen finish which allows the vivid colours to shine through.

Victorian Hallway Floor After Sealing Glasgow West End

The client was very happy with the floor and quite amazed with the before and after shots, they had not expected the results to be as good. They would now be able to easily keep the floor clean and looking good for any visitors.

Victorian Hallway Floor After Cleaning Glasgow West End

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Glasgow

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Old Tiled Hallway Resored in a Victorian House Erdington


This customer from the Birmingham suburb of Erdington contacted me about an old tiled floor they had discovered in the hallway of their Victorian house whilst doing some renovation work. The tiles were in quite a state with ingrained dirt, adhesive, paint and some tiles were loose and cracked. The floor was so bad they were considering scrapping it and contacted Tile Doctor as a last resort just in case we could do something with it.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration Erdington Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration Erdington

I went over to take a look and could see that as well as the problems reported to me over the phone that the tiles were also imprinted with what appeared to be the pattern of the underlay that must have covered the floor previously. Curiously there were some tiles by the front door which had what appeared to be holes drilled into them. There was also a porch area in front of the main entrance that needed renovating.

Victorian Tiled Porch Before Restoration Erdington

However, I have in fact seen floors in worse state that this one and was confident I could restore it. I worked out a quote for doing the work which was accepted, and the job was booked in for a future date.

Cleaning Original Victorian Tiles

My first task was to carefully scrape off as much of the paint and adhesive as possible using a sharp knife. Then it was cleaned with a 200-grit diamond pad fitted to a weighted rotary machine, this gets into the pores of the tiles which hang on to the dirt and loosens the grime and dirt, it also helps to grind off the pattern left by the rubber underlay. The pads struggle to get into the edges of the floor so that was cleaned by hand with diamond blocks. Once I was happy the floor the soil was rinsed off with water and then extracted with a wet vacuum.

Victorian Tiled Hallway During Restoration Erdington

Next, I gave the floor an acid rinse with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up scrubbed in with a 200-grit diamond pad again. This helped remove more dirt as well as helping to neutralize salt and mineral issues that may be present in the floor. This can be a big problem with old floors due to the lack of a damp proof membrane.

After rinsing and extracting again, I dried the floor off and went about resetting loose tiles and replacing some with replica tiles. These were grouted in along with other areas where the grout was loose and need of re-grouting.

Sealing Original Victorian Tiles

I left the floor to dry out thorough for a couple of day and then returned to seal the tiles first checking with a moisture meter that the floor was dry. We always ensure that floors are completely dry before sealing them as excess moisture can damage the performance of the sealer.

I found no evidence of dampness in the floor, so it was sealed with multiple coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will add protection and works really well on old Victorian tiles where it adds a nice subtle sheen appearance. Also, being water based it doesn’t leave a smell as it dries. For the porch area which was partly open to the elements I used Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which is a fully breathable sealer that will cope well with the damp conditions.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration Erdington Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration Erdington

The floor was unrecognisable from before and the customer was very happy with the transformation. Before leaving I left the customer with a bottle of Neutral pH tile cleaner that they can use going forward to help maintain the tiles appearance.

Victorian Tiled Porch After Restoration Erdington

 

Full Restoration of a Period Victorian Hallway Floor in the West Midlands



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Victorian Tiled Hallway Rebuilt After Heating Installation in Palmers Green


The owners of this property in Palmers Green, North London had uncovered an original Victorian hallway floor during renovation work. However, the priority was to have a new central heating system installed so they had to make a decision to allow the heating engineer to rip up part of the floor in order to lay new pipes.

With the floor now missing a large section most customers would agree to have the hole back-filled with concrete and then have lino installed on top, however keen to have the floor restored as an original feature they reached out to Tile Doctor who have a lot of experience in this field.

Our brief was to infill the excavated section and reinstate the floor with new original style Victorian tiles to match the existing ones.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Palmers Green

Deep Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway

The existing floor had been covered in Carpet which had been secured using carpet gripper fixed to the floor using adhesive, there were also old paint splashes from decorating that would need to be removed. Our first job therefore was to remove the glue and paint by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove & Go which is a coatings remover especially designed for use on tile and stone. The product was applied, left to dwell for about twenty minutes and then scrubbed into the floor, this softened the paint and glue which could then be carefully scrapped off tile tiles.

The next step was to give the floor a deep clean with a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to strip off what remained of old sealers and extract any ground-in dirt from the pores of the tile. Naturally this work had to be done in two sections due to the missing tiled section and then once complete each part of the floor was given a good rinse and the slurry extracted using a wet vacuum.

The floor was then inspected and a second clean was carried out to remove any stubborn staining or residue followed by a steam clean.

Rebuilding a Victorian Tiled Hallway

Following the two stages of cleaning we checked the existing floor pattern and prepared the hallway by levelling the floor in preparation for inlaying the new tiles which were chosen to offer the best possible match. We were able to source reclaimed tiles that would match up to the pattern and during this phase of the restoration work we carried out any loose tile and grout repairs and re-grouted the newly laid tiles.

Sealing Victorian Hallway Tiles

With the original tiles clean and the hallway rebuilt we left the floor to dry off fully overnight.

On our return we first checked the tiled were dry and that the grout in the new section was clear of any grout smears from the tiling work. Happy with the condition of the hallway we first applied a coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that will protect the tiles from within by occupying the pores within the tile, it also enhanced the colours in the clay tile.

Once the first coat of sealer was dry it was followed by five coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go which adds further layers of protection and adds a nice subtle satin finish that works really well on Victorian tiles.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning Palmers Green

The work went very well, and the sealer consolidated the new and old tiled sections to form a seamless floor.
 
 

Victorian Tiled Hallway Restored in North London



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Victorian Tiled Hallway Hidden Under Carpet Restored in Leatherhead


This customer who owned a lovely period residence in Leatherhead had pulled up an old hallway carpet to discover this gem of Victorian Tiled floor. The tiles were covered in carpet adhesive, paint splashes and what looked like a hundred years of dirt. I suspect the previous owners felt it was easier to cover the hallway in carpet rather than have it cleaned properly or perhaps it was just the trend at the time.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration in Leatherhead

Given the obvious amount of work that would be needed to restore it we got a call to pop round and provide an estimate. We do a lot of Victorian floor restorations and across the Tile Doctor network I’m confident in saying there is a Tile Doctor working on a Victorian Tiled floor every day of the week.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration in Leatherhead

The owner was happy with the quote and we agreed a date to return and restore the floor.

Cleaning a Heavily Soiled Victorian Tiled Floor

Working in a metre square area at a time, I first applied a solution of Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel and left it to dwell for twenty minutes. Oxy-Gel is a relatively new product that being in Gel form is easy to control and stays in place allowing it to dissolve dirt and in this case loosen the adhesive.

After leaving it to dwell for 20 minutes I attacked it with a very coarse 100 grit diamond pad attached to a buffer machine. This removed a minuscule layer from the surface of the tile and with it the muck. I vacuumed up the excess with a wet vacuum then rubbed down the stubborn areas with a 50 grit hand block. This removed a lot of dirt and drastically lightened the whites and blues. Finally I neutralised the floor with two rinses of clean, warm water again using the wet vacuum to remove as much moisture as possible from the floor.

I repeated this process along the length of the hallway and then inspected the floor retreating any areas containing stubborn marks.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

The hallway wasn’t that big an area so I had agreed to do the whole floor in one day. As a result I needed to force dry the floor so I could seal the tiles in the same day. I have a number of tools to do this including an industrial air mover and a heat gun which were applied for about an hour before it was dry.

To seal the tiles I applied two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which as its name suggests is a colour enhancing sealer that works by impregnating the pores of the tile protecting it from within and enriching the colours in the process. This gave a lovely contrast in colour whilst providing a matt finish; another advantage of Colour Grow is it’s a fully breathable sealer which won’t trap moisture under the tile which is important for these old floors where no damp proof membrane is installed.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration in Leatherhead

The Victorian tiled hallway floor now looks amazing.
 
 

Professional Victorian Tiled Hallway Restoration in West Surrey



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