Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Renovated for a Property Investor in Burnley


A property investor contacted Tile Doctor to see if we could help renovate a property that was to be sold in few weeks’ time. To get maximum value from the investment she wanted to preserve the character and period features of the house including the Victorian Tiled Hallway floor, which as you can see from the photograph below was in need a bit of TLC!.

Victorian tiled floors and other period features have become very popular in recent years and are often discovered under hallway carpets covered in years of dirt. Fortunately, they are very resilient and with the right techniques and products can be restored back to their former glory.

Victorian Tiles Before Renovation Burnley

On our initial visit I conducted a survey of the floor to check its condition and work out the most suitable products and methods to employ to restore it. One of the main concerns we have with these old floors is damp as damp-proof membranes were not invented until relatively recently. I have a damp meter to check for this and it did indicate high moisture levels which isn’t really an issue for cleaning the floor but would restrict our choice of sealer to those which are fully breathable and allow moisture to rise-up through the tile. We agreed a price and schedule with the customer and within two weeks we were able to start the work.

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The floor was in quite a state, made worse I suspect by recent restoration work by other contractors who unfortunately didn’t take as much care with the floor as the could have done.

After protecting the skirting boards and carpets with film work got underway starting by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go to the floor to strip away old sealers and other coatings. This product also helps to break down the paint stains on the surface of the tile, though I also used a handheld scraper, as well as a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad, to speed up the process. The resultant slurry was rinsed off the floor with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

With the floor clean of coatings, the next step was to deep clean the tiles with a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an effective Tile and Grout cleaning product that deeply cleans away ingrained stains. Again, we used a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine to make the job easier. Corners were tough to tackle with a machine, so we had to do them by hand.
The floor was given a final rinse to remove any soil and trace of cleaning product and the wet vacuum was used a final time to extract as much moisture out of the floor as possible. Upon finishing the cleaning, we left the floor for a few days, so it could dry out fully.

Dealing with Efflorescence

When we came back to seal the floor we noticed problems with white salt deposits coming to the surface of the tile a problem known as efflorescence. I had suspected this might become an issue but there was no indication of it happening before so was not overly concerned at the time. However, it meant I could not seal the floor as planned until the efflorescence had been dealt with. Fortunately salts like these can be treated and to resolve the problem I gave the floor a wipe with a solution of Tile Doctor Acid Gel which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in a gel form, formulated to remove grout haze (grout smears) and treat efflorescence. Once this was done the floor was given a light rinse and dried again.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

I left the floor to dry again for a few more days and on my return, I was pleased to see the problem had not resurfaced and I was able to complete the restoration with the application of a sealer.

To seal the tiles, I used a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a penetrating sealer designed to soak into the pores of the clay thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained whilst additionally enhancing the colours in the tile. The sealer really deepened the colours in the tile bringing them to life and with Colour Grow being fully breathable there shouldn’t be any issues with damp becoming trapped under the tile and causing issues later.

The customer was delighted with the results (see feedback below) and the work we did should more than pay for itself when the house goes on the market.

“Thoroughly impressed with Kamila, she was so lovely, professional and thorough! Our tiles look amazing and I was especially happy with how quick she sorted that floor out from the first email I sent. Janice M., Burnley”

Victorian Tiled After Renovation Burnley
 
 

Professional Restoration of an Old Victorian Tiled Hallway in South Lancashire



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Edwardian Geometric Tiled Office Hallway Floor Renovated in Newark


Here we have a small Edwardian Tiled Hallway located in a busy office building in the market town of Newark in Nottinghamshire. We were asked to come over and inspect the floor for renovation. Our subsequent survey highlighted inherent damage, historic wear and staining as well as salt staining from efflorescence. On top of that there were some loose tiles along a door threshold that would need fixing.

Keen to get the floor restored we were given the approval to start the work and agreed on a date to return.

Restoring an Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor

On our return we started by lifting the loose tiles and cleaning up the recess of debris before re-fixing the tiles using fast setting adhesive & grout. Within half an hour the tiles were set and we were able to start our intensive cleaning process.

Edwardian Geometric Tiled Hallway Floor Newark Before Cleaning

The first part of the cleaning process was to apply a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove & Go coatings remover allowing it to dwell and soak into the tiles for thirty minutes. The solution was then agitated using a black scrubbing pad to help break down the historic-soiling that had been hiding the original colour of the tiles and also remove any old sealers.

There were paint spots and adhesive residues on the surface of the tile which we were now able to scrape off the after being softened by Remove & Go. The resulting slurry was vacuumed away and the floor was cleaned down with water to remove the suspended soils and cleaning product residues.

To deal with the salt staining Tile Doctor Acid Gel was liberally to the tiles and left to dwell for a long time in order to neutralize both the cleaning residues and to dissolve the efflorescence salts. We had warned the customer that because efflorescence salt staining was present it was a likely indication of inherent moisture under some of the tiles and we were able to confirm this with the use of a damp meter.

It worth noting that these old floors did not have damp proof membranes installed and were designed to allow moisture vapour to pass from the sub floor to the surface of the tiles. Under normal use this was manageable by the Victorians & Edwardians. Unfortunately since that date a lot of these floors have at some point been covered by other floor coverings such as modern hard floors or carpet etc. This causes a build up of moisture to develop and efflorescence to form. Over time this causes crystalline salt capillaries to form a foothold in the tile causing damages that can affect the tiles physically as well as a loss of colour.

Once the tiles were cleaned of Acid Gel and rinsed with water again to remove any trace of product the floor was then dried as much as possible with a wet vacuum to remove moisture.

Sealing an Edwardian Tiled Floor

After leaving the floor to dry off overnight I came back the following day to apply a sealer which would protect them from staining, ingrained dirt and make them easier to clean and going forward.

Knowing that efflorescence would be an issue I had already decided to use a fully breathable sealer to aid moisture transmission from the sub floor. In this instance we used our low maintenance Impregnating sealer Tile Doctors Colour Grow applying 3 coats to provide long term protection to the floor.

Edwardian Geometric Tiled Hallway Floor Newark After Cleaning

The work took us two days to complete and before leaving our customer was given instructions on how to clean the floor in future using Tile Doctors pH Neutral Floor Cleaning Solution which is highly effective on soiling but most importantly it’s not acidic and so will not damage the integrity of the sealer. It’s worth pointing out that many household cleaning products, and also high-street branded cleaning products, can quickly damage floor coatings; they can also leave residues on floors that contribute to rapid re-soiling.
 
 

Original Edwardian Hallway Office Floor Restored in Newark, Nottingham



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Victorian Tiled Reception Area Renovated in South Molton Listed Building


I was approached by the owner of a listed Georgian Townhouse right in the middle of the small market town of South Moulton in North Devon who was struggling to have any impact on the appearance of his Victorian tiled reception area, despite hours of back-breaking scrubbing and had become disheartened by it.

Georgian Reception Floor Tiles Before Cleaning South Molton

Upon arrival a survey on the floor was conducted where I tested the moisture level of the tiles because floors of this age and construction didn’t have a Damp Proof Course and as such were just tiled onto whatever subsurface was already there, which quite often contained rubble and other guiding materials such as lime from the construction of neighbouring properties!

Georgian Reception Floor Tiles Before Cleaning South Molton

Whilst talking to the customer he mentioned that he had some old quarry tiles in his kitchen that he also wanted cleaning, however I’ll cover that in another post. To continue I produced a quote for the work which was accepted and a date was agreed for me to return with all the equipment and products required.

Cleaning Victorian Tiled Reception Area

To clean the Victorian tiles in the reception area I applied a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and left it to soak in for ten minutes. I then set about scrubbing the solution into the tiles using a series of Diamond impregnated burnishing pads ranging from 100-400 grit.

Once the whole floor had been treated in this manner it was thoroughly rinsed with water using a wet and dry vacuum to extract the now soiled cleaning solution and I was able to see that the process had really brought the tiles up a treat.

Concerned about the damp readings I had experienced earlier I decided it would be prudent to give the floor an Acid Rinse with Grout Clean-up to counteract any potential salt issues (efflorescence) that can be a real problem on these old floors which have no Damp Proof Course. I highly recommend this step on old floors as salts can over time permeate through the tiles and the cleaning process draws them to the surface. Left unaddressed the salts can damage the sealer and leave the floor looking far from its best.

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

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway and Entrance Lobby

The following day I returned and after rechecking the moisture levels to ensure that they had adequately dried out I started to seal the Victorian tiles in the reception area. To improve colour, I first applied a coat of Tile Doctor’s Colour Grow, a solvent based impregnating sealer which picks out and enhances the natural colour of the tiles, not only bringing the whole floor to life but helping to disguise any damage the floor has suffered over the years. After this coat had dried sufficiency four coats of Seal and Go were applied to finish off the floor and give it that ‘wow factor’.

Georgian Reception Floor Tiles After Cleaning South Molton Georgian Reception Floor Tiles After Cleaning South Molton

The customer was thrilled and left the following feedback on the Tile Doctor feedback system:

“The work was carried out in a professional manner, with excellent results.”

For aftercare I left the customer with some guidance on care and maintenance of the floor as well as a suitable bottle of tile cleaner.
 
 

Professional Renovation of a Victorian Tiled Reception Floor in Devon



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Edwardian Clay Tile Front Pathway in Barnet


As you can see this Clay Tiled Pathway laid during the Edwardian period at the front of a house in Barnet, North London had suffered over the years and now had many broken and cracked tiles along the path. The concrete foundation had seen some movement in the past leading to a crack forming right across which had either cracked the tile or caused them to become loose.

Edwardian Clay Pathway Barnet Before Cleaning Edwardian Clay Pathway Barnet Before Cleaning

To restore the path to its original condition would require removing all the broken and loose tiles and then relaying with matching replacements and grout giving particular attention to the detailed edging pattern. Fortunately, having done a few of these jobs before I have learned where to find replacements and often keep an eye on salvage yards and ebay.

Edwardian Clay Pathway Barnet Before Cleaning Edwardian Clay Pathway Barnet Before Cleaning

Cleaning and Repairing an Edwardian Clay Tiled Pathway

The first job was to remove ingrained dirt and old coatings by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove & Go across the entire length of the pathway. Remove and Go as its name suggests breaks down and strips off the old sealers as well as dislodging ingrained dirt. It was scrubbed in and then rinsed off with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

Next some of the tiles which had experienced particularly stubborn staining were given an Acid Wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel which removes old grout smears and mineral salts deposits which is often referred to as efflorescence. Acid Gel neutralises the alkaline salts and once scrubbed in it was removed using the wet vacuum.

Once the dirt and efflorescence had been dealt with, I focused my attention towards the tile repairs starting with the removal of the broken and loose tiles so I could get at the cracked sub-base and repair it. Once the repair had hardened I was able to relay the path using a mixture of exiting and replacement tiles taking care to match the original pattern. Before leaving for the day the tile adhesive had gone off and I was able to grout them in using a matching grout. I had also checked the weather forecast to ensure no rain was forecast that evening.

Sealing an Edwardian Clay Tiled Pathway

The weather held and the following day with a freshly cleaned and repaired path I was able to finish the job by applying two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which really brings out the natural colours in the clay tile. Once the sealer had dried I ran a white buffing pad over the path to give it that final finish before showing it to the owner of the property who I’m happy to report was extremely pleased with the result.

Edwardian Clay Pathway Barnet After Cleaning

I should mention that when choosing a Sealer for an external application it’s important to choose one which is fully breathable and can cope with the wet conditions.
 
 

Victorian Tiled Pathway and Edwardian Tiled Hallway Restored in Palmers Green



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Ex Pub Quarry Tiled Floor Restored to Fantastic Condition in Newbold-on-Avon, Rugby


Pubs have been though a decline in the last ten years with one in five closing due to increased business rates and some believe the ban on smoking has had a part to play. My client saw this particular pub come up for sale in Newbold-on-Avon near Rugby and snapped it up with the intention of turning the lovely thatched Cottage back into a home. It needed a lot of work though and I was called into to sort out the floor which was a mixture of 6×6 inch and 9×9 inch Quarry tiles. The tiles were in a bit of a state and there were also large sections of concrete in 3 areas that had been painted red to blend in with the tiles.

Quarry Tiled Floor Thatched Cottage in Rugby Before Quarry Tiled Floor Thatched Cottage in Rugby Before

Rebuilding and Cleaning a Quarry Tiled Floor

The customer wanted the Quarry tiled floor restoring and extended throughout the floor which meant a substantial amount of work would be required to remove the concrete, rebuild the foundation and level with screed and then fit around 100 reclaimed tiles not to mention cleaning and sealing.

Quarry Tiled Floor Thatched Cottage in Rugby During Rebuild Quarry Tiled Floor Thatched Cottage in Rugby During Rebuild

The work was hard going at times, especially knocking out the concrete and adding the screed surface to the right level. Once that was done worked moved quickly on to laying the new tiles and grouting them in. Overall it took three days just to rebuild the floor alone.

Quarry Tiled Floor Thatched Cottage in Rugby During Rebuild Quarry Tiled Floor Thatched Cottage in Rugby During Rebuild

The customer did not what the Floor to look too different between the old and new so once the tiling was done the whole floor was treated with Tile Doctor Remove and Go to remove traces of red paint and glue. The solution was scrubbed in using a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad and then rinsed off with water and then extracted using a wet vacuum.

This improved the look of the tiles but it also revealed some grout haze issues on the original tiles and after digging up the floor earlier I was aware no damp proof course had been installed which is not unusual in these older properties. To counter the grout haze and deal with any potential efflorescence issues I gave the whole floor an acid wash with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up which was scrubbed in and then rinsed off with water and extracted with a the wet vacuum. The tiles need to be dry in order to be sealed so I left the floor for 24 hours with a number of industrial Air Movers in place to aid the drying process.

Sealing a Quarry Tiled Floor

Upon my return to the house I checked for any dampness that could have damaged the performance of the sealer, thankfully, the floor was dry and ready to seal, and so I proceeded to apply several coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go Extra.

Seal & Go Extra is a fully breathable sealer that allows for effective moisture transmission, important where no damp proof course is installed. The sealer provides durable surface protection against dirt and stains, and is suitable for most kinds of internal, natural stone tiled floors, including Quarry, Victorian and Flagstone.

Quarry Tiled Floor Thatched Cottage in Rugby After Quarry Tiled Floor Thatched Cottage in Rugby After

The job took a week in total and as you can see from the photographs I successfully managed to restore the old tiles which with the addition of the cleaning and sealing have blended in well with the new tiles.
 
 

Quarry Tiled Floor Restoration in Warwickshire



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Cleaning a Sandstone Fireplace and Victorian Floor Tiles Preston


We often get asked to do a combination of jobs at Tile Doctor so we have to be prepared for the unexpected, like getting asked to clean an old Sandstone fireplace whilst your cleaning a Victorian tiled floor at a house in Preston. We normally charge extra for these types of jobs but it depends how much cleaning is required.

Red and Black Victorian Tiles Preston Before Cleaning

This Fireplace had been in use for a number of years and due to its grainy texture was hard to keep clean, dirt and soot had built up on its surface and there was no sealer visible, either that or it had worn off with the heat.

Sandstone Fireplace Preston Before Cleaning

Cleaning and Sealing a Sandstone Fireplace

To clean the uprights and Hearth I applied Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which being in Gel form and not a liquid, stays in place increasing dwell times and doesn’t drip where it shouldn’t. In this case I let it soak into the stone for about forty minutes before scrubbing it in with a stiff hand brush and steam. Some marks were still visible after this process so we opted for using handheld Diamond blocks in 50.100.200 and then 400 grit to grind off the staining and restore the surface finish. Using these small handheld blocks takes off some of the heavier texture as well as cleaning the stone at the same time, but is really useful to use where chemicals alone struggle to get the results required. Once fully clean the fireplace was rinsed with water a couple of times and the slurry removed using a wet vacuum. After speed drying the stone with a heat gun it was ready for a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, even we were impressed with the results.

Sandstone Fireplace Preston After Cleaning

Cleaning and Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

The Red and Black Victorian Tiles were cleaned with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is very similar to Oxy-Gel only in a liquid form. The product was left to soak into the tiles for about ten minutes before being scrubbed in with a black buffing pad attached to a slow speed buffing machine. I used the wet vacuum again to soak up the residue and stubborn stains were retreated until I was satisfied.

Old Victorian floors rarely have a damp proof membrane installed and so it’s not uncommon for damp to rise-up through the ground and tile resulting in white salt deposits being left on the surface. To prevent this process, which is commonly referred to as Efflorescence, Tile Doctor Acid Gel was applied. The solution is scrubbed into the tiles and then rinsed off with clean water and removed with a wet vacuum ready for sealing.

Victorian Tiles can take a while to dry and in this case I left it two days before returning to apply a breathable sealer to protect the tiles from ingrained dirt and staining. In this case a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow were applied. If you recall this was the same sealer we used on the fireplace as the customer wished to bring out the colour and have a Matt finish.

Red and Black Victorian Tiles Preston After Cleaning
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Sandstone Fireplace and Victorian Floor in Lancashire



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Full restoration of a Lino Covered Quarry Tiled Kitchen floor in Cambridge


This job was for a lovely old lady in Cambridge, her kitchen floor had been covered with a wood effect Lino thirty years earlier and she felt it was time to have it removed and have the original Kitchen Quarry tiles underneath restored.

Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor Covered with Lino Cambridge Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor Covered with Lino Cambridge

The lino was good quality having stood the test of time however to ensure the lino didn’t sink into the grout lines the whole floor had been levelled with some sort of screed which would need to be carefully removed.

Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor with Lino Removed Cambridge Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor with Lino Removed Cambridge

Removing the Linoleum covering and cleaning the floor

My first task was to carefully scrape off as much of the linoleum covering as possible without damaging the floor beneath. I managed toe remove most of the screed by lightly chipping away with a chisel and hammer followed by a blade to scrape as much screed as possible off the tile and grout.

To deal with the remaining screed I used a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up which is an acidic product and needs to be applied with care. It was scrubbed in using a rotary machine running on slow speed and fitted with a black scrubbing pad. To remove the soil I used our truck mounted hot water extraction machine which applies hot water under pressure with a special lance that simultaneously extracts the waste back to a tank on the van.

The last stage of cleaning was to apply a coat of Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel to remove any previous sealer that may still be present on the tile. As well as using the scrubbing machine I also used a stiff brush along the grout lines as well. Final step was another rinse with the truck mounted extraction machine before leaving the floor to dry off fully overnight.

Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration Cambridge Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration Cambridge

Sealing Kitchen Quarry Tiles

When I returned to the property I used a damp meter to test the floor, making sure that the surface was dry enough to commence sealing (as any excess solution can affect the performance of the sealer). My sealer of choice was Tile Doctor Seal & Go Extra, a topical sealer which works well on Quarry tiles restoring appearance and providing a nice finish along with durable protection. This particular sealer is also suitable for floors where damp maybe an issue and with an old floor like this installed before the invention of Damp Proof Membranes choosing the right sealer is very important to avoid issues with efflorescence.

Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor After Restoration Cambridge Kitchen Quarry Tiled Floor After Restoration Cambridge

The floor was completely transformed and the client was extremely happy with the out come and even left the following lengthy testimonial on the Tile Doctor Feedback system which is always appreciated.

“Tom did excellent work on quite a tricky job. Our kitchen tiles are over sixty years old. Tom took up and disposed of our old kitchen Lino, removed the layers of concrete screed, then buffed, glossed and sealed the original tiles until they shone like new! The natural salts worked their way to the surface of the tiles just like Tom said would happen, and a fortnight later Tom returned to re-surface and re-gloss the tiles. The floor now looks great. Tom was very professional throughout and the work was no easy job to accomplish, so he has done a great job. We are very pleased with our kitchen floor, which now has a new lease of life. I would recommend the Tile Doctor if you need a floor restored at any time.
Miss Webber, Cambridge 02 August 2017”
 
 

Restoring a Quarry Tiled Floor Hidden under Vinyl in Cambridge



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Original Victorian Tiles Restored at B&B in Bude


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!
 
 

Professional Restoration of an Original Geometric Victorian Tiled Hallway at a Bude B&B



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