Cleaning 100 Year Old Mosaic Tiles in Abington Park


My customer recently got in touch and requested a site visit to look at her hallway floor.
The Edwardian property was situated in the Abington Park part of Northampton which is an area is steeped in history, with the nearby Manor House said to have been the home of William Shakespeare’s daughter Elizabeth Bernard. The house has since been turned into a museum.

As you can see from the photos, the floor which was laid when the house was built over 100 years ago using small square brown and beige mosaic tiles in a repeating. Although in good physical condition for its age the floor was looking a little tired and had lost its lustre and vibrant colour. The hallway also had stained wood panelling on one side which was another original feature and the owner of the property was keen to maintain the period feel.

Edwardian Mosaic Tiled Hallway Floor Before Cleaning Abington Park

I discussed with the customer what we could do to restore the floor, explaining the process, timescale and of course the cost. She was happy to go ahead so we scheduled the work in without delay.

Edwardian Mosaic Tiled Hallway Floor Before Cleaning Abington Park

Cleaning an Edwardian Mosaic Tiled Hallway Floor

In order to protect the wall panels and keep the moisture in the floor to a minimum I decided to keep the use of cleaning products to a minimum. This is always a concern with these old floors which have no damp proof membrane as the use of too much water can lead to efflorescence salts appearing later. With this in mid I decided to clean the floor using Tile Doctor burnishing pads as these pads only require a small amount of water and no products, this would also have the benefit of slightly levelling out the surface of the tiles.

My first course of action was to vacuum the floor to ensure there was no loose debris followed by masking up the bottom of the stairs carpet to protect it. I then started the restoration process by using a coarse 100-grit Tile Doctor burnishing pad attached to a 17” industrial rotary machine and a small amount of water to lubricate the process. The 100-grit pad is quite an aggressive pad which removes deeply imbedded stains and as mentioned before a small amount of unevenness. To remove the resultant slurry the floor was rinsed with a small amount of water which was then extracted using a wet pick up machine. This process was then repeated with a 200-grit burnishing pad to smooth out any scratches and polish the tile ready for sealing.

Although it was a relatively small area, 12 square metres this process took the whole day as we work in small sections at a time. Moving the machine slowly with multiple passes over each area.

Sealing an Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor

I returned the following day and assessed the floor to ensure we were happy with the result from the previous days cleaning. I also took damp meter readings and was pleased to see they were within normal expectations for a floor of this age. Next, I applied Tile Doctor Colour Grow Sealant which is a breathable sealant that will allow any moisture in the sub floor to rise though the tile. This particular sealer is a colour enhancing sealer that protects and improves the natural colours in the tile and leaves a lovely natural finish. The floor now has a much more even finish and will be much easier for the client to maintain in the future.

Edwardian Mosaic Tiled Hallway Floor After Cleaning Abington Park

The customer was very happy with the results and left the following feedback on the Tile Doctor feedback system.

“Great communication about the work planned and quotation. A super job in bringing my Edwardian mosaic tiled floor back to life. Would highly recommend this service”
Karen M”

Edwardian Mosaic Tiled Hallway Floor After Cleaning Abington Park

 

Professional Restoration of Mosaic Hallway Tiles in Northamptonshire



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Finishing a Victorian Hallway Floor in Hebden Bridge


The photographs below are of a lovely Victorian tiled hallway that had been repaired and cleaned by another tradesman a his a few months earlier. The workman had left the customer to seal the floor himself, which he had done but the floor ended up looking patchy and dull and he wasn’t happy with the results which didn’t highlight the beautiful colours in the tile. Realising he needed help to achieve the correct finish I was given a call and asked to finish the floor.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Hebden Bridge

The property was in Hebden Bridge a market town situated between Halifax and Rochdale. After carrying out a survey, I advised that the floor would need re-cleaning to strip off the sealant he had applied and to remove the marks from the floor. We would then be able to re-seal the floor correctly for him. We agreed a price for the job and set a date to carry out the work.

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

On the first day we started preparing the hallway to be cleaned by covering the stair carpet and new and expensive wood panelling and skirting boards to protect them from any possible marking during the cleaning process. I then used a 200-grit Diamond burnishing pad attached to a rotary buffing machine to remove the sealant and dirt from the floor. In this instance the pad was applied just with water which is used to lubricate the pad, the resultant slurry is then removed with a wet vacuum. The advantage of using this process as opposed to a chemical clean is that moisture is kept to a minimum which is important on old floors like this where no damp proof membrane exists.

After making sure that the floor was to a standard that I was happy with, I then repeated the process along the edges with a set of hand-held diamond blocks which makes it easier to get into the corners and edges where the machine struggles to reach effectively.

Still concerned about the moisture levels in the floor I decided to give the floor an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel which will neutralise any alkaline salts in the floor. As I mentioned earlier this is a common problem on floors of this age, they do not usually have a Damp Proof Membrane fitted so moisture is able to rise through the tiles bringing with it salt which gets left on the surface of the tile, this process is more commonly known as Efflorescence. The floor was then rinsed with water and the floor dried as much as possible using the wet vacuum. Finally, I tidied up before leaving for the day and allowing the floor to fully dry out overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Returning the next day, I first took moisture readings to ensure that the floor was dry enough to seal. If a floor is too damp the seal won’t cure properly and therefore won’t be effective. Fortunately, on this occasion the floor was within limits and I could proceed to apply four coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer allowing around thirty minutes between coats for drying.

Colour Grow is a breathable impregnating sealer that allow moisture to evaporate from the floor whilst also protecting it from dirt and stains. This sealer leaves a matt finish which is what the owner wanted but it also enhances the colours in the tile which really being the floor alive.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning Hebden Bridge

The customer was very pleased with the results, the floor looked much cleaner and will be easy for them to maintain. I hope that you can see the difference from the before and after pictures.

 

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway in West Yorkshire



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Cleaning Farm Office Safety Flooring in Saffron Walden


It’s worth noting that I don’t just cover Tile, Stone and Grout, the equipment I use works equally well cleaning all types of hard floors including Patios, Vinyl and industrial flooring. An example of this being a request to clean the floors at an office farm near Saffron Walden which is a lovely medieval market town north of Stansted Airport.

Inspecting Farm Office Flooring

It was an incredibly muddy area with lots of tractors and lorries in the yard and poor drainage. As you can imagine all that mud and dirt was regularly being walked into the office and they were struggling to keep it clean. The main issue was that the floor was covered in a specialist textured surface which increases grip and significantly reduces the chance of anyone slipping.

Farm Office Safety Flooring Before Cleaning Saffron Walden Farm Office Safety Flooring Before Cleaning Saffron Walden

Manufactured by a company called Altro this product is known as “Safety Flooring” and given then environment I’m sure it was well specified. The downside of a textured surface however is that it traps dirt and once trapped it can be difficult to shift with conventional cleaning methods and equipment.

Farm Office Safety Flooring Before Cleaning Saffron Walden Farm Office Safety Flooring Before Cleaning Saffron Walden

Deep Cleaning an Altro Safety Floor

The first thing we did was to break out a set of brushes and vacuums in an effort to remove as much dry soil as possible. Once this was done the floor was wetted with a medium dilution of Tile doctor Pro-clean, this product is a great degreaser and after a short time the soil started to lift out of the non-slip textured surface.

After a dwell time of about ten minutes the Pro-Clean was worked into the floor with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary buffer machine. The machine was run evenly over the floor at a slow speed to reduce splashing. The cleaning solution had turned black at this stage with all the dirt that was being released from the flooring. Once this had been carried out we rinsed the entire floor using our truck mounted cleaning system which is a very efficient machine that applies clean water under pressure to rinse the floor whilst simultaneously extracting the soil back to a recovery tank on the vehicle.

Farm Office Safety Flooring After Cleaning Saffron Walden Farm Office Safety Flooring After Cleaning Saffron Walden

The truck mounted system utilises a powerful vacuum to extracts a lot of the moisture from the floor but to ensure the floor was completely dry we left drying equipment in place to ensure a quick turn-around for the company.

Farm Office Safety Flooring After Cleaning Saffron Walden Farm Office Safety Flooring After Cleaning Saffron Walden

 
 

Industrial Safety Floor Deep Cleaned at an Essex Farm Office



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Dirty Victorian Tiled Hallway Deep Cleaned and Sealed in York


As promised below are the photographs from the second floor I cleaned recently at a house in historic city of York. If you recall the first floor was Mexican Terracotta which proved pretty tough to clean as the rotary floor scrubber I use struggled to cope with the bull nose edges. You can find the article I created for that floor via the link below:

Mexican Terracotta Tiles Deep Cleaned in York.

The second floor was a Victorian tiled hallway which like its neighbour was dull, lifeless and now overdue a deep clean to remove ingrained dirt, part worn sealer and then reseal.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Cleaning York

Cleaning Victorian Tiles Tiles

As with the Terracotta tiles I cleaned the floor using a strong 1:3 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean with water. This is a strong dilution ratio which will not only clean the tile but also strip off what was left of the original sealer. You need to do this as the sealer will wear off first in the most commonly used part of the floor first which in this case is down the middle of the hallway. I left the solution it to soak into the tile for about ten minutes before scrubbing it in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor machine. I the scrubbed along the grout lines with more pro-clean and a stiff narrow brush by hand to ensure the grout was also clean.

The floor was rinsed with water and the soiled cleaning solution was extracted using a wet vacuum. I could then see those area’s that needed more work and re-treated them with more Pro-Clean until I was satisfied all the previous sealer was gone and the tile and grout was as clean as it could be.

The tiles were given a final rinse with water and the wet vacuum used again to extract as much moisture off the floor as possible. The next step would be to seal, however the Terracotta floor tiles needed a longer drying time so I left both floors to dry out for two days before returning.

Sealing Victorian Tiles Tiles

Upon my return to the property I ran some quick damp tests, which revealed the tiles were ready to be sealed. I then applied four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which provided a beautiful satin finish that really improved the look of Victorian Tile.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Cleaning York

The hallway tiles now looked clean and much brigher, needless to say my customer was very happy with the transformation.
 
 

Victorian Tiled Hallway Deep Cleaned and Resealed in Yorkshire



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