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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Restoring a Damaged Victorian Tiled Hallway in Winchmore Hill


A customer in Winchmore Hill which is part of the London borough of Enfield was having major refurbishment works done to their home which included an upgrade to the central heating system. As part of the work a new radiator had been installed in the hallway however the utility company when putting in the new heating system had chased out two deep pipe channels in the central part of their beautiful Victorian tiled hallway floor.

Victorian Hallway Before Restoration Winchmore Hill Cropped Victorian Hallway Before Restoration Winchmore Hill

This was a real shame as the majority of the floor was in good condition; the owner of course wanted the floor restored so our brief was to do exactly that and carry out repairs to the pipe channels and to all the door thresholds that were either existing or new so they all matched in.

Restoring a Victorian Tiled Hallway

Our first task was to clean the tile and grout and strip off old sealers and waxes which we did by applying a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove & Go combined with equal part of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. This was scrubbed into the floor with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine and then rinsed off with water and extracted with a wet vacuum.

Victorian Hallway During Restoration Winchmore Hill

After deep cleaning we then carried out the tile repairs and replacements to pipe channels, missing and mislaid tiles to thresholds. Some or the tiles were replaced with matching reclaimed tiles and others were new sourced from Original Style who have a large range. Altogether we replaced circa 500 pieces of tile in order to repair the damage caused by the heating engineers and achieve a consistent pattern throughout the hallway.

Sealing Victorian Tiles

The cleaning and re-tiling work was carried out over three days and we returned on the fourth day to seal the floor with an initial two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that enhances colour.

We then protected the floor for a further week with cardboard cut to size, this allowed other trades to finish their work without messing up the floor. A week later we returned to lift the cardboard to apply the finishing seal using Tile Doctor Seal & Go which adds the final protection. Five coats were applied to reach the right level of protection and desired satin finish restoring the natural appearance and lustre of the tiles.

Victorian Hallway After Restoration Winchmore Hill Cropped Victorian Hallway After Restoration Winchmore Hill

The whole job allowing for the drying times of adhesive, grout and sealing took five days in total. It was worth it though as restored Victorian hallway really gives the property the Wow factor as you enter.

Victorian Hallway After Restoration Winchmore Hill
 
 

Victorian Tiled Hallway Restoration in North London



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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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