St Michaels Church Floor Restoration Rushock

I recently completed a Victorian floor restoration at St Michaels Church in Rushock which is a very small village in Worcestershire in the Wyre Forest District. The church is a listed building that dates to 1758 however I suspect the floor was installed in 1872 when the building was subject to a major restoration. Interestingly its most famous as the resting place of Jon Bonham from Led Zeppelin who is regarded as one of most influential rock drummers in history.

I was contacted by the church as the floor had become dull and the floor was experiencing efflorescent salt issues. The chairman of Rushock church was unhappy with its appearance and was keen to have it restored to ensure the church looked it’s best for the residents and the churches parishioner’s.

I completed the inspection of this beautiful church and you can see from the pictures why the chairman was so keen to have the floor renovated. Confident we could significantly improve the floors appearance and restore the feature aisle for them I costed out a plan for the work.

Victorian Floor Before Cleaning St Michaels Church Rushock Victorian Floor Before Cleaning St Michaels Church Rushock

The quote was accepted, and we arranged a mutually convenient date to fit round their service schedule. An extra pair of hands would be required to meet their schedule, so I arranged to work on this floor with the Warwickshire Tile Doctor Mick Gayton. Mick has a wealth of knowledge and experience and we often team up on bigger projects. With over sixty Tile Doctors in the UK it’s hugely helpful to have a network of Tile Doctors you can call upon when you need extra help.

Cleaning and Restoring a Church Tiled Floor

The first day was spent cleaning the floor both by hand and with a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad paying particular attention to the salt issues. Tile Doctor Remove and Go was applied first to tackle the dirt and remove what remained of the previous sealer. This was then rinsed off the floor and the soil extracted using a wet vacuum.

We then treated the floor to an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel, this was applied to the floor and left to dwell for a short time before more scrubbing in with the rotary machine. This made short work of cleaning the salt minerals and grout haze, it would also neutralise any alkaline salts inherent in the tile that could cause problems later. The wet vacuum was employed again to remove the resultant slurry.

We also used a steam cleaner on some of the stubborn areas where the dirt had been ingrained for some time! Once we were happy the floor was clean, we left the floor to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Church Tiled Floor

We returned the next day and got to work on some areas where the grout had perished, replacing as needed with a matching flexible grout. Once the grout had dries and any haze polished off the tiles the floor was ready for the application of a protective sealer.

The sealer chosen was Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating colour enhancing product that works by occupying the pores in the tile preventing dirt from becoming lodges in there. This sealer is also fully breathable which is an essential feature for old floors that were laid without a damp proof membrane. Using a non-breathable sealer would trap moisture under the floor where it can spread to the walls resulting in rising damp. Four coats of Colour Grow were required in total and the colour enhancing nature of the product really brought out the colours in the tile restoring it to its original condition.

Victorian Floor After Cleaning St Michaels Church Rushock Victorian Floor After Cleaning St Michaels Church Rushock

The chairman was extremely satisfied with the restored floor and he was sure the parishioners would be to.

 

Professional Restoration of a Church Tiled Floor in Worcestershire

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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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Damaged Victorian Tiled Period Hallway Restored in Edinburgh

These are a few photos from a Victorian tiled hallway we restored in Edinburgh. The property is close to the beautiful city centre and is in a road with other Victorian properties. The floor was once stunning but was now overdue some love and care to restore it back to its’ former self.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Edinburgh Before Restoration

We went over to the property first to survey the floor and see for ourselves the extent of the work required before quoting for the restoration. The floor was incredibly dirty and there were a number of broken tiles that would need to be replaced or repaired. There are handful of companies where you can source matching tiles but with a floor of this age its not always possible. We discussed with the client the process we would follow to restore the floor which would take three days and agreed a price and date for the work. We also took away with us some of the broken tiles to assist in tracking down matching replacements.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Edinburgh Before Restoration

Restoring a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

We arrived on the first day and started by taping up the adjacent woodwork to protect it. The next step was to ensure the floor was completely sound before starting the cleaning process which meant dealing with the loose and broken tiles. The loose and broken tiles were removed and then replaced with new reproduction Victorian tiles that we had managed to source from Original Style. The tiles were cut to fit and then set into the floor with tile adhesive. Unfortunately, we were unable to source a replacement for a broken center pattern tile which had an intricate pattern, so we had to secure this back in place using the two broken pieces. With the tiling work completed there was nothing else we could do so we left to allow the adhesive to set.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Edinburgh Before Restoration

Returning the following day, we began the cleaning process using a set of coarse burnishing pads fitted to a rotary machine. 100, 200 and then a 400-grit burnishing pad was applied in sequence. Then after going over the floor a few times with the pads the floor was rinsed with water which was then extracted with a vet vacuum to remove the fine slurry that was generated. This process ground off the dirt and refined the surface of the tile ensuring the old and new tiles made a perfect match.

The next step was to give the floor an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel which is scrubbed into the tiles and then rinsed off and extracted as before. This allowed us to get the tiles as clean as possible without the need of any alkaline cleaning products which can cause efflorescence issues later when the floor dries. Efflorescence is a common problem on floors of this age where a damp-proof membrane has not been fitted; moisture rises through the sub floor and tile carrying salts which then get deposited on the surface of the tile as the moisture evaporates. Once complete the floor was left to dry off overnight in readiness for sealing process the next day.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

On the final third day we returned to seal the floor testing the moisture level first with a damp meter to ensure the floor was dry. The results were positive, and I was happy that it was within the correct tolerance for the sealer to be effective. To seal the floor, we used Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra, applying 5 coats and letting each coat dry before applying the next.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Edinburgh After Restoration

The sealer gave enhanced the look of the floor leaving a hardwearing sheen surface which will protect the tiles will also make them easy to clean going forward. This sealer is also fully breathable which is perfect for a floor with no damp-proof membrane in that it won’t trap moisture under the tiles where is could eventually spread to the walls and lead to rising damp.

The client was very happy with the restored floor, the colours were now very vibrant, and the dull entrance hall had been transformed to an inviting space.

Victorian Tiled Entrance Edinburgh After Restoration

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Edinburgh

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