Geometric Victorian Tiled Hallway Repaired and Restored in Palmers Green


It is not uncommon for the owners of houses built in this era to discover original Victorian tiled floors and hallways. Sometimes they have been covered up with carpet or linoleum to match the trend of the day and sometimes they get covered up because they have been neglected and though beyond economical repair. Trends have now been reversed and its becoming increasingly popular to restore them and bringing them back to their former glory and who can blame them, period features are in demand and they add value to a property.

This was the case with this floor at a house in Palmers Green, North London, affectionately known by the locals as ‘Little Cyprus or Palmers Greek’. The house is situated in a street with similar properties of the same age, so it’s likely there are a few hidden Victorian tiled floors on this street!

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Palmers Green

The client asked me to visit and survey what could be done to restore the floor. As you can see from the photographs the floor in the hall is a lovely example of geometric black and white tiles. However, it is in quite a state with, cracked and missing tiles and many years of built up dirt. I discussed with the client the options and we agreed a price to carry the work out, over a couple of days.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Palmers Green

Cleaning and Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Our first task was to protect the woodwork with protective tape including the doorway threshold edges, skirting and doors. Next, we began the cleaning the tile and grout including stripping off old coatings including sealers and waxes. To do this we applied a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean mixed 50:50 with Tile Doctor Remove & Go; when you have a combination of unknown contaminates, stubborn stains and dirt, a combination of products can be the best option. The solution was left on the floor around fifteen minutes before being worked into the floor, I find a longer dwell time makes the removal of sealers, adhesives, paints and grime easier. We then agitated the wet area using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer and used detail brushes for the more the intricate areas.

This process turned the cleaning solution in a black slurry which was extracted off the floor using a wet vacuum and the floor then steam cleaned to remove any remaining product residue and believe me there really was a lot of dirt to remove. A thorough rinse followed, and the floor was left for a short while to dry.

Next up we tackled the repairs, starting with the removal loose, cracked and broken tiles. Luckily, I had managed to source some new and reclaimed tiles locally and so we replaced these and then re-grouted. We then left the tiles overnight to dry.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Returning in the morning a consolidator primer seal was then applied using Tile Doctor Colour Grow which improves colour followed by four applications of Tile Doctor Seal & Go this is a specially formulated water-based blend of acrylic polymers that provides both a stain resistant surface and a protective seal as well as a lovely natural satin finish.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning Palmers Green Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning Palmers Green

The floor looked so much better and the black and white tiles are now very vibrant, the client is pleased they ripped up the carpet and now have a feature hallway which is in keeping with the property.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning Palmers Green

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in North London



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Victorian Hallway Floor Tiles, Mumbles, Swansea


I was called to a property in the Mumbles area of Swansea, one of my favourite places and in fact listed in 2018 Best Places to Live. In the UK report, The Sunday Times listed Mumbles as the best in Wales, so it is always a pleasure to visit this area.

The hallway at the property had a lovely example of a classic Victorian Tiled floor containing a very detailed pattern consisting of expensive blue square and triangular shaped tiles. The tiles were a lovely and unusual pattern and in good physical condition with no cracked or replacement tiles required. It had however, been some time since the floor was last cleaned and sealed and so they contacted me, their local Tile Doctor representative to renovate the floor for them. The owners of the house recognised that it’s well worth preserving original features like Victorian tiled floors as period floors like this are in demand and add value to a property. They were therefore keen to get it back to its’ near original state.

Victorian Hallway Floor Tiles Before Cleaning The Mumbles

Cleaning/Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

To restore the appearance of the tiles I used a 200-Grit diamond encrusted burnishing pad to remove the dirt and restore the condition of the tiles. This is run over the floor using water to lubricate and then rinsed off with water afterwards to remove the soil that is generated. This was then followed up with a 400-Grit pad which cleans and restores the surface which is left roughened after the application of the coarse 200-grit pad. This pad is again applied with water and then the floor rinsed afterwards to remove the soiling and the water is extracted using a wet vacuum.

The next step was to acid rinse the floor using Tile Doctor Acid-Gel, this is an important step for old Victorian tiled floors which have no damp proof membrane. It neutralises any inherent salts in the floor which rise through the tile from evaporation leaving unsightly white deposits on the surface. The acid gel is left to dwell for a short time and then it is scrubbed into the tile with a deck brush and then removed using the wet vacuum, the floor was then given a final rinse to neutralise it before sealing. However, for that to happen I needed the floor to be dry so after cleaning the floor I left it to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The next day I came back to the house to seal the floor. The floor had dried out nicely due to the fine weather, I quickly did a moisture test to be sure, then I was ready to move on to the sealing process.

The Mumbles area is close to the coast, so for this project I decided to use Tile Doctor Colour Grow which being an impregnating fully breathable sealer would cope better with the salty sea air. Colour Grow is a matt finish sealer that seeps into the tile occupying the small pores and in doing so prevents dirt from becoming ingrained there, it’s also a colour enhancing product that improves the colour in the tile.

After I had finished the floor was left looking restored, fresh and the vibrantly coloured pattern shone through. The client was very happy with the end result.

Victorian Hallway Floor Tiles After Cleaning The Mumbles

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Swansea



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Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Exmouth


The owner of this property had been intending to have her Victorian tiled vestibule professionally cleaned and sealed for several years but had always seemed to just ‘make do’ with an occasional clean with a mop and bucket. Having made up her mind to have it professionally cleaned and having seen previous examples of my work online after searching for her local stone and tile cleaning professional she asked me to come and have a look and see what I could do.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Exmouth Before Cleaning

Being the first stop upon entering the house the tiles were heavily soiled after years of not being sealed so after I conducted a moisture check which showed the tiles to be remarkably dry. I cleaned a few tiles using some diamond hand pads to test the area and give the customer an idea of what kind of result to expect. She was really pleased with the initial outcome of the test and booked me in to return shortly after receiving my quote.

Because the area was small I was able to tie it in with another job I had in the Exmouth area and was able to reduce the cost of the quote. This is a great option if you and your neighbour both have small areas to clean because I may be able to work on them concurrently which will save you both money!

Cleaning/Repairing a Victorian Tiled Vestibule Floor

The working area was quite tight, so the tiles were scrubbed using a series of diamond impregnated six-inch burnishing pads fitted to a rotary hand tool. The pads are used in sequence starting with a 100-grit and finishing with a 400-grit pad. The floor was then thoroughly rinsed using a wet vacuum to remove the soil that was generated during the process.

The next step was to give the tiles an acid rinse; now we don’t normally recommend the use of acids on tiles but in this case the product was only on the floor long enough to remove old grout smears and mineral deposits before being rinsed off. I used Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up for this and it has the extra advantage of countering any alkaline salts which can hiding in the pores of the tile, this is very useful on old floors of this type with no damp proof course. If left unaddressed the salts can rise through the tile as moisture evaporates leaving unsightly white salt stains on the floor. This process is known as efflorescence and can be tricky to remove later if not dealt with quickly.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Exmouth During Cleaning

One done the floor was given a final rinse and then dried with the wet vacuum. I then made a few small repairs to some loose tiles and then left for the evening to allow the floor the whole floor to dry off fully overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Vestibule Floor

The following day I returned and after rechecking the moisture levels of both areas to ensure that they had adequately dried out I started work, applying a coat of Tile Doctor’s Colour Grow. This is an impregnating sealer which picks out and enhances the natural colours of the tiles, not only bringing the whole floor to life but helping to disguise any damage the floor has suffered over the years.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Exmouth During Sealing

After this coat had dried sufficiently I applied four coats of Tile Doctor’s Seal and Go to finish off the floor and give it that ‘wow factor’. I left the client with some guidance on care and maintenance of the floor as well as a suitable bottle of cleaner.

Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule Exmouth After Cleaning

The client was very happy with the result and her sealed floor is now easier to maintain and keep clean. The Victorian tiles are now in keeping with the rest of the house.

 

Professional Restoration of Small Victorian Tiled Vestibule in Exmouth



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Victorian Tiled Hallway Restoration in Bearwood, Smethwick


This customer got in touch with me to see if there was anything I could do to restore a Victorian tiled floor they had discovered under carpet in their hallway. Interestingly they had been told previously that the floor was beyond repair and had been quoted thousands of pounds to have it completely ripped up and replaced.

Victorian Hallway Before Restoration Bearwood Victorian Hallway Before Restoration Bearwood

I visited the property in Bearwood near Smethwick, to take a look and could see that there was a section under a cement screed. The floor was in a truly sorry state, so I could see why the other company were not keen on restoring it. Undeterred I did a test clean to see if I could remove the screed which was encouraging however without removing all the screed it would not be possible to see what condition the tiles underneath were in. I agreed with the customer to order some replacement tiles which were needed along with extra ones just in case. The job would take a few days to allow for cleaning, repairing, drying out and sealing. The client wasn’t too optimistic, but I reassured them we could definitely get a good result.

Victorian Hallway Before Restoration Bearwood

Cleaning and Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway

The first day was spent removing the cement screed which was quite thick in parts, so I went down the route of steaming it first to help soften the covering and then carefully scraping it off. This was quite labour intensive, but it did the job. Once the cement was removed I was left with some tiles that were ok but quite a few needed to be replaced.

Victorian Hallway Before Restoration Bearwood Victorian Hallway During Restoration Bearwood

There were also two doorways, one that needed completely relaying and one needed part relaying. Some of the tiles needed to be cut to size, there were many tiles that needed resetting and re-grouting along with grout being applied to the new tiles.

Victorian Hallway During Restoration Bearwood

The next day the tiles were deep cleaned with a 50:50 combination of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mixed with Nanotech HBU which stands for Heavy Build-Up Remover, which was quite appropriate in this case. This cocktail of tile cleaning products was left to dwell on the tiles for a while then worked in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a weighted rotary machine. The floor was then rinsed off with water and then the soil extracted with a wet vacuum.

My next step was to give the floor and acid wash to remove any old grout smears and neutralise other mineral contaminates such as salts that can get deposited on the surface of the tiles as moisture evaporates as the floor dries. This is always a risk with old floors where no damp proof membrane exists. To do this I applied a dilution of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up which is scrubbed into the tiles with a deck brush and then rinsed off the floor with water and a wet vacuum. The floor was then left to dry out for a couple of days.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

I returned to seal the floor and after check it had dried sufficiently applied three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer. This sealer seeps into the pores of the tile enhancing the colours and leaves a matt finish which the customer had previously specified. The floor was then buffed with a white pad and the customer left with a bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner to clean the floor with moving forward.

Victorian Hallway After Restoration Bearwood Victorian Hallway After Restoration Bearwood

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

“Kieron has done a fantastic job of our Victorian hallway tiles. We had been quoted several really high prices by other companies, but Kieron’s quote was a fraction of these. I initially wondered whether this meant the job wouldn’t be as good but after 3 days of solid work the results are fantastic! He managed to transform it to its former glory, a hallway that was partly cemented over, had missing and loose tiles all over the place and was filthy. He definitely does a lot more than just cleaning! We couldn’t be happier with the results!”

Victorian Hallway After Restoration Bearwood

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Birmingham



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