Removing Wax Scratches from Victorian Hallway Tiles in Rushden


This customer called me as she was concerned about the scratches on her hallway tiles, they were not only unsightly but were also starting to trap dirt. The Victorian property in Rushden which lies between Bedford and Kettering on the east side of Northamptonshire.

We always offer a site visit to take a look at the job before doing any work, that way we can discuss what the cleaning options are, and it also demonstrates to the customer that we know what we’re talking about.

The hallway floor was a lovely and intricate example of Victorian tile installation and I could see that overall it was in good condition for its age. On closer inspection the customer was relieved to find out that it was the old wax sealant breaking down and not actually scratches on the tiles. I carried out a test on a small area to ascertain how difficult it would be to remove this wax. I realised I would be able to use Tile Doctors new product for the removal of the wax sealant, Tile Doctor Wax Away which is a fast and effective formula that is designed just for this type of job, it offers safe removal of wax and polish from tile and natural stone. We agreed the quote and the work was booked in for the following month.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Wax Removal Rushden

Cleaning/Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

On our return we started to remove the wax coating using the Tile Doctor Wax Away product. It was applied neat and left to dwell for ten to fifteen minutes before working it into the floor with a small amount of water and a black stripping pad attached to a rotary machine. The resulting slurry was then removed using a wet vacuum. The floor was then inspected, and I decided to repeat this process with a hand brush in a couple of small areas and around the edges to ensure the old wax sealant was fully removed in these stubborn areas. The floor was then rinsed with water to remove any remaining slurry and trace of cleaning product and the wet vacuum was used to dry the floor again.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Wax Removal Rushden

My next course of action was to run over the floor with a 400-grit burnishing pad to remove imbedded dirt and stains from the tiles, this was followed by a second rinse with water. After removing the water with wet vacuum, the floor was then left to dry out fully for a few days aided by a large fan that I left on site. It’s important that the tiles are fully dry before applying a sealer and this is even more important on older floors where no damp proof membrane has been installed.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

I returned three days later and started by giving the floor a light vacuum and clean. I also took damp meter readings to check the floor was fully dry. Once I was satisfied I started to apply 2 coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow Sealant, this is a breathable sealant which will allow the tiles to breath and allow moisture vapour from the sub floor to rise through the tiles which is important in these old houses where no damp proof membrane exists. Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the pores in the tile thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there, the sealant enhances the natural colours in the tile and dries to a lovely natural matt finish.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Cleaning Rushden

Once finished the floor looked great and the customer was hugely relieved that the tiles could be restored easily and cost effectively, she had thought the damage may have been irreversible. Moving forward it will now be easier for her to maintain and keep clean. The floor is now back to its’ true self and properly in keeping with the rest of the period features in the house.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Cleaning Rushden

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Northamptonshire



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Victorian Hallway Restoration Mill Hill, North London


This 1930’s North London property in Mill Hill had a classic tiled hallway floor laid with black and white tiles in a diamond pattern and reminiscent of the Victorian era some thirty years earlier but still popular at the time the house was built. Mill Hill was first recorded as Myllehill in 1547 and appears to be named after a “hill with a windmill”. Over the years it’s merged with the surrounding towns and is now a desirable suburb in the North London Borough of Barnet.

I first spoke to the owner of the property over the phone to get an idea of what was required and work out a convenient time to take a look at the floor; we often get customers looking for a quote over the phone but this is not always easy to do as you never know what problems you might find with an older floor until you get there.

On inspection I could see there were in fact a large number of loose tiles in the central part of the floor which would need to be reset and grouted, the floor would also need to be deep cleaned and re-sealed with a suitable sealer to get it back to its former glory. I was confident we could soon get the floor looking how it should and after discussing the process, agreed a price and a timescale for the project. The owner was keen to get the job completed as soon as possible.

Cleaning/Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Firstly, we prepared the area with protective polythene tapes to thresholds, carpets, and door fronts to ensure the surrounding areas were protected. To clean the floor a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean was applied, this is a concentrated, multi-purpose high-alkaline cleaner, stripper and degreaser and is highly recommended for use on natural stone, tile and grout. The tiles were scrubbed with both floor pads and brushes, it is easier to use brushes in the more intricate areas.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Restoration During Cleaning Mill Hill

After the scrubbing we rinsed, and steam cleaned the floor, removing the slurry generated during the cleaning process with a wet vacuum. It was now nicely prepared ready for carrying out the repairs and the cleaning process was useful in identifying those tiles which needed extra attention.

The repairs involved resetting 50 to 60 loose tiles, the process requires carefully removing the tile, scraping out the old adhesive and grout and then replacing with new. The area is cleaned and then when the adhesive has set the tiles are re grouted in a grout chosen to best match the original. Luckily there were no damaged tiles on this floor which made the job easier. Although, we can usually track down replacements when they are needed!

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

We then left the hallway to dry off overnight, returning the next day we used a moisture meter to check the floor was dry and suitable for sealing. Old floors like these have no damp proof membrane fitted under the floor so can take time to dry out, fortunately we completed this work during warm weather, so all the readings were good.

Victorian style tiles are quite porous, so we found we need to apply give coats of sealer before they were fully sealed. We selected Tile Doctor Seal & Go to seal the tiles, it’s a specially formulated water-based blend of acrylic polymers that adds a durable stain resistant surface and leaves an appealing low-sheen finish. Being water based it doesn’t leave a smell as it dries, and it also a breathable sealer that can cope with the lack of a damp proof membrane ensuring moisture doesn’t become trapped under the floor.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Restoration After Cleaning Mill Hill

The client was very happy with the completed job, the work took a day and half to complete. Considering how many tiles had been loose the job had turned out very well. The floor is now much more manageable for her and the hallway tiles life has now been prolonged.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Restoration After Cleaning Mill Hill

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in North London



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Mid Victorian Farmhouse Hallway Clyst Hydon


The owners of this floor in the hallway of their Mid-Victorian farmhouse in Clyde Hydon just outside of Honiton, in Devon asked me to visit shortly after they had moved in. Whilst ripping out the old carpet throughout the house they had come across this stunning Victorian tiled floor. Honiton is a market town, more well known for its lace making. As it is my home town, it was a very short commute to work for me, so I was able to visit the property quickly and take a look.

Mid Victorian Tiled Farmhouse Hallway Clyst Hydon Before Cleaning

During my visit I took some moisture readings because these old floors will not have had a damp proof membrane installed and if the moisture levels are too high it can restrict when this type of work can be done due to the sealers needing the floor to be dry(ish), in order to cure. I also did a test clean to show the customers what level of cleaning could be achieved and looked at areas of loose tiles to see if any replacement tiles would need to be sourced. I always like to do a test clean as it demonstrates what can be achieved and it also allows me to work out which methods and products work best.

Cleaning and Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

With the customers happy with the quote I returned to complete the work starting by covering the wooden skirting and bottom of the stairs to protect the paint and carpet from splashing. I then applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean on to the floor, ensuring even coverage and keeping an eye on the floor to make sure that it didn’t dry out. Pro-Clean is quite a flexible product than can strip off old sealers when applied in a strong dilution.

After a short time, I set to work scrubbing the Pro-Clean into the floor with a 400-grit diamond pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer. I also used 400-grit hand held burnishing block to cover the corners and any edges not reached by my machine. Once I was satisfied that the tiles were as good as they could be I rinsed the floor to remove the now soiled alkaline cleaner before giving the floor an acid wash with Acid Gel to neutralise with any inherent salts in the tiles.

Before I left for the day I fixed the loose tiles back in place, re-grouted the areas that I had replaced tiles and left an air mover on the floor to aid in the drying process. I also suggested that the radiators in the hallway were turned on overnight to further aid the drying process. Occasionally these types of floors need to be left for several days to dry but it is worth the wait and the floors can be used in the meantime provided only socks and indoor shoes are used and care is taken not to get the floor dirty.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Upon returning the next day I tested the moisture content of the floor and was pleased to find that it was well within acceptable levels for the application of the sealer that I was planning to use. I quickly checked the floor for areas that I felt may be able to be improved and once satisfied a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer was applied to the floor. Colour Grow is a colour enhancing impregnating sealer that occupies the pores in the tile thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there.

Once this was dry it was followed up by applying two further coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which is a compatible surface sealer that leaves a nice subtle sheen finish. Both sealers are fully breathable and able to cope with any damp issues that may impact the floor over time.

Mid Victorian Tiled Farmhouse Hallway Clyst Hydon After Cleaning

The customers were thrilled and said that they were going to reinstate the hallway as the main entrance to the farmhouse in order to show it off to all their visitors!

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Devon



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Screed and Bitumen Covered Victorian Tiled Floor Caversham


Details below of a floor I recently worked on where my client had removed the linoleum that covered the hallway floor and discovered an original Victorian Tiled floor buried underneath bitumen which had been used an adhesive, there was also some leveling screed that would need removing. The house was situated in Caversham Reading, Berkshire which lies on the north bank of the River Thames, opposite the rest of Reading.

Bitumen Covered Victorian Floor Before Restoration Caversham Reading

She had been renovating the whole house when she came across it and realising the value an original feature like this could add to the property was keen to restore it. Having tried several methods to remove the bitumen herself she realised it was too difficult and messy to do and decided to call in some help.

Bitumen Covered Victorian Floor Before Restoration Caversham Reading

Tile Doctor have successfully restored bitumen covered Victorian floors before and being their local agent, I was asked to look at the floor. I went round to take a look and ran a number of tests primarily to demonstrate it could be done and also, so I could work out the best method to clean the floor and therefore provide the customer with an accurate quote.

Bitumen Covered Victorian Floor Before Restoration Caversham Reading

Victorian tiles are very durable and having worked on similar floors before I was confident the tiles could be restored to a satisfactory state and be returned to its former glory. We discussed the process and a price and then scheduled the work to be done.

Removing Screed and Bitumen from Victorian Hallway Tiles

The first job was to apply protective tape around surrounding area to protect the wooden skirting etc. from splashing. Then I took a scraper and mallet to carefully chip away at the screed parts of the floor and remove it to expose the tiles underneath. Once this was done I could start with the more difficult task of dealing with the thick build-up of bitumen.

Bitumen is a horrible sticky black substance that required a fair bit of time and different methods to remove. My first method was to apply a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go, leaving it to dwell and work on breaking down the bitumen before scrubbing it in. This product is particularly good at breaking down old sealers and paint and although it made an impact I could see that I would need something with a bit more punch to finish the job, so I decided to try Tile Doctor Nanotech HBU remover.

The Nanotech HBU (Heavy Build Up) Remover was generously applied in small sections adding more as the product began to dry. After about twenty minutes I could see the HBU had weakened the bitumen making it soft enough that it could be worked off the tile using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine running at slow speed. With the bitumen now turned to a messy slurry I removed the substance with a wet vacuum. I then gave the floor a thorough rinse using a hot water extraction machine operating at low pressure that runs from a compressor in my van. This machine was an expensive investment however it makes light work of rinsing floors.

The tiles looked great after the initial rinse, but I could see the black dye from the bitumen had bled into the surface of the tile. However, us Tile Doctors are well trained and have a solution for every problem and I was able to remove these spots using a 100-grit followed by a 200-grit milling pad fitted to the rotary machine. After yet another rinse the tiles were looking fantastic and I left the floor to dry out.

Bitumen Covered Victorian Floor After Cleaning Caversham Reading

Sealing a Restored Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Originally the plan was to return five days later to seal but with other works going on in the house and the hallway being in constant use I decided to wait until that had completed requesting that the floor was covered up in order to protect it.

Bitumen Covered Victorian Floor After Restoration Caversham Reading

Two weeks later I returned to the house and gave the floor a quick inspection to make sure all was well before sealing. All was well, the floor just need a quick vacuum to remove dust and was able to proceed with the sealing. The customer wanted a matt finish, so I opted to use Tile Doctor Colour Grow, a colour intensive impregnating sealer that works by occupying the pores in the tile preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there. Three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow left the tiles looking rich and vibrant. Both the porch and the hallway now look inviting.

Bitumen Covered Victorian Floor After Restoration Caversham Reading

Overall the customer was over the moon with the final result and was glad she decided to have it restored rather than replaced.

Bitumen Covered Victorian Floor After Restoration Caversham Reading

 

Professional Restoration of Bitumen Stained Victorian Tiled Hallway in Berkshire



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