100+ Year Old Victorian Tiled Hallway Restored in Dudley


It may sound impossible to restore tiles that are over a century old back to something resembling their original condition but in fact it’s something we do all the time. With the right cleaning products and techniques, fantastic results can be achieved.

An example being this work I did for a customer in Dudley. They had seen previous examples of Tile Doctor’s work and wanted to have their 128-year old Victorian tiled hallway which had been covered in carpet previous restored to its best possible condition. Dudley is a town in the West Midlands that is often touted as one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution so there are lot of period houses.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Cleaning Dudley Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Cleaning Dudley

When I first went over to survey the floor I could see that restoring these Victorian tiles would be a significant job involving deep cleaning, tile repair and sealing. Upon closer inspection of the tiles, I realised that there was also a small area that met the hallway which was actually Terrazzo. This was to be cleaned and sealed too however I’ll deal with that in a separate post as the process was different.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Cleaning Dudley

Cleaning Original Victorian Tiles

To start the restoration, I treated the floor with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong alkaline tile and grout cleaner, leaving it to dwell for a short period to start breaking down the heavy soil build-up.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Cleaning Dudley Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Cleaning Dudley

While the Pro-Clean was soaking into the tile, I carefully scraped off the paint that had been dropped on the tiles during decorating at some point in the past. Next, I fitted a rotary machine with a 200-grit diamond encrusted burnishing pad – which is very coarse – and put it into action to remove deeply ingrained dirt from the tiles.

When this process was complete, the floor was thoroughly rinsed with water and the resulting slurry was soaked up with the aid of a wet vacuum. I repeated this process around the edges of the hallway, where the tiles were particularly badly ingrained with dirt and marked with carpet glue deposits. The floor was given a final rinse with water and the wet vacuum used again to remove as much moisture from the floor as possible before leaving it to dry off overnight.

Before leaving however I had to complete the tiler repairs which involved removing the loose tile and mortar and then setting them back into place. There was also quite a lot of re-grouting that needed to be done on various areas of the floor.

Sealing Original Victorian Tiles

The next day, I returned to the property and ran damp tests in various places to ensure the tiles had dried. Given that these tiles are particularly old, I was conscious that that the floor very likely lacked a damp proof membrane and so damp issues could be a real possibility. We always ensure that floors are completely dry before sealing them as excess moisture can damage the performance of the sealer.

Thankfully, the tiles had dried out and, so I was able to start sealing them with four coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go which added a nice sheen finish and will protect the floor going forward.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Cleaning Dudley Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Cleaning Dudley

Before leaving I left the customer with a bottle of Neutral pH tile cleaner to help maintain the tiles appearance. The customer was very happy with the results and commented that all the hard work had paid off to leave the floors looking great!

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Cleaning Dudley
 
 

Full Restoration of a Period Victorian Hallway Floor in the West Midlands



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120 Year Old Victorian Hallway Tiles Refreshed in Sandwell


Sandwell forms part of an area in the West Midlands which is popularly referred to as the ‘Black Country’. This area industrialised rapidly during the Victorian period and, with the building of many new factories came the building of many new houses for workers.

A good number of these Victorian properties survive, complete with original Victorian tiled floors. However, homeowners aren’t always aware that these tiled floors exist, since they have often been covered up by carpet or linoleum. We find that when new homeowners discover these original tiles, they are usually keen to restore them to their best possible appearance. This requires professional assistance.

Victorian Tiled Floor Before Renovation Warley

A customer who lives in the Warley district of Sandwell recently contacted me about the restoration of a 120-year old Victorian tiled hallway that they had discovered underneath an existing carpet. As expected, the tiles were caked in deposits of adhesive, cement and paint which had accumulated over several years. Making matters worse, the customer had also spilt more paint on the tiles during decoration work.

Victorian Tiled Floor Before Renovation Warley

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway

I began the restoration by cleaning the tiles with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, a strong alkaline cleaner which is perfect for removing grime from heavily soiled and neglected natural stone. The product was applied liberally across the area and left to dwell for a short period. It was then worked into the tiles using a specialised rotary cleaning machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad.

The now soiled cleaning solution was subsequently rinsed away and the floor then rinsed with clean water. Stubborn paint marks and cement were carefully scraped off the tiles by hand. A solution which combined more Pro-Clean and Tile Doctor Remove and Go (a stripping agent) was applied to the tiles to help remove any old and now ineffectual sealer, as well to fully remove any of the particularly stubborn marks.

After being worked in again with a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine, the excess cleaning product was rinsed away using water and the floor was dried off with a wet vacuum.

As tiles of this age were usually laid without a damp membrane in place underneath them, they can be especially prone to efflorescence (salt) deposits. To help prevent this, Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a combination of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids, was applied. This will help to neutralise any alkaline salts that might threaten to penetrate up through the tiles to leave unsightly white marks.

After the floor was rinsed once again, I proceeded to re-grout a few areas of the floor where the grout had worn away over the years. Once I was happy with the clean tiles and fresh grout, I left the floor to dry off overnight.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway

The next day the tiles had thankfully dried completely and were ready to be sealed. Since the customer had requested a sheen finish, as opposed to be a natural matte finish, I opted to use a combination of two different sealants.

The first to be applied – to bring out the colour in the tiles – was Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This product impregnates the tiles to protect them against ingrained dirt, but it leaves a matte finish. Therefore, I added five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go to provide not only extra protection, but also a high-quality sheen finish.

Victorian Tiled Floor After Renovation Warley

I left the customer, who was delighted with the results, with a bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner. This product will serve as a reliable cleaning product for the routine maintenance of the tiles, ensuring they continue to look fantastic.

Victorian Tiled Floor After Renovation Warley
 
 

Professional Restoration of an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway in the West Midlands



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