Chequered Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Restoration Oxford

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You may recognise this Chequered Victorian tiled floor from other restorations that I’ve detailed on my website. This in fact is the third house I’ve worked on in the same small road in Oxford where hallway floors like these are a very common feature. In fact, I seem to get a lot of referrals from this area, which is always a pleasure, so I suspect word has got around the neighbourhood. The property sits close to the city centre, of course is famous for the University of Oxford, the oldest in the English-speaking world.

Chequered Victorian tiled hallway Floor Oxford Before Restoration

I visited the property to survey the floor and work out the best method and products to restore the Victorian tiles. The tiles were dotted in paint splashes from decorating and had previously been covered in carpet so there were gripper strips glued around the edges. All of which would need to be removed and then the floor would need a deep clean to remove the years of dirt and then finally it would need to be sealed to protect it going forward. After discussing the work in detail with the owner he was happy to accept my quote and we worked out a convenient date to do the work.

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

On my return I carefully prised off the carpet gripper so not to damage the tile. Then I applied a 50:50 mixture of Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel and Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU to the tiles. This creates a strong cleaning/coatings remover that would soften the paint and glue making it easier to remove. I left this to dwell on the floor for about an hour so it could break down the pint and adhesive. I then fitted a coarse 100-grit diamond pad to a rotary floor buffer and scrubbed the floor vacuuming up the resulting residue as I went along. I then repeated the process using a 200-grit pad and repeated the process.

I then spray buffed the floor using water and a 400-Grit burnishing pad followed by a 800-grit pad, rinsing and extracting afterwards with water to remove the fine slurry this process generates.

Old floors like these were laid before the invention of the damp proof membrane which can result in moisture rising through the floor as it evaporates potentially leaving alkaline salt deposits on the surface. This process is known as Efflorescence and although I minimised the use of water during the cleaning process, I was concerned that this may still present a problem later. To neutralise any alkaline salts in the floor that could cause this problem my last action for the day was give the floor an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel. Once this was done and extracted from the floor, I followed up with a further clean using Tile Doctor pH Neutral Tile Cleaner which was applied with a microfibre cloth. I left the floor to dry off overnight so it could be sealed the next day.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

On day two I checked the moisture level in the floor to ensure it had dried overnight. The results were good, so I set about applying the sealer. For this floor I decided to go with three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that as well as protecting the Victorian tiles form staining also enhances the black and white colours in the tile increasing the apparent contrast. This sealer is also fully breathable so any moisture will be able to evaporate up through the tile and not get trapped under the floor where it could eventually lead to rising damp in the walls.

Chequered Victorian tiled hallway Floor Oxford After Restoration

Before leaving I also discussed maintenance cleaning with the customer and left them a bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which is safe to use on sealed floors and will help keep the tiles looking at their best. It’s supplied in concentrated form so it should last them some time before they run out. The customer was very happy with the end result, she suggested I would be hearing from more neighbours very soon!

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Oxfordshire

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Victorian Tiled Hallway Altered and Restored in Hale Barns

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We were contacted by an architect who was working on the redevelopment of a late Victorian property in Hale Barns, their client wanted to restore the property to its former glory and several internal changes meant reconfiguring the doorways on the ground floor. This in turn would impact the elegant Black and White Victorian tiled hallway floor and the request was for us to lift half the tiled floor and then replace it once the internal changes were complete.

Black White Victorian Hallway Floor Before Restoration Hale Barns Black White Victorian Hallway Floor Before Restoration Hale Barns

Certainly, an interesting request and one we were happy to quote for. Hale Barns is an effluent part of Cheshire with a mixture of late Victorian and ultra-modern housing popular with footballers, so It’s refreshing to see a period property like this sympathetically restored instead of being demolished.

Lifting and Rebuilding a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The first part of the works involved removing the section of flooring that would be disrupted by the internal changes. Normally we would carefully cut out one tile so we can get a purchase on the remainder from underneath; however the floor had some loose tiles so it simply a question of lifting these then putting a flat plate under the rest and popping them up. I make it sound simple but doing it without damaging a tile takes patience.

Black White Victorian Hallway Floor During Tile Removal Hale Barns Black White Victorian Hallway Floor During Removal Hale Barns

The lifted tiles were stored in buckets containing a 4:1 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and water. The tiles were left so soak for a couple of days to soften the adhesives, grout and dirt before being cleaned off and left to dry out.

Once the building work was completed, we were called back into rebuilt the Victorian floor taking into account the new door thresholds. The first job was to level the floor with fast drying self-levelling compound to provide a new sub-base for the tiles. This was left to dry overnight and the next day we started laying the floor back down with fast setting tile adhesive. Once the floor was laid, we left for the day, so it could set overnight.

Black White Victorian Hallway Floor During Restoration Hale Barns Black White Victorian Hallway Floor During Restoration Hale Barns

Lifting and Rebuilding a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Next day we checked the tiles were set before starting to clean with a set of abrasive burnishing pads which attach to a slow speed weighted rotary floor machine. We started with a very coarse 100-grit pad and use water to help lubricate the process, the resulting soil is then rinsed off and removed with a wet vacuum. Using exactly the same process we continue to further refine the tiles by working our way through ever finer grades of pads until we get to 1500-grit. The floor was then washed with Tile Doctor Acid Gel and this is left to soak into the tile before being washed off with water. Giving the floor an acid wash in this fashion helps clean the tile of old mineral deposits and also neutralises any alkaline salts in the floor which could cause problems later on, this is a common issue with old floors more commonly known as efflorescence. The floor was dried using the wet vacuum to remove as much moisture as possible before being left to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

The next morning, I finished off the restoration of the floor with the application of a very fine 3000-grit burnishing pad which gave the floor a light sheen. This final pad is applied dry with only a little water sprayed onto the tile using a method we call a ‘Spray Burnish’.

The floor was then checked for moisture with a damp meter to make sure it was dry before sealing. All was well and two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer were applied to protect the floor going forward. Colour Grow is a fully breathable impregnating sealer that will enhance the colour of the black tiles and being breathable will cope well with any moisture rising through the floor. Once the sealer had dried fully the floor was buffed with the 3000-grit pad leaving a sheen as requested by the client.

Black White Victorian Hallway Floor After Cleaning Hale Barns Black White Victorian Hallway Floor After Sealing Hale Barns

The result was quite a transformation that was well received by the architect and their client.

 

Professional Victorian Tiled Floor Restoration in Hale Barns

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Chequered Victorian Hallway Floor Restored in Oxford

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Our client got in touch to see if we could restore the appearance of her Victorian tiled hallway floor. The property was located on the outskirts of Oxford which as I’m sure your aware is a city that is steeped in history and most famous for its’ University, which is the oldest in the English-speaking world. The architecture in the city is magnificent, much of it dating back to Saxon times.

Chequered Victorian Hallway Floor Tile Before Restoration Oxford

When we arrived as you can see from the first picture, this floor had some missing tiles along the righthand edge which had been back filled with some sort of filler. Fortunately, I’ve done a quite few of these restorations before and knew where to source replacements that would match perfectly. It would be great to restore the floor and get the black and white chequers looking as they should. I discussed a plan to fully restore the floor with the client and agreed a price for the work to be done.

Cleaning/Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Our first step in the restoration of the floor was to cut out the filler from the floor and clean out the resulting hole so the replacement tiles could be inserted. We then carefully measured the holes and cut the replacement tiles to match. We then laid the tiles with fast curing tile adhesive, this completed the repair part of the restoration and we left the floor for the day, so the adhesive could set overnight.

Day two was phase two of the restoration plan which involved deep cleaning the floor using abrasive burnishing pads. We started with the application of a 100-grit diamond encrusted burnishing pad which was attached to a rotary floor machine and run over the floor with a small amount water to lubricate. The resulting soil was then rinsed off with water and then removed with a wet vacuum. We repeated the process with a whole series of burnishing pads with increasingly finer grades, they included 200, 400, 800 and 1500 grit pads to fully renovate and restore the surface. This process took the whole day and we finished with a 3000-grit pad which gave the floor a slight sheen, this last pad is applied dry with only a little water sprayed onto the tile.

This process deep cleans and refines the Victorian tiles to fully restore their appearance. It also has the benefit of using less water than a chemical cleaning process which is a big advantage on these old floors which were laid before the invention of damp proof membranes and excess moisture can result in the appearance of efflorescence salts as the floor dries.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The floor was again left overnight to dry out and we returned on the third day to seal the floor. The moisture level of the floor was tested first with a damp meter to ensure it was dry, adding sealer to a damp floor is not recommended as it can result in a patchy finish. All was so the Victorian tiles were sealed with a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This is a colour enhancing sealer that will enhance the contrast of the black and white chequered effect, it’s also fully breathable so will cope well with any moisture. Colour Grow leaves a matt effect to once it had fully dried the floor was buffed with a 3000-grit diamond pad to add a slight sheen to its appearance as requested by the client.

Chequered Victorian Hallway Floor Tile Before Restoration Oxford

The client was over the moon with the result and really pleased with the repair we had done, the floor looked as it should and they were now able to keep it nice and clean. A warm welcoming hallway now awaited their visitors.

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Oxfordshire

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