I recently re-visited a Victorian period property in the Leeds suburb of Headingley which had an unusually large tiled entrance hall which we believe to be as old as the property itself. I say re-visited as I actually gave this floor a deep clean and reseal around five years ago; it’s always nice to be asked to return to a job as it shows the customers was very happy with the work. However, with five years of wear and tear the sealer had worn down and the floor was now starting to trap dirt, also it had lost the attractive shine added by the sealer and the owner felt it was time to have it done again. Additionally, the owner had recently had the whole house decorated and wanted the floor to look its best and match the fresh appearance of the property.
Sealers do wear off with use and so it is inevitable that the tiles will need to be cleaned and sealed again with time. Given it hadn’t had a professional clean and seal for five years the floor wasn’t looking too bad as you can see from the picture, it was just a bit dull in the high traffic areas such as along the centre. I’ve certainly seen a lot worse.
Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
Initially I wasn’t 100% sure on which cleaning method l was going to use on this floor. Originally l thought about using a coarse 200-grit burnishing pad to take off a couple of layers of sealer and then re-apply 2 more coats. However, the finish on the floor wasn’t even across the width of the hallway and l felt using that approach wouldn’t resolve that. Additionally, a lot of tiles were pitted and a burnishing pad would struggle to get into the holes. So instead I decided to completely strip the floor and re-seal it which would ensure a uniform finish across the floor.
I used a strong 50:50 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean on the tiles and scrubbed it in with a black floor pad which removed the old sealer and ingrained dirt. The large floor pads are not very effective in the corners and edges, so I used a 6-inch red buffing pad fitted to a hand buffer for those. The floor was rinsed with water and the soil extracted using a wet vacuum. After inspecting the floor some areas were retreated with a repeat of the same process.
After a final rinse and extraction of the soiled water the floor was left to dry overnight.
Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
The next day after first checking the floor was dry with a damp meter it was sealed with four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This is a water based sealer that gives a lovely sheen and allows the colours to shine through as well as letting the floor breath, which is important in properties of this age that usually do not have a damp proof membrane.
I was very pleased with the finished result as the pictures show and glad that l had chosen to do a deep clean and not just apply more coats of sealer. The client was over the moon.
Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in North Yorkshire