Victorian Tile Cleaning

Victorian Tiles Hallway restoration in Neath

This enquiry from Neath came from an elderly gentleman who was moving into a care home in the near future and wanted his Victorian tiled hallway renovated before the property went on the market. He mentioned he didn’t think it was that dirty however it could do with a clean and reseal.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Clean and Seal in Neath

We arranged to call in one morning and take a look at the tiles and whilst there we completed a test clean so we could provide an accurate price for renovating the floor. For the clean I applied Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, the purpose of this was to see whether and how fast the dirt would shift and also to get an idea of the condition of the floor beneath the layer of dirt.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Test Clean in Neath Victorian Tiled Hallway After Test Clean in Neath

The test clean went well and the owner was happy to accept our price and suggested that as we had already made a start we might as well continue. Fortunately, there were two of us that day and I only had a couple of other quotes in the area, so I was able to crack on. I should mention this work was done at the beginning of 2020 before the COVID-19 lockdown.

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

All sorts of detritus gets walked into hallways so we began by using a hand held scraper to take off anything that sat upon/above the floors surface. This also makes the cleaning process that little bit easier for us. The earlier test clean had enabled us to establish which cleaning methods and products would work best on the floor so it was just a question of putting the plan into action.

The process involved applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to the floor, leaving it to soak in for ten minutes and then working it with a coarse 400-grit diamond pad fitted to a rotary buffer. More water was applied for lubrication where required and the soil produced afterwards was rinsed off and extracted with a wet vacuum. The pad is encrusted with industrial diamonds and cuts into the tile and removes a very thin layer leaving the tile very clean.

After extracting the soil, the floor was inspected, and we noticed that there were a few tiles throughout the floor that needed more work. To deal with these we used hand-held diamond blocks of varying grits to remove the ingrained dirt and bring the tiles back to life.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The client was over the moon with the results of the cleaning and we scheduled a date of the following week to come back and seal the tiles. We also discussed sealers and he had asked if we could leave the floor with a shiny finish. With that in mind we recommended Tile Doctors Seal and Go which works really well on Victorian tiles. It is also water based and so doesn’t produce a smell as it dries.

On our return the floor was given a quick wipe down and once dry sealed with four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will add protection and make them easy to keep clean.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning Sealing in Neath Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning Sealing in Neath

Once complete the floor looked great and very welcoming, just what you need when selling a property as initial impressions always count.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning Sealing in Neath

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Swansea

Renovation of Victorian floor in Glynneath

The photographs below are of a Victorian Tiled floor taken earlier this year at a property in the small welsh town of Glynneath. The lady who lived there was selling her house house and wanted her Victorian hallway floor restored so she could achieve the best price. She mentioned it was severely dirty and was unsure if we would be able to help, however we have seen a lot worse and politely reassured her we were certain we could.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Renovation Glynneath

We visited the property first to survey the floor and produce an accurate quote for its renovation. The floor was indeed very dirty, there were paint splatters and plaster stains throughout from decorating. Fortunately, it was in good physical condition and no tiles needed to be replaced. We discussed with her the process we would use for cleaning and gave her a quote. She was happy to accept this, and we arranged a time to complete the work for her.

Renovating a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

We began by taping up the surrounding woodwork to protect it from splashing during the cleaning. Then using a handheld scraper, we carefully removed the paint and plaster from the floors surface to make the cleaning process that little bit easier for us. This was followed with the application of a 400-grit diamond burnishing pad fitted to a rotary machine lubricated with water. The abrasive pad cuts into the surface of the tile removing the contaminates and dirt in the process.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Renovation Glynneath

After vacuuming up the slurry with a wet vacuum it became clear more work would be needed under the stairs where our buffing machine struggled to reach. To tackle this handheld diamond burnishing blocks were used, again lubricated with a little water.

After doing this the floor was inspected again and I decided to repeat the whole cleaning process one more time with extra focus on the yellow border tiles, that were still heavily soiled. I found the handheld diamond blocks were ideal for spot cleaning the ingrained dirt and bring them back to life. After a final rinse and extraction of the floor I was happy the floor was as clean as it could be and was left to dry off overnight so it would be ready for sealing the next day.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

On day two the floor was tested for moisture with a damp meter to make sure it was dry and therefore ready to accept a sealer. All was well and having previously discussed sealers with the client we opted to apply Tile Doctor Colour Grow. There were two reasons for this, primarily she wanted all the colours in the floor to stand out and secondly we wanted to ensure the floor would allow any moisture to rise thorough the tile which is an important requirement for these old floors which don’t have a damp proof membrane. Tile Doctor Colour Grow is fully breathable and as its name suggests it enhances the colour so clearly is an ideal choice for the floor. Four Coats were applied and as you can see from the pictures the floor now looks amazing.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Renovation Glynneath

Although the floor looked fantastic the sale of the property had to go on hold due to the Covid-19 epidemic. This also impacted the work we do however since then Tile Doctor have implemented several measure to ensure we can continue to work safely in people’s homes, so if you need any work doing, do get in touch to discuss how we can safely move your project forward.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Renovation Glynneath

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Swansea

Diamond Pattern Victorian Hallway Floor Renovated in Llanelli

This job was carried out in a terraced property in Llanelli which had a Victorian Tiled Hallway laid in a diamond pattern that looking worse for wear and in need of some attention. The clients were a young couple who had moved in two years previously and had only recently decided they wanted the floor renovated. This was earlier in the year, so I was able to pop over to the property and take a detailed look at the floor before recommending a course of action to renovate the tiles.

Victorian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Llanelli

Upon arrival the first thing we noticed was that the border had been laid with an inconsistent pattern, non- matching tiles had been patched in essentially filling voids as you can see in the images. The floor wasn’t terribly dirty however it wasn’t very clean either.

I discussed with the client replacing the non-matching tiles, so the floor pattern was uniform however they decided against it and were happy to just to have it cleaned and sealed. We can usually source either reclaimed original tiles or some great reproduction ones, so most floors can be restored if needed. I worked out a quote for the work and they were happy to go ahead.

If you have never been you should know that Llanelli is the largest town in the county of Carmarthenshire and famous for Rugby and the production of Tin. It is located on the Loughor Estuary, some 10 miles from Swansea and 12 miles from Carmarthen.

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

With no tiling to do the first job was to protect the woodwork such as skirting and staircase with tape. Once done the process of cleaning began with the application of a 400-grit burnishing pad fitted to a buffing machine. The process is lubricated with water and the pad run over the whole floor two to three times to remove dirt and refine the appearance of the tile. Even after the first application of the pad we could see a massive improvement to the appearance of the tiles. To get right into the edges of the tiled floor we use a 400-grit handheld diamond block, this proved especially useful under the stairs where our buffer machine could not reach.

During this process, the water turns into a fine slurry which is rinsed off with more water and extracted with a wet vacuum. On this occasion the floor was not dirty enough to require any chemicals, the use of water and the machine was enough to get the floor cleaned up.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

This job was very straight forward, and we did not run into any problems at all. After allowing the floor to dry out for 24 hours we returned to seal the tiles checking first that the floor was sufficiently dry first using a damp meter. Fortunately, the burnishing method uses a lot less water than a chemical clean, so I was able to get straight on with sealing.

The client wanted a satin sheen finish, so I applied four coats of Tile Doctors Seal and Go which works well on Victorian tiles. The sealer really put the life back into the tiles and will protect them from staining going forward. It will also make the floor much easier to maintain and keep it looking good for much longer.

Victorian Tiled Floor After Cleaning Llanelli

I’m pleased to say the owners were very happy with the floor and recommended us to one of their friends who we also did some work for. For aftercare I recommended the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner. This is an everyday tile cleaning product that is sealer friendly and not prematurely reduce the life of the sealer which can happen with many household cleaning products which are simply too strong.

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Carmarthenshire

Neglected Victorian Tiled Hallway Restored and Extended in Bridgend

This client had recently moved into an older property in Bridgend and having pulled up the previous hallway covering had found a heavily soiled Victorian tiled floor underneath. However, for some reason we never discovered the answer to it only ran from the porch to the foot of the stairs which I guess explains why it had been covered up and neglected.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Extending in Bridgend

The client asked if we would be able to restore the existing Victorian floor and if would be possible to extend the tiling throughout the hall continuing the original pattern. Cleaning the original floor and completing the tiling work didn’t present a problem however it can be tricky finding tiles to match the pattern of the original floor. Unsure if it could be done, I offered to do some research and get back to him once I had found a workable solution.

Fortunately, there are still a few suppliers that produce tiles and after speaking with other members of the Tile Doctor network I was able to source matching tiles. The owner was still keen to proceed and so I agreed a price, placed an order for the tiles and scheduled a date to start the work.

Cleaning and Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Before starting the tiling work, I applied a latex levelling compound to bring the height of the floor we were going to lay up, level and flush with the existing Victorian floor. After allowing the latex to dry and now having an equally level surface, we were ready to begin laying.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Extention in Bridgend Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Extention in Bridgend

Laying a tiled floor to match an existing pattern is a tricky process as your constantly having to check the geometry of the pattern as well as keeping everything in line with our levels. Another issue we ran into with this job was the new tiles that we had ordered, all differed in width from the originals which made it a very long strenuous process having to cut them to fit.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Extention in Bridgend Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Extention in Bridgend

Once the floor was laid and had dried out it was time to turn our attention to the original floor which needed several deep cleans. For this we used Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was worked in with a black scrubbing pad to release all the ingrained dirt from the tile. The dirt was then rinsed off and extracted with a wet vacuum.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The job took eight days in total and ended with the application of five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go sealer. Each coat is left to dry before applying the next. This seal gives the floor protection and a lovely finish. This final step of sealing really brought both floors together and left the subtle sheen finish the client requested.

For aftercare I left the client a bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner, which we recommend for cleaning sealed tiled floors. Neutral clean has a pH neutral formula which won’t harm the sealer like stronger cleaners which can prematurely strip a sealer off the floor.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Extention in Bridgend

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Swansea

Victorian Tiled Floor Hidden Under Parquet Restored in Llansamlet

This client in Llansamlet wanted to remove their existing parquet flooring as they were aware there was a Victorian tiled floor underneath. They were keen to see if we could clean and refurbish the original tiled floor dating back to the early 1920s that had been covered over in the 70s. Whilst they liked the Parquet floor, having seen their neighbours property they were really keen to recover the floor as an original feature.

I paid a visit to the property and whilst there we lifted a section of Parquet to see how easily they would come up. It was certainly possible to remove the floor, but it was clear the biggest issue would be removing the sticky bitumen that the parquet tiles had been stuck down with. Having said that I knew from previous experience it could be done, although it would be time consuming, so I gave them a price which they were happy with and we scheduled a date to return.

Victorian Tiled Floor Hidden Under Parquet Before Restoration Llansamlet Victorian Tiled Floor Hidden Under Parquet Before Restoration Llansamlet

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

On the first day we got to work, starting by protecting the skirting and woodwork to avoid getting bitumen residue on them. Upon removal of the Parquet we got to grips with the bitumen adhesive which was used to stick the parquet to the tile. This didn’t disappoint and proved to be a very stubborn. We found the best way to deal with it was to start by carefully scraping off as much of the solidified bitumen with a blade as possible. This left a residual bitumen layer that could not be fully removed but was weakened with the application of white spirit to bleed the bitumen, a time-consuming exercise but the results are there for all to see.

Once all the bitumen was removed, we used diamond burnishing pads starting on a 400-grit pad and finishing on an 800-grit pad using water to lubricate. This removes and T-Cuts the surface of the floor. The resultant soil was rinsed off the tiles and extracted with a wet vacuum. This was a long task but thankfully the floor underneath was looking pretty good.

Victorian Tiled Floor Hidden Under Parquet During Restoration Llansamlet Victorian Tiled Floor Hidden Under Parquet During Restoration Llansamlet

We then neutralized the floor with water and were careful to make sure there was no bitumen residue remaining. The floor was left for 24 hours to dry off fully before sealing.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The customer specified they wanted a durable satin finish for the floor so I applied Tile Doctor Seal and Go which we recommend for Victorian tiles. This product is specially formulated water-based blend of acrylic polymers which provides both a stain resistant surface seal and a durable low-sheen finish. The seal ensures this heavy traffic area will be protected.

The customer was thrilled with the transformation.

Victorian Tiled Floor Hidden Under Parquet After Restoration Llansamlet

For regular cleaning I recommended the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which is formulated for use with sealed surfaces and won’t prematurely break down the sealer which is the problem with many supermarket cleaning products.

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Swansea

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

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Renovated in Swansea

This is a great example of a classic Victorian Tiled Hallway and shows just how hard wearing and durable these floors are. The floor had been installed at a house in Swansea what must have been well over a hundred years ago and was now very badly soiled however I knew from experience that with the right techniques and products they can be given a new lease of life.

Victorian Tiled hallway floor before cleaning Swansea
We mainly use diamond burnishing pads on original Victorian tiles these days, the alternative is to use cleaning products however that method tends to use a lot of water and can aggravate an issue known as efflorescence whereby salts from the sub floor are carried up through the tile as moisture evaporates leaving white salt stains on the surface of the floor. This is not a problem with modern floors as they are usually have a damp proof membrane installed under the floor which prevents damp.

Deep Cleaning Victorian Hallway Tiles

To restore the appearance of the Victorian tiles I started with the application of a coarse 200-Grit diamond encrusted burnishing pad which cuts through the dirt and removes surface staining. The pad is run over the tiles using water to lubricate and then the floor rinsed afterwards to remove the soil that is generated. The soil is then extracted off the floor with a wet vacuum. This is 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, again the pad is applied with water and then the flor rinsed afterwards to remove the soiling and the water is extracted using a wet vacuum.

The next step was to give the floor an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel, the acid neutralises the alkaline mineral salts in the floor and reduces the chance of efflorescence occurring, After being scrubbed into the floor the gel is rinsed off the floor using water which is then quickly extracted with the wet vacuum.

The floor was left to dry off overnight and I came back the next day to apply the sealer.

Sealing Victorian Floor Tiles

Before starting the sealing process it’s important to check the floor is dry first for which I use a hand-help damp tester. I find it’s a good idea to take readings from various parts of the floor before I start a job so I can establish a normal background level for the floor.

All was well so the floor was sealed using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the pores in the clay tile thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there. This particular sealer also enhances the natural colours in the tile and is fully breathable which is important in these situations where you need moisture to evaporate through the tile and not become trapped underneath where it could work its way into the walls of the house.

Victorian Tiled hallway floor after cleaning Swansea
It’s worth knowing that if you do experience effluence salts which are more likely in the damp winter weather, then they can be mopped off the floor before they harden without any damage to the sealer itself.

 

Victorian Tiled Floor Rejuvenated in Glamorgan

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Swansea Tile Doctor

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