I recently worked on the restoration of a Victorian tiled hallway in Cwmbran Wales which is six miles North of Newport. As you can see from the photographs the floor was in quite a neglected dirty state and many of the the black and white border tiles needed removing and replacing. The worst part was the area by the front door where most of the tiles had been removed and then backfilled with concrete. I can only assume at some point in the past it was deemed to difficult or expensive to restore the floor, so they simply covered it up.
After visiting to survey the floor I did offer to source replacements for the concreted section and restore that as part of the work however my client’s budget would not stretch to that at the time. My quote was therefore focused on the main section of flooring and included replacing border tiles, deep cleaning the whole floor and then sealing the tiles to add protection. Although I did need to check that I could indeed source the replacement tiles before being able to provide the quote which as it turned out would not be an issue.
They were happy to go ahead and we arranged a suitable time to carry out the work which would enable me to work in the property whilst minimising contact with the owners due to the Covid-19 situation.
Cleaning/Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
I spend the first day sorting out the black and white border tiles which needed to be gently prised out of position without upsetting the main part of the floor. The exposed subfloor was then cleaned up to remove old adhesive and replacements were fitted where required and secured into place. The floor would need to be solid before cleaning so that was left for day two so the new adhesive could go off overnight.
On day two I gave the floor an initial clean using a combination of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and Remove and Go diluted with water. This produces a strong cleaner/stripper that will tackle dirt and remove coatings such as previous sealers. The old tiles had accumulated years of ingrained dirt, so I needed this extra power to remove the years of dirt and contaminates from the tile. It was sprayed onto the tiles and then left to soak in for ten minutes before being actively scrubbed into the tile using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The soil was then rinsed off with water and extracted with a wet vacuum. The floor was inspected, and the process repeated on the tough stains until I was satisfied all the dirt had been removed.
Next the floor was treated to an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel using a similar method as before. This is an important treatment for these old Victorian floors that have no damp proof course as it neutralises efflorescent salts trapped in the tile which can appear as white salt deposits later. Once I was happy with the condition of the floor it was given a final rinse and left to dry off. I use a wet vacuum to remove liquids from the floor and on this last extraction I spent extra time to remove as much moisture from the tiles as possible.
Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
I came back a few days later and after checking the tiles were dry using a damp meter, I started the application of the sealer. For this floor I applied seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go for a satin finish. Tile Doctor Seal and Go is a specially formulated water-based sealer that provides both stain resistance and a durable low-sheen finish. It is perfect on a floor of this age where it leaves a lovely finish and will remain durable in what is a essentially a high traffic area.
Although we didn’t manage to sort out the area by the front door the client managed to fit a made to measure coir door mat along with carpet bar which was quite practical and looked fine so they were able to resolve that problem without blowing their budget.
The client was over the moon with results, the floor had a lovely pattern and the colours now shone through. I suggested the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner to keep the floor clean and in good condition. It is neutral in pH so will ensure that the newly applied sealer stays in place and will ensure maintenance is nice and easy for them.