victorian tiles

Restoring a Neglected Victorian Tiled Hallway in Cwmbran

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.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Entrance Before Renovation Cwmbran Wales

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.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Renovation Cwmbran Wales Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Renovation Cwmbran Wales

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.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Renovation Cwmbran Wales

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.


Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Monmouthshire

Black and White Patterned Victorian Tiles Restored in Newport

At Tile Doctor, we often come across Victorian tiled hallways in need of restoration. They’re very popular due to their timeless and unique patterns – and as a result are still in production, having first being produced in the 19th century. While many have been maintained in their original state since first being laid (which is sometimes over a century ago), others have been hidden by carpet or linoleum for many years, only to be uncovered by new property owners.

In this case, at a property in Newport – the port city of South East Wales – the Victorian tiled hallway had not been subject to an effective cleaning plan leaving the fantastic white and black checkered pattern grubby and unsightly. I was asked if I could help bring it back to life – and I was happy to oblige!

Victorian floor before cleaning Newport

Cleaning a Dirty Victorian Tiled Hallway

I started the restoration by applying a strong cleaning solution combined from mixing two Tile Doctor products in equal parts namely Remove and Go and Pro Clean. Together they create a powerful sealer remover and cleaner to break down any remaining old sealers, paint whilst lifting ingrained dirt and muck from the pores of the tile.

The two products were worked into the tiles using firstly a 17 inch black buffing pad to remove the initial layer of dirt, followed by a 6 inch buffing pad, wire brush, and hand-held scrapper to remove the more stubborn specks of paint and dirt. The resultant slurry was then rinsed away with water and a wet vacuum and stubborn areas retreated until I was satisfied. The results were great so after a final rinse I left tiles to dry off.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway

A couple of days later, after leaving the tiles to dry completely, I went back to the property to seal the floor. I checked first for any excess moisture as this can cloud the sealer and prevent it from acting an effective barrier against dirt and stains.

My choice of sealer included one coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow to restore the rich colour to the black and white tiles, followed by seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go to provide an aesthetically pleasing sheen finish. Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that penetrates the pores of the tile to fill them and prevent dirt becoming trapped, while Seal and Go is a topical sealer that builds up an additional layer of protection on the surface of the tiles.

Victorian floor after cleaning Newport
The combination of fresh sealers, preceded by a deep and thorough clean, really helped to restore these Victorian tiles to a condition in which they could be easily mistaken for newly laid! The customer was very pleased and undoubtedly will be looking forward to showing off the tiles to friends and family.

Professional Victorian Tiled Floor Restoration by Monmouthshire Tile Doctor

Lifeless Victorian Tiled Hallway Rejuvenated in the Caldicot

I was asked to take a look at this fantastic classic Victorian tiled floor at an old vicarage in Caldicot which was built in the early 1800s, the floor was structurally sound but was now looking washed out and overdue some TLC.

Victorian floor tile before deep cleaning Caldicot

Repairing and Cleaning Dirty Victorian Tiles

I started by using a 50/50 mixture of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and Remove and Go diluted with water to create a powerful stripper/cleaner that would take off any remaining old sealer and many years’ worth of dirt. I followed the usual process of applying the solution, allowing it to dwell for then minutes and then scrubbing it in with a scrbubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor machine.

The thin grout lines were also treated with the same solution but scrubbed with a stiff brush by hand. This process released the dirt from the tile which was then rinsed away using more water and a wet vacuum to extract the solution from the floor. I then repeated the process until satisfied the floor was clean.

A couple of days later I went back to seal the floor but on removing the dust sheets I could see much of the floor was covered in effervescence from the salts that had risen up through the tile as it dried. I could not seal the floor like that so I applied tile doctor’s new Acid Gel product to get rid the problem.

Sealing Victorian Tiles

A couple of days later I returned again and this time I was able to proceed and sealed the Victorian tiles using eight coats of Seal and Go which adds a nice subtle sheen to the tiles and will protect the floor going forward.

Victorian floor tile after cleaning and sealing Caldicot
The floor now looks much fresher and the sealer should keep it looking that way for some time to come.

Professional Victorian Tiled Floor Cleaning in Monmouthshire

Classic Victorian Patterned Tiles Rejuvenated in Newport

This black and red Victorian tiled hallway at a property in Newport, the third largest city in Wales, had a timeless charm about it, and a classic diamond pattern. Unfortunately, the tiles had lost their colour, leaving them looking dull and lifeless. It was clear to me, upon further inspection, that the existing sealer had failed, allowing dirt to become trapped in the pores of tile.

This can be a very difficult problem to rectify without the right professional assistance; everyday household cleaners are rarely suitable for sealed floors and acidic cleaners can actually male the problem worse. The tiles needed a deep clean with strong products, followed by a fresh, robust surface seal to prevent dirt from becoming trapped again in the future.

Victorian Hallway Floor Newport Before

Cleaning a Dirty Victorian Tiled Floor

I started cleaning the tiles with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean, worked in to the stone as per usual by using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. Pro Clean is a reliable alkaline cleaner that works well on most kinds of natural stone, and while I could see it made a difference here, it was clear something stronger was required to remove what was left of the old sealer.

To remove this, I applied a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which is a dedicated stripper that is safe to use on tile and stone for the purposes of breaking down old sealers, waxes, paints, and adhesives, and this proved effective in getting rid of all the old sealer.

Once the cleaning was complete, I rinsed the floor thoroughly to remove any trace of chemicals left over from the cleaning products, before leaving it to dry overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

I came back to the property the next day and, after checking the floor was completely dry, I proceeded to seal the floor using eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This types of sealer is known as ‘topical’, which means that it builds up a solid layer of protection on the surface of the tile. Topical sealers tend to be more suitable to Victorian and Quarry tiles as they typically require a lot of sealer due to their porosity and these types of sealer are less costly. Seal and Go also adds a nice aesthetically pleasing low sheen finish.

Victorian Hallway Floor Newport After
As you can see from the second photo, this did wonders to the tiles and really brought this classic Victorian pattern back to life. Another satisfied client for the Monmouthshire Tile Doctor.

Professional Cleaning and Sealing of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Monmouthshire

Lifeless Victorian Tiled Hallway Rejuvenated in the Forest of Dean

This Victorian tiled hallway at a house in the Forest of Dean had a very interesting pattern, consisting of an array of different colours, including shades of red, yellow and blue. Unfortunately, as you can see from the first photograph below, the tiles had lost all life, with the colours largely masked by months’ – or maybe even years’ – worth of ingrained dirt and muck. The floor as a whole was also suffering from a number of loose tiles that needed to be reset before it could be cleaned.

The property owner was keen to employ some professional assistance to restore the appearance of the floor and prevent it from getting in an even wrote state, and so contacted Tile Doctor who have a lot of experience working with Victorian tiled floors.

Victorian Floor Forest of Dean Before

Repairing and Cleaning Dirty Victorian Tiles

As mentioned, the loose tiles had to be repaired before the cleaning process could be started. I removed the tiles and extracted excess grout and old adhesive from the exposed concrete substrate using a vacuum, before putting the original tiles back into place and fixing them back into position carefully using fresh adhesive and matching grout.

Once happy the replaced tiles had set, I started the process of cleaning the entire area of hallway tiles using a combination of Tile Doctor Remove and Go to strip away the old sealer and Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU (formerly Ultra Clean) remover to get the tiles as clean as possible. The latter product contains nano-sized cleaning particles (hence the name) to reach difficult areas of trapped dirt, making it more effective than your run-of-the-mill tile cleaner. These two products were scrubbed into the tiles using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The floor was then rinsed with water and the soiled residue was extracted with a wet vacuum.

I then paid particular attention to the grout, applying our alkaline-based multi-purpose cleaner Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to the grout lines, before scrubbing them with a narrow grout brush. This quickly had the grout looking clean again: I’d even go as far as to say that it matched it seamlessly with the fresh grout that had just been laid.

With the tile and grout as clean as it was possible to get it, I gave the whole floor a final rinse to neutralise the excess chemicals. I extracted as much water as possible with a wet vacuum and left the floor to dry overnight.

Sealing Victorian Tiles

My first task upon returning to the property the next day was to check for any dampness. If you neglect to remove all excess moisture from the surface of the tiles before sealing it is more than likely going to cloud the sealer, rendering it less effective I’m protecting the stone against ingrained dirt and stains.

Once satisfied that the floor was completely dry, I proceeded to seal the tiles using multiple costs of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. Seal and Go is what we would classify as a topical sealer, meaning it rests on the surface of the tiles to act as a durable layer of protection against all kinds of muck. While providing surface protection, Seal and Go also adds a nice subtle sheen to the tiles, as per the customer’s request.

Victorian Floor Forest of Dean After
The customer was quite amazed at how quickly the appearance of the tiles had been restored. It was fantastic to see the colours we both knew were hidden in the tiles come to life once again. Another satisfied customer for sure!

Professional Victorian Tiled Floor Restoration in the Monmouthshire

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