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

Nine Year Old Chinese Slate Floor Renovated in Chepstow

The tiles pictured are Chinese Slate which were laid in the Kitchen of a house in Chepstow around nine years ago. The town of Chepstow is located on the Welsh side of the River Seven and has the River Wye running through it.

Chinese Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Chepstow

The floor had not been professionally cleaned and sealed since installation. During this time the old sealer had mostly worn off allowing dirt to get into the pores of the stone leaving it looking dull, uninviting and dirty. The grout lines had also collected dirt and many of the lines had darkened.

Chinese Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Chepstow

I discussed with the client the process to get the floor cleaned and restored and demonstrated the effectiveness of the process on a small test area. They were impressed and were happy to go ahead with my quote, so we scheduled in the work which would take two days.

Cleaning a Chinese Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

To get the floor clean and remove what was left of the old sealer I first made the floor wet and then added a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mixed with Tile Doctor Remove and Go to give it extra power. This cleaning cocktail was left to soak into the tiles for ten minutes before being scrubbed in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine and by hand where necessary. This combination works well on really dirty floors such as this.

The scrubbing action released the years of dirt from the pores of the Slate and it wasn’t long before the cleaning solution turned black. This was then extracted off the floor using a wet vacuum. We then gave the floor a thorough inspection. There were one or two areas that were particularly stubborn, so these areas were retreated using the same process and the grout scrubbed by hand using more Tile Doctor Pro Clean.

The floor was then given another rinse with water and then dried as much as possible with the wet vacuum. This got the floor dry, but it would need to be completely dry before sealing so it was then left to dry off fully overnight.

Sealing a Chinese Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

I came back the next day to seal the floor first checking the moisture level of the stone by taking readings with a damp meter to ensure it was dry. I chose to use Tile Doctor Colour Grow for the sealer as the colour enhancing formula would be the best product to bring out the natural colours in the Chinese slate. Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer which will provides durable protection as well as allowing the surface to breath. Three coats were applied, allowing each to dry before applying the next one.

Chinese Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Chepstow

The client was so happy, so much that she said it looked better than when first laid!

I discussed aftercare with her and recommended the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner, it’s pH balanced so it won’t prematurely erode the sealer which can be the problem with stronger products you find in supermarkets. It comes in concentrated form so one bottle lasts a long time.

Chinese Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Chepstow


Professional Restoration of a Chinese Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor in Monmouthshire

Restoring a Terrazzo Porch in Newport

This was an unusual request to bring back to life a Terrazzo porch entrance that was installed by the customers father many years earlier at a house in Newport. The installation resembled very colourful crazy paving which was very popular in the 70’s but if you look closely you can see it has more in common with Terrazzo due to the inlaid stone which has been ground down within the concrete base.

Terrazzo Porch Entrance Before Cleaning

Years of exposure to the elements had left much of the stone and concrete discoloured and almost black in places. I discussed with the client how we would be able to clean the area and we agreed a price for the work which would take a day to complete assuming the weather held. Being an external job, I would need a warm day before coming back, this would ensure it dried easily.

Cleaning a Terrazzo Tiled Porch Floor

Thankfully for once the forecast was correct and the weather was good on the day, we had booked in to complete the job. To restore the appearance first I used a set of diamond burnishing pads with water to grind off the dirt and refine the appearance of the stone and aggregate. I used a variety of pads with different grades of grit to ensure the floor was as clean as possible rinsing the slurry off the floor after each pad. The transformation was dramatic. The patio was then rinsed with water to remove the slurry that was generated, and I used a wet vacuum to extract it.

This process took much of the morning, it made a pleasant change to work outside in the fresh air, most of our jobs tend to be indoors. After a final rinse I left the porch to dry out in the sun over lunch and came back in the afternoon to seal.

Sealing a Terrazzo Tiled Porch Floor

First, I checked the floor had dried out with a moisture meter, it was within the acceptable levels, so had the green light to processed and seal the floor. Since cleaning it really was starting to look like a nice feature.

To seal the patio, I used a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which works well externally as it copes with damp conditions. It’s a colour intensifying impregnating sealer that provides durable protection to the surface as well as allowing the floor to breath. You can see from the photograph below how just how well Colour Grow improved the colours in the stone. Once I had finished it looked like a new installation.

Terrazzo Porch Entrance After Cleaning

The client was over the moon I had managed to get the area looking this good. He said he could remember when it was laid, and his dad would be very proud of it now. It had definitely stood the test of time.


Professional Restoration of a Terrazzo Tiled Porch in Monmouthshire

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