Victorian Tile Cleaning

Welcome to my Work History archive where you will find detailed examples of the cleaning and renovation of Victorian tiles carried out in Leicestershire

Cleaning and Renovating Victorian Tiles

Commonly found in the hallways of oldder UK properties Victorian tiles are very hard wearing and can provide a classic look to any space. We often find that the beauty of these tiles are hidden under years of grime and neglect and are often covered up with carpets etc as tastes have changed over the years. If this sounds familiar then all is not lost as they can be restored.

The standard bearer for quality Victorian tiles was a firm called Minton Hollins, an English manufacturer who made a very good product which lasted the test of time. Victorian building practices however did not include the use of damp proof membranes and we often find damp can be a major issue with these old floors leading to salt problems known as efflorescence.

Common problems we face when restoring Victorian tiles are the removal of carpet glue, paint splashes and cement. Loose and cracked tiles can also be a problem however due to their popularity we usually find finding replacement tiles isn’t a problem.

Below you will find detailed examples of work we have carried out in the past, it should give you some idea of what’s involved and what can be achieved with the right techniques and products.

Craven Dunhill Victorian Tiled Floor Before and After Renovation Birstall

Edwardian Geometric Craven Dunhill Tile Restoration in Birstall

I took these pictures earlier in the year when a homeowner got in touch requesting repairs to a Geometric Tiled Hallway floor at their property in Birstall, Leicestershire.

The tiles were made by Craven Dunhill back in the Edwardian Era, a company which is still in operation today. They are an original Victorian Geometric & Encaustic Tile manufacturer and have been operating from their facility in Jackfield, Telford since 1872. The tiles were a lovely example of their work but clearly the tiles were now in need of some work to bring them back to their former glory.

I popped along to the property to have a look at the floor in person, survey the floor and produce an accurate quote for renovating it. I could see there was damage to border tiles from tacks, fixing holes and resin adhesive which indicated the floor had been covered by a carpet at some point in its long history. The main body of the floor also had movement cracks, and a section in front of the stairs had dropped considerably. This was loose underfoot and a trip hazard.

Craven Dunhill Geometric Tiled Hallway Floor Before Repair Birstall Craven Dunhill Geometric Tiled Hallway Floor Before Repair Birstall

After surveying the floor, I was able to give the owners an accurate quote for repairing and restoring the floor back to its original condition. They were happy with the quote and we agreed a date for my return. Original features like these are well worth preserving as they are very sought after and add a lot of value to a property, especially when the tiles are from a respected manufacturer like Craven Dunhill or Mintons.

Cleaning and Repairing an Edwardian Era Geometric Tiled Hallway Floor

Arriving on the first day, we prepared the area by taping off the surrounding areas with dust sheets. We then began the careful process of repairing the floor starting with the removal of the damaged and loose tiles.

Craven Dunhill Geometric Tiled Hallway Floor Before Repair Birstall

With the tiles removed the next step was to repair the damage to the subfloor using cement to fill the voids and raise the lowered section. Once this has dried the tiling was replaced using a combination of original and replacement tiles. As the manufacturer was still in business the client had managed to source some replacements tiles which made the job a lot easier to complete and would ensure the heritage of the restoration.

Craven Dunhill Geometric Tiled Hallway Floor During Repair Birstall Craven Dunhill Geometric Tiled Hallway Floor During Repair Birstall

Once the tiles had been replaced you could really see the floor was starting to come together and I we were all looking forward to seeing the finished result.

With the repairs completed we carried out a low-moisture restorative clean and seal using Tile Doctors Remove and Go and Acid Gel products along with light diamond pads. This two-stage process remove the build-up of soiling and sealers. Following this the floor was thoroughly rinsed, and the waste extracted with a wet vacuum. The floor was then left for a few days to dry out.

Sealing an Edwardian Era Geometric Tiled Hallway Floor

We retuned a few days later and tested the floor with the damp meter to check the floor was ready for the seal. The readings were acceptable and so we were able to finish the floor by apply a protecting sealer. For this floor we selected to use Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the tile intensifies the colours and providing durable protection from within. Colour Grow is fully breathable sealer which is a vital consideration for floors of this age which do not have a damp proof membrane installed.

Craven Dunhill Geometric Tiled Hallway Floor After Repair Birstall

The work took us a week to complete and by the end floor was level and the lovely patten, colours and appearance of the floor was restored as promised. The owners were very happy with the results and new sealer will help protect the floor for up to 5 years if properly maintained with our Tile Doctor pH Neutral Tile Cleaning Concentrate.

Craven Dunhill Geometric Tiled Hallway Floor After Repair Birstall


Professional Restoration of a Craven Dunhill Tiled Hallway in Leicestershire

Edwardian Geometric Craven Dunhill Tile Restoration in Birstall Read More »

Restoring a Broken and Damaged Edwardian Geometric Tiled Floor in Quorn

Our customers typically ask us a lot of questions about their tiled floors with the most common being “Can it be restored?” This reflects the UK trend to restore period features in older properties including original tiled floors dating back several decades and sometimes over a century. These floors are, as you might expect, usually worse for wear but – importantly to know – they can in most circumstances be salvaged and even restored to look even better than when they were first installed.

Here’s a good example of this at a property in Quorn (not to be confused with meat substitute product), a town in Leicestershire situated near to the university town of Loughborough. Over three days we restored a beautiful black and white geometric Edwardian tiled hallway floor back to its former glory. Our customer had discovered the badly damaged and dirty floor after lifting the laminate wood flooring in the hallway, and we were called in to provide repairs and restorative cleaning and sealing.

Black White Edwardian Geometric Floor Before Restoration Quorn
A number of matching tiles would be required for this job so before beginning the work, we advised the customer as to where suitable replacements could be sourced.

Repairing and Cleaning a Damaged Edwardian Tiled Floor

To begin, we carefully removed the cracked concrete fill, before cleaning up the substrate and using a self-levelling compound to restore the surface to the point that new tiles could be installed. The damaged tiles along the edge of the recess were carefully cut out and removed. Using the modern reproduction tiles, we patched the area to complete the repairs to the floor. We also had to cut many tiles to size to achieve the best fit.

Next, we set about cleaning the tiles to restore a pre-soiled appearance to the floor. This was done using Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel, a strong alkaline-based gel cleaner that is used to break down dirt and grime. We chose to use this product over the similar alkaline-based cleaner Tile Doctor Pro-Clean because Oxy-Gel is gel based and therefore contains less moisture and therefore would exacerbate inherent damp issues in the old floor. The cleaner was left to dwell for a short period before being agitated with a scrubbing pad, and the resulting soiled cleaning solution was then soaked up using a wet vacuum.

Black White Edwardian Geometric Floor During Restoration Quorn
The floor was then allowed to dry off overnight, ready for sealing the following day.

Sealing an Edwardian Tiled Floor

Upon returning the next day, we checked for any excess moisture that may have delayed us from sealing the floor. Thankfully the tiles were dry and could be sealed with Tile Doctor Colour Grow, our colour intensifying, solvent-based impregnating sealer which is highly durable and provides an aesthetically pleasing natural matte finish. Three coats were applied to offer maximum protection.

Black White Edwardian Geometric Floor After Restoration Quorn
As you can see from the photographs, the restoration was a fantastic success. We left the ecstatic customer with a Tile Doctor maintenance guide, as well as with a litre of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner for regular cleaning. Correctly diluted, this product effectively cleans without effecting the integrity of the sealer.

Repair and Restoration of an Edwardian Tiled Hallway in Leicestershire

Restoring a Broken and Damaged Edwardian Geometric Tiled Floor in Quorn Read More »

Old Victorian Tiled Floor Restored In A Hinckley Public House

Here’s a really interesting commercial job for you, which I recently completed in the town of Hinckley, Leicestershire. I was asked to take a look at a Victorian Geometric and Encaustic tiled floor in the historic Queen’s Head pub.

This floor is over a century old and although in good condition for its age had suffered significant wear over the years, along with some cracked tiles and slight inherent moisture issues. What the pub landlord requested was a restorative clean to alleviate the aesthetically damaging effect of the wear, and to enhance the natural colours of the stone. I was also asked to seal the floor following the clean to achieve a semi-gloss finish.

Victorian Tiled Public House Floor Before Cleaning in Hinckley

Cleaning an old Victorian tiled floor

The first step in the cleaning process was to mix a strong solution of one part Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to four parts clean water. Pro-Clean is a high alkaline cleaner which also contains stripping properties, allowing it to break down old sealer and tackle heavy soil build-up. The solution was applied to the floor and left to dwell for 15 minutes, giving it times to seep into the stone, get underneath the dirt and lift it to the surface.

I addressed several paint spots and areas suffering from glue contamination by using Tile Doctor Remove & Go, which is specially formulated to break down paint and adhesives on unpolished natural stone floors, amongst others. The entire floor was then scrubbed using a special floor cleaning pad, and the resulting slurry was vacuumed away using a wet-vac machine.

The final issue to deal with was the inherent efflorescence staining. This was treated using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up, an acid-based product which removes not just efflorescence but also grout haze, mineral deposits, and rust stains. The solution here was one part Grout Clean-Up diluted with four parts water.

After completing the clean, I thoroughly rinsed the floor with clean water to remove any trace of cleaning product and dried the floor as much as possible with a wet vacuum, then before leaving for the day i installed a couple of air movers to assist with drying overnight.

Sealing an old Victorian tiled floor

Upon my return the following day, I checked the floor for any excess moisture before sealing it with our topical, semi-gloss finish sealer, known as Seal & Go Extra which due to its formula is ideal for external or old internal floors where there is unlikely to be damp from membrane.

This unique product provides excellent protection, and allows the tiles to breath where floors are suffering from inherent moisture issues. It is suitable for both internal and external use, on Victorian floor tiles, Sandstone, Flagstones, Terracotta, and rough Slate.

Victorian Tiled Public House Floor After Cleaning in Hinckley
As you can see from the photo, I was able to fulfil my client’s request to a high standard, bringing the pub’s old yet characterful Victorian tiled floor back to life again.

Commercial floor cleaning and sealing at a Public House in in Leicestershire

Old Victorian Tiled Floor Restored In A Hinckley Public House Read More »


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