Many of our Southeast towns such as Tonbridge grew significantly in the Victorian era, especially with the arrival of the railways and so we come across original Victorian tiled floors a lot particularly in hallways and vestibules. Victorian tiled floors are very durable but over the years daily wear leaves them in poor condition, the good news is thought they respond well to restoration.
Here we have an entrance hallway which over the years has been butted with many different types of flooring and in the process had suffered. Additionally, there was a poor cement repair between the wooden floor and the Victorian tiles which was cracked, and the client wanted it removing and the area restored with matching tiles.
Sourcing replacement Victorian tiles is not a problem with our contacts in the industry so once a plan was agreed I set about looking for reclaimed tiles to match the existing. Once a I had managed to track down suitable matching replacements a date was set for the work to commence.
Cleaning and Repairing a Victorian Tiled Vestibule Floor
Before I could start cleaning the floor it made sense to do the repairs first. This in itself took two days of intricate work and involved carefully removing the cement and damaged tiles, cleaning up the subfloor. Once done I was able to cut the replacement tiles and then rebuilding the tiles into what was essentially a jigsaw puzzle. It was important to match the existing tile pattern to ensure the repair is invisible and to the highest standard.
Once that was done and the tile adhesive was set, I was able to clean the whole floor using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go to remove the hundred years of worn in grime. I followed my usual process of allowing it to soak in for ten minutes before scrubbing it in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. It is a very effective product particularly on heavy dirt build-up and removing old sealers as in this example. It wasn’t long before the cleaning solution turned black with the dirt released from the tiles. I was then able to use the pressure cleaning and extraction equipment fitted into my vehicle to remove the soiling whilst keeping the mess to a minimum.
Sealing a Victorian Tiled Vestibule Floor
Due to the age of the property, there was no damp-proof membrane installed beneath the floor. This limits the choice of sealer that you can use on the floor to one which is fully breathable. Choosing a non-breathable sealer will trap moisture in the floor which can lead spread out to the walls resulting in rising damp.
Having previously discussed sealers with the owner I returned to seal the tiles the next day with Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This is a fully breathable impregnating sealer which soaks into the pores of the tile protecting it from with and enhancing the colours in the process. It’s a durable product that will protect the floor ingrained dirt and staining for many years to come.
Even though it was a small area once it was fully restored it had a big impact on the overall feel of the property in a Grand Designs way. Needless to say, the client was very pleased with the result.