Victorian Tile Cleaning

Black and White Victorian Hallway Restoration in Ladbroke Grove

This property was in theLadbroke Grove area of West London near Kensington. The client had found an old and probably original black and white checkered pattern Victorian tiled floor under their cork tiled flooring. They also reported that it was badly damaged so I thought it would be best if I paid them a visit first to see how extensive the damage was and whether it was repairable. The floor was in a quite a state, the tiles were covered in glue from the cork and had several areas had been back filled with cement.

Black White Victorian Hallway Floor Before Restoration Ladbroke Grove

I reassured them that the damage could be rectified, and that it would be possible to completely restore the floor back to a good standard. I would have to remove the glue, remove the cement that had been used to level the floor and replace with reclaimed tiles to match. They were relieved to find out it could be done and happy with my quote I was instructed to go ahead with the work.

Black White Victorian Hallway Floor Before Restoration Ladbroke Grove

Removing Glue from a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

We started by taping up the skirting boards to protect the woodwork. With this done attention was turned to the glue which was softened using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go so it could be carefully scraped off. Multiple techniques and tools were needed to remove the glue including hand-held scrappers and a black pad fitted to a buffing machine. For the stubborn areas steam was applied to help lift the adhesive out the tile.

Black White Victorian Hallway Floor During Restoration Ladbroke Grove

Once all the glue was removed the floor was rinsed and the alkaline cleaner neutralised with Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up which further cleaned the tiles and removed old traces of grout from the floor. Old floors like this generally don’t have a damp proof membrane underneath so the acids in the Grout Clean-up also counter any efflorescent salts trapped in the tile.

Black White Victorian Hallway Floor During Restoration Ladbroke Grove

Once this was completed the slurry was removed with a wet vacuum and left to fully dry out overnight.

Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The following day focus turned to repairing the areas of the floor where the tiles were missing or broken. The main issue being the cemented areas, we see this a lot with Victorian Hallways and generally what happens is a heating engineer digs out the floor to install pipework. Not being tilers, your average plumber then repairs the floor with a self-levelling cement that brings the level up to the surface of the tile so it can be covered with lino, carpet of in this case cork.

The sub floor was then rebuilt with rapid setting self-levelling compound but this time to below the level of the tile.

Once the new base was dry it was a just a question of re-tiling with the replacement tiles to match the original checkered pattern. The replacement reproduction tiles were sourced from Original Features in Crouch End North London. After grouting we left the floor to dry out over the weekend.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

When we returned to seal the floor our first step was to check the floor was dry using a moisture meter. This is critical as the sealant will not cure correctly if there is too much moisture in the floor. In this case the extra two days we had allowed had done its job and the test had confirmed it was ready to accept a sealer.

The client wanted the floor finish not to be too shiny once sealed so we opted to seal with two coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra. This is good choice for old Victorian floors such as this example as it’s special acrylic-based formula allows for moisture vapour transmission which as mentioned previously is a concern where no damp proof membrane has been installed.

Black White Victorian Hallway After Restoration Ladbroke Grove

I’m please to confirm my clients were delighted with the result, as you can see from the pictures the black and white floor restoration makes for a dramatic entrance well in keeping with the style of the property. For aftercare I recommended the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which will keep the tiles in good condition going forward without damaging the new sealer.

Black White Victorian Hallway fter Restoration Ladbroke Grove


Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Central London

York Pattern Victorian Tiled Hallway Restored in Wanstead, E11

Victorian black and white tiles in the hallway of a house in Wanstead (E11), laid in what is often referred to as the York Pattern with a Kingsley Border, however sadly neglected for many years after being covered with a heavy underlay and carpet.

York Patten Victorian Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Wanstead

Restoring a Victorian Floor

First we cleaned the tiles with a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-clean which releases the dirt stuck in the pores of the tiles; the solution was scrubbed into the floor with a buffer machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad and then the released soil extracted with a wet vacuum. The floor was then rinsed with water and extracted again with the wet vacuum. It was left to dry for thirty minutes and the floor inspected which revealed a few stubborn areas that were then treated using Nano-Tech Heavy Build-up remover (HBU) which was left to dwell for forty minutes and then scrubbed and then extracted again with water.

York Patten Victorian Floor Tiles Before and After Cleaning Wanstead
To Slow down or stop the possibility of an issue we sometimes have with older floors such as Victorian Tiles we often use a product developed by Tile Doctor called Acid Gel, this is left on the surface for 5 minutes and then removed with light agitation and water and a wet vac machine, the floor is then rinsed with water again just to make sure there is no Acid Gel left in the Tile or on the surface. The Acid Gel not only Keeps mineral salts (efflorescence) at bay but also helps as a bonding agent for the sealer to make sealing theses type of tiles a lot easier.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway

After leaving the floor to dry overnight I came back the next day to seal the floor using four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is ideal for Victorian tiled floors as it leaves a low sheen finish whilst providing excellent stain protection.

York Patten Victorian Floor Tiles After Cleaning Wanstead

Victorian Tiled floor Restoration in London

Victorian Hallway Tile Restoration in London W2

This large entrance hall tiled in Victorian black and white floor tiles in London W2 had been quite badly damaged in the past by having a carpet glued and nailed on to it. Many tiles were broken or missing and those missing had been replaced by cement.


Cleaning a Victorian Floor

On the first day of this three day job I removed the cement filling and extracted the nails that remained in the floor. I then stabilised the exposed area with a PVA solution before replacing the missing tiles with replica or salvaged ones to match the floor was swept out and vacuumed to remove all loose debris.

On the second day I cleaned the floor, removing the old carpet glue with Tile Doctor “Remove and Go” which was left to dwell onto the tile for a while to allow it to soak into the tile and break down the adhesive; this was then removed with a wet vacuum. The next step was to clean the tiles using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was worked in with a black srubbing pad to scrub the cleaning solution into the tile and finish off the cleaning process, again the soiled solution was removed with a wet vacuum. Normally by now the floor would of have been clean however In this case the levels of soaked-in old glue and ground-in dirt from decades of use were such that the floor also required steaming, scraping and wire brushing with a Spid brass wire brush before a final clean with another round of Pro-Clean and a black buffing pad fitted to a Numatic buffing machine. This had the desired affect and the last step was to wash the floor down with clean water to remove any remaining chemicals etc.

Sealing a Victorian Floor Sealing

After leaving the floor to dry overnight I came back the third day to seal the floor using four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is ideal for Victorian tiled floors as it leaves a low sheen finish whilst providing excellent stain protection.

As you can see from the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos the results were impressive and the customer described it as, “looking great”.

Victorian Tiled floor cleaned and sealed in West London


Central London Tile Doctor

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