Victorian Tile Cleaning

Original Victorian Hallway Floor Restored Back to Life in Carlisle

This is probably one of the oldest Victorian floors we have worked on, the house dates back to 1853 and is the second one we have covered on the same road in the leafy city of Carlisle . The whole street was owned by the council for several decades and the houses including floors have experienced all sorts of damage to them over the years. More recently the houses have been released to a private developer who called us in to handle the restoration and resurrect the hallway tiles which you will see on the pictures.

Period 1853 Victorian Hallway Floor Before Restoration Carlisle Period 1853 Victorian Hallway Floor Before Restoration Carlisle

Cleaning and Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The first job for us was the tile repair, and this meant preparing the surface for the new tiles, which involved carefully knocking up all the loose and cracked tiles and then re setting them using matching replacements where necessary.

Period 1853 Victorian Hallway Floor During Restoration Carlisle

To do this I like to use a multi tool to score the grout and then break out the cracked tiles with a hammer and chisel or a power drill. The replacement tiles had to be re-sized to fit, oddly enough most of the damage was along the edge of the floor where air ducts used to be in place and then these had been concreted in. The main part of the floor though was still in good order even though it was 170 years old.

Period 1853 Victorian Hallway Floor During Restoration Carlisle Period 1853 Victorian Hallway Floor During Restoration Carlisle

Once the replacement tiles were set, a low moisture cleaning technique was used to get the whole floor clean. This involves covering the tiles in Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel and leaving it to soak into the tile for ten minutes. Being a gel cleaner, it is easier to control and there is less water involved. The gel is then scrubbed in with a buffing machine fitted with a 100-grit milling pad. A little bit of water is added to help lubricate and scrub off the dirt and soiling. A wet vacuum is then used to remove the soil which is an essential piece of kit for this line of work.

After the initial clean the floor was given an acid rinse using Tile Doctor Acid Gel which was applied neat and as before scrubbed in using a pad, this time using a finer 200-grit milling pad. Again, a little water was used to aid in the clean up being careful not to flood the floor.

The reason for the low moisture clean is that there was a basement underneath the hallway and the client had nowhere else to put certain fabrics, furniture etc so with a low moisture clean we can minimise the chance of any water finding its way into the space below. The wet vacuum was deployed again to remove the cleaning products and water and the floor was left to dry.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Once clean and dry the floor was sealed using two coats of Tile Doctor X-Tra seal which as the name suggests is a little bit extra as it’s a very robust sealer, although mainly designed for outside areas it’s an oil-based formula that works really on Victorian tiles.

Period 1853 Victorian Hallway Floor After Renovation Carlisle Period 1853 Victorian Hallway Floor After Renovation Carlisle

One done the floor looked great, and the developer was very happy with the result.

Period 1853 Victorian Hallway Floor During Restoration Carlisle


Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in North Cumbria

1831 Victorian Tiled Hallway Renovation in Penrith

Details below of a Victorian Tiled floor I renovated in Penrith earlier this year. The floor had previously been hidden under laminate flooring and the mat well had been concreted over and other tiles were missing and replaced with concrete infill.

Victorian Tile Renovation Penrith Before

Restoring Victorian Floor Tiles

I carried out a damp test and started by removing the concrete infill and levelling the mat well with a self-levelling compound. Fortunately I had been able to source reproduction tiles that were a pretty good match to the originals which is amazing bearing in mind that the floor was originally laid in 1831 (pre Victorian in fact).

Before replacing the missing tiles I cleaned the existing floor with a diluted mixture of Tile Doctor Remove and Go and NanoTech UltraClean; Remove and Go is a coatings remover so as well as cleaning the floor it also removed the traces of adhesive that was used to stick down the line. I washed down the floor and found there were still some stubborn marks which I tackled with neat Remove and Go and a steam cleaner. Once I was happy with the floor I gave it another rinse and then set about fixing the replacement tiles.

Victorian Tile Renovation Penrith After

Sealing Victorian Floor Tiles

I needed the floor bone dry before sealing so I allowed it to dry out for a couple of days before returning. I sealed the tiles with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds a nice subtle shine however I did find the Victorian tiles to be extremely absorbent and so needed seven coats of sealant in total which took much of the day. The sealer did well to bring out the deep colours in the tile as well as brought out the colour in the tiles as well as providing the lovely satin finish. The customers were extremely satisfied with the final result

Victorian Tile Renovation Penrith After

Cleaning and Sealing Victorian Tiles in Cumbria

Victorian Tiled Hallway Cleaned and Sealed in Windermere

I recently paid a visit to Windermere in the Lake District to clean and re-seal a Victorian Tiled hallway floor. The customer wanted the shine putting back on the Victorian tile and some tile grout had become loose and needed replacing.

Victorian Tiled Floor Windermere Before Cleaning Victorian Tiled Floor Windermere Before Cleaning

Cleaning Victorian Floor Tiles

On arrival I set up my tools and covered any areas that needed protecting against water. Once that was done I started to strip the floor of any remaining sealer using Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a coatings and sealer remover product that is safe to use on tile, stone and grout. Working in small areas the product was scrubbed into the tile and then washed it off with water using a wet vacuum to remove the soiled solution. This process was repeated until the whole floor was clean, there were a few stubborn areas and for these I mixed the Remove and Go 50/50 with Nano Tech Ultra Clean which adds tiny abrasive particles into the solution to make a more effective product. The process of scrubbing the floor made me realise that the loose grout problem was greater than first thought and some tiles need re-laying so I decided to come back and do this the next day, before leaving however I gave the floor a thorough rinse to ensure any trace of cleaning product was removed.

Grouting Victorian Tile

The next day I arrived and fixed all the loose tiles, my preference is to use the Mapei range of tile adhesives and grout, in fact the grout comes in a range of colours which is very useful if your filling in holes in travertine etc. One the adhesive had gone off I began to grout them in including those areas where the grout was missing or become loose. The last step was to wash off the grout from the tile surface and making sure it was all tidy for the next day.

Victorian Tiled Floor Windermere During Cleaning

Sealing Quarry Floor Tiles

On the third day I returned to the house and after verifying the floor was dry with a damp tester and the grout had hardened I started sealing the floor with Tile Doctor Seal and Go putting on thin coats which took about twenty minutes to dry, in total seven coats were applied which gave the floor the nice shine the customer was after.

Victorian Tiled Floor Windermere After Cleaning Victorian Tiled Floor Windermere After Cleaning

This job took me three days in total and after I had finished we discussed how to maintain the appearance and increase the longevity of the sealer by using a Neutral Cleaning product which unlike many acidic cleaners does not eat away at the sealer.

Cleaning and Sealing Victorian Tiles in Cumbria


North Cumbria Tile Doctor

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