As is often the case in years past and for whatever reason many homeowners covered their decorative Victorian hallway tiles in a variety of products from carpet to laminate flooring. These days the trend has reversed and quite rightly many homeowners now realise the value a tiled floor can bring to a property and look to us to have it restored.
Our client had purchased a property in Norfolk seaport of Kings Lynn and, on lifting the dirty old carpet and decaying underlay in the hallway, discovered a beautiful tiled entrance hall. It was obvious that a previous owner had decided to lay carpet over the tiles as an easy way of hiding the result of careless renovation and decorating which had resulted in a thick coating of plaster, paint, carpet tape glue and various other contaminants which had become firmly stuck to the surface. There were also two small rectangular black and brown tiles missing behind the front door which had been damaged during the removal of some old lead pipes.
This was clearly a job which would need somewhat more than a scrubbing brush and a bottle of Flash!
Cleaning a Victorian tiled floor
Our first job was to remove as much of the solid contaminants as possible by hand with floor scrapers and a steamer which softened the more stubborn lumps. We then applied Tile Doctor Remove & Go which is a powerful alkaline stripper to the whole area, left it to dwell on the surface for twenty minutes and then scrubbed it in using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The resulting slurry was then power rinsed and extracted away using our Ninja machine which is a high-power industrial vacuum. Any remaining patches where the carpet tape had been stuck down were spot treated using Tile Doctor Nanotech HBU which made short work of the hardened glue.
The result was a clean floor, but the surface still felt slightly rough and pitted, a problem which we resolved using the rotary machine fitted with a 200-grit diamond burnishing pad followed by a 400-grit pad with a little 400 grit honing powder which left the surface smooth, silky and ready for the application of a sealer.
Finally, we acid washed the whole area using Tile Doctor Acid Gel, a slow release product which would neutralise any remaining chemicals, improve new sealer adhesion and inhibit the future production of any efflorescence salts. We had used a fair amount of water during the cleaning process, so we left the floor to dry off thoroughly overnight with assistance from our commercial dehumidifier.
Sealing a Victorian tiled floor
On our return the following day, we discussed the sealer options with the client and recommended using microporous Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that seeps into the pores of the stone protecting it from within. It will provide an excellent fluid resistant seal whilst enhancing the natural colours in the stone, additionally it’s fully breathable thereby enabling any moisture trapped under the floor to rise through the floor and evaporate. This is important on old floors like this where no damp-proof membrane was installed. The sealer was applied with a paint pad in tow coats and allowed to dry for an hour before buffing the floor with a hog’s hair pad to give a rich natural-look sheen finish.
The Victorian tiles responded well to the treatments which were completed in two consecutive days. My client was extremely pleased with the results and left the following comment:
“My floor was in poor condition after being buried under carpet as well as many, many years of paint and muck. I enjoyed the time they spent at my home and wouldn’t hesitate to use (or recommend) the Tile Doctor service in the future.”