100+ Year Old Victorian Tiled Hallway Restored in Darlaston

The photographs below are from a house in Darlaston near Walsall which had recently changed hands. The new owner was quite taken by the existing Victorian tiled hallway floor which unfortunately had not been maintained very well by the previous owner, undeterred by its appearance he contacted Tile Doctor to see if it could be restored.

Darlaston grew rapidly in the 19th century around the nut, bolt and gun lock manufacturing and coal mining industries with many houses being built so it’s very possible that this floor was laid when the house was built over a hundred years ago

When I visited to quote for the work it was apparent that the floor which was suffering from many broken tiles and a high percentage of loose tiles. With the customer happy for me to do the work I set about sourcing replacement tiles that were a good match for the broken ones which would need replacing.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration Darlaston Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration Darlaston

Victorian tiles are still popular, so I was confident I could find new replacements or originals from one of the many salvage companies.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration Darlaston

Repairing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Replacement tiles were sourced, and I went about removing the broken tiles and setting the replacements. Whilst working on these I also inspected the floor thoroughly for loose tiles and re-laid them.

Victorian Tiled Hallway During Repair Darlaston

There was also a doorway which had cement laid down where tiles may once have been, and the customer requested that tiles were laid to match the other existing doorways. To break up the concrete I used an SDS drill with chisel attachment and then rebuilt the base with cement to bring it level with the rest of the floor.

Victorian Tiled Hallway During Repair Darlaston

The tiles were cut to match the pattern in the other doorways and set in place.

Victorian Tiled Hallway During Repair Darlaston Victorian Tiled Hallway During Repair Darlaston

After the tiles had set I grouted them in along with other areas that needed re-grouting. Repairs took two days in total.

Deep Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The next step was to give the whole tiled floor a deep clean; normally I would opt for a chemical cleaning process at this stage however with the floor being so old it was unlikely to have a damp proof membrane and I was concerned about using too much water which would take a long time to dry out. I therefore opted for scrubbing the floor with a 200-grit diamond burnishing pad fitted to a weighted rotary buffing machine and lubricated with a little water.

Victorian Tiled Hallway During Cleaning Darlaston Victorian Tiled Hallway During Cleaning Darlaston

The water soon turned to a slurry as the ingrained dirt and old sealers were removed from the tiles. It’s tricky to get into the edges and corners with circular pads so once that was done the edges were finished with handheld diamond blocks. The floor was then rinsed off and the soil extracted with a wet vacuum before being covered over and allowed to dry for a couple of days.

Sealing Original Victorian Tiles

When I returned to the property the dust sheets were removed and the floor vacuumed to remove surface dust and dirt. Once that was done I started the process of sealing the tiles with Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds a subtle sheen to the Victorian tiles that really brings the floor alive. Six coats were required to fully seal and protect the floor.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration Darlaston Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration Darlaston

The customer was delighted with the results and I left them with a bottle of Neutral Tile Cleaner for use in cleaning the floor going forward. They also booked me in for 12 months’ time for a maintenance visit, so I can reapply a couple of coats of seal to keep the floor topped up and looking it’s best.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration Darlaston

 
 

Full Restoration of a Period Victorian Hallway Floor in the West Midlands

Acid damaged black limestone patio tiles in Bromsgrove

A local company in Bromsgrove were commissioned to lay a stunning and expensive Black Limestone patio for a customer who was renovating their property. Unfortunately, the company tried to clean the finished patio with brick acid, and because limestone is generally very porous and acid sensitive this discoloured the tiles to a rather unsightly, dull grey – a far cry from what their customer was expecting!

Acid Damaged Black Limestone Patio Before Restoration Bromsgrove

The company facing a large bill contacted Tile Doctor for expert advice to see if the beautiful tiles could be restored. If Tile Doctor couldn’t come to the rescue, then the company would have no choice other than to replace them at their own expense.

Acid Damaged Black Limestone Patio Before Restoration Bromsgrove Acid Damaged Black Limestone Patio Before Restoration Bromsgrove

Black limestone paving has become incredibly popular over the last few years as its dark tones suit the current trend for a monochrome palette. It is also hard wearing and readily available.

Tile Doctor specialise in the restoration of all types of tile and stone and as their local agent, I was asked to go over and see what could be done. I realised that the brick acid will have damaged the surface of the stone so to restore it I first tried applying a coarse 200 grit diamond burnishing pad. The pad successfully demonstrated that the appearance could be restored and impressed with the difference the site foreman booked me in to complete the whole patio. Luckily the weather forecast was set fair for a few days, which would be needed to clean and seal the patio.

Restoring an Acid Damaged Limestone Patio

Made with industrial diamonds and available in different sizes and grits, burnishing pads are ideal for restoring the appearance of polished stone floors. The first step was to work on the tiles with a course 200 grit diamond pad fitted to a weighted rotary machine and lubricated with water. This took off a layer of the limestone, bringing back the original black appearance of the tiles.

Acid Damaged Black Limestone Patio During Diamond Pad Polishing Bromsgrove Acid Damaged Black Limestone Patio During Cleaning With CRB Machine Bromsgrove

Next the patio was worked on with 400 grit diamond pads followed by 800 grit pads – the first stage of polishing – and each application was cleaned off with water. Because the property was being renovated there was a lot of dirt on the tiles and grout from construction, so I scrubbed in medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean using a CRB (counter rotating brush) machine. Once done I rinsed down the area with more water and left it to dry. As you can see from the pictures it was a large area, so this work took two days to complete.

Acid Damaged Black Limestone Patio During Cleaning Bromsgrove

Sealing Limestone Patio Tiles to Restore Colour

I returned the next day to start the sealing process beginning with the application of Tile Doctor Stone-Oil which restores the deep black colour and texture to the limestone, it’s also an impregnating sealer that adds protection and improves mechanical strength once cured.

I allowed this to dry for 24 hours and then applied a coat of Ultra-Seal, a no-sheen natural-looking sealer formulated to provide maximum stain protection.

Acid Damaged Black Limestone Patio After Sealing Bromsgrove

The customer was very happy with the results. The patio tiles were fully restored to their original glory and their customer was delighted. More importantly, the company had been saved from making an insurance claim. They left the following feedback on completion:

“Great job by Kieron after the wrong cleaning solution was used on a patio we installed. Came up better than new!”

Acid Damaged Black Limestone Patio After Restoration Bromsgrove Acid Damaged Black Limestone Patio After Restoration Bromsgrove

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Black Limestone patio Near Birmingham

Mexican Terracotta Kitchen Rejuvenated in Redditch

A customer in Redditch had recently had a new kitchen fitted and prior to that had tried to seal the Mexican Terracotta tiled floor themselves, however they were not happy with the results, so they contacted Tile Doctor to see if an improvement could be achieved. The sealer they used was matt which didn’t show off the Terracotta at its best and the tile and especially the grout were not as clean as they could have been. Getting the tile and grout clean before sealing is essential otherwise you end up sealing in the dirt.

Mexican Terracotta Tiles Before Resealing Redditch Mexican Terracotta Tiles Before Resealing Redditch

To get the best from the floor I recommended stripping off the sealer, giving the tile and grout a deep clean and then resealing with a satin sealer. The customer agreed and keen to get his new kitchen looking its best booked me in to do the work.

Mexican Terracotta Tiles Before Resealing Redditch

Cleaning Original Victorian and Mexican Terracotta Tiles

My first tasks was to protect the new kitchen units from splashing with plastic sheeting and by removing the kick boards. Once done I began the process of removing the existing sealer by applying Tile Doctor Remove and Go which as the name implies is a strong coatings remover that safe to use on Tile and Stone. The product was dilated with water, applied to the tile and grout and left to soak in for about ten minutes. The floor area between the kitchen units was quite tight so on this occasion I decided to scrub the tiles with a deck brush and hand brush as opposed to using a rotary machine fitted with a scrubbing pad. The Remove and Go did the job and the sealer was removed and the floor rinsed off with water to reveal the original tiles.

Mexican Terracotta Tiles During Stripping Redditch Mexican Terracotta Tiles During Stripping Redditch

The next step was to give the Terracotta tile and grout a deep clean by scrubbing in a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. Mexican Terracotta can be difficult to clean due to the makeup of the tile, but the Pro-Clean scrubbed in with the brushes I used earlier worked well. The now soiled cleaning solution was rinsed off with water and then extracted using a wet vacuum.

The customer had laid some new tiles to fit in with the new units but asked me to grout them so with time to spare before leaving for the day I grouted them in with a flexible grout and polished off any grout smears. It’s important that tiles are dry before sealing so the floor was then left for two days so it could dry out.

Sealing a Mexican Terracotta Floor

Upon my returned to seal the tiles I first checked with a damp meter that they had indeed dried. All was well, so I began the process of applying Seal and Go which is a water-based sealer from the Tile Doctor range that leaves the satin finish the customer wanted, also being water based it doesn’t leave a smell as it dries. Mexican Terracotta is notoriously very porous, so numerous coats of seal are required and in fact this floor needed eleven coats. I applied a few more coats to the new tiles so they would blend in better with the existing tiles.

Mexican Terracotta Tiles After Resealing Redditch Mexican Terracotta Tiles After Resealing Redditch

The customer was very pleased with the results and I left them with a bottle of Neutral Tile Cleaner to help maintain the tiles appearance going forward.
 
 

Stripping, Cleaning and Sealing Mexican Terracotta Floor in Redditch

Terrazzo Reception Room Restoration for Business in Oldbury

We recently took a call from a company based in Oldbury asking if we could restore a natural stone floor that had been covered for over many years. The company were unsure exactly what type of stone the floor was made of, so I agreed to visit the site to survey the situation and quote a price for restoring the floor.

Oldbury is a town in the West Midlands, not far outside of West Bromwich, which has a history dating back over 1,000 years. It has historically been home to several notable businesses include Lloyds Bank who opened their first branch here back in 1864.

Upon visiting the company, I quickly identified the floor as Terrazzo, which is made from a process that was originally invented in Italy and popularly used in the UK during the 1920s. One of the most famous examples of Terrazzo stone in use is the Hollywood Walk of Fame in California. The floor was stained around the edges with what appeared to be paint smears from decorating and judging on its current appearance I could see it had been some time since it had been professionally cleaned. The floor was structurally sound however and I was confident however that a good finish could be achieved.

Terrazzo Floor Before Cleaning Oldbury West Bromwich

The floor was in a big open reception area of the building with a couple of hallways leading off it. We decided to clean the floor on a Friday afternoon when the workforce was not in the building to minimise the disruption.

Terrazzo Floor Before Cleaning Oldbury West Bromwich

Cleaning a Dirty Terrazzo Reception Room Floor

To begin the restoration, we covered the floor in Tile Doctor’s alkaline-based cleaner, known as Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, mixed in medium strength solution as the floor was quite dirty in places. The solution was left to dwell on the floor for about twenty minutes and we then processed to carefully scrape off the paint a process made easier by the Pro-Clean.

The cleaning solution was then scrubbed thoroughly into the tiles using a rotary machine fitted with a large black scrubbing pad. The resultant slurry was then rinsed with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

With the floor clear of surface dirt, the next step was to burnish and re-polish the floor using a set of Tile Doctor burnishing pads. The system consists of four diamond encrusted burnishing pads of varying levels of grit, which are fitted to a rotary floor machine. The pads are used sequentially, starting with the coarsest 400 grit pad and ending with the finest. A small amount of water is used for lubrication with each pad and the floor is rinsed in-between each pad.

After the 1500 grit pad had been applied the floor was given a final rinse with water which was then extracted using the wet vacuum. The floor was then left to dry off fully overnight.

Sealing a Terrazzo Reception Room

We returned to the building the next day (Saturday) and immediately ran a damp test on the floor to check if it was dry enough to be sealed. The floor proved to have dried completely, but before sealing the last very fine 3000 grit burnishing pad was applied with a little water spayed onto the floor to really bring out the shine in the Terrazzo.

Once this had been done, we applied two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow to seal the tiles and then allowed them to dry off. Colour Grow is an impregnating, colour intensifying sealer that helps to compliment the polished finish. Once the floor was dry, we buffed up the floor with a soft white pad.

Terrazzo Floor Before Cleaning Oldbury West Bromwich

Before leaving, we gave the customer a complimentary bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner, a product which is ideal for routine cleaning of sealed floor to help keep the floor looking great. The customer was very happy with the results! You can judge them yourself by comparing the photos above with the ones below.

Terrazzo Floor Before Cleaning Oldbury West Bromwich

 
 

Professional Renovation of a Terrazzo Reception Floor in Oldbury

Original Quarry Tiled Hallway Restored in Rednal

I was recently contacted by a home owner who had recently bought a property in Rednal which is a residential suburb on the south western edge of Birmingham near Bromsgrove. They were updating the flooring and discovered a quarry tiled floor under their living room carpet. The Quarry tiles were most likely original dating back 113 years and the owner was keen to have such an original feature restored.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration Rednal

The Quarry tiles were well worn in areas and it looked as though a previous owner had levelled the floor using a cement screed to try and fill in any worn areas. Unfortunately, this had left the tiles with a rough surface and were very dirty as the photos show.

Quarry Tiled Floor Before Restoration Rednal

Cleaning Original Quarry Tiles

My first task was to remove any loose dirt and debris with a wet dry vacuum. Once done I then applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to give the tiles an initial clean to remove dirt from the tiles. The solution was left to soak into the tile for around ten minutes and then worked into the floor using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad.

Quarry Tiled Floor During Restoration Rednal

This process highlighted the roughness of the tiles from the cement as the pad was being torn by it. I decided that the best way to remove the cement was to scrape it away aided with a steamer. This meant a few hours on my hands and knees scraping away which was hard work but needs must!

Quarry Tiled Floor During Restoration Rednal

When this was completed I used hand held diamond blocks to remove paint marks and adhesive from where the skirting board had been. I then cleaned the floor again with more Pro-Clean and a new black pad, I also cleaned the grout lines with a stiff grout brush. The floor was then thoroughly rinsed off with water to remove any dirt and solutions and this was then extracted using a wet vacuum.

With the floor now clean I could see there were signs of efflorescence markings on the floor which is where salts are carried up through the floor through evaporation. These old floors don’t have a damp proof membrane in place to prevent damp issues so to neutralise the salts I applied Tile Doctor Acid Gel to the floor. This was left in place for a short time before rinsing the floor again. The floor was then allowed to dry out for a couple of days.

Sealing Original Quarry Tiles

Upon my return I checked the floor for damp with a meter which gave satisfactory readings. The floor was then sealed with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating colour enhancing sealer that really brought out the red colour of the quarry tiles.

Quarry Tiled Floor After Restoration Rednal

One the sealer had dried the floor was then buffed off with a white pad to remove any excess. As you can see the floor was transformed. I left the customer with a bottle of neutral tile cleaner to help maintain the floor.”

Quarry Tiled Floor After Restoration Rednal

 
 

Restoration of an Original Quarry Tiled Floor in the West Midlands

100+ Year Old Terrazzo Hallway Rejuvenated in Dudley

This post follows on from the Victorian Tiled floor article I published earlier, if you recall I was asked to restore a Victorian Tiled Hallway at a house in Dudley and there was a section that was Terrazzo, so I thought it would make sense to write about this separately as the cleaning method is different.

Both period floors were original, having been installed when the house was built over 100 years prior and whilst Victorian tiles are quite the norm in these properties it’s quite unusual to find Terrazzo as this was mostly used in large public buildings.

There was a crack running across the floor which is quite a common problem with Terrazzo as it’s laid in one piece like concrete and any movement in the ground will cause stress leading to a crack. Unfortunately, the only way to resolve this properly is to have a Terrazzo expert relay that section of the floor which would prove expensive.

Terrazzo Hallway Floor Before Cleaning Dudley

Terrazzo is the by-product of broken pieces of stone, often Marble, Limestone and Granite, which rather than being wasted are set into to a cement screed and poured onto the floor, then once the screed is set it is grinded to a polish.

Cleaning Original Victorian and Terrazzo Tiles

The polish on Terrazzo will eventually wear down with use and to restore the appearance it needs to be burnished with a series of pads with different grits from coarse to fine.

So, to start the renovation I gave it a general clean with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mainly to remove any grit before burnishing. Next, the Terrazzo tiles were cleaned using a coarse 400 grit pad fitted to a rotary machine and lubricated with water. This process removes dirt and any coatings such as sealers and the floor needs to be rinsed afterwards to remove the slurry that is generated.

Then to build back the polished appearance, the floor is burnished with an 800 grit medium pad followed by a 1500 grit fine pad. Less water is used this time, but you do need to rinse the floor again after each pad to remove any slurry gets generated during the process. Once this was done the floor was dried with a wet vacuum and left to dry off fully overnight.

Sealing a Terrazzo Floor

The next day, I returned to the property and started with a damp test to make sure the floor was dry and ready for sealing. The floor was dry so I finished the Burnishing process by applying the last pad in the set which is a 3,000 grit (very fine) pad that adds the final polish to the Terrazzo.
To protect the floor from staining and dirt becoming ingrained in the pores of Terrazzo it was then sealed with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing impregnating sealer that protects from within. Once the sealer had dried the floor was buffed with a white pad.

Terrazzo Hallway Floor After Cleaning Dudley

The floor looked a lot cleaner and shiner at the end and the customer was very happy with the transformation.
 
 

Deep Cleaning and Polishing an Old Terrazzo Floor in Dudley

100+ Year Old Victorian Tiled Hallway Restored in Dudley

It may sound impossible to restore tiles that are over a century old back to something resembling their original condition but in fact it’s something we do all the time. With the right cleaning products and techniques, fantastic results can be achieved.

An example being this work I did for a customer in Dudley. They had seen previous examples of Tile Doctor’s work and wanted to have their 128-year old Victorian tiled hallway which had been covered in carpet previous restored to its best possible condition. Dudley is a town in the West Midlands that is often touted as one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution so there are lot of period houses.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Cleaning Dudley Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Cleaning Dudley

When I first went over to survey the floor I could see that restoring these Victorian tiles would be a significant job involving deep cleaning, tile repair and sealing. Upon closer inspection of the tiles, I realised that there was also a small area that met the hallway which was actually Terrazzo. This was to be cleaned and sealed too however I’ll deal with that in a separate post as the process was different.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Cleaning Dudley

Cleaning Original Victorian Tiles

To start the restoration, I treated the floor with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong alkaline tile and grout cleaner, leaving it to dwell for a short period to start breaking down the heavy soil build-up.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Cleaning Dudley Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Cleaning Dudley

While the Pro-Clean was soaking into the tile, I carefully scraped off the paint that had been dropped on the tiles during decorating at some point in the past. Next, I fitted a rotary machine with a 200-grit diamond encrusted burnishing pad – which is very coarse – and put it into action to remove deeply ingrained dirt from the tiles.

When this process was complete, the floor was thoroughly rinsed with water and the resulting slurry was soaked up with the aid of a wet vacuum. I repeated this process around the edges of the hallway, where the tiles were particularly badly ingrained with dirt and marked with carpet glue deposits. The floor was given a final rinse with water and the wet vacuum used again to remove as much moisture from the floor as possible before leaving it to dry off overnight.

Before leaving however I had to complete the tiler repairs which involved removing the loose tile and mortar and then setting them back into place. There was also quite a lot of re-grouting that needed to be done on various areas of the floor.

Sealing Original Victorian Tiles

The next day, I returned to the property and ran damp tests in various places to ensure the tiles had dried. Given that these tiles are particularly old, I was conscious that that the floor very likely lacked a damp proof membrane and so damp issues could be a real possibility. We always ensure that floors are completely dry before sealing them as excess moisture can damage the performance of the sealer.

Thankfully, the tiles had dried out and, so I was able to start sealing them with four coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go which added a nice sheen finish and will protect the floor going forward.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Cleaning Dudley Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Cleaning Dudley

Before leaving I left the customer with a bottle of Neutral pH tile cleaner to help maintain the tiles appearance. The customer was very happy with the results and commented that all the hard work had paid off to leave the floors looking great!

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Cleaning Dudley

 
 

Full Restoration of a Period Victorian Hallway Floor in the West Midlands

120 Year Old Victorian Hallway Tiles Refreshed in Sandwell

Sandwell forms part of an area in the West Midlands which is popularly referred to as the ‘Black Country’. This area industrialised rapidly during the Victorian period and, with the building of many new factories came the building of many new houses for workers.

A good number of these Victorian properties survive, complete with original Victorian tiled floors. However, homeowners aren’t always aware that these tiled floors exist, since they have often been covered up by carpet or linoleum. We find that when new homeowners discover these original tiles, they are usually keen to restore them to their best possible appearance. This requires professional assistance.

Victorian Tiled Floor Before Renovation Warley

A customer who lives in the Warley district of Sandwell recently contacted me about the restoration of a 120-year old Victorian tiled hallway that they had discovered underneath an existing carpet. As expected, the tiles were caked in deposits of adhesive, cement and paint which had accumulated over several years. Making matters worse, the customer had also spilt more paint on the tiles during decoration work.

Victorian Tiled Floor Before Renovation Warley

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway

I began the restoration by cleaning the tiles with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, a strong alkaline cleaner which is perfect for removing grime from heavily soiled and neglected natural stone. The product was applied liberally across the area and left to dwell for a short period. It was then worked into the tiles using a specialised rotary cleaning machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad.

The now soiled cleaning solution was subsequently rinsed away and the floor then rinsed with clean water. Stubborn paint marks and cement were carefully scraped off the tiles by hand. A solution which combined more Pro-Clean and Tile Doctor Remove and Go (a stripping agent) was applied to the tiles to help remove any old and now ineffectual sealer, as well to fully remove any of the particularly stubborn marks.

After being worked in again with a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine, the excess cleaning product was rinsed away using water and the floor was dried off with a wet vacuum.

As tiles of this age were usually laid without a damp membrane in place underneath them, they can be especially prone to efflorescence (salt) deposits. To help prevent this, Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a combination of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids, was applied. This will help to neutralise any alkaline salts that might threaten to penetrate up through the tiles to leave unsightly white marks.

After the floor was rinsed once again, I proceeded to re-grout a few areas of the floor where the grout had worn away over the years. Once I was happy with the clean tiles and fresh grout, I left the floor to dry off overnight.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway

The next day the tiles had thankfully dried completely and were ready to be sealed. Since the customer had requested a sheen finish, as opposed to be a natural matte finish, I opted to use a combination of two different sealants.

The first to be applied – to bring out the colour in the tiles – was Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This product impregnates the tiles to protect them against ingrained dirt, but it leaves a matte finish. Therefore, I added five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go to provide not only extra protection, but also a high-quality sheen finish.

Victorian Tiled Floor After Renovation Warley

I left the customer, who was delighted with the results, with a bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner. This product will serve as a reliable cleaning product for the routine maintenance of the tiles, ensuring they continue to look fantastic.

Victorian Tiled Floor After Renovation Warley

 
 

Professional Restoration of an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway in the West Midlands