Old Tiled Hallway Resored in a Victorian House Erdington

This customer from the Birmingham suburb of Erdington contacted me about an old tiled floor they had discovered in the hallway of their Victorian house whilst doing some renovation work. The tiles were in quite a state with ingrained dirt, adhesive, paint and some tiles were loose and cracked. The floor was so bad they were considering scrapping it and contacted Tile Doctor as a last resort just in case we could do something with it.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration Erdington Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration Erdington

I went over to take a look and could see that as well as the problems reported to me over the phone that the tiles were also imprinted with what appeared to be the pattern of the underlay that must have covered the floor previously. Curiously there were some tiles by the front door which had what appeared to be holes drilled into them. There was also a porch area in front of the main entrance that needed renovating.

Victorian Tiled Porch Before Restoration Erdington

However, I have in fact seen floors in worse state that this one and was confident I could restore it. I worked out a quote for doing the work which was accepted, and the job was booked in for a future date.

Cleaning Original Victorian Tiles

My first task was to carefully scrape off as much of the paint and adhesive as possible using a sharp knife. Then it was cleaned with a 200-grit diamond pad fitted to a weighted rotary machine, this gets into the pores of the tiles which hang on to the dirt and loosens the grime and dirt, it also helps to grind off the pattern left by the rubber underlay. The pads struggle to get into the edges of the floor so that was cleaned by hand with diamond blocks. Once I was happy the floor the soil was rinsed off with water and then extracted with a wet vacuum.

Victorian Tiled Hallway During Restoration Erdington

Next, I gave the floor an acid rinse with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up scrubbed in with a 200-grit diamond pad again. This helped remove more dirt as well as helping to neutralize salt and mineral issues that may be present in the floor. This can be a big problem with old floors due to the lack of a damp proof membrane.

After rinsing and extracting again, I dried the floor off and went about resetting loose tiles and replacing some with replica tiles. These were grouted in along with other areas where the grout was loose and need of re-grouting.

Sealing Original Victorian Tiles

I left the floor to dry out thorough for a couple of day and then returned to seal the tiles first checking with a moisture meter that the floor was dry. We always ensure that floors are completely dry before sealing them as excess moisture can damage the performance of the sealer.

I found no evidence of dampness in the floor, so it was sealed with multiple coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will add protection and works really well on old Victorian tiles where it adds a nice subtle sheen appearance. Also, being water based it doesn’t leave a smell as it dries. For the porch area which was partly open to the elements I used Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which is a fully breathable sealer that will cope well with the damp conditions.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration Erdington Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration Erdington

The floor was unrecognisable from before and the customer was very happy with the transformation. Before leaving I left the customer with a bottle of Neutral pH tile cleaner that they can use going forward to help maintain the tiles appearance.

Victorian Tiled Porch After Restoration Erdington

 

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

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

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