Not too long ago I was called to the large town of Bromley, where my client was in the process of renovating an Edwardian house. The house has a fascinating original geometric Victorian tiled hallway which had previously been covered in carpet which my client now wanted restoring and extending.
Before beginning my work I had an initial consultation with the client and liaised with the builder. It was agreed that the existing floor joints would be strengthened and the current floorboards would be replaced with ply sheets, allowing for the area to be fitted with new Victorian tiles, ensuring that these were consistent with the original design.
Restoring a Victorian tiled hallway
The first task was to clean the original tiles so that they would blend in with the fresh, new tiles. To do this I mixed a solution of three parts Tile Doctor Pro-Clean (a high alkaline cleaner) to one part clean water, combined with a small quantity of NanoTech HBU. NanoTech HBU is a penetrating cleaner which uses nano-sized particles to reach areas other cleaners simply can’t in order to lift out difficult stains and ingrained dirt.
This solution was washed over the floor, and was left to dwell for five minutes. I then used my rotary machine with a black pad to agitate and work the solution into the dirty tiles. After completing this initial clean I used a wet-vac machine to hoover up the resulting residue.
There was also some glue residue around the edges of the floor from where carpet grippers had been placed years before. To remove this I used Tile Doctor Remove & Go, which breaks down adhesives, waxes and old sealers. I covered the treated area with plastic to prevent it from drying out, before leaving it to sit for a couple of hours. Once the product had begun to break down the glue I then agitated it with a scrubbing pad to remove the residue. The area was then cleaned with the Pro-Clean/NanoTech HBU solution.
Tiling with Victorian floor tiles
Once the old floor was clean I started laying down the new floor using a matching set of tiles I had managed to source. Victorian tile designs are still very popular so many of the original designs can still be found being made today.
Once the tiles had been stuck to the new hardboard I was able to give both floors a general clean with a weak dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to remove any dirt from tiling etc, this was followed by a rinse and the use of a wet vacuum to get the floor as dry as possible before sealing.
Sealing a Victorian tiled hallway
After leaving the house for more than 24 hours to allow the hallway to dry completely, I returned to seal the tiles. After inspecting the area to ensure no excess moisture remained, I applied five coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go, a water-based topical sealer, to both the old and new tiles.
This gave the entire hallway a nice sheen finish (as you can see from the photographs), as well as a robust surface seal to protect the tiles from dirt and wear in the future.