We received a request to renovate Victorian tiled hallway floor at a house in the London borough of Harlesden NW10. My client had modernised the heating system and this unfortunately required a section of the tiled flooring to be dug up so new pipework could be laid.
After speaking on the phone, I arranged an initial visit to the property so I could properly assess the work required and provide a price for restoring the floor. During my visit I could see there was another section of missing tiles at one of the door thresholds which would need attention. Except for the missing sections of floor I could see that the tiles themselves were in good condition for their age and would respond well to a deep clean and fresh seal.
I was confident on being able to source matching replacements for the missing tiles and reassured my client that we would be able not only repair the floor but also renovate it to a good standard. I gave them a price to do the restoration which they were happy to accept, and the work was booked.
Repairing a Damaged Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
After some research I managed to source replacement tiles from the Vintage Floor Tile Company in Kent; Victorian tiles are still popular so there a few companies that keep stock so we can usually find a match.
With the replacements in hand, work started by removing the cement and loose material from the missing sections of flooring and backfilling with self-levelling compound to bring the exposed base up to the right level for tiling.
The tiles were then cut to shape as required to match the existing patten and fixed into place with a quick setting adhesive and then grouted.
Deep Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
The floor was left to overnight to allow the adhesive to harden fully, and I returned the next day to deep clean the whole floor. To give the tiles are deep clean a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go was sprayed onto the floor and left to soak in for ten minutes. It was then scrubbed into the floor using a rotary machine fitted with a with a black pad. This action lifted the dirt out of the tiles and the resulting slurry was removed with the wet vacuum.
It turned out that the pores of the tiles were holding a lot of dirt, so the process was repeated until I was satisfied. Due to the age of the property, there was no damp-proof membrane installed so I do try to minimise the amount of water I use in this process as there is always a chance of exacerbating any latent efflorescence issues.
Efflorescence occurs where moisture rises through the tile bringing with it salts from underneath the floor as it evaporates on the surface. This can lead to unsightly white marks appearing on the tile. To counteract this potential problem the cleaning was followed by an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel applied with a 100 then 200-grit pad, before finishing on a 400-grit burnishing pad. The floor was again rinsed with water after the application of each pad to remove the slurry and extracted with a wet vacuum.
Once I was satisfied the floor was as clean as possible, we left site and the area was left to dry over the weekend ready for application of a new sealer.
Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
I returned on the Monday and started by taking a few moisture readings to check the floor was dry. The floor was in an acceptable range, so I applied the first of 4 coats of sealer. For this floor I chose Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which is specially formulated product that provides stain resistance with a hard wearing low-sheen finish.
This product is also breathable which is an important feature for old floors, anything that blocks moisture from rising through the tile will cause it to become trapped underneath where it will pool and eventually reach out to the walls and result in rising damp.
Once complete the floor looked brand new and I’m pleased to say with the deep clean and a fresh sealer applied it was impossible to tell the difference between the original and repaired sections of flooring.
For the aftercare of sealed Victorian tiled floors, I recommend Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner, it’s a mild day to day cleaner with a neutral pH that won’t damage the sealer. Many of the tile cleaning products you find in supermarkets are simply too strong.