Brent Tile Cleaning

Repairs to a Victorian Hallway Floor in Harlesden

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.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration Harlesden NW10

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.

Victorian Tiled Hallway During Restoration Harlesden NW10 Victorian Tiled Hallway During Restoration Harlesden NW10

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.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration Harlesden NW10

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.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration Harlesden NW10

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.

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in North London

Victorian Hallway Restoration Mill Hill, North London

This 1930’s North London property in Mill Hill had a classic tiled hallway floor laid with black and white tiles in a diamond pattern and reminiscent of the Victorian era some thirty years earlier but still popular at the time the house was built. Mill Hill was first recorded as Myllehill in 1547 and appears to be named after a “hill with a windmill”. Over the years it’s merged with the surrounding towns and is now a desirable suburb in the North London Borough of Barnet.

I first spoke to the owner of the property over the phone to get an idea of what was required and work out a convenient time to take a look at the floor; we often get customers looking for a quote over the phone but this is not always easy to do as you never know what problems you might find with an older floor until you get there.

On inspection I could see there were in fact a large number of loose tiles in the central part of the floor which would need to be reset and grouted, the floor would also need to be deep cleaned and re-sealed with a suitable sealer to get it back to its former glory. I was confident we could soon get the floor looking how it should and after discussing the process, agreed a price and a timescale for the project. The owner was keen to get the job completed as soon as possible.

Cleaning/Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Firstly, we prepared the area with protective polythene tapes to thresholds, carpets, and door fronts to ensure the surrounding areas were protected. To clean the floor a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean was applied, this is a concentrated, multi-purpose high-alkaline cleaner, stripper and degreaser and is highly recommended for use on natural stone, tile and grout. The tiles were scrubbed with both floor pads and brushes, it is easier to use brushes in the more intricate areas.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Restoration During Cleaning Mill Hill

After the scrubbing we rinsed, and steam cleaned the floor, removing the slurry generated during the cleaning process with a wet vacuum. It was now nicely prepared ready for carrying out the repairs and the cleaning process was useful in identifying those tiles which needed extra attention.

The repairs involved resetting 50 to 60 loose tiles, the process requires carefully removing the tile, scraping out the old adhesive and grout and then replacing with new. The area is cleaned and then when the adhesive has set the tiles are re grouted in a grout chosen to best match the original. Luckily there were no damaged tiles on this floor which made the job easier. Although, we can usually track down replacements when they are needed!

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

We then left the hallway to dry off overnight, returning the next day we used a moisture meter to check the floor was dry and suitable for sealing. Old floors like these have no damp proof membrane fitted under the floor so can take time to dry out, fortunately we completed this work during warm weather, so all the readings were good.

Victorian style tiles are quite porous, so we found we need to apply give coats of sealer before they were fully sealed. We selected Tile Doctor Seal & Go to seal the tiles, it’s a specially formulated water-based blend of acrylic polymers that adds a durable stain resistant surface and leaves an appealing low-sheen finish. Being water based it doesn’t leave a smell as it dries, and it also a breathable sealer that can cope with the lack of a damp proof membrane ensuring moisture doesn’t become trapped under the floor.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Restoration After Cleaning Mill Hill

The client was very happy with the completed job, the work took a day and half to complete. Considering how many tiles had been loose the job had turned out very well. The floor is now much more manageable for her and the hallway tiles life has now been prolonged.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Restoration After Cleaning Mill Hill

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in North London

=================================

North London Tile Doctor

Scroll to top