This client from North London had recently bought a property in Highgate N6 and during renovation had discovered an original Victorian tiled floor in the hallway. The floor was laid in a classic black and white diamond pattern but unfortunately a large section was missing and had been filled with concrete. Furthermore, most of the remaining floor had been covered in cement and glue.
I carried out a survey of the floor to determine the main issues and was then able to email over a quote later that day that included rebuilding the missing section of flooring. I suspect the floor had been excavated at some point in the past to install central heating and then rather than have the excavated section restored it was simply back filled and then levelled with a cement screed before finally gluing down a carpet on top.
Once the quote was accepted, I sourced replacement tiles from the Vintage Floor Tile company. Situated in Kent they are a reclamation yard that specialises in supplying original geometric and encaustic tiles including the major historical makers such as Minton and Craven Dunnill.
Repair and Restoration of Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
Armed with replacement tiles I started by removing the concrete that had been used to backfill the missing section and prepare a new surface for tiling with quick drying cement. When ready I was able to carefully build back the original pattern using the replacements. The tiles were secured with tile adhesive and once that had gone off, they were grouted.
The floor was left to set fully overnight and then the next day I was able to return and clean the whole floor using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go. As usual this was left to soak into the tiles for a good ten minutes before being scrubbed into the tiles using a black scrubbing pad. The Tile Doctor Remove and Go did a good job of cleaning the floor and the cleaning solution soon turned black with dirt during the scrubbing. The floor was rinsed with water and the soil extracted with a wet vacuum. After inspecting the floor any areas that needed further work were hand scrubbed and rinsed again until I was happy the floor was clean.
The last part of the cleaning process was to give the tiles an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel which further cleans the floor by removing old cement residue and grout haze. It also neutralises efflorescent salts in the tiles which are a common issue with floors of this age with no damp proof membrane. After another rinse and extraction, the floor was given a final rinse and then dried as much as possible using the wet vacuum.
Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
I left the floor to dry out for a couple of days before returning to apply a protective sealer. Tile and Stone should be dry before sealing so I use a damp meter first to double check. All was well so to seal the tiles I proceeded to apply the first of what would be three coats of sealer. I used Tile Doctor Colour Grow for this, it works by impregnating the tile occupying the pores and thereby preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there. This product also enhances the black and white colour of the tiles and makes the floor much easier to clean.
Once done the floor was transformed and needless to say my customer was very pleased with the result. For the aftercare of Victorian Tiled floors, I recommend the use of a ph neural tile cleaner such as Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner; most supermarket tile cleaners are simply too strong for use on sealed floors and can strip off the sealer prematurely.