Floor 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

Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor Restored in Finchley

The owners of this Edwardian property in Finchley had purchased it a couple of years prior and since then had slowly been renovating it to restore its original character. The project was almost complete and now attention had turned to the tiled floor. The tiles were in quite a state and I was asked to work our Tile Doctor magic and bring it back to its original condition.

Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Renovation Finchley

When they moved in the hallway had been covered with carpet which gave the tiles underneath some protection. Unfortunately, however the carpet has been secured with carpet grippers that had been glued to the tiles around the edges. There were also paint splashes on the surface that would need dealing with. On top of that the floor had a few missing tiles that had been back filled by cement to provide a level base for the carpet, the client wanted like them replaced if possible.

Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Renovation Finchley

After surveying the floor, I explained what could be done and ever completed a small test clean to demonstrate how the tiles would look once deep cleaned. I was confident on being able to source very similar reclaimed tiles so replacing the missing should not be a problem. The client was very happy with the initial test result and my quotation so booked me in to restore the floor.

Cleaning and Repairing an Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor

On my return I started by applying Tile Doctor Remove and Go to soften up the glue which allowed it to be carefully peeled off the tiles with scrappers. Once all the carpet adhesive was gone, I worked a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go into the tiles using a black pad to work the cleaning solution deeper into the tiles. A wet vacuum was used to remove the slurry created, and I followed this by giving the tiles an extra clean using a 200-grit diamond burnishing pad lubricated with water.

The last step in the cleaning process was to give the floor an acid rinse using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up, I did this for several reasons, first it removes old grout smears from the surface of the tile and second it neutralised any efflorescent salts lying dormant in the floor. This can be quite a problem for old floors which don’t have the benefit of a protective damp proof membrane under the floor. The floor was given a final rinse with water which was again extracted with a wet vacuum.

I then set about lifting all the loose tiles (approximately ten) and carefully removing the concrete infills. I had previously managed to source replacements for these holes from original features. Unfortunately, they didn’t sell the correct sized octagon tiles, so I had bought 150mm square tiles and then needed to cut them on site to get the right size.

After cutting and fixing the tiles I fixed them in place and regrouted the rest of the floor.

Sealing an Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor

I then left the floor to dry out overnight and returned in the morning. Before applying a sealer, I took several moisture readings with the damp meter to make sure the tiles were dry enough to take the sealer.

I was able to confirm the floor was dry, so went ahead and applied three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealant. Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that is fully breathable sealer which is important when it comes to old floors like these that don’t have a damp proof membrane installed.

Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor After Renovation Finchley

My client was very happy with the renovated floor and for aftercare I left them with a bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner and gave advice on how best to clean the floor going forward.

Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor After Renovation Finchley

 

Professional Restoration of an Edwardian Tiled Hallway in North London

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