Tile Repair

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 Tiled Hallway Restored in Camden

This detailed Victorian tiled hallway at a property in Camden was overdue some much-needed repair and maintenance. The owners of the property appreciated that original period features like this add a lot of value to a property and asked me to visit the property to quote for renovating it. The property was in a terrace of similar properties most of which appeared to have retained their Victorian character.

Victorian Hallway Floor Tile Before Restoration Camden
I inspected the floor and found there were a couple of loose, cracked, worn and broken tiles that needed to be replaced. In addition, the floor tiles needed a deep clean and then seal to bring back the wow factor. I was confident we could renovate the floor but at that point unsure if we would be able to find exact match replacements for the damaged tiles. Fortunately, Victorian tiles are still in demand and I knew of several companies I could check with so I was confident they could be found.

Victorian Hallway Floor Tile Before Restoration Camden
We discussed how long the work would take and assuming I could source the replacements agreed a price for the full restoration of the floor. After doing some research I managed to find suitable replacements with a company called Original Style and the work was scheduled for the following month.

Cleaning/Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Firstly, we prepared all areas with protective tapes to threshold edges and skirting.
This was followed by spaying the tiles with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove & Go which is product designed to remove old sealers and coatings. After about ten minutes the tiles were scrubbed with black scrubbing pads and scrubbing brushes. Fresh water was used to rinse the floor and the slurry was extracted using a wet vacuum.

The floor was inspected and then a second clean carried out, this time using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a Tile and Grout cleaning agent. The same process of application was used and after rinsing and extracting the dirt the tiles were given a steam clean. This ensured all the dirt was lifted out of the pores of the tile and the floor was now as clean as it possible could be.

The next step was the remove the loose and cracked tiles using the reclaimed tiles we had sourced earlier. Some cuts were necessary to get the replacements to match the originals but overall the plan worked. A quick drying adhesive was used to secure the tiles so we could apply the grout shortly after. The whole floor was then re-grouted and cleaned off to ensure a good match. The floor was left to dry off overnight, and you could already see it was now looking considerably improved.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Returning the next morning we checked the floor was dry using a moisture meter, this is important as to apply a sealer to damp tiles will lead to a patchy experience. All was well so we were ready to apply the sealer.

To start a single base coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer was applied to the floor and left to dry. This sealer is an impregnator that protects from within by occupying the pores in the clay tile improving colour in the process. This sealer does leave a matt finish however and the client wanted a subtle shine so one dry it was followed by four coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go. The combination of the two sealers works really well to add long lasting protection to the tiles and provide the desired finish to the floor.

Victorian Hallway Floor Tile After Restoration Camden
The floor was much improved, and the client was delighted. The detailed pattern and colours were now much more prominent, and the hallway looked much more inviting for both the owner and their guests. For the aftercare of Victorian tiles, I recommended the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner which is pH neutral and won’t prematurely erode the life of the sealer.


Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in North London

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