Victorian Tile Cleaning

Listed Victorian Floor Restoration at Aston Park House Great Budworth

Earlier this year were contacted by the The Vintage Floor company who have supplied me with reclaimed tiles in the past to see if we could help one of their customers restore a Victorian floor at Aston Park House in Great Budworth. A section of flooring in the mansion house had been ripped out by a property developer along with most of the other features in the building. According to Cheshire Live news the developer was taken to court and fined for the “reckless vandalism” of a rare Grade II listed building.

Aston Park House Great Budworth Northwich Cheshire

The property dates to 1715 and at one time was part of the nearby Arley Hall Estate which has been used for many film locations including Peaky Blinders and War of the Worlds. English Heritage were now keeping a close eye on the renovation work, so needless to say the standard had to be high.

On the first day of work a person from English Heritage met me with old plans of the floor and how it was to be restored. Fortunately, half the floor was still there so that section just needed a good clean and seal, but there was a twelve-foot section of the floor missing which needed to be replaced to English Heritage standards.

Victorian Floor Before Installaton and Restorattion Aston Park House Great Budworth Northwich Victorian Floor Before Installaton and Restorattion Aston Park House Great Budworth Northwich

Rebuilding a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

English Heritage had arranged to have a new sub-base installed so I was able to get straight onto tiling the floor. I used a modern flexible adhesive to lay the tiles which alone took two weeks as there were 2,450 tiles of different sizes. Keeping the tiles butted up to each other level and smooth and following the correct pattern is meticulous work. Once the new tiles were laid it was left for three days to set before I returned to grout the floor. With part one of the project done English Heritage returned to check my work which was a nerve-racking experience.

Victorian Floor During Installaton and Restorattion Aston Park House Great Budworth Northwich Victorian Floor During Installaton and Restorattion Aston Park House Great Budworth Northwich

English Heritage has specified that the floor needed to be levelled so to ensure the tiles were completely flat I applied a system that Tile Doctor use called Milling. This involves the application of a coarse 200-grit DRB pad to take out any lippage and flatten the tiles. DRB stands for Diamond Resin Block which refers to the segments in the pad that do the heavy lifting of milling the tiles. The pads are applied using a rotary machine which is fitted with extra weights to make better contact with the tile and is run at a slow speed. Water is used as a lubricant and the fine slurry generated is removed with a wet vacuum.

Deep Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Next step was to get both floors clean using a 200-grit pad (without segments) followed with a set of burnishing pads from 400, 800 and finally 1500-grit to restore the surface. Again, each pad is applied with water for lubrication and is rinsed and extracted after each pad. This process really gets the floor clean and reduces any noticeable difference between the new and old floors.

After completing the burnishing, the floor was treated to an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel. This is applied to the floor and left to soak for ten minutes before being rinsed off with water and extracted with a wet vacuum. Old floors don’t have a damp proof membrane so this neutralises any efflorescent salts in the tile which could cause a problem later, it also ensures grout smears are removed. The floor was then left to dry out for seven days.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

On return we tested the floor to check it was dry enough to seal, this is important as any moisture in the tile can affect the sealer leading to an inconsistent finish. One coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow was applied to start, this is a colour intensifying breathable impregnator that soaks into the tile improving its appearance and adding protection from within. Any excess sealant was removed by wiping the floor with a microfibre cloth and then it was left to dry for an hour.

We then applied four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which is an acrylic sealer and breathable. This is an important feature when choosing a sealer for old floors where moisture needs to be allowed to rise through the tile, otherwise it can become trapped under the floor and reach out to the walls causing rising damp.

Victorian Floor After Installaton Aston Park House Great Budworth Northwich

We returned two days later for a final inspection with English Heritage which thankfully we got the nod that the floor had passed!

Victorian Floor After Installaton Aston Park House Great Budworth Northwich

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in West Cheshire

Victorian Tiled Porch Deep Cleaned at Cressington Parks Liverpool

Cressington Parks is a 19th Century gated private estate built for wealthy merchants who needed easy access to the city of Liverpool. Cressington has been designated a conservation area with many examples of period street furniture including gas lamps, gates and railings along with all the period buildings. In fact, the streets have been used for many television and film sets.

As you can see from the picture below this small but impressively intricate Victorian Tiled floor was in need of some love and care after being covered in carpet for many years and we were asked to do the renovation. We have restored several period floors in the conversation area where we find the properties are popular with younger family’s buying the homes for restoration.

Victorian Tiled Porch Floor Before Cleaning Cressington

Cleaning/Repairing a Victorian Tiled Porch Floor

This particular floor was at the servants’ entrance to the main house and required deep cleaning and a few repairs to be carried out. Given the small size of the floor we were aiming to complete the job within a day by using low moisture cleaning techniques.

The first task was to remove as much of the old coatings which included carpet glue, paint and varnish using very sharp scrapers. Once this was done, we covered the floor with Tile Doctor Acid Gel. Being in gel form it’s very easy to control and means it will stay in in place where a liquid treatment would just run away. After leaving the gel to dwell for ten minutes, we used a slow speed buffing machine fitted with extra weight and a black scrubbing pad to work the product into the tiles. This now soiled gel was then rinsed off with a little water and extracted using a wet vacuum. When we use this cleaning method the acid gel cleans the floor and helps counter alkaline salts inherent in the floor.

Whilst the floor was drying, we turned our attention to the damaged tiles which we replaced with matching tiles that we had sourced earlier. It takes some time to do this as you need to scrape out the surrounding grout, lever out the broken tile and then scrape out the adhesive. The new tile is then set in place with rapid set adhesive and matching grout.

Once that had set the rest of the floor was encouraged to dry out faster with the use of heat guns for about twenty minutes before letting the floor cool down. At this stage the floor was looking much improved!

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Porch Floor

After a further twenty minutes we did a damp test using a damp meter to make sure the floor was ready for sealing. The minimal use of liquids and added heat had worked well and we were able to move on and seal the tiles starting with a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating fully breathable sealer that brings out the colour in the tile.

The first coat was left to dry for forty minutes before following with three coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra. This is also a breathable sealer and is ideal for situations where no damp proof membrane. The Sealer left the floor with a lovely sheen and the colourful tiles really shone through. The floor was back to its’ former glory.

Victorian Tiled Porch Floor After Cleaning Cressington

Our customer was over the moon and has asked us if we could return to restore the outside pathways, what better feedback can you get.

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Porch in Liverpool

Renovating a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Grappenhall near Warrington

The village of Grappenhall has a long history that goes all the way back to the bronze age and as a result has all periods of architecture including quite a lot of houses with Victorian tiled hallways . This particular floor at a house in the village had been well looked after well by the owner but had now lost its vibrancy, was looking dull and now needed a deep clean and reseal.

Victorian tiles are porous and so need to be sealed to protect them from dirt becoming ingrained in the floor. However, hallway floors get a lot of foot traffic which over time wears down the sealer until it becomes so thin and patchy it’s no longer effective. As a result, you need to regularly top up the sealer or every three to four years it will need to be stripped off and reapplied.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Grapenhall Before Cleaning Victorian Tiled Hallway Grapenhall Before Cleaning

Deep Cleaning the Victorian Tiled Floor

I used clear plastic to protect the wood skirting boards from splashing and then gave the tiles a good scrub with a mixture of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and Remove and Go to deep clean and strip off any remaining sealers. The cleaning solution was left to soak in for ten minutes before scrubbing it in with a black pad fitted to a heavy buffing machine.

Once the whole area had been scrubbed I rinsed off with water which was then extracted using a wet vacuum. With the floor now clear I was able to inspect it to ensure all the previous sealer and ingrained dirt had been removed. Any areas with stubborn stains were spot treated by reapplying the cleaning concoction I used earlier before leaving the floor to dry off fully overnight.

Sealing the Victorian Tiled Floor

When I returned the next morning my first job was to test the tiles for damp using a damp meter. This is important as damp tiles won’t take the sealer as well as dry tiles, however this time everything was fine.

I then proceeded to seal the Victorian tiles with a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow to enhance the natural colours in the tile before applying a further seven coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which leaves a sheen finish and is ideal for Victorian tiles.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Grapenhall After Cleaning Victorian Tiled Hallway Grapenhall After Cleaning

The hallway now looks fantastic and vibrant and then new sealer will protect them from ingrained dirt making them easier to clean and keep them looking good for some time to come.
 
 

Restoring Victorian Hallway Floor Tiles in Cheshire

Unusual Victorian Tiled Hallway Cleaned and Sealed in Grappenhall

Impressed with the details of a similar floor published on our website the owner of this Victorian tiled hallway floor at a house in the village of Grappenhall asked if we could pay her a visit.

The floor was in relatively good physical condition, although there were a few tiles that needed replacing and really just needed cleaning and resealing however I thought it would be worth a mention on my blog due to it being so unusual. There seamed no set pattern to the tiles and it was as if they had some tiles left over and just laid them as they came.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning in Grappenhall

Deep Cleaning the Victorian Tiled Floor

After protecting the skirting boards I gave the floor a deep clean using Tile Doctor Remove and Go to strip off any remaining sealers. This was left to soak in for twenty minutes then scrubbed in using a rotary machine fitted with a black pad then rinsed off with clean water which was then extracted using a wet vacuum. I was careful not to use too much water as the owner had just converted the cellar below into a games room and was worried it may cause damp in the ceiling. There were a few tiles that needed replacing so we fixed and grouted them in before leaving the floor to fully dry off overnight

Sealing the Victorian Tiled Floor

We returned next morning and tested for damp with a damp meter to make sure the floor was ready to seal. Everything was fine so we proceeded to seal the Victorian tiles with a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow to enhance the colour of the floor before applying a further six coats of Seal and Go which is ideal for these type of tile.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning in Grappenhall

The customer was made up with the result we had made to her hallway, I only wish I had managed to take better pictures of the floor so you could appreciate it as much as she did.
 
 

Restoring Victorian Hallway Floor Tiles in Cheshire

Restoring Life to Victorian Hallway Tiles in Warrington

Victorian tiles are a product of the gothic revival that occurred during the reign of Queen Victoria, these tiles are typically colourful and patterned, taking influence from medieval designs. Many property owners in the 21st century understand the value original features such as these floors can have and have chosen to maintain these original tiles.

Restoring them however isn’t always an easy process and we often get asked to deep clean and seal these floors including the example below of a Victorian tiled hallway in the hallway of a grand house in Warrington where the old sealer had gradually worn off allowing the tiles beneath to become dirty and discoloured.

Warrington is an area in Cheshire that expanded and urbanised during the Industrial Revolution period of the 18th and 19th centuries, with its major industries including steel and textiles. This coincided with the growing prosperity of the town, and as people grew wealthier they were able to build fantastic houses with equally fantastic Victorian tiled floors.

Cleaning a Dirty Victorian Tiled Hallway

To begin the restoration, I applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a high alkaline product, to both remove ingrained dirt and strip away any remaining old sealer that was still present on the tiles. It’s important to strip the floor of all old coatings and sealers to ensure optimum performance by the new sealer and also to avoid patchy results. The product was left to dwell on the floor for twenty minutes to break down the sealer and seep into the pores of the stone. I then scrubbed the tiles with a black pad and rotary machine to work the Pro-Clean deep into the tile.

Victorian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Warrington

The resulting soiled cleaning solution was then removed using a wet vacuum machine and the floor was rinsed with water. There were a few stubborn areas that needed further work so these were spot treated using the same process and then followed this by neutralising anytrace of cleaning product on the tiles with a thorough rinse of water. I dried the tiles with the wet-vacuum once more before leaving them to dry out over the course of two days.

Victorian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Warrington

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway

Upon my return to the property I sealed the Victorian tiles using a combination of sealers which we have found is the most effective method of sealing Victorian tiles. Firstly, I applied a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a colour intensifying impregnating sealer that soaks into the tile and really lifts the colourful the Victorian designs. Secondly, I applied four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which provides a durable low-sheen finish (as requested by the customer) and will protect against dirt and stains.

Victorian Tiled Floor After Cleaning Warrington

The customer was over the moon with the finished result. We love restoring these
original Victorian tiles because the transformations are truly in incredible. It’s easy to see why so many people want to have them maintained because they really add character to any property.

Victorian Tiled Floor After Cleaning Warrington

 
 

Cheshire Victorian Tiled Hallway Restoration

Full Restoration Of A Victorian Tiled Hallway In Warrington

Victorian tiles have a classic aura about them. They have been in use for over 150 years but have never really gone out of style due to their unique style and variety of patterns. As such, we often encounter both Victorian tiles that are very old, and Victorian tiles are quite new. Time, however, can certainly expose the tiles to all manner of wear and tear, and regular professional maintenance will always be necessary to keep them looking good.

As you can see from the photographs below, this particularly old Victorian tiled hallway at a house in Warrington was in pretty bad shape, with missing and cracked tiles. Not to mention that it clearly hadn’t been treated to a deep clean and fresh seal in a very long time. The property owner contacted me to set the situation right.

Victorian tiled hallway before restoration Warrington

Repairing and Cleaning Dirty and Damaged Victorian Tiles

Before I could begin with the restoration, it was necessary to order and reinstall replacements for the missing tiles. Fortunately, Tile Doctor maintains a list of suppliers that we can go to for these. Loose tiles were also refixed and grouted, before being left to dry over night. The result was an almost entirely rebuilt floor of original and replacement Victorian tiles.

Victorian tiled hallway during restoration Warrington

The next day I started the restoration by using a hand help flex machine fitted with three-inch diamond encrusted discs to lightly grind out the scratches in some of the original tiles. This was followed by a deep cleaning of the floor with Tile Doctor Pro Clean in combination with a black buffing pad. I repeated the process multiple times with this reliable alkaline cleaner to ensure all tiles were thoroughly and consistently clean.

The last step in the cleaning process was to rinse the floor thoroughly to remove any trace of chemicals, before soaking up any excess moisture using a wet vacuum. I gave the floor another night to dry fully, as it could only be sealed when I was sure all moisture had disappeared.

Sealing Victorian Tiles

On the third and final day of work, I started by checking the tiles were completely dry. This is essential because even a small amount of moisture can cloud the sealer and prevent it from performing correctly.

When satisfied with the state of the floor, I proceeded to seal it with a combination of six coats Tile Doctor Seal and Go and one coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Seal and Go is a topical sealer that provides a durable layer of protection on the surface of tiles, plus a high-quality sheen finish. Colour Grow, by comparison, is an impregnating sealer, meaning it penetrates into the pores of the stone to act as a barrier against ingrained dirt and stains. It also enhances the range of different colours in the tiles.

Victorian tiled hallway after restoration Warrington

As you can see from the last photographs, this combination of cleaning and two sets of sealer worked wonders to restore the character to the old tiles. My customer was over the moon.

Victorian tiled hallway after restoration Warrington

 
 

Professional Victorian Tiled Hallway Restoration in Cheshire

Recently Uncovered Victorian Tiles Completely Transformed in Lymm

When you uncover a tiled floor after it has been covered by carpet for many years, it’s almost a given that it will be in a bad state. However, my customer, who lives in the town of Lymm, wasn’t expecting the Victorian tiled hallway they had recently uncovered to be in quite so terrible a state. As you can see from the photograph, it has been completely devastated by paint plaster and a big pool of cement floor leveller. Understandably, the formerly colourful appearance of the tiles had completely drained and it would require a through restoration to get them back into a usable condition.

Victorian Floor Uncovered Before in Lymm

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Floor

To begin the restoration, I mixed a strong cleaning solution which consisted of Tile Doctor Remove & Go combined 50/50 with Tile Doctor Pro Clean. Remove & Go is a heavy duty remover that breaks down old sealers, along with adhesives, paint stains and other tough soil build up where as Pro-Clean is a versatile alkaline-based cleaner that reliably eradicates dirt on a wide variety of natural stone floors.

The solution was applied liberally across the floor, and left to dwell for a short period, allowing time for it to soften up the paint plaster. Next, I fitted a coarse scrubbing pad to my rotary cleaning machine and began to scrub the solution into the tiles, with a big difference to the appearance of the tiles being made quite quickly. The resulting cleaning slurry was promptly removed using a wet-vac machine.

I repeated the process two times to provide an extra thorough clean and then give the floor a thorough rinse. Some particularly stubborn marks remained on the floor which I was able to remove using Tile a Doctor Acid Gel, a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in gel form that’s easy to control. The floor was then left to dry fully overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

The next morning, I returned to the property and ran some damp tests. This is incredibly important to do before sealing any tiled floor because any excess moisture can cloud the sealer and prevent it from doing its job properly.

Once satisfied that the floor could be sealed, I applied several coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, our topical sealer which provides both a robust surface seal and a long-lasting low sheen finish in one and ideal for Victorian tiles.

Victorian Floor Uncovered After in Lymm

It would be an understatement to say that this Victorian tiled floor was transformed. The customer was amazed at the results considering how bad a state the tiles had been in just a day earlier. When you have a situation like this, it’s hard to believe the tiles could ever be fully restored. Nonetheless, we could now see them in their full and original glory, and needless to say, the customer was very, very pleased with the result.
 
 

Professional Victorian Tiled Floor Restoration in Lymm

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