This client in the old industrial market town of Stourbridge contacted me about a Victorian tiled floor they had recently discovered under their hall carpet. They wanted to have it restored to its former glory but were concerned about the small holes all along the border. These holes were for the nails that secured the carpet grip rod and the best course of action would be to remove and replace the tiles. We are usually able to source replacement tiles, either replica or reclaimed so I was reasonably confident we could manage it, however in order to be certain I needed to survey the floor and do some research.
Once I was able to take a detailed look at the tiles it was clear that the floor would also need a deep clean due to being covered up by the carpet for so long, there was also some glue and residue from the floor covering which we agreed to remove. I prepared a quote for the work which the client was happy to accept, and the job was booked in.
Cleaning/Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
The first day was spent removing the border tiles and replacing them, these are tricky to do as the skirting can be a hinderance. The tiles needed to be carefully removed so we didn’t damage the skirting. Thankfully they were all coloured black which was a bonus as replacement black tiles match very well. After cutting to size and replacing all the border, a doorway threshold was rebuilt with a mixture of original and replacement tiles.
To finish off the first day loose tiles were reset, and the replacement tiles grouted in along with the other repaired areas. The floor was already started to look good and the colours in the Victorian tiles which were particularly vivid were really starting to come alive as the work progressed.
The next day the floor was cleaned with a 200-grit diamond pad attached to a rotary floor machine. We use water to lubricate the cleaning process and this turns to a grey slurry as the dirt is released from the tiles. The slurry is then rinsed off and then removed using a wet vacuum.
Next the floor was given an acid wash using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up to remove any grout haze and treat any salty deposits (efflorescence) which are often present in floors of this age due to the lack of a damp-proof membrane. It also helps make a stronger bond with the sealer which would be applied later.
The floor was rinsed with water, then dried as much as possible with the wet vacuum and allowed to dry for a couple of days.
Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
Returning a few days later, we checked with the moisture readings of the floor in several places using a damp meter. It confirmed that the floor had dried out fully and was ready to be sealed. Applying a sealer to a damp floor is never recommended.
To seal the Victorian tiles, I used multiple coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go Extra which is a low sheen breathable sealer that will allow moisture to rise through the tiles, it also added a lovely subtle sheen to the tiles making the colours stand out. Using a breathable sealer is important on old floors with no damp proof membrane as to use a non-breathable sealer can lead to moisture being trapped under the floor where it could build-up and spread to the walls leading to rising damp.
The floor was now complete and looked great. The client was over the moon and especially pleased that we had managed to replace the border tiles with the nail holes in.