victorian tile cleaning

Pictures below are from the restoration of Victorian Hallway Tiles that I carried out at a marvellous old property just south of Doncaster last year. The property was originally built and owed by the railways in fact its located metres away from the East Coast mainline which links Edinburgh with London and calls at places like Doncaster, York, and Newcastle.

The owner of this property was left a very old photograph by the previous owners showing two people stood by the front door and the floor tiles are just visible in the photograph.

Victorian Hallway Original Photo Doncaster Railway Property Victorian Hallway Before Renovation Doncaster Railway Property

Even though the house had been kept in great condition by the railways for well over one hundred years the large Victorian floor had unfortunately taken a hammering. In total around 130 damaged tiles would need removing and replacing with replicas. This would be a painstaking task but would make all the difference to the overall look of the floor.

Victorian Hallway Showing Broken Tile Removal Doncaster Railway Property

Replacing Victorian Hallway Tiles

The current owner was keen to have the floor renovated and I was asked to do the work, old floors like these are a sought-after period feature and can add a lot of value to a property once restored. Fortunately, Victorian tiles are still popular today, and I was able to source replacements without too much trouble.

I started the restoration by removing the old cracked tiles and cleaning up the base. With this done I started the lengthy process of carefully cutting tiles to fit the original pattern and then fixing them in place with a modern adhesive.

Victorian Hallway Showing Damage Repair Doncaster Railway Property

Deep Cleaning Victorian Hallway Tiles

After leaving the tile adhesive to set overnight I came back the next day to deep clean the floor, by cleaning the old and new tiles together it will ensure the floor has a consistent appearance when finished.

Sometime in the past layers and layers of an old sealer had been applied to the floor, the sealer was flaking off and holding on to decades of dirt. To remove the old sealers, we used Remove and Go, it was sprayed on to the tiles and then left it to dwell and soak in for ten minutes.

Victorian Hallway Before Renovation Showing Failed Sealer Doncaster Railway Property

The tiles were then scrubbed using a rotary floor buffer fitted with a 200-grit diamond pad which made short work of the old floor sealers. The floor was then treated with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to clean the tiles further, again a diamond pad was used to go over the tiles.

Victorian Hallway During Sealer Removal Doncaster Railway Property

Once happy the Victorian tiles were as clean as the could be it was time to give the floor an acid wash which would remove any old mineral deposits including grout smears. We also recommended this for old Victorian floors which do not have a damp-proof membrane installed and can suffer from white efflorescent salt deposits as moisture rises through the tile. To do this Tile Doctor Acid Gel was scrubbed into the to the floor again using a 200-grit burnishing pad to make the acid gel work hard. Afterwards we rinsed the floor several times removing the slurry with a wet vacuum. This kept the mess to a minimum and the floor was already looking great.

Victorian Hallway During Renovation Doncaster Railway Property

Sealing Victorian Hallway Tiles

The property was left for a few days to let the floor dry out completely and when I returned seal the floor my first job was to check the moisture readings in the floor with a damp meter. I needed to ensure it was as dry as possible before applying a sealer and in this case, I didn’t have to worry.

Next, I applied four coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which works by seeping into the pores of the tile protecting it from within. I consider this to be best choice for sealing old Victorian tiles like these as it does a nice job of improving colour and its fully breathable. Being breathable is important due to the lack of the damp proof membrane and will allow moisture to pass through the tile and sealer and not become trapped under the floor where it could spread to the walls and cause rising damp.

Victorian Hallway After Renovation Doncaster Railway Property

PS.. If you have ever wondered if you have applied enough sealer all you need to do is drop some water onto the floor, if the tile is sealed sufficiently the water will form a bubble on the surface.

Victorian Hallway After Sealing Water Test Doncaster Railway Property


Source: Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in South Yorkshire

Recently we were asked to quote on restoring a Victorian tiled hallway floor in one of the large houses in the North Wales seaside resort of Rhos-on-Sea. It was a lovely period property that overlooked the sea and the floor a fine example of Victorian tiling and a real asset to the property.

Naturally, we have to take precautions when visiting properties these days, especially when surveying floors inside properties however we have amended our working practices to include more PPE and social distancing and so its not a problem.

On first impressions the floor looked to be in good order however it had some broken and loose tiles that needed replacing and then the floor given a good clean and seal. Fortunately, Victorian tiles are still popular, and you can find replacements, I also know that difficult to source tiles can often be found by asking other Tile Doctors many of whom have quite a collection. A quote was given for the work, which was accepted, and a date set to commence the work which would take three days.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Renovation Rhos-on-Sea

Rhos-on-Sea is a very picturesque town situated between Llandudno and Colwyn Bay by passed by north wales main trunk road A55 leading to the main ferry port of Holyhead to Ireland. When you turn off the A55 into Rhos-on-Sea your transferred to a large seaside promenade with a wide walkway which is used by the towns many retired residents who appreciate the splendid coastal views.

Repairing and Cleaning Victorian Hallway Tiles

The first job was to cut out and remove the damaged tiles then prepare the subbase with rapid set self-levelling compound to take the new tiles. Once this had set, I was able to cut and fit the replacements. There were a few areas that needed attention and so this work took up by most of the first day.

Victorian Tiled Hallway During Repair Rhos-on-Sea

The next day was cleaning day, first we checked the repairs where fixed and dry. To clean the floor, we use a slow speed buffing machine with extra weights which can be removed to suit the pressure required. The pad we use with the machine is a 200-grit milling pad lubricated with water, this cleans the tiles as it moves along, and the waste is removed by wet vacuum.

Pads struggle to reach into the corners and along the edges so to ensure all the old sealer is removed the floor is cleaned with a treatment of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a strong coatings remover that is safe to use on tile and stone. Its left to dwell on the tiles for ten minutes and then scrubbed in, the waste is then removed as before using the wet vacuum.

Tile tiles were then treated to a process we call and Acid Wash which we highly recommend for old Victorian floors which do not have a damp proof membrane installed. As a result, moisture can rise through the tiles leaving white salt deposits on the floor which is known as Efflorescence. To prevent this we try not to use much water when cleaning Victorian floors however we find if you apply a coat of Tile Doctor Acid Gel it counters the salts in the floor and eliminates the problem, the gel will also remove old grout hazing and helps bring out the beauty of the floor. The gel is washed off and removed with the trusty wet vacuum which is an essential tool for any Tile Doctor. The floor was then left to dry out for two days to ensure it would be completely dry on our return and ready for sealing.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Its important the floor is dry before sealing so on our return the first task was to take moisture readings with a damp meter in different parts of the floor. The readings were fine, so an initial coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow was applied to the floor. This is an impregnating colour enhancing sealer that soaks into the pores of the tile protecting it from within. Once this was dry its was followed to with three coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which leaves a subtle semi sheen when dry. Both these sealers are breathable and so won’t trap any moisture below the tiles, this is an important feature as trapped moisture can find its way to the walls resulting in rising damp.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Renovation Rhos-on-Sea

Once the sealer was dry, we were able to let the owner see the result who was really pleased and apparently has since received many compliments. For aftercare we recommend using Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner which has a effective neutral pH formula that won’t prematurely erode the sealer with use like stronger products you find in supermarkets.


Source: Victorian Floor Cleaning and Restoration Service in North Wales

This client had just moved into a property in York and having pulled back the old carpet revealed a lovely old period Victorian tiled floor she didn’t know existed when she bought the house!

I went over at the beginning of this year to survey the floor and could see that fortunately, no glue or carpet grips had been used to secure the carpet; additionally the floor was in good physical condition considering its age with no cracks or loose tiles. The tiles were however very dusty and dirty with ingrained dirt and so had probably been covered with carpet for a very long time. The hallway was quite dark I’m afraid with little natural light so apologies for the photographs.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning York

With old houses like this you never know what you are going to find so whilst I was there surveying the floor, I took some moisture readings with a damp meter on the floors and walls. The readings came back low so no sign of damp which was a relief to the owner.
We agreed a price for the work, and I arranged to come back the following week.

I must admit I do like York, its steeped in history and famous for its Cathedral and Viking museum. The houses in the city have loads of character and period features like this floor are quite common.

Deep Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor in York

I deep cleaned the floor with a strong 1:3 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean worked in with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. Initially the solution was left to soak into the tile before being agitated by the machine. The soil was then rinsed off with minimal water and then extracted with a wet vacuum.

I followed this up with an Acid Wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel to further clean up the tiles and help inhibit any potential efflorescent salt issues which are common in floors of this age due to the absence of the damp proof membrane. The floor was given a further rinse and extraction and allowed to dry out fully overnight. I needed the floor to be dry for the next day so it could be sealed.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

I came back the next day and started by taking more damp readings which showed similar readings to the day before. Given the low readings I was able to move straight onto sealing which was done using four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This product works really well on old Victorian Tiles like these and being water based it doesn’t leave a smell as it dries.

Once the final coat of sealer had dried there was a significant improvement in the appearance of the floor which was much appreciated by client who was very happy with the end result.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Cleaning York

For aftercare I recommended the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner to maintain the floor, it has a nice fresh smell and can be used regularly due to its pH neutral nature which won’t prematurely erode the sealer like stronger bleach based cleaners.


Source: Victorian Floor Cleaning and Sealing Service in Yorkshire

This client had recently discovered a Victorian tiled floor hidden underneath hallway carpet at their property in the Birmingham suburb of Bournville. It didn’t look in great condition as some areas were missing and staining from carpet adhesive, but it was a beautiful patterned floor tiled potentially with Minton tiles and they were really keen to find out if it could be restored to its’ former glory.

The rest of the property in Bourneville had retained its’ original features so the floor would be the icing on the cake.

Victorian Tiled Floor Before Restoration Bourneville

I went along to survey the floor, provide a quote and perform a small cleaning demonstration so I they could get an idea of the results they could expect. The damaged areas were repairable and once I had completed the test clean, we were confident the floor could be restored. They were happy to proceed with my quote and the job was booked in.

Victorian Tiled Floor Before Restoration Bourneville Victorian Tiled Floor Before Restoration Bourneville

Bourneville is the home of the chocolate makers Cadbury, so many people will have visited and been aware of the area. Many of the houses were built for the workers at the Cadbury factory.

Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

On the first day I started on relaying the three internal door thresholds with some existing tiles and matching replacements that I had managed to source online. We are usually able to source reclaimed tiles and reproduction ones, so repairs are not usually a problem. It took some time to clean out the old adhesive, cut the replacement tiles to size where required and then then fix in place with fresh adhesive.

Victorian Tiled Door Threshold Before Restoration Bourneville Victorian Tiled Door Threshold Before Restoration Bourneville Victorian Tiled Door Threshold During Restoration Bourneville

The next job was to replace some broken ones along the edges and some in the main part of the floor which had been drilled in to. These can be tricky to do as they can easily break adjoining tiles. When this was done the tiles were grouted and the other loose ones reset. It’s meticulous work and the tile adhesive needs time to set before the next stage which would be giving the entire floor a deep clean.

Victorian Tiled Floor Before Restoration Bourneville

Deep Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The following day I focused on deep cleaning the tiles starting with the removal of the strong adhesive that had secured the carpet gripper. This had to be removed by applying a neat Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and leaving it to dwell for ten minutes. The Pro-Clean helped loosen the glue which was then carefully scraped off.

The floor was then mopped with a strong dilution of Pro-Clean before running over the tiles with a 200-grit diamond pad fitted to a rotary machine. This combination gets into the pores of the tile, releasing the dirt and renovating the surface. The resultant slurry was then rinsed off with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

Next, the floor was given an acid rinse using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up worked in with a 400-grit burnishing pad to further clean up the tiles and close-up the pores. The floor was rinsed and extracted again and allowed to dry for two nights.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

On my return I tested the floor was dry with the damp meter and satisfied myself that the floor was dry and ready to accept a sealer which would enhance its appearance and protect it going forward.

My sealer of choice was Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which adds a nice subtle sheen to the floor and being breathable will cope with any potential moisture rising through the tiles. This is an important consideration on old floors like this where no damp proof membrane will have been fitted.

Victorian Tiled Floor After Restoration Bourneville Victorian Tiled Floor After Restoration Bourneville

By the time I had finished the floor was transformed and had become the main focal point of the house. My clients were very pleased with the new entrance to their home and before leaving we discussed after care for which I left them with a complementary bottle of Neutral Tile Cleaner.

Victorian Tiled Door Threshold After Restoration Bourneville


Source: Minton Floor Cleaning and Restoration Service in Birmingham

This client in Llansamlet wanted to remove their existing parquet flooring as they were aware there was a Victorian tiled floor underneath. They were keen to see if we could clean and refurbish the original tiled floor dating back to the early 1920s that had been covered over in the 70s. Whilst they liked the Parquet floor, having seen their neighbours property they were really keen to recover the floor as an original feature.

I paid a visit to the property and whilst there we lifted a section of Parquet to see how easily they would come up. It was certainly possible to remove the floor, but it was clear the biggest issue would be removing the sticky bitumen that the parquet tiles had been stuck down with. Having said that I knew from previous experience it could be done, although it would be time consuming, so I gave them a price which they were happy with and we scheduled a date to return.

Victorian Tiled Floor Hidden Under Parquet Before Restoration Llansamlet Victorian Tiled Floor Hidden Under Parquet Before Restoration Llansamlet

Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

On the first day we got to work, starting by protecting the skirting and woodwork to avoid getting bitumen residue on them. Upon removal of the Parquet we got to grips with the bitumen adhesive which was used to stick the parquet to the tile. This didn’t disappoint and proved to be a very stubborn. We found the best way to deal with it was to start by carefully scraping off as much of the solidified bitumen with a blade as possible. This left a residual bitumen layer that could not be fully removed but was weakened with the application of white spirit to bleed the bitumen, a time-consuming exercise but the results are there for all to see.

Once all the bitumen was removed, we used diamond burnishing pads starting on a 400-grit pad and finishing on an 800-grit pad using water to lubricate. This removes and T-Cuts the surface of the floor. The resultant soil was rinsed off the tiles and extracted with a wet vacuum. This was a long task but thankfully the floor underneath was looking pretty good.

Victorian Tiled Floor Hidden Under Parquet During Restoration Llansamlet Victorian Tiled Floor Hidden Under Parquet During Restoration Llansamlet

We then neutralized the floor with water and were careful to make sure there was no bitumen residue remaining. The floor was left for 24 hours to dry off fully before sealing.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The customer specified they wanted a durable satin finish for the floor so I applied Tile Doctor Seal and Go which we recommend for Victorian tiles. This product is specially formulated water-based blend of acrylic polymers which provides both a stain resistant surface seal and a durable low-sheen finish. The seal ensures this heavy traffic area will be protected.

The customer was thrilled with the transformation.

Victorian Tiled Floor Hidden Under Parquet After Restoration Llansamlet

For regular cleaning I recommended the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which is formulated for use with sealed surfaces and won’t prematurely break down the sealer which is the problem with many supermarket cleaning products.


Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Swansea

This is a great example of a Victorian Tiled floor refurbishment which I recently completed at a property in Stoke-on-Trent. If you look closely at the photographs below you will see the white tiles are looking grubby and paint splash staining from decorating. The owner was unhappy with how the floor now looked and wanted it refurbished. Black and White Victorian tiles laid in a chequered diamond pattern is a classic style and a very popular choice for hallways at the turn of the 20th

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Earlier this year I was contacted by the church warden of St Clements Church in Worcester regarding the renovation of its Victorian floor tiles. The Church was built 200 years ago and is one of the oldest churches in the city. Unfortunately, being situated close to the West bank of the River Severn it is at risk of flooding and a recent flood had ruined a large section of carpeting which had to be removed. In fact, according to the local newspaper Worcester has been named as sixth worst

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Barnstaple in North Devon is known to be one of, if not the oldest boroughs in the whole of the United Kingdom. The area certainly has a rich history and many of the properties built in the 19th century still exist and are in use. It’s not uncommon for the owners of houses built in this era to discover original Victorian tiled floors and hallways. They’ve usually been covered up at some point in the past, either by carpet or linoleum, but if maintained correctly they can be a real asset to

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Colyton is a small village in the Coly Valley, which itself is part of Devon’s Area of Outstanding Beauty. As you can imagine, it was very nice to drive through the countryside to reach the village to visit a customer. The customer was keen to restore her Edwardian tiled entranceway and hallway in a classic herringbone pattern, which consists of an arrangement of rectangles. Parts of the floor had been under carpet for a long time and other areas were covered in at least three layers of

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Bude is a lovely coastal resort in North Cornwall and is home to several B&Bs for visitors to the area. It became popular during the latter half of Queen Victoria’s reign, as sea bathing became a popular trend amongst the upper and middle classes, and as a result there are plenty of period houses. In fact, I was recently contacted by a lucky Bed and Breakfast owner who had uncovered this late Victorian tiled hallway and entrance lobby which was around a hundred years old during renovation

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