This Victorian tiled hallway was one of the most beautiful Victorian floors I have ever had the pleasure to work on. With the wide range of patterns and colours they are available in, it seems no two Victorian tiled floors are exactly the same, and this uniqueness is part of what makes them so appealing to property owners.
Unfortunately, this floor had been poorly maintained over the years, even suffering from a few loose and missing tiles. There was a thick coating of dust and dirt soiling its appearance, and the property owner was understandably keen to remedy the situation. Having realised that everyday household cleaners are not likely to achieve great results, she asked me to carry out a full professional restoration, including making some repairs where necessary. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this property was situated in the town of Wyken, which is a few miles outside of Coventry city centre and in fact just down the road from where I live myself!
Repairing and Cleaning a Dirty Victorian Tiled Floor
Before making a start on the cleaning process, it was first necessary to re-fix the small number of loose tiles and replace a single missing tile by the radiator. Fortunately, I’ve been working on these types of floors for some time and have built up a good collection of replacement Victorian tiles so I was able to find one that matched in nicely with the rest of the floor without too much problem.
To clean the tiles, I began by applying a layer of Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel directly into the floor with a small brush. This product is very similar to the popular Tile Doctor Pro Clean: both are strong alkaline cleaners, strippers and degreasers, with the main difference being that Oxy-Clean comes in a gel form, making it easier to control and therefore ideal for precise cleaning, or for application to vertical surfaces. Like Pro Clean and being an alkaline base it is suitable for use on all types of natural stone and tile. The Oxy-Gel was left to soak into the tiles for around ten minutes before being scrubbed in and then rinsed off carefully with water, I then used a wet vacuum to extract the now soiled cleaning solution off the floor.
The next step was to acid wash the floor using Tile Doctor Acid Gel; this served to break down alkaline mineral deposits inherent in the grout along with some excess grout that had been left on the untidily left on tile from installation. It is recommended not to use this product on acid-sensitive soon such as Marble and Limestone as it can cause irreparable etching but its fine on Victorian tiles as long as you don’t leave it on too long.
Finally, the floor was given a rinse with clean water to remove any trace of chemicals from the cleaning and to neutralise the area in preparation for sealing.
Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor
I left the floor for 48 hours to dry before returning to the property to seal the tiles. This allowed plenty of time for the floor to dry completely, which is important as any excess moisture can damage the ability of the sealer to protect against dirt and stains.
My choice of sealer for this floor was Tile Doctor High Shine; three coats in total were applied, providing – as the product name suggests – the high shine finish that the customer had requested. The sealer will provide durable surface protection going forward preventing dirt from becoming ingrained into the pores of the tile and ensuring it remains easy to clean and keeping its appearance for some time to come.
As a big fan of Victorian tiles, it was a great pleasure to restore this floor, and my customer was certainly pleased too. It’s amazing how far a little professional maintenance can go to improving the appearance of these fantastic types of floor.