These photos are from a 1930’s double bay house in Coundon Coventry, a property which is quite common in the area, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are hundreds of other houses with a hidden Edwardian tiled floor in the hallway just like this one.
The tiled floor had been under carpet for years and was very damp after removing the carpet and underlay, these floors were laid before the invention of a damp proof membrane and so need to be allowed to breathe so the moisture in the ground can rise through the tile and evaporate at the surface. The rubber backing of the carpet underlay prevents this and hence the build-up of moisture in the floor.
If the damp issue wasn’t enough the tiles had at some point in their long history been painted red and some sort of adhesive had been used to secure the carpet. After a thorough inspection I formulated a plan for the renovation and discussed the costs with the client. They were happy to go ahead and pleased to know that restoration was possible.
Cleaning an Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor
To break down the paint I applied Tile Doctor Remove and Go and left it to soak in for about thirty minutes before scrubbing with a rotary floor buffer fitted with a Black pad. This was followed by an application of Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel waiting again for 30 minutes this time using a very coarse 50-grit pad then a 100-grit pad. The soiled gel was then removed with a wet vacuum. These coarse pads are made with industrial diamonds and are very good at removing the pattern left by the carpet and underlay which over the years becomes imprinted on the surface of the tile.
Next, to tackle the efflorescence from the lack of damp proof membrane I applied Tile Doctor Acid Gel and cleaned the floor with a 400-grit burnishing pad, the soiled gel was removed and the corners and edges treated by hand using small burnishing blocks.
The floor was then wiped over to remove further soiling. Doing it this way and using gel cleaning products instead of using lots of water to rinse off the soiling keeps the moisture in the floor to a minimum which is important on a floor like this one with inherent damp problems. The floor was then speed dried with an air mover and a heat gun. I then re-grouted the floor.
Sealing an Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor
Returning the following morning, I tested the floor with a damp meter to check the floor was ready for sealing. The readings were within acceptable levels which gave me the green light to proceed. It’s not a good idea to apply a sealer to a damp floor as the results can be inconsistent.
I selected to use Tile Doctor X-Tra Seal which is a breathable sealer that will allow for moisture to rise through the tiles. The sealer really revived the colour of the tiles and really brought out their warmth.
Three coats of X-Tra seal were applied in total allowing each one to dry before applying the next. This is a very hardwearing sealer so should ensure this high traffic area is well protected for some years to come and three coats gives the floor a nice appealing shine.
My client was delighted with the outcome and said they would recommend us to friends and neighbours so who knows how many similar floors we will uncover! For aftercare I recommended Tile Doctor Neutral Clean which is a gentle tile cleaning product designed for use on sealed tiles.