This customer in Bedworth called me in to remove a matt tray from their Victorian Tied hallway and restore the floor back to its original condition. The house had been in the same family for some generations and at one point the owner’s father had covered the floor with a thin layer of bitumen to secure a carpet. The carpet had since been removed but as a result the floor was very dark from bitumen stains.
Bedworth is actually very close to my base in Coventry, so it wasn’t long before I was able to call round and survey the floor to provide a quote for doing the work. Naturally due to COVID I wear PPE and when working in the property increase ventilation and work out a schedule with the homeowner to maintain distance and minimise contact.
Restoring a Geometric Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
My first job was to remove the matt well and the surrounding tiles so I could fit replacements that match the existing geometric pattern. Finding replacements wasn’t difficult however as I’ve been restoring old floors like this one for many years and have built up a collection of old Victorian tiles from various manufacturers such as Minton.
Matching the original pattern was a bit like building your own jigsaw puzzle as each replacement tile had to be shaped and hand cut until I had the design worked out. Once the replacements were fitted and secured in place with adhesive. Once done I left the property so the floor could set and be ready for deep cleaning the next day.
To remove the staining and restore the appearance of the original tiles I milled them using very coarse abrasive floor pads fitted to a weighted floor buffer and applied to the floor using water to lubricate. The resulting slurry was removed using a wet vacuum and the floor given a deep clean using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was scrubbed in using a black pad fitted to the rotary machine. The soil was then rinsed away with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.
These old floors don’t have damp proof membranes fitted and I was concerned that the old Bitumen and Carpet will have prevented moisture from rising through the tile trapping damp underneath the floor. This trapped moisture under the floor had been given chance to evaporate but this takes time, and I was concerned that salts contained within the moisture could rise through the tile later to be deposited on the surface later, a process known as efflorescence.
To counter this, I neutralise the salts by giving the tiles an acid wash with Tile Doctor Acid Gel. As well as neutralising salts it also removes other mineral deposits such as grout haze and prepares the tile to achieve a better bond with the sealer.
Sealing a Victorian Geometric Tiled Hallway Floor
Due to my concerns over moisture, I left the floor two weeks to fully dry out before returning to seal the floor and protect it from dirt and staining going forward. For sealing I applied two coats of Tile Doctor Extra Seal which has a breathable formula which will cope with any moisture rising through the floor. Two coats give the tiles an appealing glossy finish and helped the new and old sections of the floor blend well together so you would never know the difference.
My client was very happy with the transformation of their hallway floor and before finishing up I took time to discuss how to care for the floor going forward. It’s important to use a Neutral Tile Cleaner on sealed floors like this as other products are simply too strong and can actually strip a sealer off the tiles over time.
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When cleaning tiles with a mop we recommend using two buckets, one containing a neutral pH cleaning fluid such as Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner or Stone Soap and the second where you rinse your mop afterwards, otherwise you will contaminate your cleaning fluid with dirt every time you rinse.
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