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.
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.
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.
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.