We often get asked to restore original Edwardian tiles which, contrary to popular belief, are the same as Victorian tiles in their style and composition. The only discernible difference is the age of the property – whether it was built in the Victorian (1837-1901) or Edwardian period (1901-1910). As such, they can be cleaned and sealed in the same manner.
I recently visited an Edwardian period property in Lytham St Annes, a lovely coastal resort on the Lancashire coast where we have completed many restorative cleaning activities in the past. Along with its sandy beaches, the area is internationally renowned for its golf courses.
The property owner had some original Edwardian tiles which had been laid down in a vestibule and were beginning to show their age. There were several damaged tiles in the area that needed to be replaced and the entire set of tiles needed to be cleaned to achieve the best possible result.
Cleaning Original Edwardian Tiles
To begin I needed to address the issue of the damaged tiles, fortunately we are always on the lookout for old tiles and have quite a collection we can choose from, were also in touch with a number of companies that still make these tiles and so are able to source replacements one way or another.
I was therefore able to replace the broken and damaged tiles with suitable replacements that matched well with the original pattern of the floor. They were fixed in place and then once the adhesive had hardened grouted in using a matching grout.
Following this, I applied Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel to the remaining area taking care not to disturb the newly laid tiles. Based on the popular Pro-Clean product, Oxy-Gel is a strong alkaline cleaning product that breaks down dirt and grime and is safe to use on tiles however being in gel form and not liquid it stays where put, which was important the grout was still drying in the repaired area.
The Oxy-Gel was left to dwell for roughly 30 minutes before scrubbing it in with a stiff hand brush. to the tiles. I carefully rinsed away the resulting slurry and then treated the area with Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in gel form. By applying the product, I could reduce the grout haze and efflorescence problems that occur in old properties like this.
Next, I carefully rinsed the floor again with water and soaked up the moisture with a wet vacuum, before leaving it to fully dry out overnight.
Sealing Original Edwardian Tiles
I returned to the property the next day with the intention of sealing the tiles; fortunately, the weather was good and after taking a couple of damp readings I was happy the tiles were completely dry. We must be careful with older buildings which don’t have a damp proof membrane fitted; if there is even a moderate amount of damp present it can cloud the sealer and damage its performance.
I started the sealing process with a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is an impregnating, colour-enhancing sealer that improves the look of the tile as well as adding internal protection. Assisted with a fan to speed up the drying time, this was followed by several coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which is a topical sealer that add further protection and the high-quality sheen finish the customer requested.
The customer was thrilled with the result and very pleased that she could salvage these fantastic original tiles. Another satisfied customer.