efflorescence

Original Red & Black Victorian Tiled Floor Fully Restored in Lancaster

This old Red and Black Victorian tiled floor at a property in Lancaster was in a bit of a state and had numerous issues that needed resolving as part of the restoration. This included dealing with an old, tiled fireplace hearth, but as the fireplace had been removed years ago it was now a bit of an eyesore as it did not match the rest of the floor.

Victorian Black and Red Floor Before Cleaning Lancaster

Additionally, some of the tiles had been ripped up along one edge of the floor to make way for a gas pipe, but this was now capped off. This area would need replacement tiles matching the original to be sourced and put in place.

Victorian Black and Red Floor Before Cleaning Lancaster

Lastly the whole Quarry tiles floor had previously been covered in carpet so there were adhesive stains all over the floor, not to mention the ingrain dirt that had accumulated in the tile itself.

Victorian Black and Red Floor Before Cleaning Lancaster

We specialise in restoring old Victorian tiled floors like this one and you will find lots of examples of this sort of work on our website. Our service is quite unique as we generally find other companies either offer a cleaning service or just a repair service; Tile Doctors on the other hand offer a full solution.

Removing Carpet Adhesive from a Victorian Tiled Floor

The first job was to remove the carpet glue and old splashes of paint which we tackled by spraying the floor with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go. Designed for use on tile and stone this product is a coatings remover combined with a cleaning agent. This was left to soak into the tiles for ten minutes before it was worked in with a coarse 200-grit pad fitted to a rotary buffer machine. The floor was rinsed with water and then an industrial wet vacuum extracted all the soils away.

Stubborn marks were retreated and then once happy with the initial clean the tiles were treated to an acid rinse using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up. Not only does this product remove old grout smears from the tiles it also helps to restore the natural pH of the floor after the use of an alkaline cleaner such as Remove and Go. The acid in this product also slightly etches the clay tile which will allow for a better bond with the sealer later.

Lastly, I had noticed evidence of efflorescent salt staining which is a common issue on old Victorian floors that don’t have a damp proof membrane. It’s caused by salts being carried up through the floor as moisture evaporates from the subfloor and results in unsightly white salt deposits being left on the surface of the tile. An acidic cleaning product such as Grout Clean-up can counter the alkaline salts but for best results, we like to use Tile Doctor Acid Gel, it’s a slightly stronger product and being a gel allows it to sit in place for longer. After finishing the floor, it was given another rinse with water to remove any trace of product and then dried as much as possible with the wet vacuum.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

A lot of water was used in the cleaning process, so the floor was left for four days before returning to add the sealer. For best results, It’s not a good idea to apply sealer to a damp floor and to avoid any doubt use a damp meter to obtain a moisture reading and compare it with one taken before cleaning.

To seal the floor two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow were applied, this is a fully breathable sealer and if the salts do come back this sealer will let the efflorescence breathe through to the surface where it can be easily mopped off the floor, we use Tile Doctor Concentrated Neutral Cleaner for this.

Victorian Black and Red Floor After Restoration Lancaster

In the after pictures, you will see the difference we have made to this floor, bringing it back to its former glory, the house was built in 1901 so the floor is original and that makes it 120 years old. not all floors would look this good after that length of time.

Victorian Black and Red Floor After Restoration Lancaster

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Floor in Lancashire

Victorian Floor Tile Restoration Lancaster

We often get asked to restore old Victorian tiled floors which are generally over 100 to 150 years old and as I’m sure you can imagine they experience a lot of wear over that length of time.

Victorian floor tiles before restoration Lancaster

We recently visited a property with such a floor in Lancaster after the client got in touch looking to have their hallway floor tiles restored. We arrived to inspect the floor and could see straight away that it was looking a little tired and in need of care and attention. Some tiles had become loose and had broken apart, especially around the doorways. Also, this floor had suffered from subsidence in the past and this had created a crack line near the top end of the hallway which pushed up several of the tiles. We went through what could be done to restore it, the client agreed a price and we arranged a time to come back.

Cleaning and Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

My first task was to take the loose tiles up, grind the concrete screed back so it was as level as we could make it and then we needed to refit the tiles. Once all loose tiles were fixed, we left them to dry and cure.

Victorian floor tiles during restoration Lancaster

We then came back to start the main clean of the floor, we used Tile Doctor Diamond Burnishing pads for this, which bite in deep to the clay face and remove ingrained dirt far better than conventional alkaline cleaners can. We used a series of different grades of these diamond pads to get the finish we required and then rinsed with clean water once were finished, removing the slurry created with a wet vacuum.

Any areas we couldn’t reach with our weighted buffing machines we had to get on our hands and knees and use small handheld Diamond Blocks, using a bit of clean water and elbow grease, this is especially good on intricate edges and around doors and corners.

Victorian floor tiles during restoration Lancaster

The floor was given a quick rinse with water to remove any remaining clay resin and soil generated by the burnishing process. A wet vacuum is then used to extract the soil and remove as much moisture from the floor before being left to dry off fully overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Before we seal the Victorian Tiles, they looked very dull and washed out however this all changes once we apply the sealer. We checked the moisture levels in the floor which were fine. Our favourite sealer for this type of tile is called Tile Doctor Colour Grow, this is a fully breathable sealer which restores the colour lost in the cleaning process and allows for the floor to breathe, which is an absolutely necesity on an old floor without a Damp Proof Membrane where Efflorescence can be an problem.

Tile Doctor Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the pores in the tile, so dirt cannot become ingrained there. It leaves a matt finish and enhances the colours in the tile bringing them to life, as you will see on the photos.

Victorian floor tiles after restoration Lancaster

For aftercare we always advise our customers to use Tile Doctor pH Neutral tile cleaner as it’s specially designed for cleaning sealed surfaces without damaging the sealer like cheap supermarket cleaners that contain anionic surfactants.

The client was very pleased with the restoration of her floor which is now in good physical condition and looks much brighter.

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Lancashire

Cleaning a Sandstone Fireplace and Victorian Floor Tiles Preston

We often get asked to do a combination of jobs at Tile Doctor so we have to be prepared for the unexpected, like getting asked to clean an old Sandstone fireplace whilst your cleaning a Victorian tiled floor at a house in Preston. We normally charge extra for these types of jobs but it depends how much cleaning is required.

Red and Black Victorian Tiles Preston Before Cleaning
This Fireplace had been in use for a number of years and due to its grainy texture was hard to keep clean, dirt and soot had built up on its surface and there was no sealer visible, either that or it had worn off with the heat.

Sandstone Fireplace Preston Before Cleaning

Cleaning and Sealing a Sandstone Fireplace

To clean the uprights and Hearth I applied Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel which being in Gel form and not a liquid, stays in place increasing dwell times and doesn’t drip where it shouldn’t. In this case I let it soak into the stone for about forty minutes before scrubbing it in with a stiff hand brush and steam. Some marks were still visible after this process so we opted for using handheld Diamond blocks in 50.100.200 and then 400 grit to grind off the staining and restore the surface finish. Using these small handheld blocks takes off some of the heavier texture as well as cleaning the stone at the same time, but is really useful to use where chemicals alone struggle to get the results required. Once fully clean the fireplace was rinsed with water a couple of times and the slurry removed using a wet vacuum. After speed drying the stone with a heat gun it was ready for a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, even we were impressed with the results.

Sandstone Fireplace Preston After Cleaning

Cleaning and Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

The Red and Black Victorian Tiles were cleaned with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is very similar to Oxy-Gel only in a liquid form. The product was left to soak into the tiles for about ten minutes before being scrubbed in with a black buffing pad attached to a slow speed buffing machine. I used the wet vacuum again to soak up the residue and stubborn stains were retreated until I was satisfied.

Old Victorian floors rarely have a damp proof membrane installed and so it’s not uncommon for damp to rise-up through the ground and tile resulting in white salt deposits being left on the surface. To prevent this process, which is commonly referred to as Efflorescence, Tile Doctor Acid Gel was applied. The solution is scrubbed into the tiles and then rinsed off with clean water and removed with a wet vacuum ready for sealing.

Victorian Tiles can take a while to dry and in this case I left it two days before returning to apply a breathable sealer to protect the tiles from ingrained dirt and staining. In this case a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow were applied. If you recall this was the same sealer we used on the fireplace as the customer wished to bring out the colour and have a Matt finish.

Red and Black Victorian Tiles Preston After Cleaning
 

Professional Restoration of a Sandstone Fireplace and Victorian Floor in Lancashire

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