Victorian Hall

Yellow and Black Victorian Hallway Floor Tiling Restored in Lancaster

I thought I would share this case history of a Yellow and Black Victorian Tiled floor that we worked on at a large house in Lancaster last year. It’s a great example of the typical problems we face with old Victorian floors, especially around door thresholds where the transition between the different foundation invariable cause problems.

I didn’t know the full history of the floor, but it was now in quite a state and recent renovation work had left the floor unstable with loose and cracked tiles. The tiles needed to be removed and then the damaged subfloor carefully scraped out and replaced. Once that was done the floor would need relaying and then cleaned and sealed so everything would blend in.

After visiting the property and providing a quotation we were given the go ahead and agreed a date to do the work.

Repairing a Yellow and Black Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

We returned on the agreed date and set about carefully removing the loose and cracked Victorian tiles and put them aside for later use. Some would need replacing however this would not present a problem and they are still widely available, and I have several contacts I can turn to for this.

Yellow and Black Victorian Tile Floor During Restoration Lancaster

Once this was done and the subfloor exposed and cleaned up, I used self-levelling cement to bring the floor level up and in-line with the existing. This now needed to set hard, so the rest of the day was spent cleaning up the tiles we removed earlier with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up and Pro-clean. Our goal is to reuse as many of the original tiles as possible to preserve the heritage of the floor.

The next day with the new subfloor set it was ready for tiling. This involves laying out the tiles first without adhesive carefully cutting and fitting new tiles as needed to maintain the overall pattern of the floor. Once I was happy the tiles were moved to a board and then fitted with fresh adhesive.

Yellow and Black Victorian Tile Floor During Restoration Lancaster

Deep Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

I came back on day three with the aim of cleaning the floor so it could be sealed however whilst inspecting my new tiling I was disappointed to discover some were not as level as I had hoped. I had noticed the replacement tiles were not the same thickness as the originals the previous day but I had worked around this by using different levels of adhesive, clearly this plan was not as effective as I had hoped for.

To counter this problem, I used a set of 50-Grit, 100-grit and then 200-grit diamond pads in sequence to mill the floor flat and remove the lippage between them. This is done with water to lubricate the process and a weighted floor buffer. The pads generate a lot of slurry and so you need to rinse this off with more water and extract all the soil after each pad.

I followed this up with various Diamond burnishing pads of increasingly finer grits across the whole floor until we achieved a consistent finish and had the added benefit of getting the whole floor clean. More water is used to rinse the tiles after burnishing and the soil extracted with a wet vacuum as before. Once done and inspected the floor was left to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Large Victorian Tiled Floor

Tile Doctor Colour Grow was applied to enhance the appearance of the tiles and protect them going forward. This product copes well with damp which can always be a problem with old floors like this one with no damp proof membrane present.

Yellow and Black Victorian Tile Floor After Restoration Lancaster

The floor looked amazing when finished and our attention to detail had really paid off, in fact you simply could not tell we had done any tiling work or replaced any tiles. For aftercare I recommend the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner which is designed for the regular cleaning of sealed tiles.

Yellow and Black Victorian Tile Floor After Restoration Lancaster

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Lancashire

Large Victorian Manor House Hall Floor Restored in Ulverston

Earlier this year we had the privilege to be involved in the restoration of a large Victorian tiled hall at Stone Cross Manor in Ulverston which is being sympathetically redeveloped into nineteen apartments by Persimmon Homes at a reported cost of £4 million. The magnificent Grade II-listed stately home was built in 1874 for Myles Kennedy who was a Limestone Quarry owner and chairman of an Ironworks.

The property continued to be occupied by the Kennedy family until 1943 when it was requisitioned by the military who then sold it to Lancashire County Council in 1946. The council used it as a boarding school for some decades and allegedly had the central oak staircase removed so the hall could be used to play indoor football. Since that time, it has had different owners and states of disrepair until finally being acquired by Persimmon who contacted us to quote for restoring the floor to its former glory. This would be no easy task and would require plenty of help. However, we are a resourceful bunch and being part of a large network of Tile Doctors means we were able to draft in other Tile Doctors to assist.

Stone Cross Manor Ulverston

Before we took the job on, I went over to survey the floor and was immediately taken aback by the sheer size and scale of the project. The impressive Victorian hall has now had its large wooden staircase rebuilt and this sits in the centre of a series of architectural stone columns.

The floor was in a sorry state though and it certainly had a story to tell. At some point in its long history sections of the beautiful Victorian tiles had been cut out for the installation of central heating and then back filled with cement. There were also other areas that had been given the same treatment for some inexplicable reason. I suspect that the floor must have been covered in carpet during its later life to hide the mess.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall Before Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall Before Restoration

The biggest problem was the realisation that with so many tiles missing the only way we could get exact duplicates would be to have them made by a company such as Craven and Dunhill. They are specialist tile manufacturer who date back to 1872 and can reproduce old tiles using the same tones and colours to match the originals. This was a high spec job, so this was the right approach however the price for the moulds and the time needed to manufacture threatened to push the cost of renovating the floor off the scale.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall Before Restoration

We discussed this with the developer and manged to come to a compromise by reusing tiles from another room in the property. Many of the tiles in that room had been damaged and were beyond restoration however there were enough tiles in good condition to fulfil our requirements in the main hall. They would have to be carefully lifted and cleaned but the tiles matched the colour and tone, size and texture to the main hallway perfectly. When you look at the before and after pictures on this page you will really struggle to see any difference and this is rare on old floor like this, the only exception being the black tiles underneath the radiators where a matching tone wasn’t available.

Rebuilding a Large Victorian Tiled Floor

The first week was spent lifting and replacing broken tiles, it was a large floor area of about 120m2 which was set to be the main showpiece of the building, so it had to be right. As part of the floor prep it was also necessary to level parts of the floor with the application of a a self-levelling compound. We brought in Cardiff Tile Doctor Julian Iaconno to run this part of the job, he is an absolute master tiler and one of the best Victorian Tile installers in the country. At one point there was three of us working on the floor in order to keep to schedule.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration

Deep Cleaning a Large Victorian Tiled Floor

The second week was spent cleaning the floor various Diamond burnishing pads, moving though increasingly finer girts until we achieved the desired finish. We also used a lot of Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up and Pro-clean to remove the old grout and dirt from the recycled tiles. As is always the case on a building site you get a lot of tradesmen who like to have a look at what we have done and walk all over our nice clean tiles, thus leaving dusty footprints everywhere. I must give credit to the Site Foreman for keeping these guys out although best intentioned they weren’t helping with the cleaning process, so all doors were locked off and access was limited to the site foreman and Tile Doctor only.

Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall During Restoration

Sealing a Large Victorian Tiled Floor

The third week was reserved for Sealing the tiles however this dragged on due to issues with the heating which was basically non-existent at the time and not an ideal situation in January. Persimmon went out of the way to chase up the plumbers who had been running behind and got this sorted for us, without heat we would struggle to get the sealer to dry.

Victorian Tiled Floor Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration Victorian Tiled Floor Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration

We applied a Matt finish sealer called Colour Grow, which copes very well with potential damp issues that can cause problems with old floors with no damp proof course, it’s also excellent at bringing out the colour of Tiles whether Clay or Stone. Four coats of Colour Grow were applied to the Victorian tiles and being such a large floor area, it took a few days to fully seal the floor.

Victorian Tiled Floor Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration Victorian Tiled Stone Cross Manor Hall After Restoration

We cannot praise Persimmon enough for the dedication they have shown in the restoration of this historic property which has had a chequered past and will now have a long future.

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Lancashire

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