Restoring a Victorian Tiled Floor in Oxford hidden under Parquet

Let me start this story by telling you this was the most challenging floor that I have come across so far. It all started with a request to visit a property in Oxford where they had discovered an original Victorian tiled floor under a parquet floor in the hall.

When I arrived the customer had taken up a small area in the corner and had already tried to remove the black bitumen that the parquet floor was stuck down with, he had made some progress but realized it would be a massive project without the right tools. After I had showed him how much cleaner I could take his patch he booked me to restore the floor, the customer said he would remove the parquet floor himself.

Victorian Floor Oxford Before Cleaning

Removing Bitumen from Victorian Tiles

When I arrived the parquet had been taken up to reveal a completely bitumen covered tiled floor that was very sticky. My first task was to put protection around the doors and skirting before moving on to removing the bitumen which was done by covering the half the floor in a mixture of Tile Doctor Remove and Go combined with Nano Tech UltraClean which was left to soak in for about an hour.

Victorian Floor Oxford Before Cleaning Victorian Floor Oxford Before Cleaning

After this I scrubbed the solution into the floor using a black scrubbing pad on my Rocky floor scrubbing machine, this loosened the bitumen from the floor which was then washed off with water and removed using a numatic wet vacuum. The same process was repeated on the other half of the floor and then the whole process was repeated again on both parts of the floor until it was clear of bitumen. This was arduous work and took a whole day to complete.

Cleaning Victorian Tiles

When I returned the next day I gave the floor a deep clean using a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean, like the Remove and Go this was spread over the floor leaving it to dwell for 10 minutes before being scrubbed in using the scrubbing machine fitted with a black pad; again the floor was rinsed clean with water which was removed using the wet vacuum.

After this I applied Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up which is an acidic product that is great at removing grout smears and mineral deposits from tiles, being an acid you can only leave it on the tile for a short while so I worked in 1m square sections at a time on my knees spraying and scrubbing with a deck brush and then rinsing.

When I had finished this process the whole floor was thoroughly rinsed with clean water to ensure there were no cleaning products left on the floor. I then left the floor to dry promising to return a few days later when it had dried.

Sealing Victorian Quarry Tiles

I returned as agreed a few days later to seal the floor with five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a great for Victorian tiles as it leaves a nice shine to the floor which is exactly how the customer wanted it. This process does take time however as you have to let the first coat dry before moving onto the next.

Victorian Floor Oxford After Cleaning Victorian Floor Oxford After Cleaning

From start to finish the transformation of the floor was amazing and the customer was very impressed with the results. Although the area was not large this was a very testing floor as bitumen stays sticky and was very difficult to remove even with the correct machines and products.
 
 

Victorian Tiled Hall Restored in Oxford

Terracotta Tiled Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Great Bourton

At first glance and this Terracotta tiled floor at a house in the village of Great Bourton looks in good condition, but on closer inspection there were visible white marks where there had been a water leak in previous years and the salts had come through the tiles. The customer also told me she had to wax the floor on a regular basis and was looking for a seal where she didn’t have to do this.

Terracotta Tiled Floor in Great Bourton Before Cleaning 1 Terracotta Tiled Floor in Great Bourton Before  Cleaning 2

Cleaning Terracotta Tile

My first task was to protect all the skirting and kickboards with protective tape. I then mixed Tile Doctor Pro Clean with water and spread it over a section of the floor and then left it to dwell for a few minutes. The solution was then scrubbed in with a black pad on a 17inch rotary floor scrubbing machine. I then used a wet vacuum to remove the slurry and rinsed the floor with water. This process was repeated this process until the whole floor was scrubbed and rinsed with any stubborn areas re-treated.

To remove the white salts from the Terracotta I applied Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up over the floor which was scrubbed in and then removed using the wet vacuum. The whole floor was then thoroughly rinsed with water and the wet vacuum used to suck up the water until it the surface was dry.

The photograph below shows the terracotta floor at this stage with the floor clean and stripped back before re-sealing. I left the floor a couple of days at this point to allow it fully dry before applying the sealer.

Terracotta Tiled Floor in Great Bourton After Stripping

Sealing Terracotta Tile

On my return I checked the floor had dried and then applied two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating seal that enhances the natural colour of terracotta, I then added five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a topical sealer giving it the nice finish the customer required.

The customer was really pleased with the results and also relieved that she would not have to keep waxing the floor; whilst I was there I demonstrated how to clean the floor using Tile Doctor Neutral cleaner which unlike acidic cleaners will not harm the sealer.

Terracotta Tiled Floor in Great Bourton After Cleaning 1 Terracotta Tiled Floor in Great Bourton After Cleaning 2

The floor looks much better and certainly my customer thought so and left the following feedback on the system.

Very pleasant young man and he has done a great job. The kitchen floor is transformed. Thank you Barry!
 
 

Terracotta Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Oxfordshire

Terracotta Tiled Kitchen Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Thame

This customer had recently moved into a house with a Terracotta Tiled Floor in Thame, Oxfordshire and decided she did not like the colour of the floor grout and also was unable to clean off some back marks in the corners. When I went to view the property I performed a test clean on a sample area to show her that the black marks could be removed and also stripped back the tile show how much cleaner they could look. The work was agreed and I was booked to come back and completely strip the floor tile, reseal it and also change the grout colour.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Thame Before Cleaning

Cleaning Terracotta Tile

On the first day I carefully taped up all the kitchen cupboards and skirting board to protect them from any splashes or damage. Once this was done a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a multi-purpose cleaner and stripper was applied to the Terracotta floor tiles and left to soak into the tile for a while before being worked in with a rotary machine fitted with a black stripping pad and then a floor scrubber.

Once the whole floor had been treated in this manner the now soiled Pro-Clean solution was removed from the floor using a wet vacuum and then the floor rinsed with clean water using a spinner tool attached to the wet vacuum. The spinner tool has been a great investment for us, it applies water under pressure to the floor and at the same time removes it via an adjacent suction connection saving loads of time; it’s also a versatile tool that can also be used for Carpet Cleaning which incidentally we also do.

The Terracotta tile was now stripped of all sealer so the next step was to cleaned the black grout with Grout Clean Up which is a mild acid cleaner that can remedy a number of grout related issues, after this I rinsed the floor again with fresh water. At this point I noticed some of the grout joints had loose or missing grout so the loose grout was removed and new grout applied to the affected areas, I then had to wait overnight so the floor could dry.

Sealing Terracotta Tile

On the second day I set about sealing the floor using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which as well as protecting the floor also brings out the natural colours in the Terracotta tile. For added protection and to enhance the shine on the floor I then applied a further five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, the combination of the two compatible sealers provided the effect the customer wanted. I then had to wait overnight for the sealer to dry hard.

Grout Colouring

If you recall from the start of this post, the customer also wanted to change the grout colour to a light grey so I came back for a third day to complete this. With the original grout colour being black I was concerned that the dark grout may show through the lighter grey and so I first let the customer know that it might take two coats of Grout Colourant to achieve this. However once I got started colouring the grout using an applicator I noticed that the light grey was consistently covering the black grout and therefore one coat would be sufficient.

Terracotta Tiled Floor Thame After Cleaning and Sealing

When I had finished she was very impressed by the colour of the tile and grout and remarked on how much brighter her kitchen looked. She also asked me to come back later to do the hall floor which is a multi coloured Victorian floor.
 
 

Terracotta Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Oxfordshire