This is a Victorian hallway floor laid in a classic Black and White diamond pattern at a property in the Oxford suburb of Headington. I suspect the floor is original and dates to 1890 when the house was built. Unfortunately, at some point in its recent past it was damaged during the installation of heating pipes and then backfilled with cement.
Here at Tile Doctor, we see this happen time and time again and have been brough into to restore many period floors such as this example. Gas and heating pipes are the most common reasons for digging up a floor but often the homeowner doesn’t know what to do to restore it so they either live with the defaced floor or more usually cover it with carpet or vinyl.
In this case the property had recently changed hands and the new owner was keen to have the floor restored to its original condition. Fortunately, here at Tile Doctor we are in contact with various companies that make reproduction tiles, so it is not a problem finding matching replacements. In this case I managed to find suitable replacements with a company called Original Features who specialise in reproductions. We visited site to have a look at the job and gave the owners a quote for the work which they were happy to accept.
Cleaning and Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
The first day was spent restoring the damaged floor by carefully cutting out the old cement backfill and replacing to a level that was just deep enough for the replacement tiles to fit. I then made up a concrete adhesive mix and smoothed this in the hole and laid the tiles making sure they were level with the original floor. This was then left to set overnight.
Day two’s focus was cleaning the floor, however given the age of the property I knew it would not have a damp proof membrane, so I was concerned about the use of too much water. Not wishing to exacerbate any damp issues I decided to go with a low moisture cleaning approach.
To do this a gel cleaner known as Tile Doctor Acid Gel was applied to half the floor and then scrubbed into the tiles using a rotary floor machine fitted with a coarse 100-grit diamond pad. Once done this was repeated on the other half of the floor. The tiles were then rinsed with minimal water and the soil extracted with the wet vacuum.
A 200-grit diamond pad was then fitted to the rotary machine, and this was used to further refine the appearance of the tiles using some water for lubrication. This was then followed by a series of Tile Doctor burnishing diamond pads with just water to rinse, clean and force a natural sheen on the floor, again a wet vacuum was employed to vacuum up the slurry. Last step before leaving for the day was to mop the floor with Tile Doctor Neutral Floor Cleaner and left the floor to dry.
Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
Returning on the final day, I set about sealing the Victorian tiles with Tile Doctor X-Tra Seal which is an oil-based sealer that enhances the Black and White colours in the tile. This sealer can also be used externally so it will cope happily with any damp issues that can occur on old floors.
Two coasts were applied allowing each one to dry before applying the next. When the seal was dry, I buffed the floor with a 3000-grit diamond pad to leave a hard-wearing natural sheen. The floor looked great, fully restored, and gave the homeowners a traditional welcoming hallway.