You may recognise this Chequered Victorian tiled floor from other restorations that I’ve detailed on my website. This in fact is the third house I’ve worked on in the same small road in Oxford where hallway floors like these are a very common feature. In fact, I seem to get a lot of referrals from this area, which is always a pleasure, so I suspect word has got around the neighbourhood. The property sits close to the city centre, of course is famous for the University of Oxford, the oldest in the English-speaking world.
I visited the property to survey the floor and work out the best method and products to restore the Victorian tiles. The tiles were dotted in paint splashes from decorating and had previously been covered in carpet so there were gripper strips glued around the edges. All of which would need to be removed and then the floor would need a deep clean to remove the years of dirt and then finally it would need to be sealed to protect it going forward. After discussing the work in detail with the owner he was happy to accept my quote and we worked out a convenient date to do the work.
Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
On my return I carefully prised off the carpet gripper so not to damage the tile. Then I applied a 50:50 mixture of Tile Doctor Oxy-Gel and Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU to the tiles. This creates a strong cleaning/coatings remover that would soften the paint and glue making it easier to remove. I left this to dwell on the floor for about an hour so it could break down the pint and adhesive. I then fitted a coarse 100-grit diamond pad to a rotary floor buffer and scrubbed the floor vacuuming up the resulting residue as I went along. I then repeated the process using a 200-grit pad and repeated the process.
I then spray buffed the floor using water and a 400-Grit burnishing pad followed by a 800-grit pad, rinsing and extracting afterwards with water to remove the fine slurry this process generates.
Old floors like these were laid before the invention of the damp proof membrane which can result in moisture rising through the floor as it evaporates potentially leaving alkaline salt deposits on the surface. This process is known as Efflorescence and although I minimised the use of water during the cleaning process, I was concerned that this may still present a problem later. To neutralise any alkaline salts in the floor that could cause this problem my last action for the day was give the floor an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel. Once this was done and extracted from the floor, I followed up with a further clean using Tile Doctor pH Neutral Tile Cleaner which was applied with a microfibre cloth. I left the floor to dry off overnight so it could be sealed the next day.
Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
On day two I checked the moisture level in the floor to ensure it had dried overnight. The results were good, so I set about applying the sealer. For this floor I decided to go with three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that as well as protecting the Victorian tiles form staining also enhances the black and white colours in the tile increasing the apparent contrast. This sealer is also fully breathable so any moisture will be able to evaporate up through the tile and not get trapped under the floor where it could eventually lead to rising damp in the walls.
Before leaving I also discussed maintenance cleaning with the customer and left them a bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which is safe to use on sealed floors and will help keep the tiles looking at their best. It’s supplied in concentrated form so it should last them some time before they run out. The customer was very happy with the end result, she suggested I would be hearing from more neighbours very soon!