Victorian Tiled Floor Renovation.
We often get requested to restore Victorian tile floors. Victorian tiles are no different from Edwardian tiles, there being no discernible difference, only the age of the property, e.g. whether it was built in the Victorian period (1837-1901) or the Edwardian period (1901-1910). Both being the same type of ‘clay’ tile, and as such, both types can be cleaned and sealed in the same manner.
I recently visited a period property in Bannockburn that had a Victorian tiled floor in its vestibule and is part of the historical village on the fringe of Stirling.
There is a small number of period Victorian/Edwardian properties here due to the fact that as well as being famous for its Battle, Bannockburn was renowned for carpet weaving and laterally as the home of ‘tartan cloth’ weaving in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries and the factory owners and managers resided in these type of houses.
The property owner had an original Victorian tile-floored vestibule which was filthy with ingrained dirt and grime, having not been cleaned since their family had moved in some 30years ago!
My initial survey revealed there was some small damage to the Victorian tiles, but nothing of note, and that a good deep clean would not rectify! Nor had the Victorian tiles had any type of sealant used on them previously. Having carried out a demonstration patch, and discussing the pros and cons and what could be reasonably achieved, the customer opted for the Victorian tiles to be cleaned and a sealant put down in order to protect the Victorian tiles.
Cleaning a Dirty Victorian Tiled Floor
During my initial survey, I had carried out a demonstration patch in order to show the customer the power of the professional product that I would use. This also allows me to determine if I would I could use the same strength of product or I needed to mix a stronger solution. And, although the customer was amazed at the result, I determined that I could achieve a better result by increasing the strength of the cleaning solution.
On my return visit in order to clean the tiles in the vestibule area, I applied the stronger dilution of the cleaning product, suited to this type of stone. This was left to soak into the tiles for ten-fifteen minutes. I then set about scrubbing the product into the tiles using a series of different gritted diamond-impregnated burnishing pads ranging from 100-400. Due to the limited room, I was forced to use only hand tools; and in order to access the corners, I used hand-held diamond blocks of the same grit to achieve this.
On completion of the dwell period, the tiles were thoroughly rinsed with water using a wet and dry vacuum to extract the now soiled cleaning solution. I was then able to ascertain what this initial that the process had really brought the tiles up a treat- much cleaner and brighter than my demonstration patch.
The survey did not show that the tiles suffered from any potential salt issues (efflorescence) problems. Nevertheless, I determined that it would be prudent to give the floor an acid rinse with a bespoke ‘acid-wash’ product that counteracts any efflorescence that these old floors (which have no damp proof course) suffer from. Efflorescence on these types of floors left unresolved, can damage any sealant treatment and leave the floor with invading white (salt) patches, thereby ruining the aesthetics of the floor. Once again, after the acid rinse, the tiles were rinsed thoroughly (twice) using fresh water to remove all traces of any cleaning products that had been used.
My initial moisture test of the floor did not cause me any concerns, but to be prudent I set up a small air mover fan to be allowed to ‘blow over’ the tiles for a few hours and to dry off completely overnight.
Victorian Tiled Vestibule- Sealing
I returned early the next day and carried out a moisture level check with the use of a damp meter to ensure that the tiles had adequately dried out to my satisfaction. Being satisfied that this was the case, I decided that the tiles would accept the sealant. I started to seal the Victorian tiles in the vestibule area by applying a ‘colour enhancing, solvent-based impregnating sealant’ suited to these types of tiles. This not only enhances the beautiful natural colours of the tile but also provides protection from staining and dirt ingress.
In total, I applied 3 coats of the impregnating sealant due to the porosity of the tile, and to achieve full protection the tiles require to be saturated to achieve maximum protection. The sealant would need at least 24 hrs to fully ‘cure’ but could be walked on after a few hours of the final coat.
After sealing, I invited the customer to view the tiles, and needless to say, she was absolutely thrilled that I was able to achieve the result I had.
At ACS we carry out cleaning and renovations on most types of natural stone/ hard floors. If your hard floor is causing you cause for concern, or you just need to identify what type of floor you have then give us a call for a no-obligation survey of your floor by contacting us on 01786 817401.