This geometric Victorian tiled hallway at a property in Stirling was in need of some much-needed maintenance. The property is located in a predominately ‘Victorian’ built housing area of the city, just off the town centre. The owners of the property really appreciated the original features of their property in including the original (130-year-old) hallway floor feature; indeed, the house was a delight to behold with the many original features, preserved and still intact.
I was asked to come and survey the floor and quote on its renovation. In discussion with the customer, I ascertained that he had previously, on two occasions, sealed the floor himself, but it was now showing signs of wear and tear of the previous seal, and in addition, due to its age, a few chips and cracks.
During the survey stage, I carried out a demonstration clean in their small vestibule area in order to show how dirty the floor had become. In addition, I inspected the floor and found there were a few cracked, worn and damaged tiles, which was only to be expected of a 130-year-old original Victorian floor but would not affect the aesthetic outcome. Moreover, there were signs of the previous seal showing as a ‘milky’ type substance and some small patches of what appeared to be efflorescence (crystalline salt deposits).
The floor tiles needed a deep clean and seal to bring back some life into the ‘old floor’. I was confident I could rejuvenate the floor and in further discussions, we established that they would like a high sheen on the floor. With this in mind, I sent, within a day, my quotation that detailed the work and material to be used over 2 days. Within a short time period, the customers had accepted my quote and we set our diaries to a mutually agreeable start date.
Victorian Hallway Floor Tile Deep Clean
On the day of the restoration, I first started by applying protective sheeting to the threshold edges and skirting areas as these would be exposed to the splashes of strong alkaline stripper that I would use. This was followed up with a thorough vacuum of the hallway floor.
This was followed by spraying the tiles with a strong dilution of a professional alkaline stripper that would after a short dwell time begins to eat into any old sealants/coatings on the floor.
After the required dwell period, I utilized my professional cleaning machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. All the resulting slurry was extracted with the use of a wet & dry vacuum.
On completion of this phase, the floor was cleaned with a neutral cleaner in order to ‘neutralize’ the remnants of the alkaline stripper I had used. In addition, the floor was rinsed using a mildly acidic rinse (this helps to eliminate any residue efflorescence) and once again, followed with a fresh clean water rinse.
On completion of the cleaning phase, I deployed two air-pod driers to dry off the floor overnight.
Notes: Victorian tile floors, sometimes referred to as tessellated tiles, were a statement feature in entrance halls and front paths of houses and commercial premises from mid-Victorian (19th Century) times up to the 1940s.
These original Victorian floors, due to their age will not have a waterproof membrane below them as do modern floors, and will, therefore, require to ‘breath’ and expel moisture rising up from below that is consistently percolating up through these type of tiles. This issue requires careful consideration when cleaning and sealing this beautiful original tile floor.
Sealing A Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
On my return the next day, I checked the tiles were dry by the use of a moisture meter. This detail is critically important (particularly for this type of original Victorian tiles) as to apply a sealer to damp tiles will lead to a patchy and ineffective seal. I was happy that the moisture reading was within tolerance levels for the water-based seal that I had decided to apply.
To begin, the floor was re-vacuumed; a single base coat of a water-based acrylic (topical) professional sealer was then applied to a small area and left to dry for 30 minutes. On my return, I inspected the seal and having ascertained that it had been effective: although I realized that being a porous stone, the floor would require a few coats of sealant.
This particular sealer is a water-based is specially developed to protect the tile from within the stone’s pores in the clay tile and does not impede water evaporation. This sealer leaves a high sheen (almost gloss) finish which the client had requested.
This level of shine took the application of 6 coats of sealant due to the nature and porosity of the stone. Notwithstanding the time taken to achieve this, in the end, the required sheen level was achieved to which the customer wanted and, in addition, will provide long-lasting protection to the tiles.
Victorian Hallway Floor Tile After Restoration
The floor was greatly improved, and the client was delighted with the transformation and added that it (sealer) had given it “that lift” what they had been seeking. The geometric pattern and colours were now much more pronounced and prominent, and the hallway looked that much more inviting to both the client and visitors.
We received an email from the customer the next day saying:
“Tom, (the) Hall looks brilliant this morning, just the appearance we were hoping for. Thanks for all your efforts”.
If you are the proud owner of a Victorian (Milton) tiled floor and it is in need of some much-needed maintenance (intensive cleaning and sealing) then use the ‘contact us’ button below or simply call us on 01786 817401 to have a chat about how we can assist you to bring that shine back to your Victorian floor.