The main challenges with victorian floor tiles is to remove years oils, polishes, waxes, dirt and grime without damaging the floor.
You may be lucky enough to have encaustic tiles like this floor. Encaustic tiles have patterns in them made from a thin layer of coloured clay.
This type of tile very common in churches and major buildings like the houses of parliament. So you are quite privileged if you have encaustic type tiles in your floor.
The main challenge with encaustic tiles is to clean them without wearing away the pattern.
Poor Cleaning WILL Cause Permanent Damage.
Aggressive cleaning can take the surface off your tiles.
Victorian floors are made of natural clay, which is relatively soft. Aggressive cleaning using abrasive pads or or wire brushes can remove the surface of the tile. Encaustic tiles are at particular risk because you can quickly wear away the patter. permanently damaging the encaustic tiles as well as spoiling the whole look of the floor.
High pressure cleaning will wash away the grout away.
Victorian tiles have a fine grout. Over the years the grout usually degrades to a point where it can be washed away. It is certainly not strong enough to withstand high pressure cleaning. Pressure washing will simply wash away the grout. In many old floors, the grout is the only thing keeping the tiles in place. The adhesive may have broken down years ago. The last thing you want is to have to lift the floor and have it re-laid.
Don’t let water soak into the sub floor
Water is essential in cleaning victorian floors. But you must make sure not to let water soak into the subfloor. Victorian tile floors are not necessarily laid on stable subfloors. Some we have restored are just laid on bricks or loose bedding. If too much water soaks into these subfloors, they can expand and lift tiles or whole areas of the floor.
If your victorian floor is relatively clean, you have a good chance of getting the floor clean again yourself. However in all other cases we recommend you call in a profession restoration company.
We have the experience, equipment and access to the cleaning products to clean and restore heavily soiled floors without causing permanent damage.
Sealing Victorian Floor Tiles
Original victorian tiles were usually sealed with boiled linseed oil. While the oil enhances the colour of the floor, it neede regular application and over the years the oil oxidises and start to dull the colours.
Applying linseed is also a hazardous job. I know of a case where the cloths used to apply linseed oil to a tile floor caught fire while the user was taking tea break!
Today we have access to modern sealers that are safer, offer better protection, are easier to apply.
You have quite a number of options when it comes to sealing your floor. Here is an introduction to the various sealers you can use.
1. Impregnating sealers for clay floors
An impregnating or penetrating sealer penetrates into the pores of the stone, helping prevent spills penetrating into the stone.
Standard penetrating sealers don’t change the appearance of your floor. A dull floor stays dull and a shiny floor stays shiny.
Impregnating sealer can be combined with a polymer that enhances the appearance of the tiles, increasing the contrast between the colours, they are called colour ehnancing sealers. In general; you only need apply one or two coats of penetrating sealer.
Impregnating sealers do not give tile floors a natural sheen or a gloss. If you prefer this kind of finish, you can apply a light wax finish that will impart a beautiful soft sheen without making your floor slippery.
2. Surface sealer for clay floors
As the name suggests, surface sealers sit on the surface of the floor, although they do penetrate the surface slightly. Surface sealers generally enhance the appearance of the floor because they refract light.
Surface sealers come in matt, soft sheen and high gloss finishes. So you have quite a choice to chose from. Generally they are water based and applied in multiple thin layers.
There are synthetic surface sealers, but they are best applied by experienced professionals as.
At Abbey floor Care we have been looking after victorian floor tiles and other stone floors since 1996. Our stone floor restoration expertise means that we have access to a vast range of specialist victorian tile cleaning chemicals and stone cleaning equipment. This means when we are cleaning victorian floors we achieve a level of cleanliness and a quality of finish that is hard to beat.
If you are need help with cleaning victorian floor tiles information or just advice on how to maintaining victorian floor tiles then please contact us.
Ready to get started?
Get In Touch
You can email me on or complete the simple contact form below
Monday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Tuesday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Wednesday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Thursday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Saturday – Emergencies Only Please Sunday – Emergencies Only Please