Victorian Tiles Restoration Penkhull: How To Restore Old Victorian Tiles

Interested in learning how to clean encaustic floor tiles in Victorian and Edwardian hallways?

Many Victorian and Edwardian homes will have a faded and soiled Minton tile hallway floor hiding under the carpet.

If you are one of the lucky ones, see how well it can be restored.

victorian tiles cleaning and restoration penkhull

Victorian Tiles Restoration Penkhull Project

This Victorian Tiles restoration Penkhull project is about cleaning and sealing an old victorian tile floor.

This hallway had a flooring of beautiful Victorian Tiles tiles. The floor is a mixture of plain and encaustic tiles.

Victorian Tiles Restoration Penkhull Project

Geometric and encaustic tiled floors became popular flooring for public buildings in the mid-1800s.

Their rise to fashion was assured by their use in prestigious buildings such as The Palace Of Westminster, The Victoria and Albert Museum.

By the end of the century, geometric floors became popular flooring in ordinary terraced housing throughout the UK.

By the 1950s, these floors became unfashionable and many were covered with carpet.

They are now being rediscovered by new homeowners and restored to their former glory.

This floor is over 100 years old, so you can imagine it has suffered quite a bit of wear.

When the floors were new, they were generally scrubbed and waxed or oiled every week.

This prevented dirt from accumulating in the tiles and grout, which in turn reduced the amount of time required to clean them.

It is many years since the floor was regularly waxed or oiled, so dirty washing water will have been absorbed into the tiles.

Some parts of the floor had wide cracks and a few loose tiles.

My client wanted a clean floor, that would continue to look clean and display the natural colours in the tiles.

Cleaning Victorian Tiles

Before starting the Victorian Tiles cleaning process, I spent time protecting the walls and adjoining floors.

The hallway had recently been decorated, so it was important to protect the painted walls and skirtings.

Then I gave the floor a thorough vacuum to remove grit and dry soil.

Victorian floors should never be ‘soaked’ with large volumes of chemicals or water as the solution can damage substrates and even cause structural damage.

All cleaning should be done with as little liquid as possible and any surpluses removed immediately.

victorian tile floor after cleaning in Penkhull

Working in sections, I applied a solution of Victorian Tiles Tile Cleaner and used a rotary scrubbing brush and proprietary cleaning pads to release the dirt without damaging the tiles.

I repeated the cleaning and rinsing until the soil and any old sealer residues were removed.

Repairing Victorian Tiles

Extensive remedial work on Victorian Tile floors, involving the restoration of the screed or concrete used to bed the tiles is a specialist and costly work and I do not undertake this work,

Tiles were always laid in a wet mortar screed, and the skill of the tilers can be appreciated in the flatness and alignment of the tiles.

Opening of the grout lines is normally due to some kind of movement in the floor structure.

As the screed used to bed the tiles is normally very brittle, tiled floors cannot tolerate any significant deflection without cracking and loose tiles.

Replacing Loose Victorian Tiles

I carefully the loose tiles and clean out the hole into which they fitted.

The cement left behind bears the imprint of the tile backs, I gently cleaned the cement to give a good key for the new cement.

I used a vacuum to remove all loose material from the screed.

I applied a thin layer of adhesive and replaced the tiles onto the original pattern on the cement.

Filling Movement Cracks

I recommended filling the wide grout cracks with brown grout to help stabilise the floor and prevent any part-lose tiles from losing their adhesion completely.

Cleaning exposed a lot of old white grout, however, the budget would not allow for replacing all the areas of lost grout or replacing the old white grout.

I allowed the sealer to dry, then grouted the sections of the floor.

After around 30 minutes, I carefully cleaned away the grout haze.

Repairing Victorian Tiles

I explained the grouting process to my client, who was happy to undertake the remaining grouting.

Sealing Victorian Tiles Tiles In Penkhull.

After cleaning, once the floor had dried, the earth colours in the tiles looked very faded.

Modern sealers incorporate polymers to enhance the natural colours of the tiles just like oils used to do.

However, modern sealers are easier and safer to use and they last a lot longer.

We offer a number of Victorian Tiles sealing options for this flooring type.

I applied two coats of a high-quality colour-enhancing impregnating sealer.

The sealer brings out the beautiful original colours in the tiles.

Sealing Victorian Tiles Tiles In Penkhull

The sealer also gives more time to wipe spills before they damage the floor

Importantly, the sealer makes the floor much easier to clean.

After sealing, the floor had a matt finish.

My client was delighted with the finish.

Looking After Victorian Tiles Floor Tiles

Sealers protect your tiles from staining and enhance their appearance, however, they do wear down over time.

So I explained to my client the importance of regular cleaning using the right cleaning method.

How to Clean Victorian Tiles by Hand

Here are some best practices on how to clean victorian tiles by hand:

The best way to clean Victorian tiles is first to vacuum or dry-sweep the floor.

This will remove any dirt or grime that might have been left on the surface of the tile from walking over them day after day.

Then damp mop the floor with a ph neutral stone soap cleaner to remove any sticky soils and help maintain the protection.

Keeping your tile floor clean will only take half an hour every week and you will be able to enjoy its beauty for years!

If you have a stone or tile floor in Stoke-on-Trent or the surrounding area in Staffordshire that you need help with, please drop me a line.

I’ll be happy to help.

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