Restoring a Period Victorian Hallway at a Bude Bed and Breakfast

Bude is a lovely coastal resort in North Cornwall and is home to several B&Bs for visitors to the area. It became popular during the latter half of Queen Victoria’s reign, as sea bathing became a popular trend amongst the upper and middle classes, and as a result there are plenty of period houses.

In fact, I was recently contacted by a lucky Bed and Breakfast owner who had uncovered this late Victorian tiled hallway and entrance lobby which was around a hundred years old during renovation work. It had been under carpet for at least twenty years and had a variety of stains including paint, tar and glue!

The customer rightly wanted to reinstate it as a showpiece to greet clients upon entering the upmarket guesthouse but had no luck trying to remove stains themselves and had spent many hours on hands and knees but to no avail and were nearly ready to take the builder’s advice and cover it in a self-levelling cement and install a carpet throughout which would have been sacrilege!

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration at Bude Bed and Breakfast

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway and Entrance Lobby

To begin with diamond-impregnated buffing pads were used with a rotary machine to scrub the floor and open up the pores. Small diamond hand blocks were also used to get into those difficult to reach areas such as corners and under the stairs.

Afterwards the floor was thoroughly rinsed with water which was then extracted using a wet vacuum. This was followed by giving the floor an Acid rinse using Tile Doctor’s Acid Gel. This helped to remove old mineral deposits and residue from carpet underlay. I had to be careful not to leave the acid down for too long because these tiles are susceptible to acid damage. This is also a great product to use as par for the course on floors like this that don’t have a damp proof course (floors generally didn’t pre-1950s) and the acid will neutralise any salts coming rising up through the tile later.

Dealing with salt issues on these old floors (efflorescence) is essential because they can damage the sealer or become trapped under it, detracting from the beauty of the floor. Given the age of the house It’s difficult to know what the floor had been laid onto. Often it was compacted rubble and building works from the erection of the adjoining houses. Terraced and some of the later Victorian floors were laid on a wet limecrete scree which contain a high salt-content.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway and Entrance Lobby

Once the tiles had been cleaned, I rinsed the entire floor thoroughly using fresh water to remove any traces of chemicals, before leaving it to dry completely overnight.

Upon my return to the B&B the next day, I sealed the tiles using several coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer which provides robust protection and intensifies the natural colours in the tile. It does this while leaving a natural-look matte finish which is befitting of a classic Victorian geometric patterned floor like this one.

Now cleaned and freshly sealed, the Victorian tiles will be in a much strong position to cope with the busy B&B season over the Summer. The owner was very pleased and I’m sure visitors to the B&B will be very impressed with this original feature!

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration at Bude Bed and Breakfast

As part of the package a cleaning and maintenance guide is provided once the work has been completed but unfortunately the owner’s uncle didn’t consult this when house-sitting and attempted to clean the floor with white spirit. Fortunately, I was able to return and improve the damage that was caused much to the owner’s relief and just in time for opening!
 
 
Source: Victorian Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Devon

Restoring the Washington Hotel Restaurant Floor in Llandudno

The Washington Hotel in Llandudno, North Wales, is a truly historic building and one of the enduring features on the promenade of the sea resort. This beautiful part of Wales was the holiday destination of choice for Lewis Carrol, the famed author of Alice in Wonderland, and you can see several statues of him in and around the town.

The Washington Hotel first opened in 1855, but was rebuilt in 1925 after being destroyed by a fire. The building most recently served as a nightclub, before it closed in 2012. Now, there is ongoing renovation work to turn it into a restaurant.

Mosaic Terrazzo Floor Llandudno Restaurant Before Restoration

As part of this renovation work, we were asked to restore bring the old Terrazzo floor back to life, which was certainly worse for wear after nearly a century of use. It had been covered in carpet, as well as old vinyl tiles, and was very heavily soiled with dirt and ingrained muck. This area of floor would eventually act as the entrance to the restaurant and bar area, so it was important to get this right for the customer.

Mosaic Terrazzo Rotating Door Floor Llandudno Restaurant Before Restoration

Burnishing a Terrazzo Tiled Floor

There were three areas we were asked to restore, covering 36 square meters in total:

• Circular foyer (27 square meters)
• Internal entrance area (2 square meters)
• External entrance stairs: (7 squares meters)

We started the restoration process with the application of a Very Coarse 50 grit diamond pad to tear away all the old carpet and vinyl resin, clearing the area to allow us to work directly on the Terrazzo tiles. With the tiles exposed, we discovered two large, long cracks in the base of the floor, so we filled these with a flexible floor grout. We chose to use this instead of a resin compound because resin isn’t very flexible, and if there is any movement the crack will become exposed again after six to 12 months. A flexible floor grout will move with the contractions and expansions of the base, and if the movement is not too extreme the flexible grout will not crack in the future.

Llandudno Cracked Mosaic Terrazzo Restaurant Floor During Restoration

We then continued through our system of diamond burnishing pads, applying the 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1500 grit pads with a small amount of water as lubricant. Once the floor was fully dry we applied the final 3000 grit pad, which is the finest of the pads and produces a very high quality polished effect on the stone.

Llandudno Mosaic Terrazzo Restaurant Floor During Restoration

Sealing a Terrazzo Tiled Floor

Once the floor had been polished, it needed to be sealed in order to protect it from dirt becoming ingrained into the pores of the stone. We did this using firstly two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is our impregnating, colour-enhancing sealer. The sealer works by penetrating the pores of the stone to fill them and block trapped dirt and stains. We then left the floor to dry off fully overnight.

The next day, we returned to the building to apply a crystallization powder known as Tile Doctor Shine Powder, which further enhanced the shine we had built up on the floor and give it extra sealer protection.

Llandudno Mosaic Terrazzo Restaurant Floor During Restoration

The customer was exceptionally happy with our work, as the restoration of the Terrazzo tiled flooring is an essential part of the renovation project overall. We wish them all the best in the eventual opening of the new restaurant!

Mosaic Terrazzo Rotating Door Floor Llandudno Restaurant After Restoration

For aftercare, we recommended to the customer that the floor is maintained with Tile Doctor Stone Soap as this will not only clean the Terrazzo without damaging the sealer like many stronger cleaners, but also maintain its patina as well.

Mosaic Terrazzo Floor Llandudno Restaurant After Restoration

 
 
Source: Tile, Stone and Grout Cleaning and Restoration in Wales