Restoring a Victorian Hallway Floor at a Kent Children’s Home

Victorian-Hallway-Floor-Before-After-Restoration-in-Canterbury

These pictures of a Victorian Tiled Hallway are from a property in Canterbury that was once a nursing home and was now being renovated to become a children’s home. The building was being gutted and extended at the same time and when the carpet was pulled up in the hallway, they were surprised to find a relatively intact Victorian tiled floor underneath.

Whilst they thought it bizarre that anyone would want to cover up such an attractive floor the carpet had protected it over the years. They realized it would make a marvellous feature at the entrance to the property, but professional restoration would be needed to do it justice. After a bit of research, they came across Tile Doctor and got in touch.

Canterbury comes under my North Kent designation, so I went to visit the property and survey the floor and quote for doing the restoration. There were a few missing and loose tiles that would need replacing and refixing also there was a lot of ingrained dirt so a deep clean and application of a new sealer would be required. I gave them a price for the work which they readily accepted, and we arranged a suitable time to carry out the work. Subject to the building schedule I had calculated the floor would take three days to restore.

Victorian Hallway  Canterbury During Renovation

Repairing and Removing Adhesive from a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

On the first day I set about replacing and re-fixing the missing, broken, and loose tiles. This is delicate work as you need to extract the old tile without disturbing its neighbours and then clean up the area ready for its replacement. Being a Tile Doctor I keep a selection of stock tiles for repairs, some are reclaimed, and some are replica. Also, there are several companies still making Victorian style tiles so I can usually source what I need.

After the individual missing and broken tiles had been replaced and the adhesive had set, it was then a matter of renovating the floor as a whole. The tiles were covered in a thick layer of carpet adhesive which needed a combination of specialist tools and products to remove. First, a liberal layer of Tile Doctor Remove and Go was applied and left to dwell for thirty minutes. Next, Tile Doctor Pro-Clean was added and scrubbed in with a black pad.

This process softened the adhesive sufficiently in readiness for the next stage which involves using a set of diamond burnishing pads on a weighted buffing machine. Several applications were needed, each time with a successively finer grade of diamond pad and rinsing off the slurry in between. The tiles were first milled using a very coarse 50-grit pad, followed by 100, 200 and finally burnished with a 400-grit burnishing pads. This removed all the adhesive and dirt in the tiles, which was cleaned up using the wet vacuum.

Old Victorian floors like this do not have a damp proof membrane installed under the floor, and with a lot of water being used in the cleaning process I was concerned White efflorescence salts could appear later as the floor dried. To counter this, I gave the floor an acid wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel to counter and dissolve the salts, it also gives the tiles another clean and will remove any old grout smears further improving the appearance of the tiles. Once done the floor was left to dry overnight.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

On my return I tested the floor was dry by taking several moisture readings around the floor with a damp meter. Applying sealer to a damp floor is never advised and can lead to clouding and an unwanted finish.

Happy that the tiles were dry, a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer was applied. This is an impregnating sealer with a colour enhancing component to ‘lift’ the stronger colours of the floor. Colour Grow however does leave a matt appearance and as the client had asked for a shiny finish it was topped up with five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This is a compatible topical sealer which added a mid to high sheen.

Victorian Hallway  Canterbury After Renovation

By the end of the third day the Victorian floor looked brand new, and I received the following feedback from the client. Its rare to receive feedback from commercial customers so they were clearly overwhelmed with the transformation.

Did not think this glued covered bad old floor could look sooooo good Fabulous Fantastic job Looks Amazing Thank you

For aftercare I recommend the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner which isn’t as harsh as many of the products you find in supermarket. Stronger products can actually strip off the sealer over time leaving it vulnerable to dirt and detracting from its appearance.

 

Source: Victorian Floor Restoration Service in Canterbury, Kent