Recently I was contacted by a man in the town of Bedford who was worried that he had damaged his Victorian tiled hallway as a result of dragging a piano across the floor. I went round to the property to get a better look at the problem and, on closer inspection, realised that the tiles were actually fine; however, the piano had torn through the old surface seal.
The 150-year old tiles, dating back – as the name suggests – to the reign of Queen Victoria, had been poorly sealed and additionally had not been maintained correctly with the appropriate cleaning products. I was commissioned to remove the old sealer, clean and re-seal in order to restore this fantastic floor to its former glory.
Method for cleaning Victorian tiles
My first task was to mix a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and water, which was then spread across the floor. Pro-Clean is a high alkaline cleaner which also contains stripping properties and this helped to break down the old, damaged sealer. The solution was left to dwell for approximately 20 minutes, giving it time to seep into the stone to get underneath, and lift out, any ingrained dirt. Pro-Clean was worked into the tiles using a heavy low speed rotary machine fitted with a black pad.
Once cleaned and stripped, we rinsed the floor using plain, clean water to neutralise the high alkaline Pro-Clean and the removed the resulting slurry using a wet-vac machine.
At this point I noticed that the white/magnolia tiles were particularly well worn and still very dirty and in need of further cleaning. Around this time Tile Doctor had also been discussing the successful use of Burnishing Pads (normally used on polished stone) on Victorian Tiles so I hand burnished the most stained tiles with a small 6 inch diamond encrusted burnishing pad with a little water to help lubricate the process. Following this, I rinsed the entire floor once again.
Method for sealing Victorian tiles
After leaving the floor to dry for four days, I returned to the house to seal the tiles opting to apply a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow impregnating sealer first followed up with four coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go. This combination of sealers provides a durable internal and surface stain protection whilst lifting the colours and adding a nice subtle sheen finish.
Once dried and cured, the floor was buffed using micro-fibre clothes to further enhance the appearance of the tiles further. My client was very pleased with the results, and couldn’t believe it was possible to get a floor that was so old appear brand new! The floor will dull with wear so I advised my client on the benefits of a regular maintenance plan going forward to ensure this great flooring feature remains in top condition.