Brixton Tile Cleaning

Dirty and Stained Victorian Hallway Tiles Rejuvenated in Streatham

If you like in an older property in the UK and never looked under the carpets you might want to take a minute and have a look. I still find it surprising how many of my customers had no idea they lived in a house with a classic tiled hallway.

We were recently asked to restore a fantastic geometric-patterned Victorian tiled floor which had been found underneath carpet during decoration work in the hallway of a property in Streatham.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration Streatham Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration Streatham

The once black and white tiles were now absolutely caked in dirt, glue deposits, cement, paint stains and plaster. It would be no small feat to get the tiles back to looking their best again. Fortunately, Victorian tiles are very resilient and we have a lot of experience in their restoration so I was confident that with the right products and techniques we could get the job done to a high standard.

Cleaning Dirty and Stained Victorian Hallway Tiles

The tiled hallway was quite long, yet only around a metre wide, so I felt the best approach would be to work in small sections at a time. Our method was to soak the tiles with Tile Doctor Remove and Go and leave the product to work its magic for roughly ten minutes, before scrubbing the surface to remove the muck. Some of the more viscous and stubborn stains were scrapped away carefully by hand within the assistance of a steam cleaning machine. The resulting residue was extracted using a wet vacuum. Remove and Go is a particularly effective cleaner in scenarios like this, as it is specially formulated to strip away old sealers, adhesives and even paint without harming the tile itself.

The next step was to run a rotary machine fitted with a Coarse 200 grit burnishing pad lubricated with water over the floor to achieve a consistent finish. The floor was then rinsed to remove the soil generated in the process.

Old floors like these laid before the invention of damp proof membranes can be a concern as damp rising up through the tile as it dries can leads to efflorescence salt deposits appearing on the tile surface. So, to avoid potential issues Tile Doctor Acid Gel was applied to the floor to neutralise any salt deposits and the floor given a final rinse to remove any trace of cleaning products.

Sealing Victorian Hallway Tiles

After finishing the clean, we left the floor to dry out over the weekend. With old floors like this one, we tend to recommend allowing a drying period of at least 48 hours to ensure the floor is completely dry before applying a sealer.

Upon arriving back at the property, we ran a few quick damp tests and once satisfied the floor was dry proceeded to seal the tiles using Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow is a colour-intensifying, impregnating sealant that leaves a natural-look matte finish. It works by occupying the pores in the clay and it’s also a fully breathable sealer which is important for these old floors where damp may be any issue.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration Streatham Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration Streatham

The customer was absolutely thrilled with the results. She even went as far as to leave a review expressing how pleased she was during the weekend before we had chance to seal the tiles.

Bill and Wayne were brilliant! On time, got to work straight away, lovely and friendly and very professional. They have done a lovely job and I’m looking forward to them coming to seal the tiles to finish it o f tomorrow afternoon. Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. Thanks guys!

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Hallway in South London

Old Victorian Tiled Hallway Fully Restored in Brixton

I was asked to look at an old Victorian Tiled Hallway floor at a house in Brixton, South London. This classic floor had been discovered underneath an old hallway carpet while refurbishment works were being carried out. I went over initially in mid December to survey the floor and talked the owner through a number of similar restorations we had completed in the past. I could see this floor would need a deep clean to remove the years of dirt and also some tiling would needed to be done to tile a section of concrete near the stairs that had been dug out to lay pipe work when central heating had been installed many years prior. She didn’t want to make a commitment at that point so I left her with our quotation so she could think it over. I suspect she had other quotes to review however I’m pleased to say that she decided to give the work to us.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration Brixton Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration Brixton

Once we had agreed a date to do the work I started looking around for replacement tiles that would be needed to restore the floor. Unfortunately the octagonal ones are not made any more and I couldn’t hold of any salvaged ones either. Having been involved in Tile Restoration work for some time now, I have a list of companies and reclamation yards that are usually a good source for these materials. To resolve the problem I sourced square tiles with a similar look and would cut them to the same shape when on site.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration Brixton

Cleaning and Repairing a Heavily Soiled Victorian Tiled Floor

I returned after Christmas to start the restoration process which was due to take two to three days. To start the restoration process we applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go to the floor, allowed it to soak in for ten minutes and then worked it into the tiles using a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. Remove and Go is a product that removes coatings from tiles including in this case old paint splashes and carpet adhesive. The floor was then rinsed and the now dirty solution extracted using a wet vacuum.

Victorian Tiled Hallway During Restoration
Once this was finished the floor was looking cleaner and the next step was to tackle the concrete area near the stairs where the heating pipes had been buried. The cement had to be carefully chipped away and then refilled with fresh cement but to the level of the original surface so we could lay new tile on top. We use a quick setting compound for this and were able to start relaying and grouting the section with new specially cut tiles later that afternoon.

Victorian Tiled Hallway During Restoration Brixton Victorian Tiled Hallway During Restoration Brixton

Naturally the strip of new tiles were quite noticeable against the old and although the customer was happy I knew I could get a better result by running a very coarse burnishing pad fitted to a heavy buffing machine over the surface. I used a diamond resin hybrid 50 grit pad to take off the top layer of the tiles and then refinished the surface with a 100 and then 200 grit pad. This did the trick and it was impossible to tell the old and new apart.

After this I carried out an acid wash using Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up diluted with four parts water. The purpose of this was to remove any old grout smears and mineral deposits from the floor as well as counteract any possibility of unsightly efflorescence salts rising up through the tile at a later stage. This is quite a common problem with these old floors which don’t have a damp proof coarse and certainly I could see no trace of a DPC when I dug out the cement around the pipe work earlier.

The last step in the cleaning process was to steam the entire floor and then leave it to dry off fully over the New Year break.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Floor

I returned on the 2nd of January and after inspecting the floor to ensure it was clean and free of damp I began to seal it using Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the tile protecting it from within and enhancing its appearance in the process. Four coats of sealer were needed and as you can see by the final pictures the final results were outstanding.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration Brixton
Period features such as old Victorian floors add a lot of value to and the customer was over the moon with the transformation and is so happy she chose to have the floor restored rather than covering it back up with carpet.

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration Brixton

Professional Victorian Tiled Hallway Restoration in South London

Victorian Tiled Hallway Restoration in Balham

Set of photographs here from a Victorian Tiled floor for a customer in Balham, South London. They had found the floor under an old carpet, and wanted to restore it. Unfortunately their builders did not listen and didn’t bother to put down any protection when they painted, as a result there was paint everywhere, I’ve include a detailed photograph below so you can see for yourself what a state the floor was in.

Victorian Tiled Floor Balham Before Cleaning Victorian Tiled Floor Balham Before Cleaning

Cleaning the Victorian Floor Tiles

Initially the floor was cleaned using a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean mixed 50:50 with NanoTech UltraClean which had been left to dwell for 20 minutes before being agitated using a rotary machine fitted with a buffing pad. I used a wet vacuum to remove the dirty cleaning solution and then realising something more powerful would be required to shift the stubborn stains and paint marks. To rectify this I applied a Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a coatings remover and left it to dwell on the Victorian tile for forty minutes before applying plenty of elbow grease. This did the trick to remove the paint and glue etc. so I worked across the floor in sections applying the same treatment until the floor was completely clean.

Once it had all been removed I gave the whole floor a scrub with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up and this brightened up the colours and finally I gave the floor a very thorough rinse with clean water to remove any remaining cleaning product that might have an adverse effect on the sealer. I left the floor to dry over the weekend and returned on the following Monday to seal it, but first I carried out a couple of repairs because some of the tiles were loose so I reset them in cement.

Sealing Victorian Tiled Floor tiles

On my return I sealed the floor using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a penetrating sealer that provides maximum stain protection whilst bringing out the colour in the stone.

Victorian Tiled Floor Balham After Cleaning Victorian Tiled Floor Balham After Cleaning

All the customer could say was AMAZING I didn’t think it was possible to get like this.

Victorian Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Balham, South London


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