Victorian Tile Cleaning

Restoring Badly Stained Victorian Floor Tiles in Ramsbottom

A customer from Ramsbottom contacted us to see if we were able to help with the renovation of a small section of Victorian tiling in their hallway. Another company had already tried to treat them chemically but without making any progress in removing the stains.

Stained Victorian Tiles Before Cleaning Ramsbottom

I visited the property to survey the problem tiles and recommend a way forward. In most cases we like to carry out a site visit to get an accurate idea of the problems before quoting for the work. Whilst there I ran a test clean on part of the tiles and slowly but surely, they responded to the treatment and they condition visibly improved. Impressed with the initial results I was asked to continue, fortunately my schedule was light that day, so I was able to work though without too much impact to my schedule.

Stained Victorian Tiles Before Cleaning Ramsbottom

Cleaning/Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

My initial thought for cleaning was to try using Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a cleaner and stripper which is safe to use on tiles and stone. The previous company had used a chemical product, but it wasn’t clear what they had used. Tile Doctor Remove and Go usually works well in these situations but it was clear my result would not have been enough of an improvement so a different solution would be needed.

Stained Victorian Tiles During Cleaning Ramsbottom Stained Victorian Tiles During Cleaning Ramsbottom

To resolve this, I tried hand-held abrasive diamond blocks, first 400-grit without improvement, then 200-grit without improvement, 100-grit no improvement and then eventually 50-grit and I started to see a result. It was clear only a very abrasive 50-grit pad would improve these tiles. It was a small area, so I set about using a combination of small coarse 50-grit pads and followed up with 100, 200 and 400-grit pads and blocks to remove scratches and renovate the tiles following the use of the very abrasive grits. The tiles were also rinsed repeatedly during this process to remove the slurry generated. The waste was extracted using the wet vacuum. It took forever to get the tiles clean, but the results were brilliant.

Stained Victorian Tiles During Cleaning Ramsbottom

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

Once I was happy all the Victorian tiles were as clean as they could I gently speed dried them using a heat gun. The last step in restoring the tiles would be to apply a sealer and so it was important the tiles were dry first. Once I was happy the tiles were dry, they were sealed them with a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This is an impregnating sealer that protects from within by occupying the pores in the tile where dirt can become ingrained. The sealer gave the tiles a nice sheen without being too shiny, this product also allows the floor to breath, which is vital on a floor of this age where no damp proof membrane will have been installed. Whilst I was there I also did some work re-grouting the adjacent York Stone floor which was of a similar age and needed some TLC.

Stained Victorian Tiles After Cleaning Ramsbottom

The pictures really speak for themselves. The customer was beginning to think it couldn’t be done so I was glad to be able to get them in such a nice state, especially considering the previous company could not lift their appearance.

Stained Victorian Tiles After Cleaning Ramsbottom

The customer was very happy and left the following feedback.

“Kamila was a very professional and friendly person who has done an amazing job on my floor! Both cleaning and grouting! They look amazing!! I still have no idea how she managed it with little mess leaving the rooms clean and tidy! Thank you Kamila! I have already recommended her to friends!!”


Professional Restoration of Stained Victorian Tiles in South Lancashire

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Renovated for a Property Investor in Burnley

A property investor contacted Tile Doctor to see if we could help renovate a property that was to be sold in few weeks’ time. To get maximum value from the investment she wanted to preserve the character and period features of the house including the Victorian Tiled Hallway floor, which as you can see from the photograph below was in need a bit of TLC!.

Victorian tiled floors and other period features have become very popular in recent years and are often discovered under hallway carpets covered in years of dirt. Fortunately, they are very resilient and with the right techniques and products can be restored back to their former glory.

Victorian Tiles Before Renovation Burnley
On our initial visit I conducted a survey of the floor to check its condition and work out the most suitable products and methods to employ to restore it. One of the main concerns we have with these old floors is damp as damp-proof membranes were not invented until relatively recently. I have a damp meter to check for this and it did indicate high moisture levels which isn’t really an issue for cleaning the floor but would restrict our choice of sealer to those which are fully breathable and allow moisture to rise-up through the tile. We agreed a price and schedule with the customer and within two weeks we were able to start the work.

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

The floor was in quite a state, made worse I suspect by recent restoration work by other contractors who unfortunately didn’t take as much care with the floor as the could have done.

After protecting the skirting boards and carpets with film work got underway starting by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go to the floor to strip away old sealers and other coatings. This product also helps to break down the paint stains on the surface of the tile, though I also used a handheld scraper, as well as a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad, to speed up the process. The resultant slurry was rinsed off the floor with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

With the floor clean of coatings, the next step was to deep clean the tiles with a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an effective Tile and Grout cleaning product that deeply cleans away ingrained stains. Again, we used a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine to make the job easier. Corners were tough to tackle with a machine, so we had to do them by hand.
The floor was given a final rinse to remove any soil and trace of cleaning product and the wet vacuum was used a final time to extract as much moisture out of the floor as possible. Upon finishing the cleaning, we left the floor for a few days, so it could dry out fully.

Dealing with Efflorescence

When we came back to seal the floor we noticed problems with white salt deposits coming to the surface of the tile a problem known as efflorescence. I had suspected this might become an issue but there was no indication of it happening before so was not overly concerned at the time. However, it meant I could not seal the floor as planned until the efflorescence had been dealt with. Fortunately salts like these can be treated and to resolve the problem I gave the floor a wipe with a solution of Tile Doctor Acid Gel which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids in a gel form, formulated to remove grout haze (grout smears) and treat efflorescence. Once this was done the floor was given a light rinse and dried again.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor

I left the floor to dry again for a few more days and on my return, I was pleased to see the problem had not resurfaced and I was able to complete the restoration with the application of a sealer.

To seal the tiles, I used a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a penetrating sealer designed to soak into the pores of the clay thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained whilst additionally enhancing the colours in the tile. The sealer really deepened the colours in the tile bringing them to life and with Colour Grow being fully breathable there shouldn’t be any issues with damp becoming trapped under the tile and causing issues later.

The customer was delighted with the results (see feedback below) and the work we did should more than pay for itself when the house goes on the market.

“Thoroughly impressed with Kamila, she was so lovely, professional and thorough! Our tiles look amazing and I was especially happy with how quick she sorted that floor out from the first email I sent. Janice M., Burnley”

Victorian Tiled After Renovation Burnley

Professional Restoration of an Old Victorian Tiled Hallway in South Lancashire


South Lancashire Tile Doctor

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