Original Victorian Tiles Restored to Top Condition in Brighton

The 19th century was a pivotal period for the Brighton and Hove area of East Sussex. Many of the major attractions were built during the Victorian era, including two of the major piers. Over time, Brighton became not just a very popular destination for day trippers, but also for home makers. Lots of Victorian-style houses were built, complete with Victorian-style tiled floors.

Modern homeowners are increasingly uncovering these original Victorian tiles after decades of being hidden under carpet overlay. Contrary to popular belief, it is very much possible to restore these tiles back to peak condition despite suffering from damage, dirt and staining.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Restoration Hove

I recently a house in Brighton to prove just that. The customer’s Victorian tiled hallway floor had been covered by many carpets over the past few decades and so there were many thick glue deposits, along with a heavy build-up of dirt and staining.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor Before Restoration Hove

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway

After protecting the woodwork with tape, I set about cleaning the Victorian tiles using a combination of products. One of these was Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU (HBU = Heavy Build-Up Remove), a powerful cleaner which uses nano-sized cleaning particles to penetrate deep into the tile to lift out and dissolve ingrained dirt and stains. I mixed the NanoTech HBU together 50:50 with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, a reliable alkaline-based cleaner. This cleaning mixture was applied to the hallway floor and then covered with a plastic sheet for a few hours before being scrubbed into the tiles thoroughly with a lot of elbow grease and a specialised scrubbing pad.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Restoration Hove

A lot of the glue deposits were stubborn and would not respond to the chemical cleaning, so I needed to carefully scrape these off by hand. Once the majority of the glue had been removed I applied a set of diamond-encrusted burnishing pads to remove the top layer to resurface the floor and bring back a lot of the definition in the tile.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor During Restoration Hove

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway

After completing the cleaning process, I left the floor to dry completely. Giving the tiles enough time to dry is important, especially in older properties which won’t have a damp-proof membrane installed. Even a small amount of excess moisture can cloud the sealer and damage its performance.

Once I was satisfied with the moisture level, I proceeded to seal the tiles using numerous coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water based sealer that doesn’t leave a smell as it dries and as well as adding a layer of protection to the tiles give an appealing low-sheen finish.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Restoration Hove

The client, being of French nationality, said she was “sur la lune” (over the moon) with the result! Look at the photos below to see the transformation – I must say I was quite pleased myself!

Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor After Restoration Hove

 
 

Professional Tile Cleaning and Sealing for an Original Victorian Tiled Floor Restoration in Brighton

Dirty and Damaged Victorian Tiled Hallway Restored in Heathfield

This beautiful Victorian hallway had been left to suffer under the wear of rugby boots and dogs for many years. There were also some broken tiles in the doorways leading to other rooms, and there were clear paint splashes where decorators had neglected to clean up after themselves. To cut a long story short, the floor was in a bad state, and the property owner decided it was about time to call upon some professional assistance.

Victorian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Heathfield

After providing a demonstration of the techniques I could use to improve the condition of the floor, the customer called me down to their property in the quaint market town of Heathfield.

Victorian Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Heathfield

Cleaning and Repairing a Damaged Victorian Tiled Hallway

To begin the cleaning process, I mixed a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean, before applying it liberally across the floor and working it into the tiles with a black pad fitted to a buffing machine. The cleaner helped to remove ingrained dirt and also contains properties to help break down any old sealer. I then soaked up the soiled solution with a wet vacuum.

Following this I turned my attention to the unsightly paint splashes, opting to remove them manually with a hand scraper, rather than use a liquid cleaning product. Oftentimes when there are small isolated paint marks it is more convenient to deal with them in this way.

The last problem to address was the array of broken and loose tiles in the doorways. Since original Victorian tiles are well over 100 years old (and often fit to a very particular pattern, like in this case), it can be extremely difficult to source replacements that colour match exactly. Thankfully I had previously been able to source some original tiles from a salvage yard in Kent which matched very closely with the colour of the customer’s floor. I had no issues in fitting the replacement tiles before moving on to the sealing process.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway

I left the house for two days, and upon my return the tiles were bone dry and ready to be sealed. A damp floor cannot be sealed as any moisture rising to the surface will cloud the sealer and affect its performance.

Victorian Tiled Floor After Cleaning Heathfield

Using a paint pad as an application tool, I sealed the floor with nine coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. Seal and Go is a topical sealer which builds up a barrier on the surface of the stone to protect from dirt. Each coat of the sealer must be allowed to dry before the next is applied.

Victorian Tiled Floor After Cleaning Heathfield

As the photographs show, the tiles were transformed in a short space of time. The customer was really pleased, knowing now that the floor will be protected from future wear and tear – a must with dogs running about the house!
 
 

Professional Damaged and Dirty Victorian Hallway Floor Restoration in East Sussex

Cleaning And Sealing A Victorian Tiled Floor In An Office In Palmeira Square, Brighton

Recently, I was asked to do some Tile Doctoring at Palmeira Square, in the seaside city of Brighton and Hove, to restore the Victorian tiled floor of one of the downstairs offices. Palmeira Square is a residential area which was first developed in the mid-19th century during the reign of Queen Victoria, so many of the buildings feature some fantastic original Victorian tile floors. Although there are many large terraced houses and even mansions in the area, some of the buildings have been converted into offices for commercial use. My client, who leased the downstairs office, managed to persuade the other tenants to employ professional help to restore the tiles, and so I was asked to come in to clean and seal the floor to get it back to looking its best.

Victorian Tiled Office Floor Brighton Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Victorian tile floor

With Palmeira Square being quite a lively area, I made sure to fence off the front door area from the wandering public. My first job was to apply Tile Doctor Remove & Go to the floor, a heavy duty stripper, multi-purpose stripper that was able to remove the stubborn marks, stains and ingrained dirt on and between the tiles. In particular, Remove & Go helped to remove some rust stains I found near the door hinges.

Victorian Tiled Office Floor Brighton Before Cleaning

I left the product to sit and work its magic for twenty minutes, and during this time I began cleaning the floor using a buffing pad, which is suitable for use on all types of floor (except polished stone), and a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted with water. The combination of a buffing pad and Pro-Clean helped to remove the general dirt and grime that had built up over time in this high traffic area of the office. After the cleaning was complete, the black tiles appeared grey because any remaining sealer had been removed. However, the colour would return after resealing the tiles, which was my next job.

Victorian Tiled Office Floor Brighton After Cleaning

Sealing a Victorian tile floor

I returned to the office after two days to seal the Victorian tile floor. To do this, I needed to use Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which meant I had to ask the office workers to keep off the floor for most of the day. This is because I needed to apply six coats of Seal & Go to the floor, and each coat takes roughly fourty minutes to dry. Seal & Go provides a stain-resistant surface seal and a durable low-sheen finish, which will help keep this floor looking great for a long time, even with a high traffic of workers coming in and out of the office.

Victorian Tiled Office Floor Brighton After Cleaning

Luckily, it was a warm day outside, and the floor dried quickly, leaving a shiny, deep black surface. Both my client and I were very happy with the result. The client was also pleasantly surprised to see that I had been able to remove the rust stains near the door.
 
 

Victorian Tiled Floor Refreshed in East Sussex

Restoring a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Eastbourne

These photographs were taken at a large shared block of flats in the seaside town of Eastbourne. Recently a decision was made to replace the carpet in the entrance hallway and they discovered a lovely but damaged Victorian tiled floor underneath. A decision was made to restore the floor back to its former glory and we were asked to do the work.

Victorian Tiles Before Cleaning Eastbourne Flats Entrance Hall Victorian Tiles Before Cleaning Eastbourne Flats Entrance Hall

Cleaning Victorian Tiles

The carpet had been stuck down with gaffer tape which is fortunate as sometimes a gripper rod is used with nails piercing the grout. To deep clean the heavy build-up of dirt from the tiles and remove the tape adhesive I applied a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go combined 50/50 with Pro-Clean and left it to soak into the floor allowing it time to break down the glue. Over the course of the next two days the solution was scrubbed into the tiles, rinsed and then the soiled solution extracted and then re-applying until I was satisfied the floor was clean. It was a residential property and I couldn’t have anyone walking through the floor as I worked so I directed them up the fire exit. The kids really enjoyed the detour.

Sealing Victorian Tiles

Following 48hrs drying time I returned on what must have been the warmest day of the year to seal the floor with a shiny and hard wearing Tile Doctor sealer called Pro-Seal. Victorian tiles are quite porous so eight coats were required in the end.

Victorian Tiles After Cleaning Eastbourne Flats Entrance Hall

The final result was a huge improvement and the residents continually commented on the change of colours. The whites really shone and who knew there were blue tiles there?

Victorian Tiles After Cleaning Eastbourne Flats Entrance Hall

 
 

Victorian Tile Restoration in Eastbourne

Rejuvenating External Victorian Tiled steps at Brighton Marina

The photographs below are from a set of steps outside a house near Brighton Marina; the customer had a number of requirements which included bringing the Victorian tiled door steps back to life and also to resolve a leak into the basement below.

Victorian Tiled Steps Brighton Marina Before Cleaning

Cleaning Victorian Tiled Steps

To get them clean we scrubbed in a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean brushing off any moss growth in the process and exposing holes and weaknesses. It was a small area so this was done by hand using water to rinse away the soiled cleaning product and a wet vacuum to extract the water. Once the tiles were cleaned all the visible holes and cracks were filled using clear mastic and a builder went about resealing the basement below.

Sealing Victorian Tiles

With winter quickly approaching the weather has changed for the worse and I struggled to find two clear days of dry weather to seal the tiles in fact three weeks passed until it was clear enough to return. I started by wiping away any visible dampness and used the heat gun on any tricky corners. Once dry the tiles were sealed using Tile Doctor Pro-Seal which is a penetrating sealer that soaks into the tile occupying the pores in the tiles so contaminates can’t.

The property was fifty metres from the sea front so I applied four coats to be sure it would have extra protection against the elements; fortunately the weather was quite windy they dried quickly. The customer was very pleased with the result, so much so that she’s recommended me to her neighbours.

Victorian Tiled Steps Brighton Marina After Cleaning

 
 

Victorian Tiled Steps Cleaned and Sealed in East Sussex

Restoring a Victorian Tiled Hallway in Brighton

The photograph below is from a Victorian tiled floor that we recently restored in the seaside town of Brighton. The house owner discovered the tiles under carpet and after realising what a beautiful and original feature they were decided to have them restored and so called in Tile Doctor. The tiles had been well preserved by the carpet although as you can see they were looking rather washed out and were in need of a thorough deep clean.

Victorian Tiles in Brighton Before Restoration

Cleaning Victorian Tiles

We set about cleaning the tile using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a powerful alkaline cleaning product that is safe to use on tile and stone. It was applied with a mop and left it to dwell on the floor for ten minutes first in order to give it chance to soak into the tile and get to work on the dirt. It was then worked into the floor using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad, stiff hand brushes and a substantial amount of elbow grease was used to tackle the stubborn stains and along the grout lines. The soiled water was picked up with a wet and dry vacuum and once we were happy the floor was clean it was given a thorough rinse with fresh water to remove any leftover chemical and then left to dry.

Sealing Victorian Tiles

Once the floor was dry we were able to seal it using four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds a nice shine to the floor as well as providing a surface seal that will help protect the tile from stains going forward.

Victorian Tiles in Brighton After Restoration

It was quite a transformation and well worth the effort as you can see from the photographs above.
 
 

Victorian Tile Restoration in Brighton