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

Lower Courtyard Slate Patio Cleaning in Brighton

Brighton is a great location to work with a huge variety of property styles and tile installation but being such a popular location parking can be an issue. We need to park our van physically close to the property so we can make use of our powerful Truck mounted cleaning system that weighs in at 3/4 of a tonne! It’s a really clever system that uses water under very high pressure to clean the stone whilst at the same time recovering the waste back to a storage tank in the van making it a very clean operation even in the most awkward conditions.

I thought I would mention this first as I was asked to deep clean and seal the lower ground level Slate tiled courtyard patio at this property in Brighton which was located down a small side street where people rarely moved their vehicles due to lack of spaces available. Fortunately I was aware of the issue and managed to overcome it by arranging a parking suspension with Brighton and Hove City Council allowing me to park my van.

Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton Parking Suspension Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton Before Cleaning

This patio was open to the elements and was also used by the owner’s dog. Further due to its inaccessibility it had never been cleaned apart from with the general hosepipe sprayer. Any kind of porous stone will over time become dirty and stained if the sealer is not maintained, sealers do fail eventually and usually in the highest traffic areas first where they become worn down the most.

Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton Before Cleaning Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton Before Cleaning

Deep Cleaning Dirty Slate Patio

The first job was to pressure clean the entire area using the truck mounted system I mentioned earlier, it works well on patios removing all sorts of detritus that can build up over time.

With patio now clear I was able to see the condition of the slate which showed grout smears on the surface from installation as some stubborn staining that the pressure treatment had been unable to shift. To resolve this I mixed up a batch of Tile Doctor Cleaning Agent Oxy Gel together with Tile Doctor Acid Gel and applied it to all the problem areas. Liquids have a tendency to run (patios have a gentle slope to allow for rain run off) whereas Gel’s remain in place so they dwell on the problem areas longer and really get to work. I left the mixture in place for a short while before scrubbing it in with a stiff brush and then extracted it using truck mount system. The water from the truck mount also neutralised the acid which is important as you shouldn’t leave acid on natural stone for too long.

Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton During Cleaning Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton During Cleaning

Sealing a Slate Patio

Fortunately there was no rain that night and being August also quite warm so I was pleased to find the Slate had tried off fully by the next day when we returned to seal it. To be certain however I ran some quick damp tests to check that the floor was completely dry and ready to be sealed. Once satisfied, I applied a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which works really well on Slate giving it that much needed protection against dirt and stains, along with a full lustre finish that enhances the character of the floor.

Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton After Cleaning Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton After Cleaning

The client was elated both with the result and even more so after we explained how to maintain the look of the tiles with having a doggy in the house!

Slate Patio Courtyard Brighton After Cleaning

 
 

Refurbishing a Slate Tiled Patio in East Sussex

Restoration of an Extremely Dirty Yorkstone Tiled Floor in Brighton

This Yorkstone tiled kitchen floor at a house in Brightonhad been hidden under 18 months worth of accumulated builders work, intended to get the property ready for new occupancy. As you might expect, the tiles were extremely dirty, caked in layers of dust and muck left over from months of brickwork. The site manager asked me to come down to the house on the South Coast to clean and seal the Yorkstone tiles before the new homeowner moved in.

Yorkstone Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Brighton

It should be noted that Yorkstone is a tightly grained variation of Sandstone, named as such due to being worked in Yorkshire quarries since medieval times. Thanks to its hard wearing nature and being reasonably inexpensive, it is still popularly used for interior and exterior furnishing, construction and landscaping across the globe.

Cleaning a Filthy Yorkstone Tiled Floor

To clear the floor ready to be cleaned, I firstly vacuumed up the excess layers of dust and muck using my strong wet/dry vacuum. Then, I applied a solution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go stripper, mixed with a dash of Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up. This would break down any old sealer and remove the stubbornest muck, while also cleansing the grout at the same time.

Next, I attached a coarse 200 grit pad to my buffing machine and set to work eradicating the subsequent layers of muck. Almost immediately a brown sludge developed, which I promptly removed with the wet/dry vacuum. Stopping first to rinse the floor with clean water, I proceeded with the buffering process, this time with my bristly patio cleaner attachment, which was coarser still to ensure the difficult dirt was completely broken down. Finally, I rinsed the floor again with more clean water to remove any excess cleaning slurry, and then left it to dry.

Yorkstone Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Brighton

Sealing a Yorkstone Tiled Floor

Three days later, once all moisture had evaporated, I returned to the property to seal the floor. I did so by applying an initial coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer, which is designed enhanced the depth of colours. Colour Grow soaks into the pores of the stone to prevent dirt from becoming trapped within, making it particularly suitable for use on other types of porous stone, such as Limestone.

As the stones were particularly riven, I carefully filled in the gaps with a paint brush, thus ensuring that the sealer covered the entire surface area. After the first coat had dried, I applied another. An hour later this too was dry and the site manager appeared, quite evidently pleased with the results.

Yorkstone Kitchen Floor After Sealing Brighton

He commented that it looked amazing and he couldn’t believe the colour range on show, especially since they had the tiles had been hidden for so longer under thick layers of muck. Thankfully, this is no longer the case, and this floor is ready to be enjoyed by the new homeowner.
 
 

Restoring Filthy Yorkstone Tiles 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

Six Day Cleaning And Sealing Of Limestone Bathrooms And Hallway In Brighton

This was a substantial engagement at a luxury rental apartment in Brighton rejuvenating the Limestone tiles in two bathrooms and a hallway taking six days of hard work. In addition, I would be working around two decorators, making for even more testing work conditions.

Brighton Luxury Flat Limestone Floor Before Cleaning

Cleaning Limestone bathroom tiles

I first set to work on the smallest bathroom, which featured limestone tiles from floor to ceiling, as well as a large bath, copper sink and a tiled surround. Limestone is a very popular choice for interior and exterior decoration, but the tiles in this bathroom were in need of some care to get them looking their best again. My initial task was to strip away any previous sealer by hand; this was done using a mixture of warm water and Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which, along with Limestone, is also suitable for use on other types of natural stone, such as Granite, Slate and Travertine. Pro-Clean serves both as an effective stripper and cleaner, meaning that once the sealer had been stripped away, the tiles also received a thorough clean. Once I had cleaned the tiles, I sucked up any excess water and residue using a Wet-Dry Vac machine.

Brighton Luxury Flat Limestone Bathroom Before Cleaning

Since the tiles would have to be left to dry for a couple of days, I offered to restore the copper sink for the customer, even though this was not actually part of my job description. After conducting some research into copper cleaning, I opted to use a combination of lemon juice, vinegar and salt. The research paid off as, once I began to apply the solution to the sink, the bright orange and brown colours of the copper quickly rose to the surface. Within the space of an hour, I had transformed what initially appeared to be a ruined sink into a lovely, shimmering copper feature for the bathroom. Both the decorators and I were truly amazed at the results – but all credit goes to Google!

Brighton Luxury Flat Copper Sink Before Cleaning Brighton Luxury Flat Copper Sink After Cleaning

The larger of the two bathrooms was a much stiffer test for the Tile Doctor products. It had not been left in great condition, as the shower area had clearly not been sealed correctly, and the tiles had been left in such a manner that soap scum from shampoos, soaps and shower gels had built up on the window sill. In fact, the damage was significant enough that I had to explain to the customer before starting the work that whilst I could greatly improve the appearance of the tiles, I would not be able to restore them to new. This is because many shampoo and body wash products are acidic and can cause permanent damage to stone work especially when left to dwell for a long time.

My choice of product was Tile Doctor Mould Away, a formula which, over time, seeps deeply into the pores of the stone, effectively lifting away the muck. In cases of particularly stubborn areas, it is necessary to apply another covering of Mould Away and leave it for an extended period of time. This is exactly what I did over the next few days, leaving the product overnight to work its magic. The change was certainly drastic, if not perfect.

Brighton Luxury Flat Window Sill Before Cleaning Brighton Luxury Flat Window Sill After Cleaning

Cleaning and sealing the hallway and bathrooms

As both bathrooms required extended periods of drying, I spent two days working on the hallway, which had been partially covered with a plastic sealing for the previous six months due to building work. Needless to say, the hallway was in need of a good clean. I set about cleaning the hallway with a solution of warm water and Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, before once again using a Wet-Dry Vac machine to remove any excess water to prepare the floor for sealing at a later point. It is very important to remove any residue of cleaning solution before sealing, as this may impact the performance of the sealer. Following this, I left the hallway to dry for two days, providing the builders with strict instructions to cover it with blankets for protection while they were working.

While the floor was drying, I sealed the bathrooms – both now fully dried – with Tile Doctor Colour Grow Sealer, a solvent-based sealer that was highly effective at enhancing the colour of the brown tiles around the sinks. The product will also provide durable surface protection. I spent the final of the six days sealing the hallway floor with Tile Doctor Seal & Go, which provides both a stain-resistant surface seal and a durable, low-sheen finish. This was an ideal choice of product, as the customer requested a hard-wearing, yet shiny finish.

Brighton Luxury Flat Limestone Bathroom Before Cleaning Brighton Luxury Flat Limestone Bathroom After Cleaning

The hard work really paid off, as both the customer and the decorators were very impressed with the final results in the two bathrooms and the hallway. I was extremely pleased that I was able to complete this big job to the highest possible standards.

Brighton Luxury Flat Limestone Floor After Cleaning Brighton Luxury Flat Limestone Floor After Cleaning

 
 

Huge Limestone Tile Restoration Process Done In Brighton

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