Original Victorian Tiles Restored at B&B in Bude

Bude is a lovely coastal resort in North Cornwall and is home to several B&Bs for visitors to the area. It became popular during the latter half of Queen Victoria’s reign, as sea bathing became a popular trend amongst the upper and middle classes, and as a result there are plenty of period houses.

In fact, I was recently contacted by a lucky Bed and Breakfast owner who had uncovered this late Victorian tiled hallway and entrance lobby which was around a hundred years old during renovation work. It had been under carpet for at least twenty years and had a variety of stains including paint, tar and glue!

The customer rightly wanted to reinstate it as a showpiece to greet clients upon entering the upmarket guesthouse but had no luck trying to remove stains themselves and had spent many hours on hands and knees but to no avail and were nearly ready to take the builder’s advice and cover it in a self-levelling cement and install a carpet throughout which would have been sacrilege!

Victorian Tiled Hallway Before Restoration at Bude Bed and Breakfast

Cleaning an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway and Entrance Lobby

To begin with diamond-impregnated buffing pads were used with a rotary machine to scrub the floor and open up the pores. Small diamond hand blocks were also used to get into those difficult to reach areas such as corners and under the stairs.

Afterwards the floor was thoroughly rinsed with water which was then extracted using a wet vacuum. This was followed by giving the floor an Acid rinse using Tile Doctor’s Acid Gel. This helped to remove old mineral deposits and residue from carpet underlay. I had to be careful not to leave the acid down for too long because these tiles are susceptible to acid damage. This is also a great product to use as par for the course on floors like this that don’t have a damp proof course (floors generally didn’t pre-1950s) and the acid will neutralise any salts coming rising up through the tile later.

Dealing with salt issues on these old floors (efflorescence) is essential because they can damage the sealer or become trapped under it, detracting from the beauty of the floor. Given the age of the house It’s difficult to know what the floor had been laid onto. Often it was compacted rubble and building works from the erection of the adjoining houses. Terraced and some of the later Victorian floors were laid on a wet limecrete scree which contain a high salt-content.

Sealing an Original Victorian Tiled Hallway and Entrance Lobby

Once the tiles had been cleaned, I rinsed the entire floor thoroughly using fresh water to remove any traces of chemicals, before leaving it to dry completely overnight.

Upon my return to the B&B the next day, I sealed the tiles using several coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer which provides robust protection and intensifies the natural colours in the tile. It does this while leaving a natural-look matte finish which is befitting of a classic Victorian geometric patterned floor like this one.

Now cleaned and freshly sealed, the Victorian tiles will be in a much strong position to cope with the busy B&B season over the Summer. The owner was very pleased and I’m sure visitors to the B&B will be very impressed with this original feature!

Victorian Tiled Hallway After Restoration at Bude Bed and Breakfast

As part of the package a cleaning and maintenance guide is provided once the work has been completed but unfortunately the owner’s uncle didn’t consult this when house-sitting and attempted to clean the floor with white spirit. Fortunately, I was able to return and improve the damage that was caused much to the owner’s relief and just in time for opening!
 
 

Professional Restoration of an Original Geometric Victorian Tiled Hallway at a Bude B&B

Original Herringbone Pattern Edwardian Tiles Restored in Colyton

Colyton is a small village in the Coly Valley, which itself is part of Devon’s Area of Outstanding Beauty. As you can imagine, it was very nice to drive through the countryside to reach the village to visit a customer. The customer was keen to restore her Edwardian tiled entranceway and hallway in a classic herringbone pattern, which consists of an arrangement of rectangles.

Parts of the floor had been under carpet for a long time and other areas were covered in at least three layers of thick masonry paint. There was some damage to the floor at thresholds where the carpet grips had been hammered into the floor and a few holes with rawl plugs in scattered the area. This had left the floor looking worse for wear and all in all, there was a lot to be done to restore the tiles back to their original condition – just take a look at the photos below.

Edwardian Hallway Tiles Herringbone Pattern Colyton Before Edwardian Hallway Tiles Herringbone Pattern Colyton Before

Several methods were tried on each area during the initial visit to determine the best way forward including chemicals, diamond pads and heat plus a razor scraper. It was clear a mixture of these methods would be needed to get the best results.

Cleaning an Edwardian Tiled Entranceway and Hallway

On my return, I removed the rawl plugs filled the holes with an epoxy resin in a matching colour. Next I started on giving the tiles a deep and thorough clean to remove not just the copious ingrained dirt, but also the unappealing paint smears.

I did this by applying Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which not only cleans the stone, but also strips away any old sealer. Remove and Go is particularly good for removing most artificial coatings and finishes, adhesives, and paints – and can be used on most unpolished natural stone.

Next, I give the tile and grout an acid rinse with Tile Doctor Grout Clean Up, which is a concentrated phosphoric acid product, to negate any underlying efflorescence and alkaline salt deposits. Efflorescence and salt deposits can be common problems for older, original tiled floors because they often lack a damp proof course.

Having finished cleaning the floor, I gave it a thorough rinse using fresh water to remove any traces of chemicals, before leaving it to dry overnight.

Sealing an Edwardian Tiled Entranceway and Hallway

Returning to the property next day, I ran some quick damp tests to check the floor was ready to be sealed.

To seal the floor, I used a single coat of an impregnating sealer called Colour Grow and followed this up with five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. Both sealers will allow for vapour to rise up through the floor ensuring any damp can rise up through the floor in future which is essential for an old floor like this one which has no damp proof membrane.
The also combine to provide stain resistance surface and a robust, low-sheen finish.

And, with that, the job was done. Two days of work later and the floor is back to looking it best, as you can see in the photos below. Another satisfied client for the Devon Tile Doctor who left the following feedback.

“Very good work,we are very pleased with the result.
Stuart was a very professional hard worker and gave us clear advice on taking care of the floor.“

Edwardian Hallway Tiles Herringbone Pattern Colyton After Edwardian Hallway Tiles Herringbone Pattern Colyton After

 
 

Professional Tile Cleaning and Sealing for a Herringbone Pattern Edwardian Tiled Entranceway and Hallway Restoration in Colyton

Restoring Neglected Geometric Victorian Hallway Tiles in Barnstaple

Barnstaple in North Devon is known to be one of, if not the oldest boroughs in the whole of the United Kingdom. The area certainly has a rich history and many of the properties built in the 19th century still exist and are in use.

It’s not uncommon for the owners of houses built in this era to discover original Victorian tiled floors and hallways. They’ve usually been covered up at some point in the past, either by carpet or linoleum, but if maintained correctly they can be a real asset to any property.

I recently visited one such customer, who lives in Barnstaple, to restore a recently uncovered Victorian tiled hallway that had been tiled in a geometric pattern. This hallway had been neglected and covered for some time by carpet so the colours had faded and there were patches of carpet underlay firmly embedded in some of the tiles.

The property owner uncovered the floor after seeing a similar one in the entrance hallway of a neighbour and was thrilled with her find. After a bit of scrubbing and cleaning the customer decided to call in professional help after a recommendation for the Tile Doctor Devon from a friend. A home visit was conducted and a test patch was done to show what was possible and to talk through options. A quote was then produced which the customer was happy with and the work was arranged for the following week.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Barnstaple before restoration

Cleaning a Neglected Victorian Tiled Hallway

As the floor was really in quite a bad state, I opted to use Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU as my main cleaning product. HBU stands for ‘Heavy Build-Up’ – and that’s exactly what the product is formulated to tackle: heavy build-up of ingrained dirt and soil. It used nano-sized cleaning particles to penetrate deep into the pores of the stone and get underneath stains to lift them to the surface.

I applied NanoTech HBU to the entire hallway and left it to dwell for several hours, before scrubbing it as thoroughly as possible with a brush fitted to a rotary cleaning machine. The soil that was brought to the surface was subsequently rinsed away with fresh water and the resulting slurry was extracted using a wet vacuum.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway

Once finished with the cleaning process, I left the floor to dry out completely. This was important as older floors which lack a damp proof membrane can suffer from moisture issues, and these issues can damage the performance of the sealer.

Thankfully there were no problems with drying the floor. I was able to seal the tiles using a colour-enhancing impregnating sealer from our range, known as Tile Doctor Colour Grow. For extra protection – and to provide the finish the customer had requested – I also applied a topical sealer called Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This left the floor with a high-quality, long-lasting satin finish.

A properly sealed floor will be much more resistant to stain as well as easier to clean. As with every job a cleaning and maintenance guide was provided which gives handy tips and do’s and don’ts for the floor and that particular sealer.

The restoration reinstated this great Victorian tiled hallway as the showpiece upon entering the property and the customer was absolutely thrilled. You can see the final result below.

Victorian Tiled Hallway Barnstaple after restoration

The customer was thrilled with the floor and was very surprised at just how well the colour came back to the tiles and provided the following feedback:

“I am so pleased with the service Stuart provided. After the initial quote and patch test I felt under no pressure to ask him to proceed, but I was happy with the quote and he arranged a date convenient to me. I am chuffed with my floor, it looks great. The after care has been great also. Thank you Stuart.”
 
 

Professional Restoration of a Dirty and Neglected Victorian Tiled Hallway in North Devon

Dirty Travertine Kitchen Tiles Burnished and Sealed in Exeter

This Travertine kitchen floor in Exeter was mistakenly bought unfilled so there were deep holes on the surface of the stone that attracted grime and dirt in addition the floor had not been sealed to protect the stone and the whole floor was now in need of a deep clean and seal. The owners had installed the floor about five years before and were disappointed by the appearance from the onset. In fact, the floor had never lived up to their expectations and were close to ripping it up and starting again.

Unfilled Travertine Floor Exeter Before Burnishing

Travertine is a lovely stone and really adds to the appearance of any room however being a form of Limestone and acid sensitive it naturally suffers from pitting corrosion which leads to the creation of small holes in the stone. These small holes rapidly become ingrained with dirt and this ruins the appearance of the floor. Typically, Travertine tiles will be bought with the pitted holes pre-filled with a resin to avoid this problem.

After an initial visit to test the floor to identify the best products to use and a chat with the owners to talk through options, duration and processes involved a quote was produced along with standard T&Cs and the work was booked in to be completed shortly after.

Unfilled Travertine Floor Exeter Before Burnishing

Burnishing a Dirty Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor

Burnishing is our tried and tested process for restoring polished stone such as Travertine, Limestone and Marble which has become stained and dirty. It involves the application of four diamond encrusted burnishing pads of varying grit levels from 100 to 1500.

The first pad, which is Coarse, was applied to the stone together with a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go, a strong stripper/degreaser to get into the pitting and lift the grime and completely strip away the top layer of dirt, exposing the clean layer underneath.

The floor is rinsed with water and the soil extracted before the application of the Medium, Fine, and eventually the Very Fine pad to build up the polished appearance of the stone.

As well as using the burnishing pad system, I also applied to the floor Tile Doctor Remove and Go, which removes any old sealer and penetrates the pitted holes to lift out and dissolve the ingrained dirt.

At the end of the first day the floor was thoroughly rinsed to remove the dirt and chemicals from the now clean floor and the majority of the pitting was filled with a suitable filler.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Floor

The floor was left to dry off overnight with the assistance of underfloor heating and then the following day a 3,000 grit extra fine diamond pad was used to clear off any remaining residue and give the tiles a slight shine before moving onto the next step of sealing the tiles.

I sealed the floor using Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, which is a natural look penetrating sealer that leaves a matt finish. The sealer will ensure the tiles are more resistant to staining and allow the floor to look as the customer originally wanted it to look for a lot longer.

Unfilled Travertine Floor Exeter After Burnishing

For after care I left the customer with a bottle of Tile Doctor Stone Soap which is a very easy to use, neutral pH cleaner for natural, sealed stone which not only cleans the tiles but continues to add to the natural patina so the more you use it the better the floor continues to look.

Unfilled Travertine Floor Exeter After Burnishing

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Dirty and Un-Filled Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor in Exeter

Dirty and Damaged Quarry Tiled Farmhouse Kitchen Tiles Rejuvenated in Rackenford

Rackenford is a tiny village in North Devon, with a population of approximately 400 people, and is surrounded by many farms as agriculture is the main source of employment in the area.

I recently visited one of the farmhouses in the area at the request of the property owner who needed help restoring an area of Victorian quarry tiles which were around one hundred and twenty years old. The floor had been extended with a new batch of tiles which ran into a later extension about ten years prior. Both areas were dirty and attracting grime and the older tiles had some heavy damage to some tiles and had lost the colour which was indicative of being covered by carpet for a long period and salts had dried in to the tiles, damaging them and creating an orange peel type of surface.

In the past, the floor had been sealed with a topical sealer i.e. one that sits on top of the tile rather than being absorbed into it. In most areas, the sealer had long since worn off but in a few areas that it remained it had been scratched by the chairs near the large inglenook fire at one end of the room.

The customer was looking to clean and re-seal the whole floor to try to improve the look of the damaged tiles but also to make the floor easier to keep clean and maintain and were hoping that the divide between old and new tiles was less striking.

Old Quarry Tiled Farmhouse Floor Rackenford Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Dirty Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor

When it comes to cleaning natural stone tiles, our go-to cleaning product is Tile Doctor Pro Clean. Pro Clean is a multi-purpose, high alkaline cleaner that serves to both strip away any old and ineffectual sealer, and clean heavily soiled stone. The product is suitable for use on all types of natural stone and tiled floors.

I mixed a strong dilution of Pro Clean and water before spreading it liberally across the whole floor. I then left it to dwell for roughly 10 minutes before proceeding to agitate it with a scrubbing brush fitted to a heavy rotary machine. This helped to eradicate the soil build-up. Any resulting cleaning slurry was promptly removed using a wet vacuum, before the floor was left to dry completely overnight.

Sealing a Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor

Returning to the property the next day, I immediately ran some damp tests to see if there was any excess moisture present on the floor. Knowing that this was an old property, I expected that there would be no damp proof membrane installed and this would increase the chances of damp issues.

Thankfully, the floor proved to be completely dry and I was able to seal the floor using eight coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. Seal and Go is a water-based acrylic polymer sealer that provides both a stain resistant surface seal and a durable, aesthetically pleasing low-sheen finish that helped to return the natural reddish colours to the Quarry tiles. Although the top layer of the damaged tiles had been lost the colour had returned and were now looking much healthier.

With a fresh seal in place, the floor will now be much easier to clean and maintain. The customer was really pleased with the outcome of the restoration, which you can see in the photos below. Another satisfied customer!

Old Quarry Tiled Farmhouse Floor Rackenford After Cleaning

Although nothing can really replicate a hundred years of patina, the difference between the old and new tiles was reduced with a good clean and a consistent finish throughout. Certainly, the customer was happy and left the following feedback:

We are very pleased with this refurbishment of old quarry tiles, which have regained colour and texture. The overall slight gloss added to both these and the newer tiles next to them makes a huge difference to the whole picture. The cleaning and maintenance guide is also very useful. The bill was also very reasonable for two intensive days work – many thanks

Old Quarry Tiled Farmhouse Floor Rackenford After Cleaning Panorama

 
 

Professional Restoration of a Quarry Tiled Kitchen Floor in Devon