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Victorian tiled floor restoration Hebden Bridge

Another Minton tiled floor restoration contract we are carrying out at the moment in Hebden Bridge. The usual damage is present in the form of cracks, loose tiles, lots of holes and a collapsing doorway!!

This floor has appeared from under a carpet and has deeply ingrained grime which has built up over the last 130 years or so. We have cleaned the floor with mild alkaline solutions agitated with a slow speed rotary machine fitted with a splash skirt. The slurry is removed with a wet vacuum and rinsing with clean water to neutralise the alkaline solution. We have found the best way to finish the floor is with a particular kind of floor pad which is lubricated with just clean water, these floor pads will remove the last of the surface dirt.

The commonly found speckled tiles can partially be explained by ingrained dirt but its more often the metal content of the tile oxidising. This speckle effect can be seen on the whites and buff coloured tiles more than the darker tiles. No matter how much cleaning is carried out this speckle will not be removed as its just part of the age and character of the floor. The dull nature of these floors often offends as people often associate shiny with clean. The reality is the Victorians had the technology to glaze tiles but they chose not to - the simple multi coloured nature of these floors was enough. Trying to create a shiny floor is a modern twist on a dull quarry tiled floor - It is likely that the tiles would have a low sheen when new but that has long since disappeared.

To create a sheen it can only really be achieved by either a topical seal, which is non breathable and therefore not great on a floor tiled onto a lime base. The other method is to use a pad system to put a natural low sheen on the floor. There is often a push from the client for shine but this is ultimately detrimental to the floor, breathable finishes are more in keeping with the character of the floor and better for it in the long run.

We have been using a mixture of reclaimed tiles and the correct square edged reproduction (in imperial sizes) to repair damaged sections and doorways. The problem with using reproduction tiles (if you do not think of it first) is the reproduction companies make tiles for that reason only. They are not true imperial sizes and fall short of full six inch tile sizes which is a problem in a floor with no grout line and a repeating pattern.

The adhesives and any grouts used must be flexible and able to bond to lime without causing breathability issues - BAL seems to produce the best line in adhesives etc although at a cost!

The pictures below show the finished article - the doorway has been rebuilt with detail in the threshold as per the original layout. The entire floor cleaned and grouted and various other repairs carried out along in both the border and field tiles. A seal has also been applied to protect the floor from staining.

    

For any enquiries relating to Victorian tile restoration & cleaning call us on 01484 686270 or email us Info@renewrestoration.co.uk