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Nigel Voyce
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North London Tile, Stone & Grout Cleaning Specialist
North London Tile, Stone & Grout Cleaning Specialist

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Victorian Hallway Restoration Mill Hill, North London

This 1930’s North London property in Mill Hill had a classic tiled hallway floor laid with black and white tiles in a diamond pattern and reminiscent of the Victorian era some thirty years earlier but still popular at the time the house was built. Mill Hill was first recorded as Myllehill in 1547 and appears to be named after a “hill with a windmill”. Over the years it’s merged with the surrounding towns and is now a desirable suburb in the North London Borough of Barnet.

I first spoke to the owner of the property over the phone to get an idea of what was required and work out a convenient time to take a look at the floor; we often get customers looking for a quote over the phone but this is not always easy to do as you never know what problems you might find with an older floor until you get there.

On inspection I could see there were in fact a large number of loose tiles in the central part of the floor which would need to be reset and grouted, the floor would also need to be deep cleaned and re-sealed with a suitable sealer to get it back to its former glory. I was confident we could soon get the floor looking how it should and after discussing the process, agreed a price and a timescale for the project. The owner was keen to get the job completed as soon as possible.

Cleaning/Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
Firstly, we prepared the area with protective polythene tapes to thresholds, carpets, and door fronts to ensure the surrounding areas were protected. To clean the floor a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean was applied, this is a concentrated, multi-purpose high-alkaline cleaner, stripper and degreaser and is highly recommended for use on natural stone, tile and grout. The tiles were scrubbed with both floor pads and brushes, it is easier to use brushes in the more intricate areas.

After the scrubbing we rinsed, and steam cleaned the floor, removing the slurry generated during the cleaning process with a wet vacuum. It was now nicely prepared ready for carrying out the repairs and the cleaning process was useful in identifying those tiles which needed extra attention.

The repairs involved resetting 50 to 60 loose tiles, the process requires carefully removing the tile, scraping out the old adhesive and grout and then replacing with new. The area is cleaned and then when the adhesive has set the tiles are re grouted in a grout chosen to best match the original. Luckily there were no damaged tiles on this floor which made the job easier. Although, we can usually track down replacements when they are needed!

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
We then left the hallway to dry off overnight, returning the next day we used a moisture meter to check the floor was dry and suitable for sealing. Old floors like these have no damp proof membrane fitted under the floor so can take time to dry out, fortunately we completed this work during warm weather, so all the readings were good.

Victorian style tiles are quite porous, so we found we need to apply give coats of sealer before they were fully sealed. We selected Tile Doctor Seal & Go to seal the tiles, it’s a specially formulated water-based blend of acrylic polymers that adds a durable stain resistant surface and leaves an appealing low-sheen finish. Being water based it doesn’t leave a smell as it dries, and it also a breathable sealer that can cope with the lack of a damp proof membrane ensuring moisture doesn’t become trapped under the floor.

The client was very happy with the completed job, the work took a day and half to complete. Considering how many tiles had been loose the job had turned out very well. The floor is now much more manageable for her and the hallway tiles life has now been prolonged.
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Geometric Victorian Tiled Hallway Repaired and Restored in Palmers Green

It is not uncommon for the owners of houses built in this era to discover original Victorian tiled floors and hallways. Sometimes they have been covered up with carpet or linoleum to match the trend of the day and sometimes they get covered up because they have been neglected and though beyond economical repair. Trends have now been reversed and its becoming increasingly popular to restore them and bringing them back to their former glory and who can blame them, period features are in demand and they add value to a property.

This was the case with this floor at a house in Palmers Green, North London, affectionately known by the locals as ‘Little Cyprus or Palmers Greek’. The house is situated in a street with similar properties of the same age, so it’s likely there are a few hidden Victorian tiled floors on this street!

The client asked me to visit and survey what could be done to restore the floor. As you can see from the photographs the floor in the hall is a lovely example of geometric black and white tiles. However, it is in quite a state with, cracked and missing tiles and many years of built up dirt. I discussed with the client the options and we agreed a price to carry the work out, over a couple of days.

Cleaning and Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
Our first task was to protect the woodwork with protective tape including the doorway threshold edges, skirting and doors. Next, we began the cleaning the tile and grout including stripping off old coatings including sealers and waxes. To do this we applied a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean mixed 50:50 with Tile Doctor Remove & Go; when you have a combination of unknown contaminates, stubborn stains and dirt, a combination of products can be the best option. The solution was left on the floor around fifteen minutes before being worked into the floor, I find a longer dwell time makes the removal of sealers, adhesives, paints and grime easier. We then agitated the wet area using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer and used detail brushes for the more the intricate areas.

This process turned the cleaning solution in a black slurry which was extracted off the floor using a wet vacuum and the floor then steam cleaned to remove any remaining product residue and believe me there really was a lot of dirt to remove. A thorough rinse followed, and the floor was left for a short while to dry.

Next up we tackled the repairs, starting with the removal loose, cracked and broken tiles. Luckily, I had managed to source some new and reclaimed tiles locally and so we replaced these and then re-grouted. We then left the tiles overnight to dry.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
Returning in the morning a consolidator primer seal was then applied using Tile Doctor Colour Grow which improves colour followed by four applications of Tile Doctor Seal & Go this is a specially formulated water-based blend of acrylic polymers that provides both a stain resistant surface and a protective seal as well as a lovely natural satin finish.

The floor looked so much better and the black and white tiles are now very vibrant, the client is pleased they ripped up the carpet and now have a feature hallway which is in keeping with the property.
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Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor Restored in Muswell Hill, London

It must seem to he reader of this site that the only we get in North London relates to Victorian and Edwardian tiled floors. They are certainly popular, and we do get our fair share, but I can assure we also work on all types of tile, stone and grout however at the moment there appears to be a huge demand for our services in restoring Victorian and Edwardian tiled floors.

This post which comes from a property in the London suburb of Muswell Hill which is well known for Victorian and Edwardian houses. The owners had decided to improve the look of their hallway and uncovered an original Edwardian tiled floor after pulling up the carpet. Realising it was an original feature of their period property they decided to get it cleaned, repaired and restored back to its rightful splendour.

Deep Cleaning an Edwardian Tiled Floor
Our first task was to protect the area surrounding the tiles from splashing by applying a protective polythene tape to the thresholds and door fronts etc. We then started preparing the floor for cleaning by removing the glue that was used to hold the carpet gripper to the tiles. A sharp blade was used to carefully scrape the adhesive off the tile and then the area was spot treated using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove & Go which was left to soak into the tile for ten minutes before being scrubbed by hand.

With the adhesive removed the whole floor was given a thorough clean using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean. The cleaning solution was left to soak in for ten minutes and then they were scrubbed with floor pads fitted to a rotary buffer machine and then by hand with stiff brushes. The floor was then rinsed, and steam cleaned with the soiled extracted off the floor using a wet vacuum.

We managed to take a photo as seen below showing the floor half way through the cleaning stages.

Repairing a Victorian Tiled Hallway Floor
Whist carrying out the repairs to inside the front door we uncovered a distressed surface underneath the tiles, probably from all the foot traffic walking over it for so many years which required some much-needed attention. After carefully taking out the required number of tiles and setting those aside we had to lay a new covering of cement and insert stainless steel mesh plates to level the floor.

After the installation of the tiles, the floor was re grouted and thoroughly cleaned and left to dry off overnight.

Sealing Edwardian Style Tiles
We returned the next day to seal the floor, first checking to ensure the tiles had dried out overnight. To start the sealing, we applied a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow with leaves a matt finish and left it to dry. Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that provides stain protection whilst enriching the colour of the tiles in the process.

Once the first coat was dry it was followed by the application of six coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go which adds further layers of protection but leaves a satin finish that gives a rich, natural appearance and works really well on Victorian and Edwardian tiles.
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Tessellated Victorian Hallway Restoration in Bounds Green, North London

Bounds Green in North London has more than its fair share of Victorian terraced houses packed with desirable original features. When the owners of this house pulled up their hallway carpet they were excited to discover a beautiful and original black and white Tessellated tiled floor.

Tessellated tiled floors became fashionable from the 1860s and usually featured striking geometric patterns. By the end of the century they had become an essential feature in the most ordinary Victorian terraced houses from Dover to Aberdeen. They fell out of fashion in the 1960s and 70s and were usually covered over with carpet or linoleum, but period house owners today understand their value and are restoring them back their former glory. A well-restored tessellated tiled floor not only looks incredibly attractive but is durable and hard wearing. They were originally laid by highly skilled tillers and most have already survived 100 years of family wear and tear. With the right care they will probably be good for another 100 years.

Restoring a Victorian Tessellated Tiled Floor
The first thing we did was cut away the rest of the carpet to expose the whole hallway. The floor looked in a relatively stable condition, but it was clear the floor needed a deep clean and some minor repairs.

We started off by cleaning off each individual tile with Tile Doctor Remove and Go, a multi-purpose stripper that also draws out ingrained stains and removes old sealers and coatings; this took away all the glue and dirt from the carpet. We then applied Tile Doctor Nanotech HBU which is specially designed to penetrate below tough stains, dissolve and lift them out. We left that for twenty minutes for maximum effect before lightly scrubbing. Each tile was then individually scrapped with polypropylene pads.

The next step was to remove the resultant soil by rinsing with water and extracting with a wet vacuum. We steamed cleaned each tile and carried out a second clean with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong cleaner and degreaser for heavily soiled and neglected tile, stone and grout that has been neglected or subjected to heavy use.

By now the floor was looking pretty good. The beautiful black and white design of the floor was once again in evidence after decades of being hidden under carpet. There were just a few more steps to complete the job and restore this floor to its original glory. We carried out the minor repairs needed, carefully re-grouted the very fine gaps between the tiles and left the floor overnight for the grout to thoroughly dry.

Sealing a Victorian Tessellated Tiled Hallway Floor
The next day we sealed the tiles with five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go to give a beautiful and natural low-sheen satin finish. This specially formulated solution also provides a stain resistant surface seal and being water based it doesn’t leave a smell as it dries.

We managed to complete the whole job in just under two days with two of our skilfully-trained technicians. Our customer was delighted with the outcome and left the following message for us on the Tile Doctor feedback system:

“The team worked hard at what seemed a fiddly job and we are very pleased with the outcome. I would recommend.” Natalie G, Bounds Green, London”
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Restoring a Damaged Victorian Tiled Hallway in Winchmore Hill

A customer in Winchmore Hill which is part of the London borough of Enfield was having major refurbishment works done to their home which included an upgrade to the central heating system. As part of the work a new radiator had been installed in the hallway however the utility company when putting in the new heating system had chased out two deep pipe channels in the central part of their beautiful Victorian tiled hallway floor.

This was a real shame as the majority of the floor was in good condition; the owner of course wanted the floor restored so our brief was to do exactly that and carry out repairs to the pipe channels and to all the door thresholds that were either existing or new so they all matched in.

Restoring a Victorian Tiled Hallway
Our first task was to clean the tile and grout and strip off old sealers and waxes which we did by applying a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove & Go combined with equal part of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. This was scrubbed into the floor with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine and then rinsed off with water and extracted with a wet vacuum.

After deep cleaning we then carried out the tile repairs and replacements to pipe channels, missing and mislaid tiles to thresholds. Some or the tiles were replaced with matching reclaimed tiles and others were new sourced from Original Style who have a large range. Altogether we replaced circa 500 pieces of tile in order to repair the damage caused by the heating engineers and achieve a consistent pattern throughout the hallway.

Sealing Victorian Tiles
The cleaning and re-tiling work was carried out over three days and we returned on the fourth day to seal the floor with an initial two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that enhances colour.

We then protected the floor for a further week with cardboard cut to size, this allowed other trades to finish their work without messing up the floor. A week later we returned to lift the cardboard to apply the finishing seal using Tile Doctor Seal & Go which adds the final protection. Five coats were applied to reach the right level of protection and desired satin finish restoring the natural appearance and lustre of the tiles.

The whole job allowing for the drying times of adhesive, grout and sealing took five days in total. It was worth it though as restored Victorian hallway really gives the property the Wow factor as you enter.
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Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor Restored in Crouch End, London

Pictures below of an original Edwardian Tiled Hallway at a house in Crouch End, North London. Victorian and Edwardian properties are quite common in the area which actually dates to the 13th Century and is often used in the filming of East Enders.

We were called in to look at restoring the floor back to its former glory and when inspecting and surveying the floor we found large sections of tiles that were loose and three doorway thresholds that required rebuilding and re-tiling. If you have been following our website posts, you will know this is something we specialise in, so we were more than happy to help.

Restoring an Edwardian Tiled Floor
Before cleaning the floor our first task was to remove the loose, damaged, cracked and broken tiles. These were set aside and those that could be re-used were cleaned prior to re-laying. The remaining tiles were then cleaned using Tile Doctor Remove & Go to remove the old waxes and seals.

Over the course of three days we worked in small areas of about a metre square at a time. After cleaning the tiles were then fully rinsed and steam cleaned and left to dry. In the meantime, we began the repairs to the thresholds and central part of the floor.

After the installation of the new and reclaimed tiles the floor was re grouted using Mapei grey grout and thoroughly cleaned and left to dry overnight.

Sealing Edwardian Style Tiles
We returned the next day to seal the floor, first checking to ensure the tiles had dried out overnight. To start the sealing we applied a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow and left it to dry. Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that provides stain protection whilst enriching the colour of the tiles in the process.

Once the first coat was dry it was followed by the application of six coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go which is a protective Satin Seal that gives a rich, natural appearance and works really well on Victorian and Edwardian tiles.

In total the work took four days to complete and we relayed around 450 tiles in the process. Before leaving we advised our customer on how best to maintain the appearance and increase longevity of the sealer.
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Victorian Tiled Hallway Rebuilt After Heating Installation in Palmers Green

The owners of this property in Palmers Green, North London had uncovered an original Victorian hallway floor during renovation work. However, the priority was to have a new central heating system installed so they had to make a decision to allow the heating engineer to rip up part of the floor in order to lay new pipes.

With the floor now missing a large section most customers would agree to have the hole back-filled with concrete and then have lino installed on top, however keen to have the floor restored as an original feature they reached out to Tile Doctor who have a lot of experience in this field.

Our brief was to infill the excavated section and reinstate the floor with new original style Victorian tiles to match the existing ones.

Deep Cleaning a Victorian Tiled Hallway
The existing floor had been covered in Carpet which had been secured using carpet gripper fixed to the floor using adhesive, there were also old paint splashes from decorating that would need to be removed. Our first job therefore was to remove the glue and paint by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove & Go which is a coatings remover especially designed for use on tile and stone. The product was applied, left to dwell for about twenty minutes and then scrubbed into the floor, this softened the paint and glue which could then be carefully scrapped off tile tiles.

The next step was to give the floor a deep clean with a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to strip off what remained of old sealers and extract any ground-in dirt from the pores of the tile. Naturally this work had to be done in two sections due to the missing tiled section and then once complete each part of the floor was given a good rinse and the slurry extracted using a wet vacuum.

The floor was then inspected and a second clean was carried out to remove any stubborn staining or residue followed by a steam clean.

Rebuilding a Victorian Tiled Hallway
Following the two stages of cleaning we checked the existing floor pattern and prepared the hallway by levelling the floor in preparation for inlaying the new tiles which were chosen to offer the best possible match. We were able to source reclaimed tiles that would match up to the pattern and during this phase of the restoration work we carried out any loose tile and grout repairs and re-grouted the newly laid tiles.

Sealing Victorian Hallway Tiles
With the original tiles clean and the hallway rebuilt we left the floor to dry off fully overnight.

On our return we first checked the tiled were dry and that the grout in the new section was clear of any grout smears from the tiling work. Happy with the condition of the hallway we first applied a coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that will protect the tiles from within by occupying the pores within the tile, it also enhanced the colours in the clay tile.

Once the first coat of sealer was dry it was followed by five coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go which adds further layers of protection and adds a nice subtle satin finish that works really well on Victorian tiles.

The work went very well, and the sealer consolidated the new and old tiled sections to form a seamless floor.
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Unveiling a Victorian floor hidden under a carpet and a thorough restoration process.
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Victorian Tiled Hallway Hidden Under Carpet Fully Restored in Woodford Green

This lovely Victorian Tiled Hallway was discovered by a couple during the renovation of their home in Woodford Green which is a suburb of Woodford in North East London. The tiles were covered by a hallway carpet and much of it was obscured by concrete floor leveller. Fortunately just enough of the tile was exposed to give an indication of the Black and White Victorian floor underneath.

After initial investigation and discussion on what was possible, we were invited to quote to restore the floor which I’m pleased to say was accepted. The following pictures show an indication of the process we followed to restore the hallway to its former Victorian glory.

Cleaning Victorian Hallway Tiles

The first step was to remove the concrete floor levelling compound which was done very carefully using small hand tools, detail blades and scrapers. This took a lot of work as we did not want to damage the tiles underneath. You can get a feeling for this from the photographs below where we slowly remove the concrete layer over the floor to reveal the Victorian floor underneath.

Once the Victorian tiles were all uncovered and the cement had been removed we got a good idea of the condition of the tiles and began a deep clean restorative process. The process began by giving the floor an acid wash with Tile Doctor Grout Clean-Up which was left to dwell on the tile for ten minutes before being scrubbed in to release remaining smears of concrete and grout residue on the tiles.

The resultant soil was then removed with a wet vacuum and the floor then cleaned with Tile Doctor Pro-Clean using a similar technique of leaving it to dwell and then scrubbing it in.

Once cleaned the soiled cleaning product was removed with a wet vacuum and the floor give an thorough rinse with fresh water which was followed by a steam clean to finalised the process.

With the floor now deep cleaned we moved on to addressing the three door thresholds which needed to be rebuilt to fix loose and replace broken tiles.

Sealing Victorian Hallway Tiles

The tiles were left to dry and set overnight and we returned later to seal them with an initial coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating seal as a primer before re-grouting. Colour Grow is an impregnator that seeps into the pores of the tile protecting it from within and also enhancing the colours in the tile.

Once the sealer had dried we moved on to grouting those areas which were repaired the previous day with a matching grout colour and then this was left to set

When the grout was set it was time to finish off the sealing this time using five applications of Tile Doctor Seal & Go to provide a natural sheen finish.

As you can see from the picture, the floor has been fully restored to its original condition and with the correct maintenance; it should last for years to come.
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Edwardian Clay Tile Front Pathway in Barnet

As you can see this Clay Tiled Pathway laid during the Edwardian period at the front of a house in Barnet, North London had suffered over the years and now had many broken and cracked tiles along the path. The concrete foundation had seen some movement in the past leading to a crack forming right across which had either cracked the tile or caused them to become loose.

To restore the path to its original condition would require removing all the broken and loose tiles and then relaying with matching replacements and grout giving particular attention to the detailed edging pattern. Fortunately, having done a few of these jobs before I have learned where to find replacements and often keep an eye on salvage yards and ebay.

Cleaning and Repairing an Edwardian Clay Tiled Pathway

The first job was to remove ingrained dirt and old coatings by applying a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove & Go across the entire length of the pathway. Remove and Go as its name suggests breaks down and strips off the old sealers as well as dislodging ingrained dirt. It was scrubbed in and then rinsed off with water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

Next some of the tiles which had experienced particularly stubborn staining were given an Acid Wash using Tile Doctor Acid Gel which removes old grout smears and mineral salts deposits which is often referred to as efflorescence. Acid Gel neutralises the alkaline salts and once scrubbed in it was removed using the wet vacuum.

Once the dirt and efflorescence had been dealt with, I focused my attention towards the tile repairs starting with the removal of the broken and loose tiles so I could get at the cracked sub-base and repair it. Once the repair had hardened I was able to relay the path using a mixture of exiting and replacement tiles taking care to match the original pattern. Before leaving for the day the tile adhesive had gone off and I was able to grout them in using a matching grout. I had also checked the weather forecast to ensure no rain was forecast that evening.

Sealing an Edwardian Clay Tiled Pathway

The weather held and the following day with a freshly cleaned and repaired path I was able to finish the job by applying two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which really brings out the natural colours in the clay tile. Once the sealer had dried I ran a white buffing pad over the path to give it that final finish before showing it to the owner of the property who I’m happy to report was extremely pleased with the result.

I should mention that when choosing a Sealer for an external application it’s important to choose one which is fully breathable and can cope with the wet conditions.
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