I was recently called down to a client’s house in the market town of Wellingborough, situated approximately 11 miles from Northampton. My client’s situation was an interesting one, as she had an old gas pipe sticking out of her Victorian tiled floor, very close to a doorway. Not only was this a bit of an eyesore, it was also significant trip hazard. The floor had been previously covered by carpet, so it is understandable that my client would have been initially unaware of the obstructive gas pipe.
Rather than risking an accident in the future, she asked me to see what I could do to rectify the issue. At the same time, I was commissioned to give the floor a much needed clean and re-seal.
Repairing a Victorian tiled floor
My first priority was, of course, to deal with the exposed gas pipe. I was unsure whether the pipe was live or not, so I carefully removed the surrounding tiles, allowing a certified engineer access to it. He ensured that the pipe was capped below the tile line, allowing me to safely proceed with my repairs.
I returned a few days later, rescreened the area, and began to refit the tiles, carefully hand painting some of the black tiles to hide the damage and cracks. I also applied new grout to fix all of the replaced tiles into position, and this was left to set overnight.
Cleaning and sealing a Victorian tiled floor
Returning to the house the next day, I set about treating the floor to a normal strip, clean and re-seal of the entire floor. There was very little old sealer still remaining on the tiles, so I mixed a solution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean and water, before applying this to the floor. Pro Clean is a strong alkaline cleaner which also contains stripping properties, allowing it to both clean and break down any old sealer. The solution was worked into the tiles using a black scrubbing pad, and any excess residue was quickly absorbed using a wet-vac machine.
Sealing Victorian Floor Tiles
With older floors you never can tell if a damp proof membrane was installed and it can be troublesome applying a sealant to a damp floor so I left the whole floor to dry for seven days, giving it more than sufficient time to dry completely before the re-seal. To seal the tiles I used five coats of Tile Doctor Seal & Go Extra, which provides both a robust surface seal and the pleasing sheen finish requested by my client; Seal and Go Extra is especially suitable for exterior applications or damp floors due to its increased breathability.
My client was very glad to see the back of the gas pipe and pleased with the overall results of the clean and seal, as it had given this Victorian tiled floor – once hidden under carpet – new life and character. Additionally I’m sure that restoring such an original feature for the property has increased its value.