Victorian tiles cleaning

Victorian tiles are small, geometric tiles. Created in different shapes and variety of colours, started to appear in around 1860 and survived over a 100 years of wear and tear. Victorian style tiles are characterful and distinctive. Often laid in colourful pattern but also black and white, monochrome look, especially seen in front yard. Different common colours black, brown, whites and browns but also red and blue with selection of patterns squares, triangles and rectangles can be achieved.

Victorian tiles have stood a test of time. We can confidently say, that Herbert Minton was the biggest part in history of Victorian tiles. Coming from a family of potters, he used his knowledge of ceramics with new production method.

He layered different colours of clay so that the pattern would go through the whole tile (unlike with today’s encaustic tiles, where the pattern is printed on the top of the surface). Victorian Minton is made by firing clay at a high temperature in ovens and have contrasting colours.

Victorian tiles usually come glazed from ceramic and unglazed from Minton.
The tiles were loved by Victorians. There was a little problem though. They were expensive. Even in rich houses their use was limited to hallways and entrances.

They could also be found in churches and listed buildings built in 1860 to 1920 during the Victorian time.

Common problems with Victorian floor:
Original Victorian tiles were fitted without damp proof membrane. This often results in efflorescence problem.
Efflorescence is simply a salt deposits migrating to the surface of the tiles. Too many times hidden under coats of old sealer it “comes out” after the floor is professionally cleaned and old sealer is removed. Efflorescence needs a chemical treatment, which intensity will vary in each case.

How to clean Victorian floor?

With no doubt, original Victorian floor add up value to your property. So how to remove extremely heavy soil build up on the tiles to show their beauty? Many of Victorian floors had been covered by carpet, vinyl, wood tiles or even painted over. If there is cement or grout haze on the floor, we apply first cleaning solution to activate, then agitate with a scrubbing brush or black pad fitted to floor machine that can break down the cement. After that it has to be rinsed thoroughly with a wet vacuum.
In the old days Victorian tiles were fitted without damp proof membrane that’s why they must be left to dry before seal. Before they usually used boiled linseed oil to seal the tiles. It requires many applications on regularly basis. The floor might become dull in a few years as oil starts to break down and this will be difficult to remove.

Type of sealer for Victorian floor:

Customer can choose between water based and solvent sealer, back to their preferences.

Water based sealer will give a shine on the floor, but it will wear off with the time and need to be topped up every 2 years in average. Solvent sealer penetrated through the tiles without any coat on top and it is less maintenance hassle.

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