Victorian tile cleaning in a Tudor Castle

The Green Man team were recently invited to be part of a complete refurbishment of Thornbury Castle Hotel. This magnificent structure was begun in 1510 & it felt no small thing that Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn spent 10 days here in 1535. Our role was very modest in the scale of the refurb – the main entrance hallway between the hotel check-in & the restaurant had been uncovered & was in urgent need of protecting…

The initial clean

We were given a very short window in which to carry out the initial clean (between check-out & afternoon tea!), so we arrived & got started immediately.

Professional Minton tile cleaning

As you can see in the image, these tiles have been quite damaged over time. Rather than engage in a complete tile renovation, the hotel wanted simply to thoroughly clean, then seal this important thoroughfare.

The work involved a brisk initial sweeping, followed by mechanical floor scrubbing using our trusty Numatic Hurricane. You can see the solution tank is part of the machine, allowing us to dose the correct amount of fluid to the floor, as necessary.

After small sections of the floor had been scrubbed, we used a grout brush to address the grout directly, then extracted the slurry & rinsed.

The floor then needed to be given twenty four hours to ensure it had thoroughly dried…

Midnight hours

Because the hotel is now fully operational, the only time we could apply the multiple layers of seal was between 11pm and 3am in the morning. This would give us the undisturbed time necessary for each layer to be applied, dry and so on.

Application of gloss seal to Victorian tiles

In order for the floor to be both protected & enhanced, we specified 6 layers of seal in total.

The floor absorbed an initial three coats of a colour enhancing seal, followed by 3 layers of a topical gloss wax finish.

The images here shows the Victorian tiles after their last coat of gloss wax, before completely dry.

N.B. If you have Victorian tiles at home, standard maintenance should include regular sweeping, occasional mopping & a top-up of the seal whenever necessary. You will be able to tell when the seals are failing, as the flooring will become absorbent, rather than resisting liquids.

In between the application of each coat of seal, we were able to walk the grounds alone on a perfectly clear night…

Commercial cleaning services

When the time came to leave, we were quite sad to go. The floor responded very well to the treatments & the management have expressed their thanks. I hope we get to return some day.

Victorian tile specialists

Cleaning & sealing a Victorian tiled hallway

Many homes from the Victorian/Edwardian era contain skillfully laid tiled hallways. When they were originally installed, they would have then been cleaned & oiled at least once a week. In the more recent modern era, mopping is the main method of cleaning and brings with it a few issues.

“What has this floor been cleaned with?”

The chances are that most tiled floors are cleaned with a general detergent based solution. Over time, the sticky residues left by mopping with detergent accumulate in the grout lines and flaws in the tiles, attracting further dirt. If this is combined with insufficient rinsing, then you will find that entrance tiles can soon lose their vibrant colours beneath layers of soil.

Victorian tile cleaning in Cheltenham
Pointing finger L

This image shows a typical example. The floor is actually quite recent, but a regime of heavy footfall & standard mopping has lead to a dull, faded appearance.

After an initial survey to determine the quality of the installation & integrity of the tiles, our technician performed a simple test of the seal (this is done by pouring a small amount of water onto the surface of a section of tiles to see if the water is absorbed).

Any absorption indicates that the seal has failed & will require new applications of a sealant. 

The Clean

Stage One:

First of all, we conduct a thorough sweep & dry extraction of all debris & loose material on the floor.

Stage Two:

Next, we apply an eco-friendly tile specific alkali cleaning solution to break down historic deposits of soil, grease and layers of ingrained detergent residues. We do this in stages, using either a rotary machine or a more specialist agitating device (example video below) to ensure the floor is scubbed as thoroughly as possible.

How we deep-clean & re-seal Victorian tiles

Stage 3:

After the cleaning solution has broken down the layers of dirt in the tiles, we extract the resulting slurry using a rinse extraction machine or a “wet pick-up”. We then clean & rinse the floor again using pure water only. This tends to be the last stage of Day 1.

Stage 4:

On Day 2, only after the floor is completely dry, we begin applying the new layers of seal. The type of seal depends on the preferred finish type of the homeowner – in this case, we were instructed to put down a satin finish. After the initial layer has been applied, we allow the seal to dry or “cure” before applying further coats.

“A completely reinvigorating facelift”

Pointing finger

After 3 layers of sealant have been applied, the job is complete.

You can see in the image opposite that not only have these tiles been deeply cleaned, but that their colours are now enhanced.

This is the beauty of applying the right type of seal – you are protecting your floor from scuffs & spills, as well as giving the very first area of your home that people see a completely reinvigorating facelift.

Victorian tile sealing in Cheltenham

If you have any questions regarding the cleaning, sealing or general maintenance of your floor tiles, or any type of stone or laminate flooring, please do get in touch using either our  CONTACT page, or by calling your local branch of Green Man using the number at the top of the page.

Thank you for reading.

Victorian Tile Restoration in Bristol

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Last week, our team conducted a full deep-clean of Victorian tiles in the porch and entrance hallway of an Edwardian property in Bristol.

Our approach involves an industry-standard combination of dry extraciton, application of an appropriate tile cleaning pre-spray, various mechanical agitations followed by rinse extraction.

Once the tiles are fully dry, several applications of a colour enhancing seal are applied to ensure the tiles are protected against spillages.

The results speak for themselves:

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If you have an enquiry or would like to find out how we could help restore your Victorian or Quarry tiles, please feel free to get in touch via our Contact page.

Thank you for reading.