Case Study of a Victorian Tiled Floor Restoration Project in Birmingham
In February 2020 before the pandemic took hold, Hemmings were referred by another floor restoration company in Birmingham to complete some repair work on a beautiful Victorian Minton tiled hallway. This hall had a concrete channel through the middle of the floor and up one side of the hall that leads into the kitchen.
We completed a survey and took measurements of the area. We calculated how many of each type of tile we would need to replace on the floor as well as allowing for some breakages. Sometimes while removing the cement or lifting a loose tile, the tile itself can easily break break, chip or develop a hair line crack.
Sourcing the original Minton reclaimed tiles can be difficult and are in short supply.
It is possible to find replica Minton tiles however these can look very different as the have not had a hundred of years of wear on them.
We sent off a few samples to a few companies to find a match of the tiles we requires. The most difficult tiles to source typically are the patterned tiles - on this project that was the red and buff (yellow) patterned tiles and the black and buff (yellow) patterned tiles.
One specialist company managed to find us the exactly match of the black and buff tiles but unfortunately didn’t have the exact red and buff patterned tiles. After showing a few options to the customer, we decided on a close match.
On day 1 of the project we carefully removed the cement areas. The property was a new home to the customers so they had no knowledge of why the areas had been filled with cement in the first place. We expected we might find a gas pipe to a radiator under the cement as this is something we see very often, but on this instance we found a thin electrical cable that was connected to the the plug socket! It seems crazy to us that someone ripped up these beautiful tiles to install a double plug socket….sacrilege!
Once the cement was removed in the centre and up the side leading to the kitchen. We lifted any loose tiles carefully and then we filled and levelled the areas ready to begin re laying the tiles and the reclaimed tiles we had sourced.
Day 2 and we start to painstakingly re-lay the tiles, ensuring the original pattern is continued and each tile is secure and flat.
This took a team of two all day to ensure it was correct.
Day 3 and now the reclaimed tiles are fitted, it’s time to start cleaning the full floor, with a mix of bitumen, carpet adhesive, cement and general engrained dirt we had multiple processes to follow.
Firstly we used a floor sealant stripper to remove the carpet adhesive and bitumen.
Next we treated the floor with a tile specific acid based cleaner that reacts with the cement residue all over, some area requires a bit of scraping and we used a silicon carbide brush on our rotary machine to scrub the area allowing the product to work. We vacuumed away the residue and rinsed the floor with fresh water.
The final cleaning stage was a high alkaline cleaner sprayed on the floor working in about 1-2 sqm areas at a time, left 5-10mins to dwell then scrubbed with the rotary machine. We also used some honing powder with this stage, with helps us work a little deeper into the pits of the tiles removing the dirt.
Finally the floor was rinsed again with water and left to dry.
Day 4 we tested the floor to ensure the floor was dry using a moisture meter. Sometimes these Minton tile floor can take days, weeks or months to dry depending on the sub flooring.
Now the floor is dry, we finally need to seal the tiles to stop water and dirt engraining into the tile and make the floor easier to maintain.
We like to use a colour enhancer on these types of floor as they really make the colours pop.
We used SRP enrich and seal premium and provided a ph neutral cleaner to maintain the floor.
The end result is a beautiful Victorian Minton tile floor that is ready for another 100+ years use.
Hemmings are professional floor restorers serving the Midlands area. We cover Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Retford, Doncaster, Lincoln, Leicester and Chesterfield. If you aren't in those areas, please contact us regardless and if we can't help with your enquiry, we might know a company in your area that can.