Victorian Floor Tiles in London
Restored Victorian hall floor tiles
Victorian floor tiles are geometric tiles that were created with versatility in mind. Traditionally the tiles came in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. The tiles were used to create an infinite array of tessellating designs to compliment and decorate period architecture. Whilst being hard wearing and practical, Victorian floor tile schemes served to wow and entertain your guests. In the modern day their lasting presence is testament to the quality of both the manufacture of the tile and the skilled installation by the artisans of a bygone era.
Tiled floors became unfashionable during the 1970's and 1980's, most were simply covered up with carpet or vinyl flooring as it was a messy process to remove them.
If you own a period property or are about to purchase one, be sure to check under the existing flooring for these period tiled features.
Victorian tiles discovered under carpet
Victorian tile restoration work in progress
Issues when discovering a Victorian tiled floor
- Lead holes - This is an older method of fixing carpet to floors. Holes are drilled and in filled with molten lead, a nail is then driven into the lead to hold the carpet in place. This causes significant damage to the single and surrounding tiles. When restoring, the tiles need to be excavated and disposed of and replaced with new or salvaged tiles of a matching colour. Often this type of damage is consistent at intervals around the perimeter of the floor and as such usually the entire line of tiles will have suffered damaged.
- Nail holes - This is where nails are driven directly into the floor usually in between tiles, into the grout lines. Again this causes significant damage and all outer or extremity tiles will need to be removed.
- Carpet gripper rod - This is normally bonded to the surface of the tiles with a glue. In most cases these gripper rods can be easily removed with a flat edged tool and mallet, a few taps will separate the rod from the tiles as the type of glue used tends to be quite brittle. Any residue should be cleaned back with an appropriate thinner.
- Carpet Underlay - This often causes marks on the tiles if it is been down for some time. The rubber of the underlay breaks down and is absorbed to a degree by the tiles depending on their porosity, these appear as shadow like marks consistent with the undulations of the underlay. This can be cleaned back with a suitable chemical.
- Dry and porous tiles - Often floors if carpeted over for a long period tend to be quite dry and dusty. This does have an effect on the floor and deteriorates its condition rather than protects it.
- Other damage - Cracked and missing tiles will likely be near areas of heavy traffic such as stairs and thresholds. These tiles if loose should be lifted and re set and if damaged replaced with original salvaged material or colour matched modern tiles
- Cleaning - The area will need to be cleaned thoroughly with an appropriate detergent in order to remove ingrained dirt and residue. Old sealants can be removed also with the correct treatments.
- Drying - It is important that the floor is dry before applying a sealant.
- Sealing - There are many types of sealant available depending on the required finish and maintenance program.
- Price - Costs will vary considerably. A basic clean and minor repairs will cost approx £650 + VAT (2011) for an area of 8 square metres. The cost to replace outer tiles damaged by carpet nail holes, and clean and seal 8 square metre floor is approx £1500 + VAT (2011).