Renovating Flood Damaged Victorian Flooring at a Worcester Church

Earlier this year I was contacted by the church warden of St Clements Church in Worcester regarding the renovation of its Victorian floor tiles. The Church was built 200 years ago and is one of the oldest churches in the city. Unfortunately, being situated close to the West bank of the River Severn it is at risk of flooding and a recent flood had ruined a large section of carpeting which had to be removed. In fact, according to the local newspaper Worcester has been named as sixth worst place in the UK for flooding.

Flood Damaged Church Victorian Tiles Before Restoration Worcester

Every cloud has a silver lining, so they say and, in this case, once the carpet was removed it revealed a very impressive Victorian tiled floor. There were two sections of 24m2 & 10m2, and I visited the Church to survey the floor and assess its condition.

Victorian tiles are generally very robust, and I discovered that the carpet had helped to preserve them in good physical condition. I conducted a few cleaning tests and I could see there were two areas where there was quite a lot of wax, dirt and carpet adhesive that would need removing. I discussed with the warden the process and provided a detailed quote.

Flood Damaged Church Victorian Tiles Before Restoration Worcester

My quote was accepted, and a date agreed to commence the work when their diary was a little quieter as the area would be out of use for a few days.

Renovating a Victorian Tiled Church Floor

On the first day I decided my first task would be to tackle the years of wax build-up and glue around the Altar. To do this I sprayed the floor with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a powerful coatings remover designed for use on Tile and Stone. The tiles were then covered in industrial cling film, this prevents the solution drying out and increases the active dwell time on the tiles so it can really get to work breaking down the wax and adhesive.

Working in sections I repeated the process across the whole floor and after an hour I removed the cling film and then scrubbed the floor with a rotary machine fitted with a 200-grit diamond pad. This really got deep into the tiles and after repeating the process several times the soiled cleaning solution containing the wax and glue was rinsed off the tiles and extracted with a wet vacuum.

I then used handheld burnishing blocks and a scraper on the stubborn and hard to reach places that couldn’t be accessed by the rotary machine. It was a large area that needed to be treated in this way, so the cleaning process took three days before I was satisfied with the result.

Sealing a Victorian Tiled Church Floor

I used a lot of water in the cleaning process, so I left the floor to dry out for a few days, returning the following week to apply a sealer to the tiles.

I sealed the Victorian tiles with Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which is which is breathable thereby allowing for moisture to rise through the tiles and evaporate. This is an important consideration for old tiled floors where a damp-proof membrane hasn’t been installed. Without this moisture can build up in the floor where it could eventually spread out to the walls resulting in rising damp. The tiles took five coats of sealer and each coat had to be left to dry before applying the next so naturally this took some time and had to be done in sections cordoned off from the parishioners. Once the sealer had been applied to the whole floor the transformation of the church floor was complete, the floor looked fantastic and much more in-keeping with the period look of the building.

Flood Damaged Church Victorian Tiles After Restoration Worcester

I received a glowing review from the Church which I have copied below. I also heard that a parishioner had seen the floor and had cried because the last time she had seen the floor was 50 years ago at her wedding, its moments like those that make my job very worthwhile!

Mark Conway was an absolute star. He worked so hard on our Church floor. It looks magnificent now and everyone has commented on how beautiful it looks. Mark was such a nice friendly and helpful person and went the extra mile. Thanks Mark. A brilliant job.

Flood Damaged Church Victorian Tiles After Restoration Worcester

 

Professional Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Church Floor in Worcestershire

Renovating an Edwardian Tiled Hallway in Worcester

This customer bought an Edwardian property in Worcester and discovered a stained yet beautiful tiled period floor when removing the hallway carpet. They were delighted to find the tiles were in good physical condition but as you would expect the floor needed a thorough clean and then sealing to protect the tiles and improve the finish.

Edwardian Hallway Tiled Floor Before Clean and Seal

The property was well located, close to the city centre, River Severn and the stunning historic 12th century Worcester Cathedral. Neighbouring houses were of a similar age and it was lovely to see so many of them had retained their Edwardian tiled porchways. Naturally the new owners were keen to retain as many of the period features of the property as possible, and so over the moon to discover the original hallway.

Edwardian Hallway Tiled Floor Before Clean and Seal Edwardian Hallway Tiled Floor Before Clean and Seal

After popping round to survey the floor I discussed my plan for restoring the hallway and submitted a quote based on two days’ work. The quote was accepted, and the work was scheduled for later in the month.

Cleaning an Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor

The first day was spent cleaning the floor, firstly removing the carpet glue which was quite heavy on the edges of the floor. I used Tile Doctor Remove and Go for this and ceramic hob scraper, sometimes the oddest tools are the best! I then sprayed more Tile Doctor Remove and Go on to the remaining tiles leaving it to dwell for ten minutes. Then working the solution into the tiles with a 200-grit diamond pad fitted to my rotary scrubber, I really started to make some progress.

The soil generated was extracted with a wet vacuum and I made a start on giving the floor an acid wash. For this I applied Tile Doctor Acid Gel and pasted it onto the floor again working the gel into the tiles. Tile Doctor Acid Gel is particularly useful for removing cement and grout smears. Also, there was some evidence of salt stains (Efflorescence), old floors like these don’t have a damp-proof membrane so it’s quite normal for moisture to rise through the tile.

I removed the slurry with a heavy duty wet and dry vacuum cleaner. Then as a final measure I used micro fibre cloths and some Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up to remove any remaining smears once the floor was clean. I left for the day allowing the floor to dry overnight and would return the following day to seal.

Sealing a Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor

Returning the following morning, I first checked the floor with a moisture meter to ensure it had dried off fully overnight. The sealer I would use as agreed with the customer would be Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra. This is a topical fully breathable semi-gloss sealer and would give a nice light sheen and allow the colours in the tile to shine through. This sealer is fully breathable and would cope well with the light efflorescence issues the floor had experienced in the past.

Edwardian Hallway Tiled Floor After Clean and Seal Edwardian Hallway Tiled Floor After Clean and Seal

The moisture readings were fine, so I started to apply the first coat of sealer using micro fibre cloths. After allowing the required drying time between coats I started on the second coat. Leaving the right amount of time between coats is especially important in winter when drying takes longer. The floor was treated to five coats of sealer in total and the customer was very satisfied with the finish.

Edwardian Hallway Tiled Floor After Clean and Seal

 

Professional Restoration of a Edwardian Tiled Hallway in Worcestershire