Edwardian Tesserae Mosaic Floor Restoration in Nottingham City Centre

Late last year we were awarded a contract to Repair and Restore a Tesserae Mosaic floor at prestigious property in the Lace Market area of Nottingham City Centre. The property was once Watson Fothergill’s office who is a famous Victorian architect who ran his business from the site in 1897 until 1912 when he retired. He designed over 100 Victorian & Edwardian buildings from 1864 mainly in Nottinghamshire and some further afield. They were mainly in the Gothic Revival and Old English Vernacular Style.

Tessera Mosaic Floor Restoration Waton Fothergill Building Lace Market Nottingham City Tessera Mosaic Floor Before Repair Lace Market Nottingham City

Inside the property is an Edwardian Tessera Mosaic Clay Floor on three small landing levels in the entrance & stairwell. Through historic building movement, inherent moisture issues, and a lorry crashing into the property a couple of years ago. The floor had developed structural movement cracks. This had resulted in sections of the tiles being raised or lowered and others becoming cracked, damaged and loose. Previous repairs to stabilise the damage had been carried before, but this has mainly involved just filling cracks.

Tessera Mosaic Floor Before Repair Lace Market Nottingham City Tessera Mosaic Floor Before Repair Lace Market Nottingham City

Repairing Edwardian Tesserae Mosaic Flooring

Repairing the damage to the floor was long and painstaking work which took three days. We started by removing the makeshift repairs and meticulously rebuilt the damaged areas replacing the damaged loose tiles, and levelling the floor were possible until it was back to a uniform appearance.

Tessera Mosaic Floor Before Repair Lace Market Nottingham City Tessera Mosaic Floor After Repair Lace Market Nottingham City

Once the repairs were complete, we carried out a low-moisture restorative cleaning process which took a further two days. The process involves using Tile Doctor Remove & Go coating and contamination removal product which is first sprayed onto the floor and left to dwell for ten minutes. The floor is then scrubbed with a set of Tile Doctor abrasive burnishing pads which level off the raised tiles and hone them to remove years of ingrained soiling. The resulting slurry is removed by vacuuming and lightly damp wiping with microfibres cloths to ensure the use of moisture was kept to a minimum. We use a low moisture cleaning system to minimise the risk of efflorescent salts appearing on the floor as it dries out; old floors are prone to this problem as they were installed without a damp proof membrane which is a relatively modern invention.

Sealing an Edwardian Tesserae Mosaic Floor

The building is being converted into accommodation and heating had not yet been installed when we carried out the work in December 2018. As a result, it was necessary to force dry the floor with portable heaters and air movers.

Only when we were happy the floor was dry did we apply a sealer. For this situation I used four coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing impregnating sealer that seeps into the pores of the clay tile protecting it from within. This restored colour to the tiles and being a fully breathable product will allow the floor to breath and pass moisture vapour from the sub floor. Again, this is a very important consideration due to the lack of a damp proof membrane, if moisture was trapped below the tile then it would slowly spread out towards the walls resulting in rising damp.

Tessera Mosaic Floor After Restoration Lace Market Nottingham City Tessera Mosaic Floor After Restoration Lace Market Nottingham City

 

Historic Tesserae Mosaic Floor Restoration in Nottingham

Restorative Cleaning of a Edwardian Geometric Tiled Hallway in West Bridgford

The pictures below detail the restorative clean and seal of a Black & White Edwardian Geometric Tiled Hallway at a residence in West Bridgford near Nottingham. The tiles had previously been covered in carpet trapping years of dirt and soiling into the pores of the tile which were also stained with paint spots and traces of carpet adhesive.

These floors are amazing to look at, and it’s a shame that due to changing fashion trends over the decades, that many became covered with other inappropriate floor coverings. At least in the case the carpet was fixed with glue, I have worked on others before were tiles were smashed in order to secure gripper rods.

Edwardian Black and White Geometric Hall Floor Before Restorative Clean and Seal

I could see a lot of work would be needed to bring it back, however having restored countless number of Victorian and Edwardian tiled floors before I was confident we could achieve a good result and was pleased to get the go ahead to complete the work.

Restoring an Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor

The first part of the cleaning process was to apply a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove & Go coatings remover allowing it to dwell and soak into the tiles and break down the adhesive and paint stains. The solution was then agitated using a black scrubbing pad to help break down the historic-soiling and soften the glue and paint so they could be carefully scraped off. This process generated a lot of soil which was rinsed off and extracted using a wet vacuum.

Old tile installations such as these were never designed to be covered as damp proof membranes were unheard of at the time. Instead the tilers of the day used a breathable lime screed to allow moisture to pass freely from the sub floor. This combined with coal fires of the day, and air movement kept a controlled temperature to ensure moisture didn’t build-up.

Covering these floors stops them from breathing and moisture inevitably can build-up and potentially lead to white salts to be deposited on the surface of the tile as it dries. To avoid this problem, which is known as Efflorescence, the salts need to be counteracted with the application of an acid. To this end my next step was to liberally apply Tile Doctor Acid Gel to the tiles and leave it to dwell for time. This process dissolves the efflorescence salts and also removes any other unwanted deposits such as grout smears from the tile.

The last phase of the cleaning process was to remove the Acid Gel and then rinse with water again to remove any trace of product. The floor was then dried as much as possible with a wet vacuum to remove moisture and then left for a few days to fully dry out.

Sealing an Edwardian Tiled Floor

On our return the floor was checked for dampness using a damp meter in a number of different places. All was well so the floor was then sealed in two stages, starting with an application of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that improves colour. Once the sealer had dried it was followed with a number of coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra which works really well on Victorian and Edwardian tiles adding a lovely subtle shine. Both these products are fully breathable which is vitally important where efflorescence is a concern. Otherwise, moisture will build up and causing staining and direct moisture into the supporting walls.

Edwardian Black and White Geometric Hall Floor After Restorative Clean and Seal

Once our Restorative Cleaning & Sealing process is complete you should avoid the use of steam cleaners and strong cleaning products as they can prematurely erode the sealer. Ideally we recommend you maintain the floor with Tile Doctors Neutral Tile Cleaning Solution which is pH neutral once it has been correctly diluted.
 
 

Original Edwardian Hallway Floor Professionally Restored in Nottingham

Edwardian Geometric Tiled Office Hallway Floor Renovated in Newark

Here we have a small Edwardian Tiled Hallway located in a busy office building in the market town of Newark in Nottinghamshire. We were asked to come over and inspect the floor for renovation. Our subsequent survey highlighted inherent damage, historic wear and staining as well as salt staining from efflorescence. On top of that there were some loose tiles along a door threshold that would need fixing.

Keen to get the floor restored we were given the approval to start the work and agreed on a date to return.

Restoring an Edwardian Tiled Hallway Floor

On our return we started by lifting the loose tiles and cleaning up the recess of debris before re-fixing the tiles using fast setting adhesive & grout. Within half an hour the tiles were set and we were able to start our intensive cleaning process.

Edwardian Geometric Tiled Hallway Floor Newark Before Cleaning

The first part of the cleaning process was to apply a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove & Go coatings remover allowing it to dwell and soak into the tiles for thirty minutes. The solution was then agitated using a black scrubbing pad to help break down the historic-soiling that had been hiding the original colour of the tiles and also remove any old sealers.

There were paint spots and adhesive residues on the surface of the tile which we were now able to scrape off the after being softened by Remove & Go. The resulting slurry was vacuumed away and the floor was cleaned down with water to remove the suspended soils and cleaning product residues.

To deal with the salt staining Tile Doctor Acid Gel was liberally to the tiles and left to dwell for a long time in order to neutralize both the cleaning residues and to dissolve the efflorescence salts. We had warned the customer that because efflorescence salt staining was present it was a likely indication of inherent moisture under some of the tiles and we were able to confirm this with the use of a damp meter.

It worth noting that these old floors did not have damp proof membranes installed and were designed to allow moisture vapour to pass from the sub floor to the surface of the tiles. Under normal use this was manageable by the Victorians & Edwardians. Unfortunately since that date a lot of these floors have at some point been covered by other floor coverings such as modern hard floors or carpet etc. This causes a build up of moisture to develop and efflorescence to form. Over time this causes crystalline salt capillaries to form a foothold in the tile causing damages that can affect the tiles physically as well as a loss of colour.

Once the tiles were cleaned of Acid Gel and rinsed with water again to remove any trace of product the floor was then dried as much as possible with a wet vacuum to remove moisture.

Sealing an Edwardian Tiled Floor

After leaving the floor to dry off overnight I came back the following day to apply a sealer which would protect them from staining, ingrained dirt and make them easier to clean and going forward.

Knowing that efflorescence would be an issue I had already decided to use a fully breathable sealer to aid moisture transmission from the sub floor. In this instance we used our low maintenance Impregnating sealer Tile Doctors Colour Grow applying 3 coats to provide long term protection to the floor.

Edwardian Geometric Tiled Hallway Floor Newark After Cleaning

The work took us two days to complete and before leaving our customer was given instructions on how to clean the floor in future using Tile Doctors pH Neutral Floor Cleaning Solution which is highly effective on soiling but most importantly it’s not acidic and so will not damage the integrity of the sealer. It’s worth pointing out that many household cleaning products, and also high-street branded cleaning products, can quickly damage floor coatings; they can also leave residues on floors that contribute to rapid re-soiling.
 
 

Original Edwardian Hallway Office Floor Restored in Newark, Nottingham

Victorian Geometric Tiled Hallway Floor Deep Cleaned in Mapperley

This original Victorian Geometric tiled floor was recently uncovered in the hallway of a house in Mapperley near Nottingham. These beautiful old floors built by Victorian Craftsmen are often neglected and sometimes hidden by other floor coverings. In this case we had to remove carpet, carpet grippers and underlay which had been stuck down and often we find vinyl tiles glued to the tile surface etc. This takes its toll on the floor causing it to lose its vitality however help is at and in the form of the specialist Tile Doctor Restorative Cleaning and Sealing Treatment.

Victorian Geometric Tiled Hallway Floor Mapperley Before Cleaning

Cleaning the Victorian Tiled Floor

The first job was to protect the adjacent carpets and wood flooring, before starting the cleaning process. Then I applied a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a heavy duty cleaning solution mixed with Remove and Go which is a coating remover. This helps to remove old and worn coatings along, with the many years of soiling which was hiding the vibrant colours of the Victorian tiles beneath.

This unique cleaning solution along with a combination of dwell time and mechanical agitation breaks down the many years of contamination on the tiles. During this stage of the cleaning process, we also sometimes have to remove paint and adhesive residues. The cleaning process is intensive to ensure maximum soil removal and is achieved as above by using a weighted rotary floor cleaning machine, along with Tile Doctors restoration floor pads.

The resulting slurry created by the cleaning process above is vacuumed away with a wet vacuum and the floor was then rinsed with a dilution of Tile Doctors Grout Clean-Up product which removes any inherent efflorescence contamination that is common on old floors without damp proof membranes.

The floor is then given a thorough rinse with clean water to neutralise the floor and removing any trace of cleaning solution from the previous treatments which could affect the sealer, again a wet vacuum was used to get the floor as dry as possible.

The cleaning was completed in a day and to ensure the floor would be dry for sealing the next day I installed a couple of air movers and left it to dry out overnight.

Sealing the Victorian Tiled Floor

The following day I sealed the tiles to saturation point with Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a ‘Colour Enhancing’ Impregnating Sealer. It’s an advanced sealer that allows the floor to breath, and also protects from both water and oil based spills and if maintained correctly will act as a long lasting treatment that will last many years!

With regards to maintenance I recommend that customers use a damp mop with a neutral PH cleaning product such as Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner. This is highly effective on soiling but most importantly it’s not acidic and so will not damage the integrity of the sealer. Many household cleaning products, and also high-street branded cleaning products, can quickly damage floor coatings; they can also leave residues on floors that contribute to rapid re-soiling.

Victorian Geometric Tiled Hallway Floor Mapperley After Cleaning

 
 

Original Victorian Floor Restored in Mapperley, Nottingham