How to Restore Victorian Tile Floors (2023)

How to Restore Victorian Tile Floors

If you're looking to revamp a Victorian tile floor, read on!

The information in this article applies tovictorian geometric tiles, Victorian encaustic tiles and Victorian quarry tiles.

You can also read our related 'Guides' to cleaning and sealing this type of flooring. Links to which are at the bottom of the page.

Direct links to specific products listed in this guide are highlighted atazul.

Keep in mind that the topic of Victorian tile restoration is too broad for one article, but the information in this article covers many of the main points.

The techniques and skills needed to restore a Victorian floor can be complex. You may need a professional to restore significant areas of damaged flooring.

Making Victorian Tiles

victorian style tilesthey are often made from powder-pressed tiles, powder-pressed encaustic tiles (with a layer of clay forming a pattern on the inside of the tile), or stone tiles.

Patterned hallway floors are often a combination of smooth tiles creating geometric patterns, perhaps mixed with encaustic tiles.

Quarry tiles can be plain or (usually) red and black diamonds.

(Video) DEEP CLEAN & SEALED | New life for our 120 year old tiles!

All these tiles are relatively soft andto appearsuffer from fading. This "fading" is usually normal wear and tear disturbing the tile surface. The tile color is uniform, so the entire tile is uniform from top to bottom. Except standard/clay laid on tile forming encaustic tile.

How to Restore Victorian Tile Floors (1)

What Victorian Tile Floors Look Like

Victorian tile display is complex, particularly geometric/non-caustic tile floors. Patterns should be repeated enough within the outline to create a design with some depth. The border, if well defined, will flow and the design will repeat nicely around the main design.

Getting started is harder than it looks, and if you look closely, there could be bugs on the floor. Some have suggested that the error was intentionally created as a signature of the floor covering, but there is no historical evidence that it is related to Victorian geometric flooring.

Chances of a small mistakeNOaccumulated on some floors are likely to be relatively low. Especially when you consider how many of those floors were built in low light. Tiles can be easily stacked upside down or mixed colors together for a quick job.

Variations in tile thickness

Victorian tiles often come in different thicknesses, so they were compacted or compacted on a semi-dry screed for this purpose. Had this not been done, there would have been "lips" all over the floor where the thickest tiles would stand proudly against the surface of the main floor. Bad repairs often manifest as raised (or open) tiles, where some tiles are misaligned with the rest of the floor surface.

monolithic installation

You'll probably notice that there's no real tile grout in a Victorian tile floor. This is because, as the tiles were placed end to end. This makes renovation quite difficult as removing and replacing tiles is tricky.

The only grout lines that appeared during construction are just small gaps that form due to the imperfect squareness of the tiles. This is true even for tiles that appear to be the same size. Powder-pressed tiles were made in molds that stretched over time, resulting in small variations in size.

The material you see between tiles is usually old lime mortar that came to the surface when the tile cracked.

Victorian style tile replacement

If you are replacing Victorian tiles you will need to use the correct size so there are no gaps around the tile. You can get recycled tiles by choosing the right color, shape and size. Or cut recycled tiles to fit. If you are using a reproduction plate, you can buy it in the correct imperial sizes and in the corresponding colors. Try to choose a true Victorian imperial tile with a square edge, such as those produced by Craven Dunnill Jackfields Ltd.

(Video) Victorian floor tile restoration by Paul Johnson

Keep in mind that the tiles around the areas you are working on are unlikely to be stable. You will need to create space under the tile for the new glue by removing the old siding under the missing or missing tile. Otherwise, the tile will stand proudly on the rest of the floor.

Door signs are often loose as they are high traffic areas. It could also be caused by damage to the subfloor as electrical pipes and wires have been placed under the floor. It may be necessary to rebuild masonry or stone under the doorway to support the tiles in the doorway and prevent further cave-ins.

How to Restore Victorian Tile Floors (2)

Victorian style tile floor cleaning

This area is covered in more detail in our related in-depth articles.victorian floor cleaning. But as a quick guide, you'll need to clean the floor with a deep cleaner likeIntensive tile cleanerto remove dirt and water paints. You'll also need something to remove dust from old plaster, cements, and cement-based grout.

After repair (or deep cleaning), it's a good idea to apply a thin layer of cement mortar to the entire floor. This will fill in small cracks and crevices that have developed over the years - or from tile repairs.

If renovation has taken place, we recommend cleaning with aremoval of turbidity gaskets.

Advanced cleaning can be done with flexible diamonds placed under the rotating machines. This can eliminate the need for some cleaning agents as the pads are only lubricated with machine-supplied water.You will have to clean the edges and corners by hand!

Aesthetic issues related to cleaning Victorian tiles

Victorian style tiles look faded and pastel after cleaning.can revive the look of older tiles for two reasons.

First, a low-gloss finish can make tiles look rich, removing the lifeless, very dull "dull" look that often occurs before sealing.

Second, a low-gloss finish can appear to deepen the tile's color, thereby refreshing the overall look of the floor.

(Video) Amazing 100 Year Old Quarry Tile Restoration | How To Clean Quarry Tiles

Some people may feel that the floor discolors after cleaning. do not lose color. Finally, you see a very clean floor, free of dirt and a mixture of cleaning agents and possibly old sealants.

Floor sealing usually solves this problem. However, it should be remembered that the coating can be related to the structure of the board, the age of the board and the metal content, that is, lead.

The importance of letting Victorian tiles dry completely before sealing

Victorian tiles must dry completely before sealing them.with any type of sealant. Dry tiles will be very absorbent, allowing the sealant to penetrate the pores and generally adhere to the surface.

A wet tile will interfere with any type of sealant applied to it, creating white marks and possibly no adhesion.make sureYour tiles are dry before you seal them!

Neutralize cleaning agents by rinsing the tiles with plenty of clean water and possibly a neutralizing agent such as grout remover.

*Victorian tiles are soft! it may take 5 days (or more) to dry completely.

Sealing Victorian floors

We recommend sealing with. This waterproofing product must be applied in 2 to 3 layers on dry floors.

Sealant for terracotta and ceramic tilesgives a low gloss and slightly deepens surface colors. This brings out the earth tones associated with ceramic tiles such as Victorians.

Do not allow the sealant to get wet while curing.

What type of sealant should I use in a wet area or on a visibly wet floor?

Use an impregnation, for exampleFloorseal Premium Soaking Sealant. This sealant does not create shine. It will leave the board with an unchanged matte appearance.

(Video) STUNNING 150 Year Old Tile Restoration! How to Clean Quarry Tiles

Victorian floors are usually found in hallways and kitchens, but sometimes the room has been divided into a downstairs bathroom. Or the floor might show obvious signs of constant dampness, like a calcified rash.

How to Restore Victorian Tile Floors (3)

no final

– suitable for sealing Victorian style satin tiles. This sealer can seem to bring out the earthy colors of indoor tile floors.

Floorseal Premium Soaking Sealant– for sealing tiles in damp environments such as bathrooms. The product does not change the color of the plate. It is simply a sealant, i.e. no shine. It can also be used on outdoor floors.

Floorseal Intensive Tile Cleaner– for deep cleaning Victorian tiles from general soiling and water-based paints.

– to remove grout, cement, stains and neutralize the floor after intensive tile cleaning.

PleaseClick hereto see the relevant Victorian tile cleaning guide.

Or read our related article on the subjectVictorian style tile engraving.

This article cannot cover all aspects of cleaning, sealing and restoring Victorian tile. For this reason, the information in this article is not exhaustive. If you need more information, pleasecontact Floorsealat (01484) 861461 or write to web address


How to Restore Victorian Tile Floors? ›

Cleaning Victorian Tiles

For deep cleaning and heavily soiled and neglected areas apply a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted 1:5 with water to the tiles directly. Leave to soak for ten minutes then agitate with a scrubbing brush or black pad fitted to a buffer machine.

How do you deep clean Victorian floor tiles? ›

Cleaning Victorian Tiles

For deep cleaning and heavily soiled and neglected areas apply a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean diluted 1:5 with water to the tiles directly. Leave to soak for ten minutes then agitate with a scrubbing brush or black pad fitted to a buffer machine.

How do you revive an old tile floor? ›

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Can you make old tile look new again? ›

Spray down your tile with a degreaser and wipe with a clean cloth. Now, scrub the old tiles with a mixture of cleaning agent (dish soap will do) and warm water. Use a brush or sponge. Don't use any caustic chemicals or highly abrasive cleaning agents or cloths.

Should I seal Victorian tiles? ›

It is extremely important to seal your Victorian floor tiles, because sealer acts as a shield against future stains and dirt build-up. Even more so it's important so seal the grout which most of the tilers are not doing when floors are getting laid down.

What did Victorians use to clean the floors? ›

Cleaning the Floor

Damp tea leaves would be sprinkled on the floor to settle the dust before it was swept. Once the floors had been swept they would be scrubbed by hand using a scrubbing brush and a concoction of water and soda, which was very harsh on the hands, or some much more gentle soapy water.

How do you remove ingrained dirt from floor tiles? ›

Mix some vinegar and baking soda together to form a paste. Scrub this paste on the floors well, especially the grout. Leave it on for 10 minutes and wipe clean. Then mop the floors with a mixture of hot water and dish soap.

How do you deep clean vintage tile? ›

For ceramic tile floors, porcelain and other similar tile surfaces, the best way to clean is to use bleach, ammonia and other acidic cleaners like calcium lime rust. For natural alternatives, sodium bicarbonate powder and hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, and citric acids are your best choices.

Can old tile be restored? ›

Tile surface refinishing is a process where an old, worn-out tile floor is restored to look like new again. It's a great alternative to replacing the entire floor, which can be very expensive.

Why do my tile floors look dull? ›

However, all tile floors can become grimy and dull when neglected. Tile floors lose their shine due to masking by stains, dirt and dust spread over it by the footwear. Even though many people use wax to shine tile floors, there are other ways to shine tile floors without wax.

Is resurfacing tiles a good idea? ›

For most practical homeowners, ceramic tile resurfacing is really the better option because it costs less and you don't need to demolish the tiled area. In terms of aesthetics, you can revert to the original color of the ceramic or you can change it to a different look or color without ever changing the tiles.

Does reglazing on tiles last? ›

In fact, reglazing has been proven to last for more than 10 years, if you take care of your bathroom tiles. This means cleaning them periodically and avoiding any abrasive substances or cleaning products. Your tiles will look like brand new if the reglazing procedure has been done by a seasoned professional.

How do you make old tile and grout look new? ›

Start by decanting a 1:1 solution of water and vinegar into a spray bottle. Spritz all over the area, aiming for the grout and any problem spots. Let it sit for 5 minutes before scrubbing in a circular motion with a grout brush or an old toothbrush.

Do Victorian tiles have grout? ›

Tiles should be spaced 2mm (1/16”) apart and grouted with a grey cement based grout. We only recommend the use of a light grey cement based grout for the installation of these tiles. Pigments in coloured grouts, including black, may cause staining - even if the tiles are impregnated prior to grouting.

Are Victorian floor tiles porous? ›

Maintaining Victorian Minton tiles

They can be susceptible to moisture since they're porous to an extent, but cleaning up spillages promptly is enough to avoid any damage from occurring.

What are Victorian tiles laid on? ›

Victorian floor tiles should always be fixed using a cement-based grey floor tile adhesive. Never use wall tile adhesive. If laying on plywood, the adhesive manufacturer's instructions regarding primers and enhancers should be followed. If using a thin bed adhesive, an 8mm square notched trowel can be useful.

How do you clean Victorian floor tiles naturally? ›

Pour some vinegar into a spray bottle and squirt it over the entire floor. Bubbles should start to form – let them sizzle for a little while. After a few minutes, you can scrub the solution with a brush and dry the floor with a towel.

Does vinegar whiten tiles? ›

You can safely use vinegar to clean ceramic or porcelain tiles, whether they are glazed or unglazed. For other types, however, like terracotta, marble or grante, we recommend you look for ph neutral cleaner that will not harm the material.

What color were Victorian floors? ›

Victorian style floor tiles are very distinctive and characterful. Patterned tiles were extremely popular and dominant colours were black, white, terracotta and a muted dark red.

Why did Victorians not wash? ›

Did you know that Victorians didn't wash their clothes regularly? This is because it was really hard work and so people didn't want to do it all the time. Sometimes, they would go an entire month without washing them!

What did Victorian floors look like? ›

Most of the time, the floor was either painted, or covered. Painted floors were often stenciled with border or rug patterns. Coverings ranged from woven matting, somewhat similar to our modern day sisal rugs, to heavy canvas painted floorcloths, to a covering called drugget, or carpet.

How do you clean dingy tile floors? ›

Clean ceramic tile floors with warm water or a mixture of warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap. Add fresh water frequently to avoid cleaning with dirty water. Wash and dry one section of the floor at a time.

Why do my tiles always look dirty? ›

This is known as chemical residue buildup, a common floor maintenance issue. These chemicals need to be scrubbed off or completely removed, as this chemical residue is doing what these chemicals are designed to do – attract dirt – which is making your floor look dirty!

How do you make dull ceramic tile shine? ›

Simply mix a small amount of baking soda with water and apply it over your tiles using a damp mop or sponge. Let the mixture sit for several minutes before wiping clean, then watch as your tiles start to shine again! With this simple trick in your arsenal, you can say goodbye to dull-looking tiles once and for all.

Does vinegar dull tile floors? ›

While vinegar is safe to use on laminate, vinyl, porcelain, and ceramic tile, it is best to use it sparingly since the acid in the vinegar can dissolve the finish on your floor. Therefore, when you are using it on tiled floors, you want to make sure you cut it with water or rinse it completely with water.

Is a steam mop good for tile floors? ›

Yes! Go crazy with your steam mop on your ceramic and porcelain tile floors. The mop will clean the tile surfaces and the grout, leaving a streak-free surface that's simultaneously disinfected.

Is Pine Sol good for tile floors? ›

You can also use Pine-Sol® Original Squirt 'N Mop®. It's safe for wood and hard nonporous surfaces like ceramic and porcelain tiles, and also sealed granite. You can apply this product directly from the bottle over a 3' x 3' area and start mopping.

How do you rejuvenate terracotta floor tiles? ›

Even the most neglected terracotta can very often be restored with remarkable results. There is only one real way to restore terracotta that is by returning the terracotta to its natural state, let it dry, then seal it with between 2-4 coats of impregnating penetrating sealer and then apply the surface coating finish.

How can I make my terracotta tiles look better? ›

The warm earthy floor tiles obviously lend themselves very well to a natural home look. Combine the tiles with wood, plants, and white tones and you create a warm, natural home. But when you want to go a bit bolder with color choices you can combine terracotte with blue, green, yellow, pink, red and black.

How do you restore the color of terracotta tiles? ›

In most cases, your floor will look lighter and slightly “washed out” after cleaning. A sealer will bring the colour back to the Terracotta. If you prefer a waxed finish; use Boiled Linseed Oil or Stone Oil to bring the colour back to your Terracotta.

What is the best treatment for terracotta floor tiles? ›

There are two ways of protecting tiles – either by applying a synthetic sealer or the more traditional method using Boiled Linseed Oil and wax. Synthetic Sealers: Synthetic or acrylic sealers are the easier option in terms of application.

How do you make terracotta look new? ›

One of the most natural-looking patinas can be achieved by simply slathering plain yogurt on a new pot. Yogurt applied to dry pots yields more dramatic results. For a subtler look, first, soak pots in water for 15 minutes. All you need to age your terra-cotta pots this way is plain yogurt and a two-inch foam brush.

Can you use vinegar on terracotta tiles? ›

It is not advisable to clean terracotta tile with acidic cleaners, vinegar or ammonia as these tend to damage or discolor the tile flooring.

What is the best wax for terracotta floor tiles? ›

LTP Clear Beeswax

A clear finish beeswax which is designed for use on terracotta tiles. The soft paste wax is blended from three types of wax, to give the treated surface a shine. It gives a protective layer against dust, dirt, water and a variety of commonly found household contaminents.

How do you deep clean old tile floors? ›

Instead, apply a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide onto the surface of the floor. Use a mop or a clean cloth when applying the solution on the floor. You can finish it off by using a steam mop to disinfect the surface and break away any traces of dust and dirt.

What is the best cleaner for porous tile? ›

Baking Soda/Peroxide Method

This method is ideal for porous tile such as marble because you won't need to use vinegar or any other acidic solution. In an empty spray bottle, mix one-part peroxide with two parts baking soda. Spray the solution on the stained grout, and scrub the area with a soft brush.


1. The 5 Stages of Victorian Floor Restoration
(Tomahawk Tiling & Restoration)
2. Victorian Tiles Cleaning
(Floors Doctor)
3. Full restoration of a Victorian tiled floor in Oxford
(Darren Scott)
4. Victorian Floor Tiles - Full Victorian Tile Restoration of a Victorian Tiled Floor in Newport
(Darren Scott)
5. Victorian Tiled floor restoration in Lewisham
(Darren Scott)
6. Cleaning & Sealing Traditional Victorian Tiles in Mayo
(First Class Floor Care)


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