Please excuse my pink hoover 🙂
It is important to understand that these tiles are many years old and a restoration will make them look many times better,however they are different to a new installation as they are antique!
Generally new ones are perfect straight and pretty stunning ,when done by me of course 🙂 , whilst the old ones are worn with lots of character and signs of age that can be seen in the pic with certain tiles being worn down by foot traffic over the years etc.
We also find that old ones have a more “open” surface as they are grainy and aged and so can hold a polish really well. So we can make them nice and shiny as in the pic above whilst the new ones are usually finished with slight color enhancement ( if required)
Once all clean we have the option of a mat finish that occurs from the colour enhancing sealers we use (see pic). However we usually finish them with a hard wearing gloss polish and will put multiple layers of this and polish it up between them. We feel this protects the tiles very well and just looks much better than the mat.
Restoring antique tiles for Halls and Pathways
When we are faced with an exterior pathway restoration in many cases the failure has been caused by the sub-base breaking apart. The Victorians might have been fantastic craftsmen but their construction techniques have been improved upon and these days we will lay a 6 inch solid concrete base with steel re-enforcement. With sub base failure it is hard to guarantee the longevity of a restoration and we prefer to re tile instead. When it is just a tile failure it tends to be on the edges of the pathway that has resulted from exposure to the elements.
Victorian and Georgian tiling were always layed on some sort of screed usually a lime and cement mix.The tiles themselves are rigid and brittle and tend to fail individually when something has been dropped on them.When sections have failed it implies movement has occurred in the building.These screeds were sometimes layed seperately to the building and were not tied in to the structure.Where movement is evident the screeds below the tiling requires attention.
We usually find the tiles integrity in the central walkway area of the hall are most effected from the wear and tear.
Finding Replacement tiles
We would also advise clients to retain any tiles that have come loose for use in the restoration work. We can use retained tiles for redesigning the path which will also save on costs of purchasing replacements.
When sourcing replacement tiles it is best to look for a modern 6 inch geometric tile that matches the color. The tiler will then cut out the shapes required for the replacement tiles.
Matching the tile color and texture
To match the color effectively one must first thoroughly clean an existing tile and use that to find the new 6 inch tile replacements.
One must then examine both the tiles for differences in texture on their surfaces. A difference in texture will be far more noticeable than one might think as the texture reflects the light in different ways which actually effects the appearance of the tiles color. To check the tile textures effectively check the tiles in natural and artificial light.
We are based in North London But do restoration work throughout all London, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire