As with all historic floors the problems come from the substrate supporting the tiles in one form or another. It can be the structural movement of the building, movement from supporting joists or floorboards, or damp and water ingress into the substrate or wood. In the main it comes from the fact that the mortar beds were put directly onto floorboards and across joists and not overboard as is common practice today. Over the last 100 years the substrate has moved because of the settlement of the building, the wooden joists and floorboards expand and contracts over time and that movement leads the Mortar bed to move and crack and then tiles become damaged, chipped or cracked.
With any conservation project, we start by removing the tiles from the damaged area so we can analyse the substrate. All substrates from this era were poured in a few stages, much in the same was they were in Greek and Roman Times. With a Statumen, Rudus, Nucleus and setting bed, these are Roman Terms that have been found in architectural books of the classical era. The Statumen is a bedding of fist sized stones or slabs, followed by a rudus, which is a mix of rubble and lime or sand cement beaten solid to a thickness of around 9 inches. Then the upper layers, a finer mortar mixed with three parts of crushed tiles, slate, ceramic and brick, again mixed with lime or sand cement. Then lastly, the setting bed, this is often various depths and this is usually where the two layers become detached from the each other.
When analysing historic floors, sometimes only the setting bet is damaged, which requires much less work. The layer is removed to the point that the substrate is solid and stable. From this point, the original mortar bed needs to be moisturised, with a mix of water and SBR, so a new setting bed can be poured and bind to the original Mortar.
In other buildings the movement may have cracked right down through to the Statumen, to the original boards. In this instance the Mortar bed needs to be removed entirely. Then over boarded with cement board, and a new mortar bed installed. This will allow slightly more flexibility if more movement occurs. Putting another layer of protection between the structure and the tile. Although it is very unlikely the same amount of structural movement will occur again, as with any new building most of the settlement occurs during the first few years after the building is finished.
Once a new setting bed is installed the area can be re-tiled, using the original floor tiles combined with reclaimed historic tiles and where reclaimed colour matches cant be found we will use reproduction geometric tiles from Winklemens or Craven Dunnills. Then the cleaning can commence.
We do all our cleaning with a combination of Machine and hand cleaning. Using specialist floor machines, combined with diamond cleaning pads that only require water, although we do occasionally use cleaning products depending on the state of the floor. Once the floor has been stripped and cleaning. The floor is left to dry for 7 to 14 days. This is to let the base dry out and any efflorescence (salts) come to the surface of the floor. Once the base is dry we return to colour intensify and seal the floor. This can be burnished with either a Matt finish, which leaves the floor in a more natural state. Or we can seal the floor in a wax coating. This is a more traditional way the floors were probably originally finished, although this finish does require more maintenance.
We are Were Tiling and we are a Speciality Mosaic Tiler based in Glasgow and covering all of Scotland.
We are fully trained and qualified to work on the careful restoration and replication of original Victorian, Georgian and Edwardian Tiling Mosaic Projects and are perfectly placed to provide a professional and superior geometric tiling service for your needs.
Whether you are looking at creating a geometric ‘splashback’ area for your kitchen that fits in with the period look of your home or whether it is an external front door step mosaic that incorporates the house number of your home – we can provide it all.
At Were Tiling, we have put a firm focus on the specific skills required for Geometric tiling and while it may be a time consuming process, the end results can be overwhelmingly spectacular.
We have worked on significant restoration projects across some of the original sandstone homes of Glasgow’s West End and have worked on replication projects elsewhere in Scotland where home owners are wanting to introduce a geometric tile design to their home that matches the period look of their home.
These stunning features can add significant value to a home and offer a unique element that can truly make your home extra special.
At Were Tiling, you will only ever find a polite and friendly tiling expert to speak to. We are truly passionate about what we do and are constantly reinvesting in our skills so that we can offer more in the careful restoration or some of Scotland’s most significant and beautiful tiling designs from the Victorian, Georgian and Edwardian eras.
If you would like to discuss a restoration tiling project for your property, please contact Andrew by calling 07932 716 716 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We cover all of Scotland and the North of England including Newcastle.
We were replacing a carpet in our hall and discovered the original Victorian tiling was still there. Andrew came to our home, looked at the tiling and gave us a quote with no hassle. His attention to detail and careful and methodical approach are clear in the end results. We are so delighted with the work that he has done. We never thought about having a tiled hallway but we are more than delighted with the results and it has increased the value of our home considerably.
We were looking for our Storm Door area and hallway to have a matching contemporary geometric tile design to them. We want a modern take that worked with our period Victorian home. Andrew was one of three tilers we call. He was the only one who took any measurements and really looked at the set up that we wanted. We went Were because they seemed to know what they were talking about and we were impressed with their detailed quote breakdown. It meant we knew exactly what to expect. And the end result - we could not be more happy with the end results. Our hallway looks better than ever.