Victorian Tiling Company Were Tiling
qest craft scholar for Victorian Tiling

Religious Building Restoration

Across the UK, there are a huge number of historic and religious buildings ranging from Churches to Turkish Baths.

Built during the Victorian, Edwardian or Georgian eras, these mighty buildings were erected during some of the golden ages of British design and feature beautiful architectural and interior design detailing that simply does not exist in modern building construction.

Geometric hallways, mosaic entrance ways and a near infinite number of Mosaic designs for rooms covering everything from vestibules to hallways featured in these historic and religious buildings across the whole country.

As with all historic floors however, after over 100 years, 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.

How can we provide a restoration service for Historic & Religious Building Tiling?

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 every 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.

Who are Were Tiling?

We are Were Tiling and we are not just one of Scotland’s leading specialist conservation and contemporary mosaic tiling experts, but we are one of the few genuinely qualified tilers who have the experience, skills and patience to work on the proper layout and restoration of geometric tiling.

We are incredibly proud of the work that we do because we are helping to restore and preserve some of the most significant interior decorating features of Georgian, Edwardian and Victorian tiling. Over the decades, these once proud tiling features have fallen into disrepair, suffering from constant foot traffic, neglect, rising damp and other water damage and a countless number of other reasons. All of which have added up to the near complete destruction of some of these stunning tiled features on historic and religious buildings.

Our repair and restoration services cover everywhere in Scotland and the North of England and with every restoration project we work on, you will always find a detailed and committed process to the end result. We will always work our hardest to restore original tiling sections and where this is simply not possible, we will move heaven and earth to ensure that the replacement tiles are best colour and style matched so that the completed restoration project is as authentic and original as possible.

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If you would like to discuss a restoration tiling project for your historic or religious building, please contact Andrew by calling 07932 716 716 or emailing

You will always find a polite, friendly and experienced voice at the other end of the phone and we will always try to answer your questions as truthfully and clearly as we can.
We look forward to hearing from you.

What Our Customers Say

Brian from 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.

Andy from Glasgow

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.