Victorian Tiles

From the mid-1800s, geometric and encaustic tiled floors started to appear in public buildings, churches and the more expensive Victorian residences.

Their popularity was assured by their use in such prestigious buildings as the Victoria and Albert Museum as well as their remarkable practicality, and by the 1890s they were an essential feature in the most ordinary terraced houses.

In the autumn of 2017, DBR Conservation inspected the damaged Victorian tiles within a private front hall in northeast London, which were dulled by inappropriate cleaning products as well loosened from their bedding mortar. In addition, some tiles were missing, chipped or cracked.

The treatments included: taking moulds of missing tiles and making resin replacements colour matched to the originals with in stone dusts and pigments, recording and lifting all loose tiles and re-bedding with a lime mortar of NHL, Portland stone dust, washed sand, Pulverised Fuel Ash (PFA), cleaning tiles with warm water and non-ionic surfactant to remove surface grime, and ‘touching-in’ any small areas of loss with a colour matched palette of potassium silicate paints. Finally, the rich patina of the tiles was partially returned to the dulled surface with different combinations of microcrystalline, carnauba and bee waxes.

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