From The 1860s geometric and encaustic tiled floors started to appear in public buildings, churches and the more expensive Victorian villas. Their rise to fashion was assured by their use in such prestigious buildings as the Victoria and Albert Museum, and by the 1890s they had become an essential feature in the most ordinary Victorian terraced houses from Dover to Aberdeen. As well as adding prestige and colour to a Victorian hall, they were also remarkably practical. Although it’s improbable that the average Victorian builder gave much thought to the lifespan of such a feature, it is a fact that most domestic interior tiled floors have survived 100 years of family wear and tear. With a little care, they will probably be good for another 100 years. There can be few other floor finishes that offer such durability, while looking so good.
Although these floors fell out of fashion during the 1960s and ’70s, when many of them were covered over, they are now being rediscovered by their present owners and restored to former glory. Although many need a significant amount of work carried out, around nine out of 10 are generally repairable.
PeterThompson is Restoration Consultant for Original Features (Restorations) Ltd. He has been examining and reporting on Victorian and Edwardian tiled floors for 11 years and has overseen restoration work to around 1,000 tiled floors and pave-ments, including a ten week project at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2003.
You can contact Original Features direct and request a copy of their Tile Cleaning Guide www.originalfeatures.co.uk