Victorian and Edwardian Geometric and Encaustic Floor Tiles
A garden path with geometric tiles
It is easy to detect if there is any ‘bounce’ in the floor by kneeling on it and banging the floor with the ball of your hand. If you can feel the floor vibrating through your knees, then it has too much bounce in it. The bounce must be stopped before any repairs to tiling takes place.
Work to the tiling can begin once the floor structure has been secured. Loose tiles should be lifted carefully as it may be possible to reuse them. Cracked and damaged tiles that are still firmly fixed will have to be cut out with a hammer and chisel. This must be done very carefully as collateral damage to adjacent tiles is likely.
Any mortar that has been used to infill where tiles are missing should be carefully cut back to the existing screed, but no further. Such infills are usually relatively soft and easy to remove.
If at all possible, removal of any of the existing screed is to be avoided. As this is normally very hard, the process of removal will often cause further areas of tiling to come loose. To ensure that there is room for a thin bed adhesive, the tiles should be thinned rather than the screed by taking off 2 to 3mm from the back of the tiles with a water fed diamond face grinder.
If there is evidence that the screed is breaking up or losing its adhesion to the pugging below, it is worth impregnating the screed with an acrylic based resin to consolidate it. When carrying out such an operation, some of the resin may penetrate right through the floor, therefore anything stored below should be covered or removed. It can also be useful to resin treat the exposed edges of existing tiling once damaged tiles or screed has been cut out. Large cracks in the screed may require an epoxy mortar repair, or some replacement of areas of screed.
Post-1900 solid ‘concrete’ bases can be the most problematic, and extensive failure or movement can mean the end of the floor. Very often the ground supporting the base was ‘made up’ and poorly compacted. Subsequent shrinkage can often leave substantial voids beneath the base. Considerable movement of part or the whole of the base is found to have taken place, as can be determined by checking the levels against the line of the skirting. If the floor has cracked across a corner and dropped, it may be possible to remove this area and lay a new section of base, but the vibration caused during the removal process may cause failure to further parts of the base. Tapping across the floor with a metal object can reveal whether there are voids beneath the base – if there are, it is not generally practical to rectify this without removing and replacing the whole floor.
It should be noted that, unless the tiles are laid on a soft lime bed, taking up and relaying the original tiles is not a practical proposition. It is likely that at least 75 per cent of the tiles will be damaged during the taking up process, and cleaning off the mortar residue will damage more. If repairs cannot be made without wholesale removal of tiles, there may be no choice but to replace the floor with a replica – as this approach may be far more cost effective.
Once the base problems have been addressed, the tile laying can commence. Areas should always be dry laid first, before attempting to fix, as some tile dimensions may need adjusting to fit the space available. A thin bed cementitious floor tile adhesive should be used to fix the tiles and the levels and alignment of points checked frequently with a straight edge. A fine cementations grout should be used. Usually a dark grey grout will be best, as the original grout will have dirtied down to almost black. Light grey grout can make an area stand out as repaired, until the grout dirties down.
The materials mentioned may have to be modified if the conservation policy for the building dictates the use of traditional materials only. However, the use of lime based bedding for tiles should be undertaken with caution – setting times are very extended even if an hydraulic lime is used, and the floor may have to be out of use for some weeks.
CLEANING AND SEALING
When the floors were new, they were generally scrubbed and waxed or oiled every week. The surface seal was important for internal tiling, as natural clay tiles are a little absorbent. It is usually many years since the floor was regularly waxed or oiled, so dirty washing water will have been absorbed into the tiles. Intensive cleaning to remove this dirt, and then sealing to prevent further absorption will generally transform the appearance of the tiles.
|Original late Victorian tiles - still looking good after 100 years|
All substances to be used for cleaning and finishing tiled floors should be carefully considered in conjunction with any applicable conservation policies and with due deference to the historic significance of the floor and its surroundings. For example, finishes to painted or polished skirting boards, architraves and doors may be too delicate to allow the use of paint stripper in the vicinity and wallpapers may need protection from splashing. Although some chemicals are very effective their use may not be permitted by supervising conservation bodies. There are also Health and Safety issues to consider. As a general rule, good ventilation of the area is necessary, both to avoid build up of chemical fumes and to ensure prompt drying.
Tiled floors should never be ‘soaked’ with large volumes of chemicals or water as this could eventually loosen tiles, damage substrates and even cause structural damage. All cleaning should be done with as little liquid as possible and any surpluses mopped away immediately.
A detailed inspection will reveal if there are any paint splashes from decorating work – there normally is. These should be cleaned off with a chemical paint remover. Clean treated areas with plain water to remove paint remover residue.
The main clean should use an intensive alkali based cleaner specifically tailored for unglazed tiled floors – there are several different makes on the market. Note that these are normally diluted with water, and start off with the lowest concentration specified. If necessary, the strength of the solution can be increased. Such cleaning agents work better if a low speed scrubbing machine with a plastic scrubbing pad is used, but hand pads work well – it’s just more strenuous. Work with a hand pad will be needed if there are dished tiles that the machine pads cannot get into. Clean relatively small areas at a time and when each area has been well scrubbed, rinse several times with clean water and mop as dry as possible. Once the whole floor has been treated, do it all over again. Throughout this process it is most important to monitor the cleaning solutions and rinsing water. Change them frequently as they as get dirty.
Acid cleaning solutions can be useful, especially where cement based levelling compounds have left residue on the surface of tiles. Only use acids where there is no danger of damage to the fabric or finishes of the building. Again only use small quantities and in the weakest possible solutions. Remove acid solutions as quickly as possible, rinse with water and then clean the area again with an alkali based solution to neutralise the acid.
Once the floor is clean, it must be sealed. Acrylic sealer/polishes are perhaps the best option today. They are easy to apply, quick drying, the amount of sheen can be tailored to your preference by altering the number of coats and they are durable subject to correct maintence. Best of all, these sealer/polishes are non-permanent and readily removable.
Over the last ten years, various television programmes have suggested strange mixtures of natural waxes for these floors. Waxes should be avoided. They trap dirt, discolour as coats accumulate, can be slippery under certain conditions and demand a lot of maintenance.
Some authorities suggest the use of microcrystalline waxes, presumably on the basis that this is a more traditional finish. However, such waxes are modern chemical products – they are no more traditional than an acrylic finish. They are also considerably more demanding in terms of subsequent maintenance requirements. If a traditional finish is required, a colourless oil rubbed in is a reasonable compromise, but be prepared to re-apply it once or twice a week.
It should be noted that exterior tiling should never be sealed, as it can reduce the frost resistance of the tiles.
Victorian Floor Tiles
We supply and install a superb selection of Victorian style floor tiles in a range of colourful and striking decorative patterns. A big interiors trend, many designers are using Victorian tiles to create intricate displays on walls and floors to bring a beautiful vintage touch to your décor and add a touch of class and grandeur to your home.
This stylish geometric patterned flooring first appeared in the Victorian era, making an appearance in many stately homes, historic buildings, wealthy homes, churches and museums. The Victorian style has recently seen a re-emergence in popularity, with home owners looking to add stylish heritage feature tiles to their bathrooms, kitchens, paths and hallways. Victorian floor tiles are the perfect way to inject charm and character into your home.
Where to use Victorian Tiles
In Victorian houses, tiles were everywhere, often starting with intricately patterned tiled paths leading up to the front of the house. Our ancestors loved to play with geometric designs and rich colours while maintaining a practical surface for the home, and there’s no reason why we can’t do the same in our modern homes.
If you want to set the scene for what’s to come, making a style statement before you even reach the front door, Victorian tiles are the way to go. Tiles for porches and entrance ways can add a timeless grandeur and character to your house, while different colour combinations can provide stunning visual accents. Porch tiles are not only a beautiful style feature, they’re also a very practical solution for what is a high traffic area in your home.
First impressions count, particularly as you enter the home. A classic look from the Victorian and Edwardian eras is a black and white checkerboard patterned tile floor to turn a mundane hallway into something quite special. If you want to add warmth, there’s a wealth of wonderful terracotta based patterns that will make your victorian hallway tiles into a feature all of its own.
Create a unique style in your kitchen with traditional Victorian tiles in highly detailed patterns. Whether you wish to achieve a classic farmhouse kitchen look or a clean modern aesthetic, eye catching tiles can provide the perfect complement or contrast. For an open plan kitchen/living area, a striking Victorian tiled floor can set the tone, inspiring the overall interiors scheme.
Add pizzazz to your bathroom by pairing a classic white suite and neutral walls with a high impact Victorian tiled floor. Choose from colourful mosaics, classic monochromes or warm terracotta designs, and think about adding a decorative border too. Perfect for family bathrooms, shower rooms and wet rooms, this style statement will ooze class and sophistication with a nod to British heritage design.
Embrace the beauty of the Victorian era as you step into your conservatory. Combining the practicality of a tiled floor with intricate Victorian era inspired patterns in classic shapes and styles will give you more than an everyday floor that can withstand heavy traffic – it will make an incredible centrepiece.
If you are looking to bring a quintessentially British flavour to your home, then adding a feature floor using Victorian tiles is the perfect way to achieve the look. Whether you are restoring an old building or adding heritage features to a modern home, Victorian tiles are a beautiful and versatile choice. For visual inspiration, browse our Victorian tile portfolio below.
Victorian Tile Installation
The cost of installation for Victorian tiles may be higher compared to, say, fitting carpet or laying laminate flooring, but the results are worth every penny – the stunning visual effect of intricate geometric patterns is hard to beat.
Many Victorian geometric floors have survived well over 100 years of heavy traffic resulting from everyday family use. When you compare this with the inferior durability of most modern floor coverings, Victorian tiles are a fantastic investment.
Due to the cost of materials and skill required for installing Victorian tiles, we would not recommend doing the job yourself. At the Tile Emporium, we can both supply Victorian tiles and offer a professional fitting services so that you get the best possible results. We have a team of exceptional, experienced craftsmen, all of whom have a varied and extensive portfolio of work to demonstrate their consummate skill in the trade.
Many Victorian patterns contain over 100 different pieces per square metre and come with intricate boundaries that must be incorporated into the design. Our high grade fitters make a perfect job of matching up complex designs every time.
Our Free Survey and Consultation
We offer a free survey and consultation to customers in Sussex, Surrey and Kent to assess the suitability of installing our Victorian tiles. You will receive a quote and all the information you need to make the decision to proceed with your project.
Why Choose Us
The Tile Emporium is a family run tile business based in Reigate, Surrey. We pride ourselves on our high quality products and services, exceptional workmanship and great customer service.
In addition to supplying a wealth of high quality natural stone tiles for your home, we also offer a professional fitting service, courtesy of our team of exceptional craftsman. We are Reigate’s only supply & fit tile shop.
Victorian Style Tiles for Floors and Walls
Our beautiful Victorian floor tiles are one way to make a statement in your home. Made from hard-wearing, high-quality porcelain with an anti-slip finish, our selection of Victorian floor tiles is perfect for injecting some colour into hallways, bathrooms, and pathways. If a full expanse of a pattern is too much for your interiors, why not try framing your tiles with our Brighton or Corvy scored plain white tiles instead? Contact our team for free tile samples and advice.
Inspired by the Victorian era, Victorian tiles, also known as encaustic tiles, first became popular at the peak of the Industrial Age. Admired throughout the UK, these Victorian floors feature individually-coloured ceramic tiles in an arrangement of various geometric shapes, sizes, and colours to decorate floor spaces.
Victorian floor tiles have distinctive patterns and colours. The most common style characteristics of these tile designs feature checkerboard designs and decorative patterns in monochrome and rich colours.
Victorian floor tile colours
Traditionally, Victorian floor tile colours included earthy tones with oranges, reds, and browns. However, more subtle shades are also now popular, such as modern light blues and greys of the Hampton Blue Floral range. More bold statements are also available like the black and white Orly and Regent range.
Victorian floor tile patterns
Recurring geometric patterns with contrasting checks are common characteristics of Victorian tiles, as well as tiles with diagonal and straight patterns. Striking tessellated and mosaic tiles are also a period signature. More subtle designs that use repeating florals reminiscent of the Gothic revival that inspired the era are popular in bathrooms. Whatever your preference, we have plenty of Victorian tile inspiration at Direct Tile Warehouse.
Where you can use Victorian floor tyles
Victorian floor tiles are a great choice for outdoor spaces because of their hard-wearing and weatherproof material. The classic Victorian checkerboard pattern offers a timeless look that works well in almost any property with modern or vintage décor. While monochromatic black and white mosaic tiles seem an obvious choice, you can also mix red and black tiles that hark back to the classic designs of the Victorian period.
Floral patterned floor tiles look perfect combined with period fittings, such as claw-foot bathtubs and pedestal basins. Crackled tiles, metro bricks, and high glazed wall Victorian tiles are also iconic for bathrooms.
Hallways / Floors
Victorian floor tiles work well in spaces with high-traffic as they're easy to maintain and clean. Victorian patterned and geometric tiles make a perfect choice for hallways and living spaces. From bold, contrasting geodesic patterns to more subtle natural flat colours spotted with intermittent dark diamonds or squares, Victorian tiled flooring instantly helps to make a statement in your home.
In addition to floors, Victorian tiles are ideal for kitchens. The Victorians used the tiles on walls as they were easy to clean and wash down. Not only do Victorian floor tiles work on kitchen floors, but they're a practical and stylish solution for kitchen splashbacks too.
Victorian Floor Tiles
They say that your home is your castle – this may have been true for Queen Victoria but most of us live in houses that are rather more modest! Many British homes built from around 1860 (when these types of floors became popular for houses as well as palaces, churches, pubs and shops) may well have had a tiled front path, porch, entrance hall or kitchen. It’s easy to replicate or restore these areas to their original glory with our geometric Victorian floor tiles, which are hard wearing, long lasting, make light of wet weather and most of all are simply beautiful.
The actual pattern and border designs themselves are created from a series of individual tiles in different shapes and colours. Many of the patterns and borders in our collection are based on authentic and traditional designs from the Victorian and Edwardian eras and are part of Britain’s heritage. But that doesn't mean that these vitrified ceramic tiles cannot be used to great effect in more modern properties. We have recently added some contemporary colours to complement the traditional colours, which offers an even greater palette for producing original designs or giving some of the traditional patterns a more modern look.
The Victorian Floor Tile brochure has been designed to lead the reader through from simple checkerboard patterns made from squares to the very complex traditional designs using many different shapes and colours. It contains inspirational photography, hints and tips and clear pattern and border swatches, with alternative suggestions for pattern and border combinations. The brochure is the perfect place to discover the right floor design for your home but nothing beats seeing the real thing. We recommend you visit your local Original Style retailer to look at their tile displays, look at and feel the quality of the Victorian floor tiles themselves and ask for their advice and guidance. Our network of retailers are chosen for their expertise in their field and so your local stockist will be delighted to help and advise you with your choices. Search for your local retailer here. You can use the browse option to discover all the individual tile shapes and colours too.
Hall tiles victorian
Victorian floor tiles assembled by hand as bespoke, ready-to-fit sheets
Quicker to install
Reduces fitting costs
Quicker to install
Reduces fitting costs
We are specialists in the design and supply of Victorian floor tiles and contemporary geometric schemes.
Our tile designs encompass the Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian periods, including a range of contemporary patterns.
We have made it simple to enhance your home with beautiful Victorian hall floor tiles, traditional Victorian black and white path tiles, and a myriad of stunning Victorian mosaic tile schemes.Browse Designsand Galleryfor many inspirational ideas.
We offer full customisation of all our designs, from colour-way to pattern. Contact our design team to discuss your requirements.
The large range of high quality ceramic tiles we stock, meet and exceed all EU standards, are suitable for interior and exterior use, and at a thickness of 9mm, are not only decorative but robust.With a comprehensive design catalogue and a design consultancy service we are experts at supplying exquisite geometric tiles for both residential and commercial projects.
From classic black and white chequerboard tiles to decorative multi-colour encaustic tiles and contemporary geometric ceramic tiles, we offer our designs in a sheeted format, a revolutionary and simple to install system.
Our unique tile sheeting service provides an easy solution to ensure complex mosaic designs are installed accurately and efficiently.Individual geometric tiles are carefully assembled by hand into repeating sections that tessellate to create traditional tile patterns and contemporary mosaic tile designs.
Our catalogue available in a digital flip-book format.
Order a free printed paper catalogue.
Featuring over 70 pages of our most popular designs, including hundreds of inspirational photographs of mosaic tile installations.There is information about our unique sheeted tile system, our design consultancy service, the colours, shapes and encaustics available, as well as an introduction to our bespoke and commercial projects.
Reasons to install new mosaic tiles
- Easy to maintain, decorative and hard-wearing
Suitable applications for ceramic tiles
- Hallway, vestibule, fire hearth, path, porch and steps
- Bathroom, cloakroom, kitchen and conservatory
- Garden feature, veranda, greenhouse and balcony
- Shop front, retail, restaurants and bars
Black and White Tiles
'Classic 50' design
Black and White Victorian path tiles
'Classic 70' design
Black and White Victorian garden tiles
'Classic 100' design
Black, White and Blue path tiles
Classic black and white chequerboard tiles have been used for centuries, and were most commonly used for exterior pathways during the Victorian period. We can supply the design in sizes ranging from 35mm to 200mm squares, in 32 different colours, combined with many choices of decorative border.
Multi-Colour Encaustic Tiles
Victorian hallway tiles with encaustics
Victorian encaustic hallway tiles
Victorian encaustic path tiles
During the Victorian era the most common choice of tile for most homes throughout Europe was the tessellated geometric style. Decorative and colourful designs were used for hall floor interiors and often featured encaustic tiles (with an inlaid decorative pattern) at the intersections of the tesselating pattern.
Star and Box Motif Tiles
Victorian geometric path tiles
Victorian style hall floor tiles
Victorian ceramic tiles
A common theme in period tiling is to combine a star and box motif. The design possibilities with tessellating geometric patterns are endless. Should you not find the design you are looking for, then please contact our design team with images or ideas, and we can create a custom pattern.
Georgian octagon tiles
Victorian octagon tiles
Edwardian octagon tiles
Octagon and dot, or octagon and star motif patterns have been popular throughout the ages, and were particularly favoured during the Georgian period for their neo-Classical elegance. Octagons are available in 100mm or 150mm sizes and are also featured in our Brigitte, Cornwall, Hallington and Harvard designs.
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