About Victorian Minton tiles
Victorian Minton tiles are small ceramic times with contrasting colours, commonly arranged to form attractive patterns. Most popular in the Victorian and Edwardian era, they take their name from their historic manufacturer, Minton. Traditionally they’re common in period houses, especially in hallways, although sometimes are sadly hidden underneath newer flooring. At the height of its popularity, Minton tiling was extremely common, used in museums as well as terraces across the UK. It can still be seen today in some of the country’s older public buildings.
Victorian Minton is made by firing clay at a high temperature. By controlling the airflow and composition of the tile, different shades and colours can be achieved, reds, whites and browns are common. Elaborate patterns are built using tessellating shapes, done correctly this can look fantastic. Minton tiling is laid on a range of sub floors, variation in the subfloor, which may be brick, concrete, timber or sand, can have an impact on the surviving tile’s condition. Movement in the subfloor and the intrusion of moisture can degrade their appearance. If Victorian Minton tiles are uncovered after the removal of subsequently installed flooring the good news is that they can generally be restored back to their original brilliance. Subsequent flooring installations can in some cases preserve the original Minton tiles.
Maintaining Victorian Minton tiles
Minton tiles are unglazed, but are generally hard wearing, which is evident from how long many installations have lasted. They can be susceptible to moisture since they’re porous to an extent, but cleaning up spillages promptly is enough to avoid any damage from occurring. When restoring Minton tiles, the grouting sometimes needs a top up. If there’s heavy footfall on the tiles it’s worth keeping an eye on the grout to ensure nothing becomes loose as dust and dirt works its way into the surface. Replacement tiles can be sourced where necessary, but by avoiding inappropriate cleaning chemicals and using the most appropriate sealer this will rarely be required. Most commonly their appearance has simply dulled over time and a good professional polish and seal is enough to get them looking good as new. When properly looked after they can be a delightful talking point in any home.
Certain types of hard flooring require a different type of care and attention. If you are the owner of Victorian Minton floor tiles, you’ll want a professional touch to help keep them in great shape for years to come. Minton’s Ltd is the name of a ceramics manufacturer established in the late 18th century that produced, among other things, beautiful floor tiles with different kinds of repeating geometric patterns. These types of ceramic tiles can be very delicate, so you need to take care even when you’re just carrying out basic maintenance work.
It’s important to keep your Victorian tiles free of dust and debris as much as possible, so regular sweeping is a must. That way you can avoid those unwanted particles causing scratches on the surface of the floor. You can use a hoover as long as you’re not dragging it across the floor which could also cause damage.
Using a ceramic tile cleaner, like Cif, usually works for Minton flooring, but it’s always good practice to test it on a small patch of floor at the edge of the room first. While you are applying the cleaner to each tile individually, use a soft plastic scourer to get rid of embedded grime. After you have completed this process, leave the floor for twenty minutes then wash the product away with water.
Even if you do all this cleaning yourself, it is advisable to book a professional clean at least once a year. At Tile & Stone Medic we can also restore and seal these kinds of floors, getting excellent results even with dull, tired surfaces. Minton floors can start to look very dated if they are not looked after correctly, and it would be a shame to let that happen to such an impressive artefact! We always take the utmost care when we’re carrying out cleaning and restoration work. It’s easy to cause damage by getting the cleaning process wrong, so please get in touch if you want to keep your floors well protected.