Upgrading Our Entrance Hallway With Porcelain Superstore.
We have been SLOWLY renovating our Victorian semi for the last two and some years. We have a limited budget so do bits when we have the funds. The front hallway is typical of the era, large with beautiful high ceilings. Ceilings and walls made of crumbly lath and plaster. When we moved in the house hadn’t been redecorated since the 60s so there was some very jazzy embossed gold wallpaper, dizzy red carpet, and the woodwork was painted yellow. Everything was dusty and damp. I temporarily ‘freshened up’ the hall by painting the wallpaper white and stripping the carpet to reveal Victorian pine wooden floors (which we sanded) and Quarry tile. Having recently replaced the warped and leaking mammoth front door it’s time to properly decorate the hall. But what to do with the flooring?
Click to view!
How to update quarry tiles.
Now some people will read this post and be affronted at the removal of original features. I will start by saying I love Quarry tiles and in some homes, they can be restored. The tiles in our home were in a bad state, covered in adhesive and with multiple holes from carpet grippers. They were hidden under roofing felt and layers of carpet. Quarries are porous so if they have been covered, they will be damp. I would advise giving them a couple of months with no rugs, etc and use a dehumidifier. Mine were also stained with efflorescence (salts) because of the moisture. What you clean them with depends on what is on your tiles. I am not an advocate for bucketloads of chemicals. A steam cleaner, scraper (careful), after a good hot water wipe-down with washing-up liquid, is what I recommend. The best way to really clean these tiles is to get down on your hands and knees and scrub them by hand. Wipe off the dirty water so it doesn’t soak back in. If they have bitumen on use a hot air gun to melt it slightly, it’s easier to remove warm. If you think the flooring may be expensive, we advise you to consult an expert. Concerned that the cleaning method may damage your tiles in any way? Try it out in a small inconspicuous area first. We were recommended Lithofin KF Tile Restorer so used this then I used Milliput Epoxy Putty t/black to repair damage. Once all is clean and thoroughly dry the tiles will be in their natural state and look dull. Modern sealant may be a bad idea.
The Victorians used to apply beeswax and oils such as Linseed to protect and care for their quarry tiles. So, we advise the same.
Reasons to replace the Quarry tiles.
Original floors can be problematic. We have lived with the Quarry tiles for the past two years, and they are less than ideal in terms of our modern expectations. They are damp and cold. The age of the original Quarry tiles causes them to have an inconsistent surface that often includes small ridges and recesses. Grouting has all but disappeared. The biggest issue is the subfloor. As they are original the tiles are bedded on ash and soil, there is no insulation or damp-proof membrane and the tiles have begun to move. Removal was easy given they were not adhered to a base, so we listed them as many people like to restore old tiles. No need for waste. Next steps were to put in a DPM and concrete base and matting which we have learned is ideal for allowing small movement with tiles and reduces the likelihood of cracking.
Where do you buy tiles from? – Introducing Porcelain Superstore.
There are so many retailers to choose from it can be overwhelming to decide on a reliable store. Running for almost a decade and family run, whatever your home and interior style they will have an option to suit you from the vast range. From bathrooms to outdoor tiles, walls to floor, Porcelain Superstore are always up to date with the latest trends. What I like is that on each room menu, the tiles are set in options to view by colour, tile size, style, and shape which makes shopping easier. They offer a FREE sample service which always goes down well. Customer service is easy to get hold of and they have a lot of technical know-how for DIY newbies like myself.
Replacing tiles – modern or period?
So, we know where from, but how do you choose the right tiles? That depends on the buyer. And your home. We have bought this house to live in long term, so what we choose is to our tastes – if you are ‘flipping’ a home or decorating to sell it, then neutrals are best.
You want to think about tile material, size, colour and the surrounding décor and overall home colour scheme.
Our home is Victorian, so I did wonder whether to pick a period style. Porcelain Superstore has a variety of Victorian-style tiles with many gorgeous designs. You should consider what your space will look like as a whole. My wallpaper choice is ‘busy’ so I wanted simplicity. The Heritage chess floor tiles were high on my list, but I decided I wanted this look for the bathroom which is a BIG space so didn’t want to go OTT with checks! The other option tile from this category that I fell in love with was the Auberge Green Patterned Tile which has a classic, period look with a combination of matt and gloss glaze, with a hint of green. For practicality, we decided that given that as it was the entranceway the white base would need cleaning much more often and white grout for floors is a big NO, and I was unsure how they would look with grey grout. I do have that ‘pining feeling’ as I so still love the design. As we weren’t going for the heritage ‘look’ I thought then we wanted to go ‘different’ – either with a hexagonal shape or talking point feature – so we went with the…
Somehow, my décor pallet has become multiple tones of grey, green and blue. With white thrown in. I did have this lovely idea that everything would be beige toned but realised with the light in the property, moody hues best cover the spider webs and wonky walls. The hallway we have panelled and painted with Farrow and Ball Moles Breath and wallpapered with a Vinyl floral by Sanderson (Everly). The light paper meant that the darker Teal tile would be offset and because the hall is large, laying the smaller square tiles (15x15cm) did not look too ‘busy’. They are primarily aimed for installation in the bathroom/kitchen, for both floors and walls, but I just find their aesthetic so impactful in the hall. Don’t be afraid of making statements. It is such a rich colour, and everyone is commenting on them when they come in. The finish is matt, and the Terrazzo spots are slightly indented which gives a nice texture element. That texture also means they are minimally slippy. Choosing porcelain means that the tiles are low maintenance and hard-wearing, making them a versatile and long-lasting design solution. On the product pages the ‘Tile Specification’ section is useful – you can see the recommended grout joint, if the tile needs additional sealing, thickness, slip rating etc. There is also an installation guide for DIY-ers. These tiles are sold by the box and ordering is easy. I worked out the square metre measurements and added 10 percent for breakage, though we found the tiles cut really well. A box covers (0.5m2) and is on sale from £34.80 to £29.58 which is very reasonable pricing. Sign up and save £10 on your first order.
I like that delivery is in days rather than some companies where you are waiting a couple of weeks. For orders over £500, Express Delivery is free. For orders under £500, Express Delivery £36. They also offer a £15 delivery option for smaller orders weighing less than 18kg. Before you checkout you’ll be able to choose a convenient weekday for delivery and I like that you can have items in days (to most mainland UK postcodes) rather than weeks unlike some companies. Ready to order but don’t need your tiles immediately? Porcelain Superstore can store your order in their warehouse for up to two months, completely free.
Click to view!
So, what do you think of our hallway transformation?
One lucky winner will receive a £50 Argos Giftcard to buy home accessories to boost your festive interior! The competition will run from 4/12/23- 10/12/23.
Terms and conditions.
#AD We received a PR discount on purchasing the tiles.