Tiling Question

Restoring and reusing 1930s tiles

I have just moved into a 1930s house with the original black and white subway tiles. If possible I would like to keep them but they're not currently at their best. There doesn't seem to be any grout in-between this style of tile either.
Is it possible to restore them and would this require taking them all off? I have tried removing a few due to a wall that is being knocked down, however it's been a challenge because they almost seem to be set into the cement.
Can will a tiler be able to do anything with these as I don't want to risk damaging them.

2 Answers

Best Answer

Yes i agree with M Lamb they would have been fixed with a sand and cement bed as when i first started tiling this was the only method for fixing tiles, tile adhesive did not come on the market until the 60s,with this method they would always butt the tiles because they were beaten into the bed,as for cleaning them its just a case of soapy water and maybe a thin coat of linseed oil mixed with turps the mixture being 50/50,this may enhance the look of the tiles.

Answered 4th Apr 2012

A. G. Fright Tiling Specialist

Member since 28 Feb 2011

Hi John,
Tile adhesive hadn't been invented yet back then & so the tiles WERE actually bedded into a sand & cement "mud bed" slurry. Unfortunately for you this method was designed to last so to remove & re-fit them would be practically impossible.
As far as cleaning them up to what would satisfy you i really couldn't call as i haven't seen the job but all the best & hope this helps to make your decision slightly easier.

Cheers
Michael

Answered 1st Apr 2012

michael lamb ceramic tile fixers

Member since 30 Sep 2011

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