Linseed Oil on Victorian Floor Tiles
Just take a look at these photos, they are shots from a floor that has been cleaned with the most advanced floor restoration chemicals on the block and still the oil remains embedded within the tile body. You would be mistaken if you thought this were a damp floor, but no it is perfectly dry.
The dreaded linseed oil wouldn’t be half as bad if it was applied to a clean floor, but it very rarely is. Instead the home owner normally whacks the stuff down to make the floor a little more appealing, trapping dirt between layers of oil.
A few years back boiled Linseed oil was a very popular product for sealing all manner of tiles, terracotta, quarries, natural and of course our beautiful Victorian geometric floor tiles. Being relatively inexpensive Linseed oil provided plenty of bag for your bucks; enriching colours, sealing your floor and leaving you with just a little shine.
Now what could be wrong with all that? The main problem is that Linseed oil oxidises over time and provides a fantastic seal to the tiles. But during the oxidisation process the oil often changes colour and becomes a brown tinge or sometimes an orangey hue when too highly diluted with spirit. The result is a dirty looking shadow over your floor especially where the oil had penetrated really deeply.
“make the chemicals stronger” – you would think that is the answer but no. Very little touches hardened oil, you can leave cleaning chemicals sitting on oxidised oil for hours and it’ll do just that; sit there.
Personally we cringe at the idea of sealing a Minton floor with linseed oil as eventually it will look terrible, be a complete pain to remove and cause a whole heap of problems such as discolouration, poor/no breathability, damp problems and the list goes on.
In short please do not seal your floors with linseed oil or any oil for that matter and go for a quality breathable sealer either solvent or water based; both have their merits.
Can Linseed oil be removed? Yes, but its dependant on the age of the oil and state of oxidisation, but it’s very rarely easy or completely removed, sometimes the oil has been drawn too deep into the tile and the only alternative is to remove the stained tile completely.