The Vintage Floor Tile Company was set up three years ago by Andy Triplow of The Old Radiator Company and Masco Salvage. The three businesses, based on two premises in Gloucestershire and Kent, are now operating under the umbrella of Vintage & Architectural.
Specialising in British geometric and encaustic floor tiles, quarry tiles and cement tiles, the Vintage Floor Tile Company holds the largest stock of its kind in the UK.
“We have spent the last couple of years buying as much stock as possible from reclamation yards and privates,” Mr Triplow explains “which means we can offer a complete service to our customers. Rather then routing around through lots of bags at different reclamation yards, customers can come to us with a design and we will be able to supply every tile, cleaned and restored to carry out their project.”
Geometric tiles are ceramic tiles that come in many shapes and colours that fit together to form a repeating pattern. They began to appear in public buildings, churches and Victorian villas in the 1860s and from the 1890s were widely used in average Victorian terraced houses.
Encaustic tiles are made by inlaying different coloured clays to create a design. They generally come in two colours but can be found with up to six different coloured clays impressed in one tile. Encaustic tiles were normally used sparingly within a geometric tiled floor as they were more expensive.
The Building Conservation website says ‘As well as adding prestige and colour to a Victorian hall, they [encaustic and geometric tiles] were also remarkably practical. Although it’s improbable that the average Victorian builder gave much thought to the lifespan of such a feature, it is a fact that most domestic interior tiled floors have survived 100 years of family wear and tear. With a little care, they will probably be good for another 100 years. There can be few other floor finishes that offer such durability, while looking so good.’
When a batch of antique tiles arrives at the Vintage Floor Tile Company premises near Stroud it is cleaned in a special solution, and sorted into tubs and crates in order of shape, size and colour. After a few minutes of totting up the number of tiles in a crate and the number of crates in the yard, Mr Triplow arrived at the conclusion that the number of tiles in their reserves were in excess of a few hundred thousand, and could possibly amount to half a million.
The Vintage Floor Tile Company have supplied tiled floors for many kinds of projects from Victorian terraced hallway floor restoration to high street fashion retailers and castles in Scotland. Its clients have evolved from DIYers to designers and specifiers who know they can send through a design of almost any shape, size, colour or pattern and the business will come up trumps.
“We have a lead time of around six weeks to organise a floor for a client, but that beats the league time for new tiles which can be more like ten weeks.” Prices for a cleaned and restored geometric floor begin at £285 per sqm. The standard delivery cost for a whole floor is £95. Prices are plus vat.
An album of photos from Vintage Floor Tile Company premises showing many of the designs and its vast quantities of stock available can be viewed on Flickr by clicking here.
The Vintage Floor Tile Company, Cirencester Road, Aston Down, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL6 8PE. Telephone: 01285 760886