Encaustic Cement Tile Cleaning

Welcome to my Work History archive where you will find detailed examples of Encaustic Tile Cleaning and Renovation work carried out in North Essex

Cleaning and Renovating Encaustic Tiles

Made from layers of cement modern production methods and stunning geometric designs have seen a resurgence in the popularity of Encaustic tiles of late. Traditionally these tiles were hand painted with patterns hydraulically pressed into the surface resulting in a large range of beautifully artistic tiles with some companies offering a bespoke design service. They are known for their durability making them a popular option for floors.

Like Ceramic, Encaustic tiles are generally very easy to clean and generally need little maintenance, however these tiles are generally micro-porous and so should be sealed to avoid dirt becoming ingrained in the tile which will make them difficult to clean. Once sealed make sure you only use a neutral pH cleaning product such as Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner to clean the tiles as stronger products (especially acidic) will reduce the life of the sealer.

If regular cleaning proves to have little impact its likely the sealer has worn down and dirt has penetrated the pores of the tile. If this is the case we recommend burnishing the Encaustic tiles with a set of diamond pads and then resealing with Tile Doctor Colour Grow which will enhance the colours in the tile.

Below you will find detailed examples of work we have carried out in the past, it should give you some idea of what’s involved and what can be achieved with the right techniques and products.

Encaustic Tiled Bathroom Floor Renovation Saffron Walden

Encaustic Tiled Bathroom – Saffron Walden, Essex

This modern Encaustic tiled floor had been laid in the bathroom of a house in Saffron Walden about a year prior to my visit. It was now beginning to mark easily and its appearance had diminished, additionally my customer was finding it hard to keep clean. All these issues are classic symptoms of the sealer wearing down, so I recommended giving the floor a deep clean with burnishing pads and then resealing. It was only a small floor so the process should only take a day.

Encaustic Tiled Bathroom Floor Before Cleaning Saffron Walden

Modern Encaustic tiles are very popular these days due to the spectacular colours and patterns available and they do look great in smaller areas such as bathrooms. Many varieties do require you to maintain the sealer though and this requirement is often overlooked when being sold. This is not usually a problem when used to create a wall feature, however when installed on a floor you can expect the sealer to wear down with foot traffic. Once the sealer wears down it allows dirt to become ingrained in the tile and this becomes difficult to remove, thereby making the floor difficult to keep clean.

Another problem we find with sealed tiles in bathrooms and kitchens is the use of bleach-based cleaning products, the products are very strong and will quickly erode the sealer with regular use leaving the tiles vulnerable. This is why we always recommend the use of pH neutral tile maintenance products such as Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner.

Cleaning an Encaustic Tiled Bathroom Floor

To resolve the problem, I started with the application of a coarse 400-grit burnishing pad fitted to a rotary machine and lubricated with water. The floor was just big enough to squeeze the buffer machine in, and it made quick work of removing what was left of the old sealer and ingrained dirt. After a rinse with more water, the soiling was extracted with a wet vacuum and I repeated the process with the 800 and 1500-grit pads, rinsing and extracting after each pad. These pads gradually refine the tile and slowly build-up a polish on its surface.

Finally, I moved onto the very fine 3000-grit pad which is applied with only a mist of water sprayed onto the surface to bring up the final polished appearance. This last pad has the added advantage of leaving the tiles fairly dry, however, just to be sure I installed a couple of down blowers to fully dry out the floor before sealing.

Sealing an Encaustic Tiled Bathroom Floor

The blowers worked well, and I was able to seal the floor later that day using four coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow using around a litre of sealer. This is an impregnating sealer that works by soaking into the tiles, where it occupies the pores to prevent dirt from becoming ingrained there.

Encaustic Tiled Bathroom Floor After Cleaning Sealing Saffron Walden

The appearance of the encaustic tiles now looks great with a nice even, easy to maintain sheen. I also left them a free bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner to maintain their floor after we had finished.


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