Renovating Grubby Encaustic Bathroom Floor Tiles in Sydenham

The customer had Encaustic Concrete tiles laid in two bathrooms and a hallway around a year ago at their house in Sydenham, South East London. Encaustic tiles have been around for a very long time however they are currently undergoing a resurgence and are once again proving very popular due the varied patterns being created.

Concrete Encaustic Bathroom Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Sydenham

It’s probably difficult to appreciate from the photographs but this particular brand of encaustic tiles were very porous and had become very grubby since being installed and were now staining easily. I suspect they had only been lightly sealed after installation (if at all) and this had allowed dirt to penetrate the pores of the tile making it difficult to clean.

Concrete Encaustic Bathroom Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Sydenham Concrete Encaustic Bathroom Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Sydenham

Cleaning a Dirty Encaustic Tiled Hallway

The process I used for cleaning the tiles was the same one I would use on polished stone such as Limestone or Travertine. It involves applying a set of Diamond encrusted burnishing pads starting with a coarse 400 grit pad fitted to a rotary floor buffing machine and lubricated with water. The water becomes soiled with the slurry from the burnishing process and once all the tiles have been treated its rinsed off with more water.

You then apply the medium 800 grit pad, again with water to help lubricate and rinse off afterwards like before. The process is repeated with the fine 1500 grit pad and the tiles given another rinse.

Before applying the final super fine 3000 grit pad I scrubbed the grout lines with a solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a strong alkaline cleaner that’s designed for use on Tile and Stone. I used a handheld narrow brush to scrub the grout and followed that up with another rinse with water using a wet vacuum to extract the water and dry the floor afterwards.

Sealing Encaustic Tiles

The beauty of honing the tiles with the burnishing pads in this manner is that the system closes up a lot of the pores in the tiles, making them less porous and easier to seal. Burnishing also uses less water so it wasn’t long before the floor was dry, and I was able to start the sealing process.

I sealed the floor using Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is a colour enhancing impregnating sealer that seeps into the pores of the tile and protects it from within. Three even coats with a drying time in between is sufficient for these tiles, and once the final coat had dried I went over the floor with the 3000-grit pad on my floor machine, to leave the floor with a slight sheen.

Concrete Encaustic Bathroom Floor Tiles After Cleaning Sydenham Concrete Encaustic Bathroom Floor Tiles After Cleaning Sydenham

After care is so important when it comes to maintaining a sealed floor, so I always leave the customer with a small bottle of a recommend cleaning product. In this case I left them with Tile Doctor Stone Soap which is made with vegetable oil extract and will help maintain the patina on the floor.

Concrete Encaustic Bathroom Floor Tiles After Cleaning Sydenham
 
 
Source: Encaustic Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Kent

Restoring the Appearance of Dull Encaustic Hallway Tiles in Berkhamsted

I had an enquiry from a client in the London commuter town of Berkhamsted who had a beautiful Encaustic tiled floor in their hallway which was in need of cleaning. Encaustic tiles are made from layers of cement that are hydraulically compressed to make a very hardwearing surface that can then be decorated. The result is an easy to clean hardwearing surface that is ideal for high traffic areas such as hallways.

Encaustic Tiled Hallway Before Cleaning Berkhamstead

Encaustic tiles however are micro-porous so do need to be sealed to prevent dirt from becoming ingrained in the tiny holes. The tiles at this property in Berkhamsted had been sealed at some point in the past but over the years the sealer had worn down lettering dirt enter the pores making it difficult to clean effectively. The floor now required a deep clean and seal to bring back the life into this artistic floor pattern.

Encaustic Tiled Floor Cleaning

We first removed what was left of the old sealer and ground in dirt using a coarse 400 grit Red burnishing pad attached to a rotary floor buffer. The burnishing pads we use are encrusted with industrial diamond and are applied using water for lubrication, once the pad has been run over all the tiles the floor is rinsed with more water which is then extracted with a wet vacuum to remove the slurry that is generated.

The coarse pad was the followed by a medium 800 grit burnishing pad which is the first step in restoring the appearance of the tiles and is applied and rinsed off using the same process as the 400 grit. The 800 grit pads is followed by the 1500 grit pad which is the second step In restoring the appearance of the tile. Again, the pad is applied with water to lubricate and the floor given a good rinse afterwards.

The next step was to get the grout clean which was done by applying Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left for ten minutes before being scrubbed in by hand with a narrow stiff brush. The floor was then given yet another rinse and then dried with the wet vacuum to remove the dirt that was generated from the grout.

The last step in the cleaning process was to run over the floor with a very fine 3000 grit pad, this last pad is the final step in restoring the appearance of the tile and is applied dry with only a little water that is sprayed on using a technique we like to call spray burnishing.

Encaustic Tiled Floor Sealing

Once the floor was dry it was sealed using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that seeps into the pores of the tile protecting it from within. This sealer has the added advantage of enhancing the existing colours in the tile improving its overall appearance. The overall process worked incredibly well and made a huge difference to the floor as you can see in the final photograph.

Encaustic Tiled Hallway After Cleaning Berkhamstead

To keep Encaustic floor tiles in first class condition I recommend the use of the Tile Doctor Neutral Tile cleaner which being pH neutral does not reduce the life of the sealer and is ideal for the cleaning of all types of sealed floors. The product comes in a concentrated form, so I recommend it’s used in a mild 1-30 dilution spray applied and wiped over with a microfibre flat mop, then buffed dry.
 
 
Source: Encaustic Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire

Restoring an Encaustic Tiled Hallway Hidden Under Carpet in Cheshire

This floor may look like it’s made from Victorian tiles but if you look closely you will see the floor is actually made of 72 Encaustic tiles each one containing a regular pattern. Encaustic tiles have more in common with Ceramic tiles than Victorian and are actually made using layers of cement where are often hand painted with patterns which and hydraulically pressed into the surface.

Encaustic Tiled Hallway Padgate Before Cleaning Encaustic Tiled Hallway Padgate Before Cleaning

The tiled floor was actually floor found hiding under the hallway carpet by the new owners of the house which is in Padgate near Warrington. Were not sure of the age of the tiles but suspect they may be 100 years old. Certainly, Padgate has many older houses so they could be although it’s mainly known for its large RAF base during the 2nd world war.

Encaustic tiles are porous and so need to be sealed to protect them from dirt becoming ingrained in the floor. However, hallway floors get a lot of foot traffic which over time wears down the sealer until it becomes so thin and patchy it’s no longer effective. As a result, you need to regularly top up the sealer or every three to four years it will need to be stripped off and reapplied.

Deep Cleaning the Encaustic Tiled Floor

You can see from the pictures that the tiles were in good physical shape but had accumulated a lot of dirt which was especially visible near the front door. As I mentioned earlier Encaustic tiles being made from cement and need to be sealed in order to protect them from dirt becoming in trapped in the pores of the tile.

Encaustic Tiled Hallway Padgate Before Cleaning

These tiles would need a deep penetrative clean to extract the dirt, so my first course of action was to apply a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean across the floor and left it to soak into the tiles for ten minutes. Pro-Clean is a very effective alkaline product that’s safe to use on tile, stone and grout and is designed for tile cleaning. It was then worked into the tile using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a floor buffing machine and the soiled cleaning solution extracted off the floor with a wet vacuum.

I then used a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads to restore the surface or the encaustic tiles starting with the 400 and 800 grit pads and lubricated with a little water. This also dealt with other deposits on the floor left behind from the carpet. I rinsed the floor with water to remove the slurry and then finished the burnishing process by applying the 1500 and 3000 grit pads to really restore the shine to the tiles.

Sealing the Encaustic Tiled Hallway Floor

To seal the floor and grout I applied Tile Doctor colour grow which is an impregnating sealer that enhances colour and soaks into the pores of the encaustic tile to protect it from dirt becoming ingrained into the tile in future. Any sealer not taken up by the pores of the tile is rubbed off afterwards.

Encaustic Tiled Hallway Padgate After Cleaning Encaustic Tiled Hallway Padgate After Cleaning

The transformation was quite remarkable and as you can imagine my customer was over the moon when he returned from work.
 
 
Source: Encaustic Tile Cleaning and Renovation Service in Cheshire

Deep Cleaning an Unsealed Encaustic Cement Floor

This very old Encaustic tiled flooring was uncovered at a property in Chester when the present owners started to undertake renovation. They removed the carpets and vinyl tiles from the hallway, revealing the Encaustic tiles to find that they were in truly horrific condition. This included being covered by heavy dirt, dust and, in some parts, by a sticky black bitumen.

Encaustic tiles are made out of compressed cement, and were commonly used in properties built during the Edwardian and Victorian period. This gives us a good idea of just how old these tiles are – but the owners were keen to see what Tile Doctor could do to restore their condition.

Encaustic tiled hallway before restoration in Chester Encaustic tiled hallway before restoration in Chester

Cleaning Extremely Dirty Encaustic Cement Tiles

The black bitumen was my main concern when it came to cleaning the tiles. To remove this, along with all the other dirt and dust, our powerful cleaner for heavy soil buildup, known as Tile Doctor Remove and Go, was applied.

The product, which is also effective for removing adhesive and paint stains, was worked into the tiles then left to dwell for thirty minutes, before being scrubbed with a black pad fitted to a rotary machine. The resulting cleaning residue was soaked up with a wet vac machine. This cleaning process was repeated once more over to get the tiles as clean as possible, before leaving them to dry overnight.

Sealing Encaustic Cement Tiles

The next day, damp readings were taken to make sure the floor was dry enough to seal. It’s essential to take damp readings before sealing – especially with old tiled floors that may not have a damp proof membrane installed – as even the slightest amount of excess moisture can damage the performance of the sealer.

Two types of sealer were used in this situation. First to be applied was a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating, colour intensifying sealer which enhances the best shades in the tiles. Following this, four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go were applied. This is a topical sealer, which means it builds a layer of protection on the surface of the floor, while also providing an aesthetically pleasing low-sheen finish.

The customer was over the moon at the end result. At first the floor looked to be with a lost cause, but with the right cleaning methods and products it has been a restored to a standard where it almost appears new. Another satisfied customer!

Encaustic tiled hallway after restoration in Chester Encaustic tiled hallway after restoration in Chester

 
 
Source: Encaustic Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Cheshire

Encaustic Cement Bathroom Tiles Burnished and Sealed

I’m often asked if you should seal a tile before grouting and the answer is a definite yes, and this Encaustic Cement tiled bathroom floor installation in Stockport is a great example as to why. The tiles had not been sealed before grouting and then, once the tiler went to grout the newly installed tiles with a grey grout, the colour ran into the tiles, staining them and leaving them looking grubby and dirty. Had the tiles been sealed it would of made the process of removing the grout from the surface of the tile much easier.

If you haven’t come across them before Encaustic cement tiles are often hand painted and are available in a range of beautifully artistic patterns, so it was a real shame that these tiles were allowed to be spoilt by an avoidable mistake. As you can imagine, the property owner was keen to have the tiles professionally restored, and she contacted me to get the job done. I took some photographs but I’m not sure that they do justice to the problem.

Encaustic Cement Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Stockport

Burnishing and Sealing Encaustic Cement Tiles

Rather than use a liquid cleaning product, I opted to use diamond encrusted handheld burnishing pads to remove the grout stains. Our burnishing system comprises four pads of varying grits. I started with the Coarse grit burnishing pads applying to the tiles it with a small amount of water as lubricant to grind down the grubby marks. Following this I worked my way through the system, applying Medium, Fine and Very Fine pads to gradually restore the appearance of the floor. Once the burnishing process has been completed I rinsed the tiles and then accelerated the drying process using a heat gun to prepare them to be sealed.

Sealing Encaustic Cement Tiles

Removing any excess moisture before sealing is essential as even a small amount can cloud the sealer and prevent it from properly protecting the tiles from dirt and stains. Once satisfied that the floor was dry, I proceeded to seal it using Tile Doctor Colour Grow. As an impregnating sealer Colour Grow penetrates deep into the pores of the stone to fill them and thus prevent dirt from becoming ingrained. Colour Grow’s colour intensifying properties also really accentuated the patterns of the Encaustic Cement tiles.

Encaustic Cement Floor Tiles After Cleaning Stockport

Now that these fantastic tiles have been properly sealed it will be far easier for the customer to keep them clean in future. Needless to say, she was very happy with the result. We recommend topping up your sealer on a regular basis to ensure problems like those which occurred here do not damage the appearance of your tiles.
 
 
Source: Encaustic Tiled Floor Cleaning Service in Surrey

Old Encaustic Tiled Floor Restored in Fulham

I had an inquiry from a client in Fulham, who was representing the residents of an old building. The building had recently undergone redecoration and in the hallway, they had removed a thirty year old carpet to discover an original encaustic tiled floor underneath which turned out to be 102 years old.

Old Encaustic Floor Fulham Before Cleaning 1 Old Encaustic Floor Fulham Before Cleaning 2

As you can see from the photographs the floor was extremely dirty and covered in lots of glue and paint from the carpet and decorations. Naturally they were keen to have it restored and brought back to life. Given the condition of the tile and the age I to set their expectations and told them that although I was confident of making a big difference to the floor I couldn’t give any guarantees. I gave them my quotation and although it was slighter higher than what they had I mind, it was still less than other quotations that they had received and were also considering the option of replacing the carpet.

After a couple of days I received a call asking me to go ahead with the work and I booked it in.

Encaustic Tiled Floor Cleaning

My approach to the job was to initially spray a mixture of Tile Doctor Remove and Go combined with Tile Doctor NanoTech UltraClean which creates a powerful tile safe coatings remover with tiny abrasive particles that aid the cleaning process.

I left this to dwell on the tile for about fifteen minutes before scrubbing it in using a black scrubbing pad on my rotary machine. This approach removed some glue and a lot of old grime so I then sprayed down more Remove and Go and also used a steamer to loosen the remaining glue and paint. This process was repeated a section at a time until at the end of the day I gave the whole are a thorough rinse before packing away my equipment and leaving it to dry.

Encaustic Tiled Floor Sealing

I returned three days later and carried out a test with my moisture meter to make sure that the floor was dry enough to seal. The meter confirmed it was dry so I then sealed the floor using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that really brings out the colour in the tiles.

Old Encaustic Floor Fulham After Cleaning 3 Old Encaustic Floor Fulham After Cleaning 4

And as you can see the floor is transformed and now I have some happy residents who are really pleased that they opted to have the old floor cleaned instead of replacing the carpet. Not to mention that restoring such an original feature has probably added value to their investment as well.

Old Encaustic Floor Fulham Before and after Restoration 5

 
 
Source: Stone and Tiled Encaustic Cleaning Floor Service in Surrey

Cleaning Encaustic Kitchen Floor Tiles in Beckenham

On a visit to a customer to a customer in Beckenham, Kent who had a pair of rugs that needed cleaning I was asked to take a look at her Encaustic kitchen floor tiles which had become dull and she couldn’t keep them clean. I carried out a demonstration on how I would clean them and also explained the different sealer options available and how each sealer can have a different effect. She was pleased with the demonstration and engaged me to clean the tiles as well as the rugs specifying a sealer that would leave a sheen on the tile.

Encaustic Floor Tiles Before Cleaning

Cleaning black Porcelain floor tiles

I set about scrubbing the floor using a hot water dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean Tile and Grout cleaner combined 50:50 with NanoTech UltraClean which adds tiny abrasive particles to the solution to make a more effective cleaning product. The solution was worked into the tiles by scrubbing with a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad and a stiff hand brush was used along the tight grout lines. The soiled solution was removed using a wet vacuum and floor thoroughly rinsed down with clean water. The tiles were then left to dry with the aid of a Turbo Air blower to help speed up the drying time.

Encaustic Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Encaustic Floor Tiles Before Cleaning

Sealing Encaustic Floor Tiles

Once the tiles were dry I applied five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water based protective sealer that doesn’t give off any odour and produces a nice low sheen the customer was looking for.

Encaustic Floor Tiles After Cleaning

The final result was one happy customer with a clean easy to maintain tiled floor and two clean rugs as well.
 
 
Source: Stone and Tiled Encaustic Tile Cleaning Service in Surrey