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