This enquiry came from a prestigious hotel outside Honiton (North of Sidmouth), they were concerned about the appearance of the Black and White floor tiles in one of their luxury bathrooms.
I visited the hotel to survey the floor tiles and could see the tiles were Encaustic and heavily soiled as described. Unlike Ceramic tiles encaustic’s need to be sealed to prevent the build-up of dirt becoming ingrained in the tile. In this case the sealer had worn off with wear and probably the use of strong cleaning products, without the sealer in place the tiles had become discoloured.
I knew the problem could be resolved and so informed the manager there would be no need to pull the floor up and replace just before the season was about to start. She was very relieved to hear this and pleased that we could resolve the problem relatively easily and quickly.
Deep Cleaning Encaustic Floor Tiles
To restore the appearance of the encaustic tiles I applied a set of Tile Doctor’s Diamond encrusted Burnishing Pads. Starting with the 400-grit pad fitted to a weighted rotary machine I cut the surface of the tile down whilst lubricating with water during the process. Just enough is removed to get past the staining allowing the original, uniform colours to come back up.
Rinsing and extracting with the wet vacuum after each pad I moved through the series of pads onto the 800 and 1500-grit pads again using water to lubricate. It was then time for a light clean using a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to lift out all the remaining slurry and dirt in and around the tiles and joints.
I then put several fan’s on to assist the floor drying before using a spray burnish technique to finish the floor. This is where a small amount of water is sprayed onto the tiles and then a very fine 3000-grit polishing diamond pad fitted to a rotary machine is run over the floor. This process helps reinstate a good level of sheen to the tiles.
Sealing an Encaustic Tiled Shower Room Floor
The following day I returned to seal the tiles first checking the floor had completely dried out. To do this I take several moisture readings using a damp meter. The readings were fine so I was satisfied the tiles were ready to accept a sealer.
To seal Encaustic tiles, I selected Tile Doctors robust colour enhancing sealer called Tile Doctor X-Tra Seal. This will be particularly good for high traffic use and will stand up to the wear and tear in a hotel bathroom.
The hotel manager was extremely happy with the results and even more so with the fact the hotel doesn’t need to replace the floor at large cost and has insisted she book me back in periodically to work through the other bathrooms/shower-rooms which are all also tiled with encaustic tiles. I also took time to advise the use of Neutral Tile cleaner for the regular cleaning of the encaustic floor tiles, it’s an effective but mild tile cleaner that’s safe to use on sealed tiles.
As much of our business comes from recommendations and repeat clients, this type of work is invaluable to us, we were delighted we could help, now they are ready for the busy holiday season.