This client from Hackney had started a DIY tiling job using modern Encaustic Cement tiles on an external balcony. The COVID-19 lockdown had just taken effect and it seemed like a great opportunity to get a few DIY projects done. Although it started off well, she began to struggle when having to cut the edging tiles and corners so was forced to leave the tiling incomplete and un-grouted. Furthermore, she had attempted to seal the tiles, but this had somehow caused the tiles to go milky white. Encaustic tiles date back to medieval times and have been popular in the UK since the nineteenth century and have become extremely popular here in the last few years.
Concerned the whole project would need ripping up and starting again she contact Tile Doctor and I arranged a visit to the property to assess the tiling and see if the project it could be rescued. Since the COVID-19 epidemic began we have adopted new working practices such as more PPE and Social Distancing to allow us to continue working.
We test cleaned the sealer and found the application of a 400-grit diamond pad was the best way to clean off the sealer and renovate the tile. Additionally, we had been asked to complete the tiling project which was approx. 24m2. The job would therefore entail tiling, cleaning, and sealing so it took a little while to calculate the quote which was accepted.
Cleaning/Repairing an Encaustic Cement Tiled Balcony
There was a lot of work to do and so I teamed up with fellow Tile Doctor Andrew Newstead for this job working as a two-man team. It took three days to complete the tiling and the grouting, then we returned the following week to allow the adhesive and grout to fully dry over the weekend.
The next step was to clean the area the customer had previously laid and sealed to remove the old sealer that had damaged the colour and look of the tiles. For this we used water and a series of 400, 800 and 1500-grit diamond pads. This gradually removed the sealer and brought the tiles back to a more natural finish. We suspect the reason her tiles went milky was she hadn’t buffed off the excess sealer but luckily, we were able to fix it.
Sealing an Encaustic Cement Tiled Balcony
We then returned for one more morning, buffed tiles with a 3000-grit pad to further enhance their appearance and then seal with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that improves colour and works by soaking into the pores of the tile preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there.
I’m pleased to say the whole job went smoothly and our client was pleased (see feedback below) that they could finally use their balcony which I’m sure has been in constant use since.