Removing Grout Smears and Cleaning Encaustic Cement Tiles in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire

The photographs on this page are of Encaustic Cement tiles where the grout had not been wiped off the surface properly after being laid. This in turn allowed dirt to become easily trapped and they soon became grubby. We see this problem a lot at Tile Doctor where it is commonly referred to has Grout Smears or Grout Haze. The customer from Chipping Norton had tried to remove it themselves without success and decided to give us a call.

Encaustic Cement Tiles Before Cleaning in Chipping Norton

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. Being cement based however they do need to be sealed for best results.

Burnishing and Sealing Encaustic Cement Tiles

To remove the grout and dirt and restore the look of the tiles I opted to use diamond encrusted burnishing pads. Tile Doctor supply a set of these pads comprising of four pads of increasing grits. I started with the coarse 400-grit burnishing pads running it over the floor with a rotary floor machine and lubricated with a small amount of water. Following this I worked my way through the system, applying Medium 800-grit and Fine 1500-grit pads rinsing off the slurry generated in-between and extracting with a wet vacuum.

The last Very Fine, 3000-grit pad is applied dry with only a little water spayed onto the floor using a process we call a “Spray Burnish”. This really refines the look of the tiles and usefully leaves them dry. This process took up the whole morning and the next step would be to seal the tiles, so I went for lunch at this point to give the tiles more time to dry.

Sealing Encaustic Cement Floor Tiles

To be sure they were dry I tested the floor with a damp meter, the readings were fine, and I was satisfied I could go ahead and apply the sealer.

To seal the tiles, I used two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, this is an impregnating sealer that penetrates and occupies the pores of the tile thus prevent dirt from becoming ingrained there. Colour Grow also leaves a matt finish which is ideal for this type of tile.

Encaustic Cement Tiles After Cleaning in Chipping Norton

With the grout and dirt removed and a sealer in place to protect them this floor will be much easier for the customer to keep them clean in future.

Get the Encaustic Look

If you like the look of Encaustic tiles but don’t want the hassle of having to maintain them it’s worth looking at their equivalent in Glazed Porcelain which are very low maintenance. CTD have a Cuban and Havana range which are inspired by the intricate geometric shapes found in Encaustic tiles, both are made from Glazed Porcelain which doesn’t need to be sealed and are therefore very low maintenance. CTD have over 100 tile shops in the UK and you can also buy on-line or order free samples via their website: www.CTDTiles.co.uk

 

Source: Encaustic Cement Tile Cleaning and Sealing Service in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire

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