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West Kent Tile Doctor

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Encaustic Cement Tile Cleaning

Welcome to my Work History archive where you will find detailed examples of Encaustic Tile Cleaning and Renovation work carried out in Kent

Cleaning and Renovating Encaustic Tiles

Made from layers of cement modern production methods and stunning geometric designs have seen a resurgence in the popularity of Encaustic tiles of late. Traditionally these tiles were hand painted with patterns hydraulically pressed into the surface resulting in a large range of beautifully artistic tiles with some companies offering a bespoke design service. They are known for their durability making them a popular option for floors.

Like Ceramic, Encaustic tiles are generally very easy to clean and generally need little maintenance, however these tiles are generally micro-porous and so should be sealed to avoid dirt becoming ingrained in the tile which will make them difficult to clean. Once sealed make sure you only use a neutral pH cleaning product such as Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner to clean the tiles as stronger products (especially acidic) will reduce the life of the sealer.

If regular cleaning proves to have little impact its likely the sealer has worn down and dirt has penetrated the pores of the tile. If this is the case we recommend burnishing the Encaustic tiles with a set of diamond pads and then resealing with Tile Doctor Colour Grow which will enhance the colours in the tile.

Below you will find detailed examples of work we have carried out in the past, it should give you some idea of what’s involved and what can be achieved with the right techniques and products.

Stained Encaustic Shower Tiles Renovated in Forest Hill SE23

The client had recently moved into this property in Forest Hill SE23 and the previous owner had used a professional cleaning company to give the house a thorough clean prior to moving out. Unfortunately, they had used an aggressive acid based cleaner on the reclaimed encaustic tiles around the shower, causing white staining. I was contacted to see if it was possible to remove the stains and correctly seal the tiles to protect them.

Encaustic Shower Tiles Before Renovation SE23

I was pleased to tell them it was indeed possible to restore the tiles and we discussed how I would do this. I gave them my quote which they accepted, and we arranged a mutually convenient time to carry out the work. Encaustic tiles are quite unusual they were traditionally made from clay, but today, most modern versions of the tile are made using cement and are often referred to simply as cement tiles.

Cleaning and Restoring an Encaustic Tiled Shower

The first step was to scrub the tiles with a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, an alkaline cleaner that is safe to use on Encaustics. The solution was scrubbed into the tile to ensure any remaining soap scum and surface grime was removed. Once done the tiles were rinsed off with water and I moved onto the next of renovating the appearance of the tiles with a set of handheld burnishing pads.

These pads are made from industrial diamonds that clean and remove scratches renovating the surface and closing the pores of the stone. For general cleaning and honing I would normally start with a 400-grit, but with the staining on these tiles, I started with the 200-grit. Once I had gone over all the tiles with the 200-grit pad with water, I then repeated the process with the 400, 800 and 1500 and 3000 pads in sequence. The tiles were rinsed off after each pad and finally left to dry.

Sealing an Encaustic Tiled Shower

Once the tiles had dried it was time to apply a sealer that would further enhance their appearance and protect them. For this I chose to use Tile Doctor Colour Grow as it’s an impregnating, colour enhancing product. It works by soaking into the pores of the tile where dirt can collect, thus protecting it from within.

The sealer was applied thinly with a cloth to all the tiles and allowed to dry for 30 minutes before the next coat was applied. Due to the porosity of these tiles, I applied four coats until I was satisfied, they were fully sealed. Once the tiles were dry, I buffed them with a dry 3000 burnishing pad to leave them with an appealing satin sheen.

Encaustic Shower Tiles After Renovation SE23

The client was pleased with the result and I explained the best way to clean and maintain the tiles for the future would be to use Tile Doctor Aqua-Pro which is designed for use in bathrooms and gentle enough to use every day. They needed to avoid using strong household cleaners on these tiles otherwise the same issue would occur.

Professional Renovation of Encaustic Shower Tiling in Kent

Soiled Encaustic Tiled Bathroom Floor Deep Cleaned 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

Professional Encaustic Tiled Floor Renovation in Kent


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