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 South Middlesex

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.

Encaustic Cement Floor Tile Grout Before After Renovation Twickenham

Encaustic Tiled Bathroom Floor Renovated Twickenham

The pictures below are of an Encaustic Cement tiled floor that had been installed in the bathroom of a property in Twickenham. At the time the tiles were installed, they did not seal them and had since accumulated dirt, especially in the grout lines.

Encaustic Cement Bathroom Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Twickenham

Encaustic cement tiles have become extremely popular in the last few years with many beautiful artistic often geometric patterns available to choose from. The very nature of the cement-based tile however does make it slightly porous, and if left unsealed dirt will become ingrained in the tile making it difficult to remove and keep clean. Like grout they do therefore need to be sealed in order to keep them looking at their best for longer.

Encaustic Cement Bathroom Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Twickenham Encaustic Cement Bathroom Floor Tiles Before Cleaning Twickenham

Cleaning Encaustic Cement Tile and Grout

Now we normally recommend using diamond encrusted burnishing pads when renovating Encaustic Cement tiles however in this case the face of the tiles were not too bad and it was really the grout that needed the most attention. So, to cut the cost for customer, I advised a straightforward alkaline scrub clean and seal.

To clean the tile and grout I sprayed the floor with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and left it to soak into the dirt for ten minutes. Space in the bathroom was quite tight so instead of using a mechanical floor scrubber I scrubbed the tile and grout by hand working the alkaline cleaning solution into the pores to release the grout in dirt.

After scrubbing the floor was rinsed with a little water and the soil removed with a wet vacuum. Afterwards the floor was inspected, and any stubborn areas retreated with repeat of the process. After a final rinse, the floor was dried as much as possible with the wet vacuum.

Sealing Encaustic Cement Tiles

Fortunately, the weather has been amazing of late and so it did not take long for the floor to dry, being a small space and a little encouragement from a heat gun always helps. Removing excess moisture before sealing is essential as even a small amount can cloud the sealer resulting in an uneven appearance.

Once satisfied that the floor was dry, I proceeded to seal it by applying a couple two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow across the Encaustic tile and grout. As an impregnating sealer Colour Grow penetrates the pores of the cement occupying the space and thus prevent any dirt from becoming ingrained there. Colour Grow’s colour intensifying properties also helped to deepen the black colour of the tile enhancing the contrast between the tiles and grout.

Encaustic Cement Bathroom Floor Tiles After Cleaning Twickenham Encaustic Cement Bathroom Floor Tiles After Cleaning Twickenham

Now the floor has been properly sealed it will be far easier for the customer to keep them clean in future. For maximum longevity of the sealer I recommend maintenance cleaning with Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner. Don’t be tempted to use supermarket cleaning products without reading the label first, many are simply too strong for cleaning sealed surfaces and will strip off the sealer prematurely leaving the tiles unprotected.


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Victorian Encaustic Cement Floor Tiles Before After Renovation Twickenham

Neglected Victorian Encaustic Cement Hallway Renovated in Twickenham

This Encaustic Cement tiled floor dates to the Victorian period and was found under hallway carpet at a property in Twickenham. The tiles had been covered up for years with carpet and other floor coverings and although structurally intact their appearance had suffered from the neglect.

When the current owners discovered the pattered tiled floor, they were keen to restore it as a period feature, so they set about cleaning the tiles themselves. Unfortunately, they used some very harsh acidic products which badly pitted and etched the surface of the tile. In places, the tile pattern had started to disappear so when they got in contact, they were quite concerned.

Victorian Encaustic Cement Hallway Tiles Before Renovation Twickenham

Being based in Shepperton it wasn’t long before I was able to call in at the property to survey the Encaustic Cement tiles and quote for renovating the floor. The property was in a road with similar age properties, a lot still with lovely tiled Victorian porches and paths in fact we had carried out some work in the same street previously.

We advised the customer that the best course of action would be to deep clean the tiles to remove the years of ingrained dirt and then apply a sealer in order to protect the pores of the Encaustic Cement tiles from trapping ingrained dirt.

Victorian Encaustic Cement Hallway Tiles Before Renovation Twickenham

Now normally I would clean Encaustic Cement tiles with a set of burnishing pads and then seal with an impregnator like Tile Doctor Colour Grow. However, due to the damage caused by the DIY restoration I didn’t want to risk an abrasive cleaning process such as Burnishing on the tiles. After discussing the options, I recommend the best approach would be to deep clean the tiles with Tile Doctor Pro Clean which I was confident would improve their appearance. I would then seal the tiles to protect them from future damage whilst making the patterns much brighter and defined. We agreed a price and scheduled a date to start the work.

Deep Cleaning Victorian Encaustic Cement Tiles

Arriving on day one I applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, this is a strong alkaline cleaner that is safe to use on Tile and Stone. It was left to dwell for roughly ten minutes so it could soak into the pores of the cement tile and breakdown the ingrained dirt. I then ran over the tiles with a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer running at slow speed. This action released the dirt from the floor turning the cleaning solution into a slurry that was then extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum. The floor was then rinsed with water, then extracted again to remove remaining dirt.

Once the whole floor had been treated, I repeated the process for a second time to ensure all the dirt had been removed. After the second rinse the floor looked much better and was left overnight to dry off.

Sealing a Victorian Encaustic Cement Tiled Hallway Floor

Returning the following day, I checked the floor for excess moisture and was pleased to find everything was nice and dry. It’s important that the floor is dry before applying a sealer, so I was able to set about sealing the floor. Multiple thin coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go we applied which adds a lovely subtle sheen to the tiles. Five coats were applied allowing the tile to dry in between.

Victorian Encaustic Cement Hallway Tiles After Renovation Twickenham

As you can see from the pictures, the deep clean and fresh sealer has brought out the best in the floor and given it a new lease of life. The sealer should last for a good few years and there is very little evidence of the damage done previously. Needless to say, the client was very happy and much relieved.

Victorian Encaustic Cement Hallway Tiles After Renovation Twickenham


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