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.
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.
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.
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.
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Never use a strong cleaning product or a steam cleaner for the regular cleaning of sealed tiles as this will reduce the life of the sealer. We recommend using a specialist cleaning product such as Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner or Stone Soap for the regular cleaning of sealed surfaces, if you do use another product always read the label first, most supermarket tile cleaners are only suitable for use on Ceramic or Vinyl tiles.
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