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.
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.
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