Restoring the Appearance of Encaustic Cement Tiles in Chipping Norton

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

 

Restoring the Appearance of Grubby Encaustic Cement Tiles in Oxfordshire

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Limestone Tiled Floor with Grout Haze Cleaned in Clipston


These photos are of a Limestone tiled floor which was installed in the Kitchen approximately at a property in the small parish of Clipston, which is close to the towns of Market Harborough and Daventry, three years ago. The customer was never very happy with it since it was laid as it never seemed to look clean asked me to cover over and work out what could be done.

On my initial visit I soon realised that the installer had not cleaned off all the grout from the tiles before applying the sealer. This effectively trapped the grout under the sealer and gave the whole floor a dirty appearance, this explained the problem the customer was frustrated with as she could never ever seem to get the floor looking clean.

Limestone Floor With Grout Haze Before Cleaing Clipston

This issue is known as Grout Haze or Grout Smears and is a problem we often come across where the floor has been laid without the excess grout residue being completely polished off the tiles after the grouting. Some manufacturers recommend the tiles are sealed before grouting to make it easier to polish the grout off later. After discussing how we could remedy this I issued a quote which the customer accepted, and we scheduled the work to be done.

Limestone Floor With Grout Haze Before Cleaning Clipston

Removing Grout Haze from Limestone Kitchen Tiles

I arrived on site on the arranged date, as it was a painted kitchen it was not possible to mask up the units, so I used a small hand-held polishing machine fitted with a six inch 400-grit burnishing pad to carefully clean around the edges and break through the sealant. This process was then repeated with a larger seventeen inch 400-grit burnishing pad fitted to a floor polishing machine throughout the rest of the area.

Once the original sealant had been removed using the burnishing pad the next step was to remove the Grout Haze by given the floor an acid wash with Tile Doctor Acid Gel. Being a gel, this product is easier to control than a liquid and sits on the surface where it’s needed to break down the unsightly Grout Haze. It’s left to dwell for a short period before being worked in with a special brush that is designed for this purpose. The resulting slurry is then removed with a professional wet pick up machine and the floor given a rinse with water to remove any trace of the product.

After treating the Grout Haze my next step was to refine the surface of the Limestone using a medium 800-grit and fine 1500-grit diamond encrusted burnishing pad which are applied with water and restore the polished appearance of the stone. The floor is rinsed with more water between the application of each pad to remove the slurry that is generated and then dried with the wet pickup machine.

Sealing a Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor

I returned the following day to buff the tiles with a white polishing pad as the customer didn’t want a high shine finish which is normally achieved with the 3000-grit diamond burnishing pad, this gave a low sheen honed look as the customer had requested. The floor was then sealed with two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which is a natural look sealer that and will protect the newly restored and polished tiles going forward.

Limestone Floor With Grout Haze After Cleaning Clipston

The customer was very happy with the results and has left the following positive feedback on our website.

‘Professional, floor looks much better’ – Vicki S, Clipston

I gave the customer some tips on maintenance and a complimentary bottle of Tile Doctor Stone Soap to enable her to keep the floor looking its best, this product is designed for the regular cleaning of polished stone floors and is pH neutral, so it won’t prematurely degrade the sealer.

Limestone Floor With Grout Haze After Cleaning Clipston

 

Professional Restoration of a Limestone Tiled Kitchen Floor in Northamptonshire



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