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How to Put a Shine on Encaustic Tiles? An Expert’s Cleaning & Restoring

Retro encaustic floor tiles in need of cleaning

Encaustic tiles are considered bold and beautiful whether you lay them on a floor or a wall. Handcrafted in a variety of colorful patterned designs, they are a vintage trend and are becoming popular these days. 

While traditional encaustic tiles are made of clay, modern-day versions are manufactured with cement. However, they are extremely absorbent and porous. It means you have to take good care of them. Read on to find out how you can put a shine and keep the tiles in perfect condition.

What is the best way to clean encaustic tiles?

As mentioned above, encaustic tiles are porous and have absorbing capabilities. So, you need to clean them in the same way as a natural stone. As a result, you cannot use any kind of abrasive or acidic cleaners. Also, you should stay from products that contain bleach. 

Lookout for cleaners that contain a pH-neutral solvent that is specifically designed for terrazzo floors and natural stone. You can get these kinds of cleaners in most tile stores or from an online store. However, make sure that you follow the instructions as directed by the company. 

Because encaustic tiles are an expensive investment, you don’t want them to get damaged through improper cleaning. Hence, it is wise to carry out a test on a clean tile that hasn’t been laid out yet. Or, you can experiment on a small section in your home. That way, you can find whether or not there are issues. 

Clean encaustic tiles the right way

The best way to clean dirty or stained encaustic tiles is by using water and mild detergents. Besides, you can use proprietary tile cleaners that are recommended for encaustic floor tiles. Because these tiles are good at absorbing things, keep in mind never to soak them. 

Moreover, when you are about to clean them, remember never to soak them. When you use water to clean the tiles, try to control their spread. That way, you can use a wet towel and leave it on the floor overnight. Using this technique will help you achieve effective cleaning. 

When it comes to removing stubborn stains, you can use nylon scourers. But don’t use abrasive materials like wire brushes or something else to clean the tiles. One good reason why you shouldn’t leave the encaustic floor tiles too wet is that they tend to develop efflorescence. 

It is a kind of salty deposit that’s white. Also, a similar thing can happen to the floors when they have non-breathable coverings. Never think about washing off the efflorescence with any kind of liquid. That’s because the salts will penetrate the tiles again. 

So, the best technique to get rid of them is to vacuum or brush them away. Moreover, if you want to keep the tiles in great condition, vacuum or sweep the floor surface regularly. Also, it is important to replace or repair damaged or missing tiles. 

How to deep clean encaustic floor tiles

In general, you need to deep clean when a surface accumulates hard-to-remove deposits or ingrained stains. So, whenever your encaustic floor tiles have stubborn, deep stains such as paint, cement, or glue, you need to have a thorough deep clean. To put the shine back on these stain-ridden tiles, you need something extra.

Take a sharp blade, abrasive scouring pads, and suitable chemicals to loosen the stains and remove them effectively. Besides, many experts tend to use a scraper that helps them remove paint spots from encaustic floor tiles. So choose one that helps you keep the blade at a favorable angle.

That way, you don’t have to worry about gouging or scratching the surface accidentally. When it is about removing adhesives or glue, you can use a paint stripper. After that, you can complete the task by applying white spirit to the surface. To remove oil, grease, general grime, wax, or old polishes, an alkaline stripper might resolve the issue. 

When it comes to removing cement from these tiles, you can use hydrochloric acid in moderation. However, before heading out with these cleaning solutions you need to carry out small tests to make sure that you have found the best method of cleaning the tile’s surface. 

Besides, wear protective gear and follow the instructions the right way to avoid unfavorable circumstances. Start the cleaning process with a manageable area and don’t try to do everything in one step. Treat a portion of the floor with each cleaning process. That way, you can have similar results across the floor. 

How to finish encaustic floor tiles effectively

After you have cleaned the tiles by following the right procedure, it is time for you to finish them effectively. Unglazed tiles are left unfinished most of the time. For the ground floor tiles that don’t have a damp-proof membrane, never apply an impregnator or sealant. 

Or else, you will help the tiles trap moisture. However, if you want a little shine over the tiles, you can apply liquid beeswax to the tiles by using a soft cloth. There is no denying that encaustic tiles last for a long time after it has been finished well. 

How to maintain encaustic floor tiles

After you have repaired any damage or have undergone a robust cleaning process, you have to take important steps to maintain the same and prevent the tiles from getting damaged shortly. 

Although floor tiles require less maintenance, debris and grit can cause significant damage. And, staining can result from the elements that stand on the floor for some time. Here are some steps to handle the situation.

  • Vacuum or sweep the floor regularly 
  • Use doormats to trap dirt and moisture before it makes its way to the floor tiles
  • Never forget to wipe up spills properly 
  • Use pads under metal objects that stand on the tiles to avoid rust marks on them
  • Don’t use rubber-backed carpets because they trap moisture and cause sweating that leaves marks on the tiles. It is better to keep them exposed or cover them partially with mats made from jute or seagrass
  • Protect the tiles by covering them with hardboard of plywood sheets during any kind of building work

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