Taking care of Encaustic Tiles – Antique & New

Encaustic tiles don’t really need any special care which is why they are so easy to maintain and it’s what makes them a great flooring or wall covering choice. A simple wipe down with a non-acidic flooring cleaner such as Natural Stone & Porcelain After Care Cleaner from EcoProTec is really all that’s needed and at a frequency depending on high traffic use.

If you are lucky enough to have bought a property and inherited a floor or area with wonderful old encaustic or terracotta tiles then here are our tips on how to bring them back to life:

  1. Use a product like Intensive Tile Cleaner by EcoProTec.
  2. For stubborn areas a light sanding with a fine sandpaper normally does the job using an orbital sander. Sanding in a circular motion does not scratch the tile.
  3. At the other end of the restoration spectrum your tilescan be ground down to reveal their original colours; pretty much as they appeared on the day they were first originally laid.For this you will need to use a higher-grade sandpaper to remove more of the surface dirt and the tiles will also need to be resealed afterwards.

It’s always a good idea to apply a quality sealer to tiles after cleaning.

Encaustic/cement tiles are micro porous like any natural stone/marble etc and require sealing. We recommend products like Natural Stone Sealer from EcoProTec which will impregnate the tile and prevent them from staining.  

Applying sealant is very quick to do and can be applied with a roller or brush. A quick tip is, once your tiles have been cleaned apply a small amount of sealant to clean water and then mop/wipe on, then allow to dry – this will have topped up the protection on your tiles. Resealing should be done every 12/16 months.

You can also choose a colour-enhancing sealant if desired, again from EcoProTec, and equally if you prefer a sheen finish to your tiles then you can apply a sheen wax.

Look after your grouting.

After cleaning the tiles if the grouting has become particularly dirty you can clean this with a product called Grimex from LPT which is safe to use with encaustic tile. Whilst resealing your tiles, you will naturally be resealing the grout as well (which is also micro porous).

What’s best to avoid when cleaning your antique tiles.

Avoid using any abrasive cleaning materials which could scratch the surface of the tiles, do not use bleach and most importantly avoid acidic cleaning products completely. A wire brush is also one to avoid as it will permanently scratch the tiles, a softer brush or cloth is better with a good cleaning agent.

One of the key important elements to remember when laying encaustic tiles is that the adhesive must be completely dry before cleaning otherwise moisture could get trapped in the tile causing residue to surface. This is the most common mistake made.

Another tip is if you are using tiles as a surround to your cooking range or oven where potentially fat and cooking spills will stain the tiles you are advised to seal those tiles between 4 to 5 times before adhering to the wall.

Encaustic tiles have been admired and used for many years world-wide. They are a stunning addition to any home and a treasured find to unearth when renovating an old property.