I’m often asked if you should seal a tile before grouting and the answer is a definite yes, and this Encaustic Cement tiled bathroom floor installation in Stockport is a great example as to why. The tiles had not been sealed before grouting and then, once the tiler went to grout the newly installed tiles with a grey grout, the colour ran into the tiles, staining them and leaving them looking grubby and dirty. Had the tiles been sealed it would of made the process of removing the grout from the surface of the tile much easier.
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, so it was a real shame that these tiles were allowed to be spoilt by an avoidable mistake. As you can imagine, the property owner was keen to have the tiles professionally restored, and she contacted me to get the job done. I took some photographs but I’m not sure that they do justice to the problem.
Burnishing and Sealing Encaustic Cement Tiles
Rather than use a liquid cleaning product, I opted to use diamond encrusted handheld burnishing pads to remove the grout stains. Our burnishing system comprises four pads of varying grits. I started with the Coarse grit burnishing pads applying to the tiles it with a small amount of water as lubricant to grind down the grubby marks. Following this I worked my way through the system, applying Medium, Fine and Very Fine pads to gradually restore the appearance of the floor. Once the burnishing process has been completed I rinsed the tiles and then accelerated the drying process using a heat gun to prepare them to be sealed.
Sealing Encaustic Cement Tiles
Removing any excess moisture before sealing is essential as even a small amount can cloud the sealer and prevent it from properly protecting the tiles from dirt and stains. Once satisfied that the floor was dry, I proceeded to seal it using Tile Doctor Colour Grow. As an impregnating sealer Colour Grow penetrates deep into the pores of the stone to fill them and thus prevent dirt from becoming ingrained. Colour Grow’s colour intensifying properties also really accentuated the patterns of the Encaustic Cement tiles.
Now that these fantastic tiles have been properly sealed it will be far easier for the customer to keep them clean in future. Needless to say, she was very happy with the result. We recommend topping up your sealer on a regular basis to ensure problems like those which occurred here do not damage the appearance of your tiles.