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Commercial Flooring News

Caring For Encaustics

Lisa Breakspear, of Fila UK, explains what is involved in caring for encaustic tiles: 
ENCAUSTIC tiles are currently enjoying a real resurgence. Having previously been covered over, original encaustics are now being lovingly restored.
New designs are also available, many staying true to the traditional earthy colour-scheme, with the occasional splash of blue or green.
Rather than having a patterned surface glaze, an encaustic’s pattern is inlaid in different coloured clays, so it never fades. This fabulous composition is part of its appeal.
But encaustics can be very sensitive, because they’re generally unglazed and are very porous in nature.
Maintenance isn’t hard, but suitable products will need to be used, to protect the surface.
With new installations, encaustic tiles should be pre-sealed before grouting, to protect against ingress, and also from grease that can imprint from the hands during fixing.
The product we recommend is FilaFOB, developed to enter the porosity of the material and provide protection, without altering appearance or forming a surface film.
After fixing, any grout and polymer residues should be removed with a suitable alkaline detergent before applying a further coat of impregnator to prevent oil and stain damage.
Wax can also be applied to enhance appearance and to provide a further layer of protection against spillages.
After installation, a neutral cleaning solution should then always be used, to ensure maximum performance from the impregnator.
A similar regime should be adopted for restoration of original encaustics and all cleaning products should be carefully chosen, in conjunction with any applicable conservation policies.
The surface will need to be thoroughly cleaned with an alkaline solution before application of any protectors.
Often, tiles may need to be lifted and regrouted and the surface will, once again, need presealing for protection.
Any fixing residues will then need to be removed as mentioned above, before an impregnator is applied. www.filachim.com

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.