Another Encaustic Tile Thread - I Think I Just Found Some

LaurieMay 9, 2010

Friday, my BF peeled away the vinyl flooring in the kitchen of the house I just closed on this week and found gorgeous flooring underneath. House, was built around 1915 or so. Looks to be encaustic tile to us. Is it? This has changed our entire plan for the kitchen if it is.

The thought of getting rid of this treasure just kills us. Does anyone know of a resource we can contact to find out the proper way to clean this up to see if it is worth saving? The tile seems to have some moisture issues from all the years being covered but from what I understand that will come up. There are some cracks (lines, not chipping) in some of them. I kind of think if it's sealed properly this may not matter. And I don't mind the old appearance of it at all. Not the best material for a kitchen floor but I figured I could always get a gel mat to stand on where I do my prep work.

We already know we're going to need to figure out a way to work around it in some manner because it does not cover the entire floor - there was an addition done when a porch was enclosed and the flooring stops at that point. We thought perhaps we might take up some of it and put hardwood around the edges, making it appear more like a large rug in the room.

Any ideas? We're open to suggestions. It's completely changed everything in my color scheme if it can stay, cabinet choices, and backsplash.

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If it is set in a mortar bed like Sombreil said, it would be very hard to selectively remove it. I would consider filling in the missing area with something compatible and letting it be what it is. It would have to be done with a lot of thought, but I have seen it done.

There is a Beaux Arts hotel in my city that has a marble mosaic floor in the lobby, and at the time the hotel was renovated (late 80s?) the marble mosaic was not available, so there is infill of tile that is compatible. Now, of course the marble mosaic would be available again. It works in this commercial space, perhaps it could work in your kitchen.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 12:23PM
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How beautiful! What a great find!

Here in Florida, that is called "Cuban Tile" due to the prominence of the craftsmen who made it being from Cuba.
It was very common to find on porch floors, kitchens, bathrooms and as the tile surround for fireplaces.

Do not try to use products from Home Depot, Lowes, etc. as they generally are clueless as to what to use as many products can lighten the pigments used to color the tile. I ended up using a mild soap/water to clean my tile then a mixture of 50/50 boiled linseed oil and mineral spirits to revive the color and sheen.

There are some companies in Miami that still do this craft. I would start my research in that direction to get recommendations as to how to restore.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 12:38PM
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Yes, my BF was concerned about just using "anything" i.e.; going to a large commercial store such as Home Depot for advice.

I'm trying to do some research online to see if I can find anyone near my area (NJ/NY) who can help.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 2:47PM
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You should probably contact the folks at

They know a lot about cleaning and preserving encaustic tile.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 12:01PM
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Funny you should post that - I already contacted Villa Lagoon. They are probably going to be able to recreate the tile for me so that I can finish off the area in the kitchen where the tile is missing. We left it off that once my contractor takes a look at it next weekend, I'd send photos for them to assess the situation.

Great customer service - they got back to my email within minutes of me sending it.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 4:03PM
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What's happening with your floor? the floor I would kill for? I read on another thread the replacement cost was a bit steep.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2010 at 6:13PM
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Sadly, we can't keep it now.

For one thing, I found out the cost of matching the tile to the area which does not have it, would be approximately $2000. I never expected that, had no idea new encaustic tile was that much money let alone that wasn't even the price to exactly match it, just for some other encaustic tile in general - I never even got around to asking how much it would be for a special order. Once I found out the price of their stock line, that was that.

Aside from that anyway, when demolition began it really dinged up the edges of the existing tile rather badly. I had to take a hard look at the situation and when my BF even admitted that he felt it might be the wrong move to try and salvage it (he, I think, was more in love with it than I) I finally admitted defeat.

I am now on a quest to try and figure out the best material to float over the floor. I've been told that laying regular ceramic over is the easiest method but I really would prefer a wood floor to match the rest of the house. So - not sure yet what's going to happen.

Bummer for sure.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 2:21PM
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