My Big Learning Curve About Historic Tile. Part 3.



How cool is this!!!!!!!!!!! The back of one of my 1894 tiles!



We have started work to repair the damaged corner of the Marble Bath on the first floor. John Maddox, who is doing the work, is SO excited to be working with such cool old flooring. Blessedly, the Cross House has this effect on people. Oh, those beat-up shoes? Mine. And I am in them.



John and I wet one corner. This is sorta how the floor will look cleaned and sealed. The colors will pop, man, pop!



Step One in restoring the floors? I need to send extant tiles to Olde English Tiles, and they will make new matching tiles. This seems rather like a miracle, but they assure me that this is what they do.



This is the main WEST vestibule, and with more porcelain geometric tiles by the American Encaustic Tiling Company. The floor is remarkably intact (for being 120-years-old) but is REALLY dirty. In a few months, if all goes well, I should be able to post an AFTER image which will take your breath away. And mine. And John’s.



The SOUTH vestibule features five encaustic tiles, surrounded by porcelain geometric tiles. The whole center field was at some point taken up and reset and repaired. While not a first-class repair job, it seems amazing that the floor was repaired rather than replaced. Thank God. For this I am deeply grateful to some long-ago flooring person. This year, we will take up the center field and properly restore the floor.



The NORTH vestibule. Again, the center field was reset/repaired at some point. Today, I can just lift up tiles. This floor will also be restored this year. Whoee!


A week ago I had no idea, none, that the 120-year-old porcelain geometric flooring in the Cross House, supplied by the American Encaustic Tiling Company, could be properly restored, and missing tiles recreated. No idea.

My elation is considerable regarding this new-found knowledge.

My anticipation is great regarding the results!


  1. Sandra G. McNichol on February 20, 2015 at 5:49 am

    Very cool! What are your thoughts on how are you going to go about cleaning the dirty tiles? I had very good luck using a bucket of hot water and Oxyclean powder, and scrubbing with a nylon bristle brush, and rinsing often…?

  2. Colin Boss on December 31, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    Hi Ross. I have had good results using copious amounts of bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar poured on top and then use the end of a steam wallpaper steamer as a sort of mop to make it all ‘fizz’. The dirt comes out of the pores of the tile and does no damage, allowing for sealing afterwards.I normally just use wax polish to do this. If you find some of the tiles need colouring,traditional wax shoe polish is great for touching up black or brown hues.

    • Ross on January 1, 2017 at 8:42 am

      Cool! I will try that! Thanks, Colin!

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