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Natural Stone & Porcelain Tile Help & Advice

Tile Haze, What To Do?

What should you do if you have a haze over the surface of the tiles? In this article, we’ll give you all the answers.

Generally, ‘haze’ occurs in three tiling installation situations:

  • Where polished porcelain or natural stone tiles haven’t been cleaned properly prior to sealing
  • Where grout hasn’t been removed from textured porcelain tiles
  • Naturally occurring ‘optical hazing’ on polished porcelain tiles

Cleaning Tiles Before Sealing

Polished porcelain tiles such as Stonestore’s regal Marmo Statuario, or natural stone tiles, such as our Jura Beige limestone, are both porous. During manufacture, transportation and installation, the tile’s pores are prone to filling up with dirt and grime.

If this isn’t removed with a suitable product such as LTPs Grimex, then boot prints, dust from cutting and grinding and general household dust, will be sealed in, resulting in a ‘hazy’ surface.

To protect against this, simply dilute LTP Grimex 1:10 with water. Wash down surfaces, rinse with water, and then leave overnight to dry before sealing. The result of this simple first step is deeper penetration of sealer, which will provide longer lasting protection, and make regular maintenance easier.

Removing Grout Haze

Modern production techniques allow porcelain tile manufacturers to produce amazingly realistic imitations of natural stone tiles, not only in design and colour, but in texture too. When grouting, if tiles aren’t thoroughly cleaned to remove residual grout then ‘grout haze’ forms.

Removing ‘grout haze’ is troublesome but can be resolved with the use of a purposeful product such as LTPs Grout Stain Remover, a rapid action cleaning agent for removing cement residues, grout stain, efflorescence and other similar deposits. LTP Grout Stain Remover isn’t suitable for natural limestone or marble tiles - LTP Grimex should be used on natural stone tiles and polished porcelain tiles.

Optical Hazing In Tiles

Optical hazing is a natural phenomenon mostly affecting polished porcelain. A polished porcelain tile is not a mirror finish - when the surface of a polished porcelain tile is examined under significant magnification, small micro facets are always found.

Light that strikes such micro facets reflects in a diffused manner giving a “halo” or “haze” effect and the amount of haze visible depends on several factors. For example, the number of light sources and their positions i.e. a single source of light would mean there would be a limited number of positions available to observe any haze.

The same surface when hit by a number of light sources will increase the amount of haze visible, because there are more opportunities to see the reflected light. Another example is direct sunlight shining through large windows and doors early in the morning - the large volume of sunlight will increase the amount of “haze” visible.

How To Reduce Optical Hazing

Optical hazing is not a defect, it is an inherent characteristic of the tiles stemming mainly from the mineral content and their manufacture. It has no effect on the technical performance of the tiles and no amount of cleaning, sealing or polishing will make a definitive difference to the appearance of the tiles due to this occurring during their manufacture. Optical hazing is not caused by any subsequent cleaning or treatment of the tiles surface.

Using a light coat of LTP MPG sealer may help to deepen the colour and fill some of the open micro–facets which are contributing to the refraction of light effect and therefore disguise the effect.

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