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Tile and Stone Maintenance

Do You Have a Hazy or Cloudy Effect on Your Porcelain Tiles?

I said I would be back talking about problems and issues with porcelain tiles and here I am. This won’t be the final chapter either. Having had yet another call today on ‘cloudy marks’ on newly laid porcelain floor tiles I thought should bring it up as a blog topic.So, what is the problem? An increasing number of porcelain manufacturers are applying coatings to their tiles at the factory. This practice is predominant (but not restricted to) manufacturers in China and some other Eastern countries. Basically there are several types of coating that can be applied, from easy to remove waxes, to much more stubborn wax-type coatings and now even new ‘nano’ sealers.

The reason that these coatings are applied is two-fold; firstly, it is applied to the face of the tiles to help prevent damage caused during transit; (with the tiles being stacked against each other, they can scratch). Secondly, it is intended to provide a small degree of protection on site.

The problem is that the coatings need to be removed before or after grouting, but certainly upon completion (depends on the coating). This is where the problem arises, as it is not always easy to remove, and, furthermore if it is not removed it will leave the tile looking, dull, patchy, cloudy or hazy. Sometimes it is so bad it looks like grout staining.

Some large retailers have had so many issues that they now (finally) tell their customers that there is a wax and that it should be removed, although they do not seem to be too proficient at telling them how to remove the coatings.

In general terms, most of these coatings are a wax and typically they need removing before grouting. Some professionals prefer to leave the wax on whilst grouting but I have seen many problems with this, although the wax can help, it does not always prevent staining from grout. The grouting process itself can partially remove the wax and this does two things:

1. It leaves a patchy, partial wax coating and,
2. It means some grouts, especially the pigmented ones, can now stain the unprotected areas of the tile. So, my preferred system would be as follows:

1. Lay tiles
2. Remove wax
3. Apply a good quality impregnating sealer
4. Grout
5. When completely cured, apply final coat of the same sealer (this way you make sure the tile is properly sealed, and chances are, if it was waxed, it is the type of porcelain that needs sealing – plus, you also seal the grout.)

Next time I’ll talk about ways to remove the wax and also about Nano sealer residue.

Copyright Ian Taylor and The Tile and Stone, 2013. See copyright notice above.


  1. I have laid porcelain tiles. They came with a plastic on them like glad wrap. I removed the plastic and cleaned the tiles with a tile cleaner and then we sealed the tiles. The tiles have left marks on my floor from the trolley when we moved in three days after we sealed the tiles. We have since had the tiles we thought stripped and sealed again but the problem has come back. My tiles look terrible they always look dirty and dull nothing like they should. This has upset me i just don;t know what to do. I need help. These tiles have been such a problem that i sometimes reget not putting in polished floors instead, but i can;t do this now so I have to find a solution to my big problem. Please help me

  2. I Also had tiles with a glad rap type after grouting I had the tiles polished and then sealed. My tiles now also have a haze which looks terrible. Can anything be done to remove the haze or has the sealer locked in the haze? Any advice or help would be much appriciated. Thanks rudy

  3. I think that these problems whilst not exactly the same as the haze in the article, they are basically the same problem: – a deposit of somekind becoming trapped in the tiny micro pores.

    I would try some nanoscrub to see if you can remove the offending marks. If there are any resinous marks from the wrap material, you may need a combination of naonscrub and Sealer and Coating Remover (put the SCR down first, neat, leave for 30 minutes minimum, then add some nanoscrub and scrub well. Mop up the dirty solution then rinse. Come back and let us know how you get on.


  4. Dear Sirs,
    I would like to ask the following about Nano :
    1. please expalin the system it is laid in the factory :
    is it added during the production procees (+fire) ?
    is it added after the completion of the production process ?

    2. Should i leave the Nano on the tile or remove it ?

    3. if i have to remove it – should i use another sealer ? does it mean that the Nano is
    meant to be used temporarily ?

    4. if i do not have to remove it – what is the
    validity of the material ? should i renew it from time to time ? whith what material ?

    Thanks in advance.


  5. Hi Moti,

    This is an interesting question; I am assuming you are referring to the ‘nano sealers’ that are sometimes mentioned by porcelain manufactures. Unfortunately, the word ‘nano’ is a very over used word as marketers seem to think that just by sticking it into a product name it somehow makes it the product sound fantastic but often it can be misleading.

    Many sealers contain parts that could be described as nano-size – but is this nano-technology? – The answer is of course no but some companies may choose to make this claim for obvious marketing reasons. The real use of nanotechnology in most cases – is it’s affect on surface tension. For example Aqua Mix’s nano-scrub – most people automatically assume the nano refers to the size of the scrubbing particles – but this is not the case, the nanotechnology is evident in how the product is designed to get into smaller places, this is brought about through the use of nanotechnology to affect the surface tension. What this means is, the cleaner itself, or any cleaner it is added to is effectively ‘thinned’ by the nanoparticles – so it has the same kind of effect as a surfactant in a detergent. – It basically helps a liquid product to penetrate dense surfaces more easily.

    In a product like Nanoscrub – this is a real benefit and it adds a great boost to the product’s cleaning potential. But what is the use of nanotechnology in sealers? – Actually it is exactly the same – to help the liquid (in this case a sealer) penetrate the dense surface (in this case the porcelain). Getting a sealer into dense polished porcelain is one area where solvent based sealer’s still have a slight edge over water based ones (but this is changing as I speak) which is why Aqua Mix, a predominantly water based company, have a product called Ultra Solv. However when pre sealing at a factory, solvents are not welcome so they have to use a water base. As I have indicated, water based sealers find it harder generally to penetrate the porcelain, so the nanotechnology is added to help get over this.

    So in the case of sealers, the nanotechnology is only there to facilitate the application of the sealer – it does not affect the quality of the sealer in terms of its performance, so if it is a good sealer it will work well, if it is a not so good sealer, then the nano stuff just helps it get into the tile, it will still be a poor sealer.

    So, to your questions:

    1. The sealing is done at the factory so they can sell them to the customer with some sealer already in the tile.
    2. The sealing is not added before or during the firing process as this would simply burn it away. After the tile is made, but before it is packed the tile is coated with the sealer, then buffed and packed. So it is is just like a customer or tiler sealing it before it is installed.
    3. Should you leave it? – depends on how good your particular sealer is – some are better than others. Do a test; use some of the grout you are going to use, put it on the tile and leave it overnight, clean it off the next day, does it stain? Try a marker pen – does it leave a trace inside the tile? If the answer to either of those questions is yes then the sealer you have on your tile may not be that great. If it does seem to protect the tile then go ahead and install and grout. You can top up the sealer (especially for the benefit of the grout) after the grout has cured.
    4. Treat it like any other sealer, check it for stain resistance ever year and top it up if necessary.

    However, if you find it is not so great, then it can be a problem, the nanotechnology might actually work against you as it can be very hard to fully extract the sealer, this means it can be virtually impossible to get a better sealer in, in it’s place.

    Hope that helps


  6. To get rid of the cloudy/haze look,I put a Gloss/Sealer over porceline floor tile. The floor looked good, but it scratched easily. So, I tried many of the suggestions to remove it, ammonia, etc. w/out success. I had the floor professionally stripped. It returned the floor to it’s natural state! Absolutely no damage.

  7. I am looking to buy some black polished porcelain tiles for my kitchen floor, but I am so confused with all this sealing. One company i had a quote from said I dont have to seal there porcelain. Some say that it has already been done in the factory, others simply say I have to do it. Which tile is best to go for?

  8. Hi Kim, guess what; they are all correct. What I mean is there is no straightforward answer, here is a guide though:

    In the ‘early days’ of porcelain it was most likely true to say that porcelain did not require sealing but since then:
    Production has spread all over the world
    Competition has increased
    Quality has slipped
    More and more porcelain, of various qualities is supplied ‘polished’
    Polishing can open up micro pores that hold grout/dirt and other contaminants
    in an attempt to get over this, some (but by no means most) factories are now coating their porcelain with wax or new so-called nanosealers at the factory

    The problem is not all these sealers prevent staining and some create issues of their own. So these days it is not possible to state categorically that ‘porcelain needs to be sealed’ or ‘porcelain does not need to be sealed’ – in reality it depends on the particular porcelain.

    So ask the supplier of the particular porcelain you are considering buying for their manufacturers recommendations, get them to show you this in writing if they can, better still get a sample, take it home and try to stain it with red wine, a marker pen etc. See also if it feels waxy, use an alkaline detergent to clean a section and see if it is different as a result (showing that you have removed some wax).

    This way yo can determine if you need to seal it, and if you first need to strip it

    hope that helps


  9. We have nano polished porcelain tiles which do not look as good as we originally anticipated and expected. We have washed them time and time again with Easy Clean which is a general cleaner, degreaser and neutraliser but unfortunately there’s no improvement. Now we’re really desperate. What do you suggest.
    Your early response would be much appreciated.
    Thank you
    Stan Shawe

  10. HiStan,

    you don’t describe why they don’t look great (stains, dirty, dull, patchy etc) so it is a little hard to advise. By ‘nano porcelain’ I am assuming a polished porcelain that is presealed with a ‘nano’ sealer. This does not mean much, only that the tiles are sealed with a thin sealer that could penetrate the tiny micropores of the tile.

    We have seen plenty of this type of factory presealed porcelain that has a kind of coating on them (not transit wax, but sealer residue) and it can be pretty difficult or even impossible to remove. you could try an abrasive cleaner like Microscrub, or a solvent (like a stripper). Do yo have any photos?

    Hope this helps


  11. Hi Ian,
    I have just laid new tiles in a home I am renovating to sell and have used the same tiles in other rooms. Now I have just finished grouting and cleaning hte tiles in the bathroom and they have the cloudy effect that you describe above. We are looking to sell the home and do not want to go to massive expense is there a solution we can try ourselves that might help the look. The tiles are a pretty dark grey and so the cloud does stand out, we also used a coloured grout (lighter grey). Any suggestion would be appreciated. By the way fantastic blog.

  12. Hi Alec,

    I have described a pretty thorough routine to try in the article here

    Hope this helps.

    If not, suggest you contact A’nge Kokkaliaris at – he is very experienced in this field and I ammsure he can advise you


  13. Hi Ian We have a huge apology to make to you … so sorry we didn’t see that you had replied to our query in December last year. We will follow the advice you have given and will report back as soon as possible. The problem unfortunately is ongoing and is driving my wife crazy!!! The tiles always look patchy and hazy. That’s the only way I can describe them to you. Cleaning them is an exhausting exercise because they initially are mopped with water, thereafter dried with a cotton towel and lastly we try to shine them with another cotton cloth. Still no satisfactory result. Kind regards.

  14. Ian I must just mention that we live in South Africa. Are these things you advise us to try available here.

  15. Hi Stan,

    I do no thtink any products I may have mentioned will be available on SA. But there will be some alternatives, you are looking for a stipper of somekind – solvent based. Maybe an acidic cleaner, based on phosphoroci acid or similar (not HCL) but I am not sure you will find an abrasive like nanoscrub or microscrub.



  16. STB Cleaning Service

    June 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    I am a Professional Cleaner in Adelaide S.A I have several clients with Porcelain Tiles and I have discovered if you have white Porcelain Tiles then what you need to do is purchase the ENJO mop and the Yellow pad from ENJO, the tiles will look brilliant, but on the other hand if you have brown or beige Porcelain Tiles then what you need to do is purchase the ENJO mop from ENJO with the yellow pad when the floor is dry then run a floor polisher over your tiles and the Porcelain tiles will look Brilliant, I use the Werna Floor Polisher, any further enquiries feel free to contact me through my website.

  17. Hi Shane, thanks for the commment. You are apparently promoting a product/brand there but if it helps my readers then ok, I’ll let it through. It looks like just a form of micro fibre mop though right? We are big fans of micro fibre cleaning mops/cloths etc they are really good for a number of things, not just cleaning, but also applying sealers and removing the residue.

    I can see how they would be great for general/daily clenaing of porcelain but I do not see them replacing the need for chemicals and stronger methods where the porcelain has staining in the micro pores, which is what causes the hazy/cloudy effect the article was talking about.



  18. I have high gloss porcelain tiles an am ready to get out the jack hammer , I cannot get the hazy marks off them or keep them clean I am currently using a microfiber mop with only water and vinegar any Cleaners or ammonia seems to make it worse

  19. Hi Zoe,

    I understand your frustration; pick high gloss (well actually polished) porcelain for the clean, glossy, modern look, the problem is the look is so ‘uniform’ and ‘perfect’ that we see any little imperfection. When you have the hazy marks also, it stands out like a sore thumb.

    From the limited information you have supplied it is difficult to know what is causing the marks, common issues are:

    1. Grout haze – polymer modified grout becoming embedded in the micro pores of the tiles – difficult to remove, but sometimes possible
    2. Poor finishing (from factory) – incorrectly polishing the surface – not really fixable – factory fault
    3. Wax coatings – should be removed during installation – sometimes easy to get off with alkaline cleaners or cream abrasives, sometimes more difficult to remove requiring solvents
    4. Factory-applied sealers – can be a real pain, the so called ‘nano-sealers’ are hard to remove but don’t do a great job at protecting the tile.

    If you can send some pictures that would be great, if you could list the order of events in a timeline that would also be helpful for example:

    Tiles laid
    Wax removed
    Tiles sealed
    Tiles Grouted
    Sealed again, including grouting
    Noticed marks right away


    hope this helps


  20. Thank you for your advice Ian – very appreciated. We have another problem and hope you might be able to help us with this one as well. Our shower door which we believe – although not visible – has a plastic protective coating. The glass door and panel are so badly marked, presumably with deterioration over all these years, that no matter what we try e.g. vinegar, jik or household cleaners, the marks remain stubbornly engrained. We have even tried using a heavy paint remover but without success. Any advice please Ian. Thank you. Sincerely Stan

  21. Hi Stan,

    Glad I was able to help, although I am not so sure I can help here. It could just be a build up of limescale/soapscum – but the vinegar, whilst not being my preferred solution, should have done something.

    Try a phosphoric or citric acid based cleaner. Failing that try a scouring cream – you seem to be in South Africa so I am not sure what is available product wise (look for something ,like nanoscrub or microscrub).

    Failing that if there is a coating that has become damaged I would refer to the original manufacturer for their advice

    Hope that helps


  22. Thank you very much, once again, for your useful advice. Kind regards Stan

  23. Hi Stan, I have had an awful experience with a builder going bankrupt on me. So far my new house has taken 2.5 years to build and still no CofO. To add salt to my wounds, the beautiful black 600×600 polished porcelain tiles have hazy scratch marks all over them. It looks like a cleaner has tried to remove paint splatters from them which has caused hazy patches. They are everywhere and more noticeable at night when the downlights are on. I can email you photos if that helps. I really would like to know if I can remove these or if I have to look at replacing the entire downstairs floor which will be a very costly exercise. Thank you Stan

  24. Stan?

    I assume you mean Ian, anyway, I have received your photos – to me there is evidence of streaking crossing over two adjacent tiles, which suggest something that has taken place after installation, like attempts to clean up the wax coating or problems with a locally applied sealer.

    The scratches could be post or pre installation.

    I have taken the liberty of passing your pictures and information on to my great friend A’nge Kokkaliaris of Aqua-Seal STC in Sydney as I think he can be of more local help

    let me know how you get on

    Hope this helps


  25. Hello Ian,

    Firstly sorry about the reference to Stan (from the previous post). I did call Aqua-Seal in Syd after reading that suggestion in one of your previous posts. I was told what I believed to be the issue initially – A cleaner has attempted to clean off all the marks on the tiles with an abrasive material ie.scourer. Aqua-Seal informed me that Nanoseal would not help and I most probably would have to replace all the tiles ($15k). Of course the cleaners are denying cleaning them and I have no evidence to point the finger. I just find it strange that there are also many other fine single line scratches all over them? I thought polished porcelain was a very strong material that was difficult to scratch? I have made contact with the tile manufacturer and have them assessing the site soon.
    Thank you for your prompt advise Ian

  26. I have matt porcelain tiles that just look dirty all the time. My builder has said the tiles were sealed after they were installed. Im in Israel and don’t seem to be able to find anyone that can help me or a relevant cleaning solution to try to salvage the tiles myself.

  27. Hi Kim,

    I am not sure about the significance of any sealer; if it was a coating-type sealer then it would presumably have made the tiles more shiny- and easier to clean. If it was an impregnating sealer then it may help a bit, but if it is a good porcelain, then it may not have even go into the tile much anyway – so will offer little advantage.

    The typical issue with a matt-finish porcelain is that the surface has a degree of texture, and this texture, although it might be microscopic, can grab and hold onto dirt – hence looking dull/dirty all the time. Also often this type of tile will grab dirt off the mop so in actual fact, the cleaning process can seem to make them even more dirty.

    If you cannot get specific product, you should be able to get generic ones from a janitorial supplies company.

    Suggest you try to locate a general purpose, high alkaline degreaser, a good old fashioned scrubbing brush or a deck brush on a handle and if you can find one, some kind of cleaner with a mild abrasive cream cleaner – like CIF etc. Plus a mope and bucket, or if you can a wet vac.

    Apply the cleaner to a dampened floor, leave it to dwell for about 10 minutes then scrub. Pick up the wet solution, then apply fresh water, scrub again – this is the rinse phase, then pick up that rinse water – see if this makes a difference. If it does, then you can use this method, not every time you wash, but periodically to bring the floor back to clean – unfortunately the texture does necessitate more frequent scrubbing as opposed to just wiping or mopping

    Hope this helps


  28. Hi Ian

    We recently purchased a new house. The builder in order to protect the tiling laid a protective covering I believe called correx (or similiar) to protect the floor whilst the house build continued. The underfloor heating was turned on in order to help dry out the house as the building progressed. The tiles were from the urbatek range by porcenlosa details of which have been posted below.

    We have noticed 2 things

    a. There are marks in some of the tiles (straight lines) particularly where there were high traffic areas which seem impossible to remove – The technical manager from Porcenalosa belives the tiles to have absorbed through their pores some of the correx materials marking the tiles in line with the ridges in the correx material and

    b. There is a haze on the tiles (almost like a waxy effect) which makes the tiles nigh on impossible to clean. This they have suggested is the result of the tiles being covered in correx and the underfloor heating having been turned on and moisture being trapped between the correx and the tiles. The builders are currently applying a cleaning product (Fila PS-87 Degreasing wax remover recommended by Porcelosa). This appears to had some impact on the waxy coating but not the markings after one coat removing a lot of wax or similiar materials. We have noticed though that in some areas the problem appears to have returned. A second application appears then to remove more material. Could this be seeping out from the tiles through the pores and require several more apllication of the cleaning products to remove it. Is it possible to remove all of it?

    Have you seen anything similiar before. Any thoughts or comments very gratefully received because it is spoiling our enjoyment of the new house.

    Details of the tiles below

    URBATEK series unglazed floor tile.
    Rectified. Extremely firm, hard and durable, suitable for public high-traffic areas.
    Material: through-body vitrified porcelain, coloured throught the whole tile body.
    Finish: glossy.

    Many thanks

  29. Hi Paul,

    Unfortunately, yes I am all too familiar with similar problems. Mainly from the far east but European manufacturers are not immune to the problems. It sounds like there is a transit wax on the porcelain and that the de-greaser is having some effect on that at least.

    The micro-pores in this type of material are not holes that go all the way through – so no, there should not be anything coming out from within the tiles. The pores are really just tiny gas bubbles – just like the holes in a loaf of bread, but on a much smaller scale, and the polishing process (to make the glossy finish) has effectively taken the tops off the tiny holes, they are so small that they are barely visible to the human eye, if at all, but lots of them together, when a contrasting colour contaminant is pressed into them (say from the correx) then it has the same effect as pixels in a screen image – lots of them together make it become visible. So I suspect that the correx or something has been pressed into the tile and the tiny holes have trapped tiny particles – hence the marks.

    The cleaner you are using should sort the wax coating but you may need tome micro abrasive cleaner to get the other marks out – no guarantees but you could try Microscrub – available at Tilinglogistics on 0121 705 5333

    Hope this helps


  30. Hi Ian,

    I need your professional advice. I’ve just had some shiny polished porcelain tiles laid. They are 600/600mm which are apparently nano tiles and were pre sealed prior to laying. I used the ‘wax off’ solution I was told will remove the wax on the tiles from national tiles. After cleaning the solution off they were very hazy and cloudy, particularly around the edges but in the middle of the tile too. I’ve tried cleaning them with methylated spirits, vinegar and soapy water with no luck. Do you think it is grout haze? What would you recommend for me to use? They are a taupe colour. They feel slightly rough when I run my finger along the sides where the cloudiness is.

    Thanks for your time

    Candice 🙂

  31. Hi Candice

    Your tiles sound like they are pre sealed that the factory with a so-called ‘nano-sealer’ which means little except the sealer they use utilizes nano technology – just to make it penetrate a dense surface a little more easily (i.e. it tells you nothing about the quality of the sealer)

    It also sounds like you have got a transit wax on the tiles and the ‘wax-off’ product sounds like a solvent or alkaline stripper.

    you do not say, when exactly, the wax off was used, (i.e before or after grouting)

    Your issue could be that the wax has been only partially removed, but the roughness you describe suggests it is more likely to be a grout haze.

    As you appear to be in NSW, can I suggest you make contact with – they are very experienced in this area and you can of course speak to them in local time

    Hope this helps


  32. Hi Ian, I am in Canada..and guess what i got the porcelain issues here. I got brand new porcelain tiles and after the installation was completed and i tried to clean the tiles and wipe them. They had hazy look. I tried contacting store nobody gave me an answer. They told me to try grout haze cleaner. I tried on one did now after doing more research it looks like it is optical haze and it will never go off. I am so scared as i am putting my house up for sale and it looks so bad in sunlight or when direct light or from a certain angle. It is pretty visible. IS there something i can do here. I have tried telling the company that why should i be stuck with faulty tiles when i picked clean tile in store….Please help

  33. Hi Mandy,

    OK, there can be 4 things to look for:

    1. Grout haze – can be in the surface so normal grout haze removers don’t work
    2. Transit wax – a protective film of wax applied at the factory – needs removing with an alkaline cleaner of solvent, or abrasive – check with the tile supplier they ought to be able to to tell you if it has a wax. If it has, then the installation process may have partially removed it, and you need to completely remove it.
    3. Factory applied sealer – this can be a problem, some factories apply sealers at the factory and they can create a hazy appearance – this is not always fixable and should be seen as a fault and the responsibility of the supplier
    4. Polish issues – sometimes there are issues with the quality of the polishing by the factory – again this is not really fixable and should be viewed as a fault

    The most common issue though is grout haze, but the polymer modified grouts often used are harder to remove, and the fact that they are in the tiny micropores, as opposed to just lying on the surface make it much harder to deal with. We have had some success by treating this with a combination of solvent (to break down the polymer) followed by a regular acidic grout haze remover.

    What part of Canada are you in? – I may be able to put you in touch with someone who can offer local product advice

    Hope this helps


  34. Hi,

    Many thanks for a wonderful site.

    I have purchased Nano Porcelain 600×600 Tiles and the tiler(‘experienced’) tells us that the tiles are warped. Most corners the tiles are lifting by 1mm or 2mm so that the finish is uneven. What could be the problem? I phoned the store and the manager stated that the store has sold 5000sqmt and did not receive any complaints. What should we look for or do right?

    Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

  35. Hi Gopal,

    What I think you are dealing with is curvature of the tile, deviation from a flat plane. Many ceramic tiles have this issue but it is not usually a big problem. All ceramic tiles are subject to ‘allowable’ manufacturing tolerances, tile production has come a long way ion the last 30 years or so, older ‘quarry’ tiles had to be quite thick in order to be stable in the kilns and reduce the amount of curvature and shrinkage etc. However even today most tiles will come out of the factory with very slight dimensional differences, from batch to batch and also even within a batch.

    The question is of course, ‘is what you have an ‘acceptable’ amount of deviation?’

    To be honest, I do not know what the standard may be in your part of the world, but I have to say that a 2 mm deviation from flat, on a tiles as large as a 600 x 600 does not sound that bad. To the best of my knowledge the current requirements under UK and European standards for a porcelain tile are:

    100×100 mm tile = +/- 0.70 mm
    200×200 mm tile = +/- 1.40 mm
    300×300 mm tile = +/- 2.10 mm

    I cannot find figures for a 600 x 600 mm tile but can you see a pattern here? the magic figure seems to be 0.007% of the total size – following that logic the allowable tolerance for a 600 x 600 mm tile would be 4.2 mm!

    However I doubt it would work like that, I would imagine it would be capped at 3 mm as that is the allowable tolerance for a whole floor over 2 m lengths – but I am not sure about this.

    This tolerance is measured as the difference between the edges and the centre of the tile – so if a straight edge is placed across the tile, edge to edge (or presumably corner to corner) the gap between the underside of the straight edge and the surface of the tile (if concave, the gap would be at the edges if the tie was convex) would be the amount of deviation.

    I have to say that 1 to 2 mm over 600 mm does not seem a lot (especially given the allowable tolerance for a tile half that size is >2 mm). However it can still cause a problem. If the ties are laid broken bond (brick-bond/staggered/offset) then the problem gets worse, the centre of one tile (2 mm down) is then laid next to the edge of the next tile which is 2 mm up – so you have double the difference – 4 mm!

    If the tiles are being laid in a ‘normal’ straight-bond pattern then the tiles should all be high (and correspondingly low) in the same places so with the help of the grout joint (which should be a minimum of 3 mm) the transition is not really noticed (and over all the floor would pass the 3 mm under a 2 m edge test, provided the floor was flat).

    However if not all the tiles have the issue, or the curvature is not nice and even (so the tile is quite flat but just kicks up , randomly at the corners for example, then I would say this is not normal.

    I would lay out a section of the floor (dry) provided the floor is nice and flat (if not get a nice big piece of flat board) space the tiles correctly at 3 mm – see if they issues is nice and even – all tiles abut the same. What you are looking for is to see if when grouted, the tiles would be the same height as the next – so although higher than at the centre, there is not actual lippage (steps between the tiles)

    If there is a lot of difference, and some of the tiles raise up more than others, creating unavoidable ‘steps’ or ‘lips’ then I would ask the tile supplier to come and take a look and ask him/her how they would achieve an acceptable finish.

    If you only find one or two tiles that are bad, just put them to one side and use them for the cuts that you will inevitably need

    Hope this helps


  36. Hi Ian,

    Thanks for that prompt and precise explanation. I now have a good understanding. Regarding this same porcelain tiles 600×600 what is the standard spacer size for these type of tiles – you do mention minimum 3mm for the grout.


  37. Hi Gopal, OK, this can be a bit of a contentious issue, and again, I am not familiar with the standards that are normal in your part of the world, however I am pretty sure that most countries tend to use basically the same standards.

    So, the recommended MINIMUM joint width for floor tiling in the UK is 3 mm – so, under normal circumstances you should not have a joint any less than 3 mm. It can be bigger, and depending on the tile, sometimes a larger joint looks nicer (with rustic look tiles for example).

    However, you have large format, 600 x 600 porcelain -it is normal for people to want as small a joint as possible with this style of tile.

    Because of this, some factories offer a version of their tiles known as ‘rectified’ – this means the edges are trimmed with a diamond saw. Why do this? The reason is that some people don’t like joints, so the larger the tile, the more infrequent the joint and the better the uniformity of the edges, the easier it is (in theory) to get the tiles closer together – further reducing the joint size. This is done in an attempt to get nearer the look of natural stone panels.

    To understand this we need to understand the reasons for joints: one is for tolerance – to give room for minor (but acceptable as previously discussed) differences in dimensional size. The other reason is to have a method of separating the tiles from actual edge to edge contact – which is not good for expansion issues.

    So; tiles have tolerances as they are a fired a material, so they can distort/shrink etc in the kiln, this can result in these minor differences in size and shape. Compare that to natural stone, which is not made by man in a kiln, but cut from the earth. This cutting is more precise than pressing and firing, the tiles are cut from slabs on a jig, so all come out the same size, hence they can (again in theory) be put closer together as there is less ‘tolerance’ to worry about. Rectifying tiles, achieves the same thing – if you have a batch of tiles that have a variance of 2 mm across the width and length, then setting up a cutting jig for the precise size of (say) 600 mm, and passing each tile along it, every tile is trimmed to exactly the same size (well, within the tolerance of the cutting system).

    Also, most pressed tiles have a slight aris or chamfer on the edge, so even if the tiles were butted up tight, there would be a small V shaped valley between them, rectifying invariably removes this, so the edges are completely straight – again more like cut stone.

    However, given the 2 mm differences you are seeing (albeit in the plane, not the size) I am guessing yours are not rectified. Also, I said ‘in theory’ more than once above, this is because although rectifying may remove some sizing issues for tiles, it does not magically change the recommended joint width – so it changes what may be physically achievable, bit not what is suggested or maybe even allowed.

    There are other issues to think about, mainly the flatness of the sub-floor. To my mind this is a far more critical issue with such large tiles, your finished floor should have no more than 3 mm deviation under a 2 m straight edge, to achieve this with thin bed adhesives, the sub-floor should meet that standard to begin with – I cannot stress enough how important it is to spend time getting the floor right BEFORE tiling.

    Given your size / shape issue, I would be sticking to at least 3 mm joints, you may find a slightly wider one helps to alleviate the size issues you have.

    One last thing you could looks at is a levelling system like this (I have no idea if it is available in your part of the world, here are several brands, Raimondi of Italy have one too)

    Hope this helps


  38. Good day,

    I’m Cristel from Mauritius. I bought Porcelain tiles made in Italy from a Mauritian supplier. The tile’s name is Metal wood dust. In the store it looked shiny but after having laid all the tiles we can see cloudy haze everywhere on the tiles. My house just looks dirty. Someone from the sales department came to my house for a report. She assumed that it the quality and that there’s no defect in the tiles. I argued and asked for refund but they won’t accept.
    Thanks to advise.

  39. Hi Cristel,

    The most likely/common reason why porcelain can look dull and have a cloudy haze on them is usually a fine deposit of the grouting material being left on the surface.

    You do not say if they are polished porcelain (but as you say they are shiny I am guessing they might be). Have you got any spare tiles, still in the box? If so, take one out and lay it on top of the floor to see how it compares. If the spare tile is also hazy and it is straight from the box then tel the store to come and have a other look, as there is something wrong with the tile, it could just be a layer of wax that can be removed, but it may be something a bot more serious like poor polishing at the factory.

    If the spare tile looks ok though, and the floor looks bad then it is more likely to be a grout haze. I am not sure what brands of cleaners are available in Mauritius but I would try to get hold of a phosphoric acid based cleaner and follow the instructions in the above article before doing anything else.

    Hope this helps


  40. Hi Ian,
    I live in SYdney and moved into my new house couple of months back. I have polished porcelian tiles throughout the ground floor. Unfortunately my builder had not covered the floor while the house was still being finished. From the very first day I noticed that the grout wasn’t the same colour all over and seemed dirty at places. Builder did try different cleaners but there was no change to grout. Finally the builder got the tiles regrouted however the regrouting has been done on top of the old grout.
    This time I tried to seal the grout with a DAVCO’s solvent based sealer but now I’m facing with other issue, the sealer has left bleeding like mark on the tiles. When I contacted DAVCO office I was asked to clean the edges of the tiles with concentrated methylated spirit. However the outcome has not been good but now it seems the whiteness of grout and edges of the tile do not look new anymore. Due to regrouting done without peeling off the old one , there is no more room to regrouting. Could you please advise what should I do? Also when I selected these tiles I was told they are pre sealed but the tiles always have hazy look when seen in daylight. How can I get rid of the haze?

  41. Hi Navreet,

    You have a lot of issues there but if we could try to break them down. OK, the grout if I read correctly is now still not a satisfactory shade/colour/uniform etc, but there is no room for topping up the grout. To be honest topping up is not a good idea anyway, they should have removed a substantial amount of the old grout the first time they tried to replace it. So, if you want to fix the grout, you either have to get the grout that is there now, removed (not easy, or nice, but possible with the right tools) or, you might consider re colouring the grout. You could do this successfully with Grout Renue ‘N’ Seal, it is available not too far from you here:

    The other issues, have you successfully removed the Davco sealer residue? if not then you may need to repeat the stripping with the spirit, or another proprietary solvent stripper until it is gone.

    As for the haze, this could be a number of things. If the tiles were pre-sealed then it could be that some of that sealer has been affected by the spirit stripping – if so then not much you can do but hope that further stripping removes the rest of it (you can always put a good sealer back after).

    However the haze could be one of a couple of other things also, for example, it could be grout haze, it could be the remnants of a wax coating, or it could be incorrect polishing from the factory.

    If it is incorrect polishing then that is a factory fault and not much you can do about it – if you have any spare tiles left over that have not been fixed, check them out to see if there is the same issue on them, if so, call the tile supplier back out to inspect.

    If it is wax, then again, additional cleaning with an alkaline cleaner, micro abrasive, or stripper may remove the rest of it.

    If it is grout haze then you could try following the suggestions detailed in the above post –

    Hope this is of some help, let me know if I can assist any further


  42. Not sure if this will help anyone but we got porcelain tiles laid about 12 months ago and even before they were grouted i could not get them clean they always looked dirty, we contacted the tile company and they told us it was most probably the wax they put on at the factory and we asked how to remove it and they told us to get some leftover grout powder and rub it all over the tiles and then vacuum up the excess, well that didn’t work and they didn’t have any other suggestions, so for the last 12 months we have tried vinegar, tea tree oil, all different kinds of floor wash and also a wax remover product but to no avail, so i was at the point of trying to get a sealer cause they looked great when they were wet and couldn’t see the dirty looking tiles, then i went to wash the floor yesterday and decided to put some eucalyptus oil in the water and i started to wash the floor and the floor dried with a white haze and tiles were sticky and i thought to myself, oh dear i think i have ruined the tiles but then i washed one tile by hand with eucalyptus oil and water and then washed it over with plain hot water and it came up fantastic and even after it dried there was no dirty looking tile, so if you have the same problem try eucalyptus oil a lot cheaper than the wax remover product i tried, but if you do try this try it in a hidden place first just to make sure, hope this helps anyone.

  43. Hi Jodie, I am also having issues with haziness on my new porceline tiles. I’m a bit of a freak and it’s driving me crazy. Being from Canada I am wondering if the the oil you used was a special type of Eucalyptus oil or would any type do? Thanks so much. Dolly

  44. Hi Ian, Update. I tried Jodies eucalyptus method. Went over each tile by hand. It seemed to work really well using very hot water in both the eucalpytus/water solution and the rinse water. I went over each tile twice. The tiles are not totally 100% perfect however they no longer have that gritty feel and appearance. The haze is still noticeable in some areas. Now I’m considering on applying a sealer for a bit of shine, the tiles look real smart when they have a slight wet look and the hazing totally disappears, your thoughts? Dolly

  45. Hi Dolly, if your tiles are polished then you are not going to find a sealer that will leave a shine. You might get an enhancing sealer to just mask some of the remaining feint residue. I would persevere, try a third go on cleaning the tiles, as it sounds as though you have made some progress

    Hope this helps


  46. Hi Ian, well….after all my fussing, scrubbing and sweat equity I finally have success. I decided to try an old fashion simple remedy….Vinegar! Applied a
    small amount on a sponge and rinse with soap and water. tiles no longer have any imperfections / dark shadowing. I was afraid I was going to be stuck with poor quality tiles, thank goodness all turned out. I am very impressed with the results. Cheers!

  47. I am having a problem with my avaire porcelain tile floor tiles also I think I have tried everything on them especially all of the grout haze cleaners nothing is working . The floor has been down since April and the floor still looks cloudy an smudged what is the reason for all of this?

  48. Hi if I am correct you are using a system of tiles over plastic trays, which is fine, but I don’t know if the actual tiles are specific only to Avaire and also if you used their acrylic ready mixed grout. Reason I say this is I don’t now if the tiles are polished, or mat, I also do not know if they have a transit wax on them or not. ON their web site Aivaire suggest using windex with ammonia – not sure why but suspect the solvent nature if windex is being used to break down polymers in the acrylic grout. Have you tried this?

    if you have tried everything and the tiles are still not clean, I suggest you contact Avaire and seek their help

    Hope this helps


  49. I too have matt porcelain tiles. They looked hazy and dirty. Tried the recommended hot water and mop, vinegar and hot water, using towelling to apply and towelling to dry off. Then I found some Sugar Soap Commercial grade liquid in the cleaning cupboard which I had used to wash down the walls at some time. So I gave it a go. I used recommended quantity on bottle in hot water then rinsed off with hot water using an old towell cut to size to dry. It works.

  50. Hi, hoping you may be able to help. We built a new home in brisbane 2 yrs ago & we have Matt porcelin tiles 600×600. we decided to go with the matt look as our previous home had highly polished poreclin tiles & the cleaning of them drove me nuts as it showed everything up. Ever since our new home tiles were laid they have been cloudy & hazy. Not as great as we thought they would look. They had a nano seal on them when we purchased them, upon recommendation we had them sealed by a professional floor sealer, with what I’m unsure but could find out, the sealer made mo diffetence to thd look or feel of the tile, they are still hazy & cloudy & after vacuuming & moping with hot water & vinegar they never look any cleaner. They feel cleaner underfoot but when the sun glares in from our back patio, looking across the room they look cloudy again once floor dries. Is there a sealer that can be applied to give them a semi gloss shine to help hide the cloudiness? And the shine may make them look cleaner after I have put in all the work of mopping! Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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