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Last Updated on April 5, 2021

Why aren't your glossy tile as glossy as you remember?

Beautiful tiles will make up a large part of your renovation budget. 

How frustrating is it to spend big on brand new glossy tiles only to be let down once they're laid? Keep reading to find out why this is and how to avoid it. 


Shiny Polished Porcelain Floor Tiles

We can't help ourselves, we’re naturally drawn to stunning surfaces when we see the light reflecting from them in the showroom. 

Polished porcelain tiles are wonderfully durable, non-toxic, fire and frost resistant. They will last for years, which is testament to both their durability and their timeless style.

How could a surface this great ever look anything less than sparkly?

The reality is that once porcelain tiles have been laid, they seem to do anything but shine the way they did in the showroom. This can become a great source of frustration.

So you've tried everything to clean the floors?

You can easily try every method known to get rid of the haze from the floors, but to no avail. The traditional labour-intensive method with a mop and bucket will do nothing but give you back pain, and steam cleaning isn’t much better.

Even the hope of chemical free cleaning using microfibres, such as ENJO is not enough to recreate that shine that first lured you to these tiles in the first place.

It's easy to spend a small fortune trying different methods only to have a disappointing haze glaring straight back at you!

Vesuvio Shiny Finish Polished Porcelain Floor Tiles

Is it just you or is it the tiles?

By now you’re probably asking yourself if you are just being too picky. All the while in the back of your head, you’re most likely planning the next renovation and swear never to use high gloss porcelain tiles again.

The problem isn’t you, it’s polished porcelain tiles.

It comes down to the difference between polished porcelain tiles and other ceramic tiles. Porcelain tiles are unglazed.

Even though polished porcelain have a nice glossy surface, they can still have a natural phenomenon happen to them, which is known as optical hazing.

optical hazing stone world

Any good tile and renovation company should have warned you of this possibility early on during the tile selection process.

What is Optical Hazing?

Optical hazing occurs on tiles when they are reflecting light from certain light sources such as the early morning sun, as well as halogen and white lights. It gives them a smoky haze look.

Although polished porcelain tiles look like they have a mirror finish, it’s the way they are polished to get this shine that causes optical hazing. They are polished using very hard grinding stones which open very small pores on the surface in the process.

Although microscopic, these pores cause the tile to reflect the light differently. It’s these variables in the way the light is reflected that cause us to see variables in the shininess of the tile.

How light reflects off a mirror is called Specular Reflection, and light reflected off polished porcelain tiles is called Diffuse Reflection.

Optical Hazing

Image Courtesy: www.tileexpo.com.au

Why do some tiles look hazier than others?

The amount of optical haze shown on tiles depends on a few different things.

  • The number of light sources in a room.  A single light source will limit the reflection, whereas a room with several light sources will increase the amount of haze visible.
  • Big windows and doorways will let more sunlight through, increasing the amount of haze visible.
  • The ingredients of the tile, and the size of clay particles will also influence the optical haze.

Image Source courtesy of Pinterest

Can you Overcome the Effects of Optical Hazing?

Polished porcelain tiles are a wonderful choice for your project, however you need to be aware that optical hazing will be visible at times. This is a normal characteristic of polished porcelain tiles.

Now that you know it isn’t you, and it’s light reflection, there are some ways to minimise the effects of optical hazing.

Playing with room lighting, window dressings and even floor rugs can have a positive effect. Changing these elements can change lighting angles and the amount of light reaching the tiles.

Sometimes just knowing the haze is a normal effect, can minimise the worry. Now that you know your floors are clean, and it’s just light reflection, sit back, relax and enjoy the room.

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