How do I get the shine back on a glazed floor tile?


How do i get the shine back on a glazed tile floor?


ANSWER - If it is a true glazed ceramic tile then the surface is a fired on glass-like material.  If it originally had a sheen to it and is no longer there then it must have worn off or someone used an acidic solution that etched the tile surface.  There is nothing you can do to restore that finish.  Although you might be able to apply a wax or a surface sealer of some sort to give it a shine, but it will wear off and require regular maintenance to maintain it.

If you have an unglazed tile with a sealer on it that has worn off, then you can reseal it.  You may need to strip the old sealer off before you apply the new sealer.

If you have a polished porcelain tile or a polished natural stone that has lost its sheen, they can be re-polished by a professional stone restoration company.

22 thoughts on “How do I get the shine back on a glazed floor tile?

  1. Tina says:

    I have white porcelain tile installed 2 months ago. It started showing wear in the center of the tiles within two weeks. It seems to be in the high traffic areas. The glaze is wearing off, and it can be felt with the hand. Dirt seems to be embedding itself in it and some tiles can not be cleaned of this dirt. Why is the glaze wearing off?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Normally glazed porcelain tiles are fairly durable in terms of wear. If it were an unglazed (throughbody) porcelain tile it should be very durable as well.

      There are limits to everything so depending on what kind of traffic it is being subjected and to what extent it is possible to cause wear, but not normally within 2 months.

      Perhaps there is a sealer coating on the tile that is wearing? If it is an unglazed porcelain tile it is possible to re-hone the surface to make it smooth, but you need to further investigate it first to determine if that is possible.

      Perhaps this isn’t a porcelain tile or a Chinese tile that doesn’t meet the USA porcelain standards.

      For cleaning, generally speaking if you use a detergent with a scrub brush and it should clean up any embedded dirt. Use a wet vacuum to pick up the dirty water.

    • Tina oman says:

      Thank you Donato for your time and help. My tile is made in India. I believe that my porcelain glazed polished tile experienced some grout in the tiny caverns on its surface, as the glaze does not seem to seal it completely. Perhaps the tile was made a little defective on the surface, but without grouting I never would have known. That would explain why the tile seemed to show the gray spots immediately after grouting. Interestingly enough the gray spots are the same exact color as my grout! My thoughts now are: Can the tile be sealed? Would that prevent my tiles from attracting more dirt and grime? How would I get the tile clean enough to prior to sealing it? I have already used the grout haze remover to try to clean it without any luck.

      • Donato Pompo says:

        Some tiles intentionally or unintentionally have a crackled finish meaning that there are fractures in the glaze surface. When you grout over this type of tile the grout can get inside the fractures giving it a spiderweb look of stains.

        You could have used a grout release prior to grouting to help prevent this. You can try to remove the staining with a light acidic diluted, but you have to be careful because it could harm the glazed tile. You can then seal the tile with a penetrating sealer buy you have to buff it dry right after applying it to avoid a sticky surface.

  2. Noreen Maine says:

    I have a similar problem to the two people above. Except mine is a porcelain floor tile that looks like wood. It’s base color is a cream color with taupe color for the wood grain and there are a lot of indents to look like dents. This light colored tile had just a light sheen to it but within six months I noticed all kinds of stains on it. I think either a lot of haze was left possibly causing this or since it was made to look dull, not enough glaze on it. Might be a little of both. Also it appears as though some of the imprint is coming off. The tile is by American Olean. Tile is less than two years. The other tiles in the same line appear to be very shiny which I realize now just have more glaze on it. The salesman pointed out that my color choice is more dull but never said that could be a problem. I thought it was an attempt to make it look more wood like and foolishly assumed they used a different kind of sealant. It really did look most like wood compared to the other colors in the line. In addition I put a wool rug under the sink and a very thin rug pad. When I took it up to clean the floor I notice a light imprint of the pad on the floor which seemed to come off after a little scrubbing but each time I put it down it got worse and harder to remove.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      The wood looking ceramic porcelain tiles are produced with the ink jet technology utilizing CAD computer aided software. Some wood series are intentionally trying to look like distressed wood so you might might some portions having more of a sheen than others.

      So it is unlikely there is not enough of a glaze. There are mat glazes and there are various levels of glazes that give a sheen appearance. Some use the word glaze as synonymous to shine, and that isn’t what it means in the tile production world . A glaze is a glass-like substance that is applied over the surface of a clay based tile that can be a porcelain clay tile to provide color, texture, and can have differently levels of performance.

      I have had a couple of cases where it looked like the glazed wood coating on a porcelain tile was abrading off from foot traffic wear. I have not had the opportunity to substantiate this with laboratory testing, so it is inconclusive as of now. I would think that the tile manufacturer should further investigate this to determine if their tile has some deficiencies in this regard.

  3. Anne says:

    Hi I had my glazed porcelain tiles installed 3 years ago over time some stains appeared on it I tried almost everything and anything to get the stains removed I had no luck please can you help

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Glazed porcelain tiles are normally very durable tiles that have an impervious surface . For glaze tile surface to stain it has to have porosity or it could get etched by a highly acidic substance that will alter the tile surface and is not removable. Or maybe it is a paint or coating that is bonded to it. You have to experiment to see what it is. Paint strippers remove most coatings, but be careful and experiment first before trying anything.

  4. Dee says:

    I have a ceramic tile floor and it had some scuff marks from a baby stroller. I used a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and it appears that I have scrubbed off the surface layer of color. The Magic Eraser was totally brown and now the floor is dull. Did I inadvertently remove the seal or top coat? Is there a DIY sealant or shine restore product I can use?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      It depends on what type of tile you have. If it is a glazed tile (has a glass-like coating over the body of the tile) then you might have abraded the surface and worn off some of the glaze. Some glazes are very durable and others not so much. If that is the case there really isn’t a way to repair it without replacing the tiles. You can try using an enhancer sealer or floor wax to give it a shine, but it likely will look different.

      If this was an unglazed tile that had a surface sealer coating on it, then you can refinish the surface.

      • Dee says:

        The ceramic tile is unglazed. Is there a DIY surface refinishing product you would recommend? Or do need to call a professional?

        • Donato Pompo says:

          If you go to one of the home centers they should have floor strippers. If you know what kind of sealer or coating is on the floor then you should ask that respective manufacturer what to use to strip off the coating. If you don’t know, then you have to experiment with one of the strippers offered to determine which will provide a satisfactory result. You can also hire someone who refinishes tile and stone floors referred to as stone restoration companies.

  5. Tammy Charlebois says:

    I had used Mr clean to my new porcelain floor and it seems to have a film and streaks I am not sure how to fix this problem I bought a steam mop hoping it will life I washed them twice and no so not sure if there is something else I can do to get rid of this film

    • Donato Pompo says:

      There are different types of porcelain tiles. Some have a glazed surface which is a glass-like coating and others are what is called through body which is the porcelain clay from top to bottom. These through body tiles can be polished like a natural stone.

      You might have scratched the tile surface if you had used too abrasive of a cleaning pad. It could be that the tile had a sealer on it that you affected.

      If it was a polish surface you can repolish it. If there was a sealer coating on the surface it can be removed with a sealer stripper. Then you can reseal it. You have to experiment on a tile out of the way to determine what is the condition. There are stone restoration companies who you can hire to investigate and repair it for you.

  6. Peter Schmurr says:

    How can I identify the type of tile used in my shower. I do not know if it is porcelain or ceramic, glazed or through body. As a result I do not know whether or not to seal the tiles. The walls are large 16 X16 inch tiles and the floor is mosaic tile. There is a slight shine to the wall tiles and they are smooth to the touch. The mosaic floor has a rather dull appearance where it has been walked on but is moderately shiny elsewhere. What kind of tile to I have and should I seal it or not?

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Once the tile is installed it probably doesn’t matter what kind of tile you have. The key is whether the tile surface absorbs water. If you spray a little water on the tile surface and if it doesn’t absorb into the tile and leave a wet spot after you wipe off the surface wet water, then you don’t need a sealer.

      If the tile absorbs then it can be helpful to apply a penetrating sealer to help prevent staining and make it easier to maintain. You can buy the sealer at your local tile store and follow the sealer directions for the application.

  7. JeCole says:

    We recently moved into a new house and my husband and I were moving a stove across the tile floor he looked down and thought we scratched the tile but I told him that was dirt. I took a Clorox wipe and rubbed the tan, crème, light cappuccino color Celima tile and it turned nearly white. We were shocked and wondering what was going on. I wiped another square and it turned nearly white. The entire floor can’t be that dirty b/c the tile is the same tan-ish color all over the kitchen and foyer.
    Now We just moved in and the floor needs a good cleaning but I’m concerned I’ll pull all the color off. My father in law said maybe the previous owners could have stained the the tile and the Clorox wipe I used was too harsh and pulled the color off. I’m not sure but why would this happen.
    I’m worried what will happen when I clean it will more color come off.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      I assume you don’t know what type of tile it is. A glazed tile has an impervious finish that is fired on in a kiln, so it isn’t that. It is probably some sort of absorbing type of unglazed tile or a porous natural stone. All you can do is either higher a professional cleaning and staining company or a stone restoration company to come in and evaluate it, clean and reseal it.

  8. Mr. Mrs. Davis says:

    Entry tile installed 3 years ago – We are looking for a product that will make it shine it just looks dull any recommendations???
    Thanks in advance

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Depends on what kind of tile you have will determine what you can apply to it to give it a shine. If it is a natural stone it can be restored by a stone restoration company. A ceramic glazed tile normally will not dull as it has a durable glaze surface. A sealed unglazed tile will normally become dull and it can be resealed.

      For a list of cleaners and sealers got to:

  9. LC says:

    Hello, we have a condo in Mexico that has 30 year old glazed Mexican tiles. Over time it has become dull and I think previous owners mistakenly thought soap scum was building up and had used something too harsh. Now the tiles look horrible and I fear so damaged that nothing will help. Is there anything that can make them look like the color they were originally? I think not other than replacement, sadly. It was a beautiful blue.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Chances are you have a blue glazed ceramic tile that was produced in Mexico. Often tiles of that age were installed over a very porous clay body tile and the glaze was probably not that durable. So likely the glaze has worn off. If that is the case there isn’t any way to fix it other than paint it, but that isn’t likely to wear well.

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