How do we remove the Optical Haze from our Polished Tile?


Good Morning I was hoping you could help with us some information after finding your company on the internet. My husband and I just built a home in south Florida with a very reputable builder. We picked a shiny porcelain 24x24 inch tile. Nothing was mentioned to us or brought to our attention about having any issues with this type of tile. Upon closing on the home and moving in, we immediately noticed the “optic haze” on the tile which is beyond upsetting to both of us. The builder seems to want to take no responsibility for this since we signed off on all of our options for the home. In my research I keep reading that this seems to be more of a problem with tiles from China-is that true? I was wondering if you knew of any products or treatments that could be done to fix this. Any info you could provide to us would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much


ANSWER - Optical Hazing is a distortion condition that is found on some polished ceramic tile surfaces.  The distortion is invisible under normal lighting and only noticeable when illuminated by light coming in from the side at a low angle.  A variety of inconsistencies have been reported, including light-colored cloudy spots, dark shadow spots, dark shadow ribbons that run across the entire tile, wavy regions of inconsistent reflectivity, and fuzzy spots or distorted lines in a reflected image.

There isn't a lot of information available on this relatively  new condition found on some tiles, although two possible common causes of optical hazing recently pointed out by TCNA is 1) the presence and/or partial removal of certain post-fire organic coatings, and 2) inconsistencies in the materials being polished or in the polishing process itself.

Post-Fire Organic Coatings mostly are wax-like consistency and several are described as “Nano-coatings”.  Post-Fire Organic Coatings are intended solely to protect the products from scratches during handing and installation, some are intended to increase luster, and some are intended to improve stain resistance or a combination of those.   If optical hazing is observed, the post-fire organic coatings can be contributing to the problem from foreign material that may have been encapsulated in the organic coating.   In this case it is possible to clean the tile surface to remove the haze.

If the optical haze is caused by polishing inconsistencies at the factory, then it is possible to re-polish the tile after it is installed using stone restoration methods.

You can also consider adjusting or controlling the lighting in the tiled rooms to try to avoid or minimize the side lighting.

I have seen the optical hazing problem with tiles from China as well as from other countries.   So we can't point to any particular country or manufacturer who has this problem.

4 thoughts on “How do we remove the Optical Haze from our Polished Tile?

  1. Rebecca says:

    So in reading your column this optical haze may be able to be removed. Here is my story. First Tile setter used perfect 24 x 24 glazed porcelain dark brown tiles – beautiful in fact and fully reflective. He damaged a good number of them, 60% of the 83 that were laid), chipping and scarring the edges upon cleaning the grout joints so they had to be all ripped up. As such we had to buy another batch of tiles – of course this was a different lot number and of course they are different in color. First ones were milk chocolate and second batch were more dark chocolate and of course no one noticed it as they were being laid …. so I have both tiles spread out over the floor. I can live with the color issue as there is so much movement in the tile you probably wont really notice …. however the new batch has this awful optical haze all over the tile. At least I think this is what it is. It is dramatically worse when the sunlight hits it. You mention if this is a coating it can be removed. I would like to know what I can do that is not very expensive in order to get them to not look so hazy/dirty. When the sunlight hits one of the first batch it is absolutely beautiful.

  2. Donato Pompo says:

    Optical haze is a condition that typically can show up on some polished tiles.

    Sometimes the optical haze is caused by the wax-like coating that some manufacturers put on the tile surface to prevent them from scratching during transportation. This coating is suppose to be easily cleaned off during the installation process.

    Sometimes optical hazing is caused by how the tile is polished and the quality of the polishing. This condition can theoretically be corrected by re-polishing the tile like you would a natural stone after it is installed. A stone restoration company would do this work.

    In your case you say you have a glazed tile. Perhaps you mean polished; if so the above applies. If you mean a glass-like coating referred to as a glazed coating, then you may have some different condition causing this condition. It may be inherent in the tile or maybe you need to do a thorough cleaning with a scrub brush and detergent. Be sure to test it out to make sure it meets your satisfaction before subjecting the process to the entire floor.

  3. Bill L says:

    Hi Donato, I just sent you a previous email but neglected to mention that people have a tendency to use “Polished” and “Gloss” interchangeably, meaning they are the same. I have explained to homeowners and Dealers that a “polished porcelain” as referred to by the Manufacturer, doesn’t mean that it is EXACTLY that. I see Manufacturers calling their product “Polished Porcelain, but it only references the “gloss level”, meanwhile it’s an Inkjet Glazed Tile with a high gloss surface, and you can’t polish that with acceptable results. At least I have never seen one !

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Actually that is not correct. Unglazed porcelain tiles can be polished have been available as polished tile for many years. It is polished with the same type of equipment that polishes granite tiles. It is when the tile is not polished in the best possible way that you get an optical haze as described above. The term Polished Tile is defined as such in ANSI A137.1 standard.

      It is possible that a porcelain tile can have high gloss glaze over its surface, which is a glass-like coating, but it can’t be polished.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *