WHY DO MY POLISHED PORCELAIN TILES LOOK PATCHY AND HAZY?

Optical hazing on Polished Porcelain

Optical hazing on Polished Porcelain

Over the years we have had a number of customers asking the same question. It is possible the tiles are just greasy or dirty or over sealed and just need a good clean or it could be due to optical hazing.

Below will help to explain the phenomena of optical hazing on polished porcelain.

Optical hazing is not uncommon we have had a number of customers experience similar issues with polished porcelain from a number of manufacturers.

So- What is optical Hazing? And what can be done

Haziness on the tiles:

Optical hazing on polished porcelain tiles is not a new phenomenon; it has occurred in natural stone and the painting industry for hundreds of years. Many consumers have expectations that their polished porcelain floor is going to have a mirror like finish. A polished porcelain tile is not a mirror. 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. figure 1 If a ray of light could be observed approaching and then reflecting off a mirror, the behaviour of that light as it reflects would follow a predictable law known as the law of reflection.  The ray of light approaching a mirror is known as the incidence ray (R)  The law of reflections states, “that the   angle of the light rays striking a surface is equal to the angle of the reflected light” (see figure 1) If reflected light is so predictable, then why does it reflect differently off different types of surfaces? Reflection off a smooth surface such as mirror or calm body of water known as specular reflection (see figure 2)

Figure 2Figure 2

Reflections off a rough surface such as honed or tumbled stone such as granite, limestone, marble, slate, sandstone and other types of stone is known as diffuse reflection (see figure 3)

Figure 3figure 3

Whether the surface is microscopically rough or smooth has a tremendous impact upon the subsequent reflection of a beam of light. A beam can be thought of as a bundle of individual light rays which are travelling parallel to each other. Each individual light ray of the bundle follows the law of reflection. When the bundle of light rays strikes a smooth surface then the light rays reflect and remain concentrated in a bundle upon leaving the surface (Fig 2). On the other hand, if the surface is microscopically rough, the light rays will reflect and diffuse in many different directions (Fig 3). The level of gloss achieved on the surface of a polished porcelain tile is dependent on many factors. In order to achieve the designs the market wants, manufacturers have to play around with the recipe mix for the tile. As a result a wider range of minerals and colour will be introduced into the clay mix. However, just like natural stones, some polished porcelain tiles will not be capable of taking a higher polish.

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 lit 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 bulk sunlight shining through large windows and doors early in the morning; the large volume of sunlight will increase the amount of “Haze” visible.
  •  The size of the clay particles and other ingredients of the tiles can also have an effect on 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. No amount of cleaning, sealing or polishing will make a definitive difference to the appearance of the tiles as it is something that occurs during their manufacture and not caused by any subsequent cleaning or treatment of the tiles surface. Using a light coat of LTP MPG 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. Apply a light coat of sealer to the surface of the tiles and leave for 5 – 10 minutes. Buff using and absorbent cloth while the solution is still wet on the surface to work the solution in and remove excess from the polished surface. For maintenance avoid strong detergents, use a mild ph detergent such as LTP Waxwash. Always buff polished surfaces with a dry towel after cleaning.

At LTP we believe in helping to offer solutions and this is why we offer a no obligation LTP TECHNICAL HELPLINE, so please give us a call on +44 (0) 1823 666213 or email info@ltp-online.co.uk and we will be happy to help you.

Visit www.ltp-online.co.uk to buy or find out more about our range of products.

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