Hazing inevitably occurs on ceramic tile after grout has been applied and floated into the joints. Hazing is a noticeable dullness seen as soon as five or 10 minutes after applying grout and, if left to dry, can be a real chore to get off, sometimes defying even the most ardent methods.
Impossible to avoid because of the action of the floating tool used to smooth grout into the small channels between the tiles, hazing does not occur through some fault of the installer. Here are some helpful words of advice on anti-hazing methods for grout to help you enjoy that beautiful tile you’ve worked so hard to install.
Know Your Tile
Anti-hazing for grout begins with the type of ceramic tile you are installing. If the tile is glazed, as in porcelain types, you don’t need to do anything until you’ve actually begun grouting. If the tile is unglazed, as in terra cotta or slate tiles, you need to seal the tiles before you install them.
Because unglazed tiles are porous, if you install them without a sealer, the grout can be absorbed into them and, at that point, becomes impossible to remove. Sealing porous tiles also prevents staining and moisture absorption.
Avoid Harsh Cleaning Methods
Abrasive cleaners, steel-wool pads, sandpaper, and other such severe cleaning products make poor tools when anti-hazing for grout. These products and types of cleaning procedures not only can damage your expensive and laboriously installed tile, but they can dislodge the grout itself, as well. The correct method to get rid of hazing is to take care of it as it occurs.
When applying the grout, keep a bucket of water and a good-quality sponge on hand. Work always with small areas; two square feet works best for most people, and as soon as you’ve floated the grout into the joints and channels of the tile, wipe the surface of the tile with the well-squeezed-out sponge. Allow it dry for several minutes, and then go over it again with the rinsed-out sponge.
To do a good job of anti-hazing for grout, you need to keep changing your bucket of water. Reusing dirty water does nothing to clean off the haze and, in fact, only reapplies what’s causing the hazing in the first place. So as soon as you notice the water becoming discolored, pour it out, rinse out the bucket, and refill with fresh, clear water.
Don’t Forget the Sealer
After you’ve gone over the entire area and completed anti-hazing for grout, you’ll need to apply sealer to the grout, just like you did to the porous tile (if you’ve installed porous tile).
Sealer prevents grout from absorbing dirt, grime, and grease. It also repels water and helps resist against mold and mildew buildup. Wait at least 24 hours to give the grout plenty of time to properly setup before applying sealer.
Anti-hazing for grout may seem tedious and time-consuming, not to mention a lot of work. But in the end, you’ll thank yourself for taking this important step. A clean-looking, easy-to-maintain floor or wall will result, indiscernible from the work of a professional.