My tile looks dull, why? My tile retains dirt, why?

These questions are often interrelated. If the surface appearance of the tile differs significantly from uninstalled pieces left from the installation there are several possible explanations.

The tile may appear dull if a grout haze remains on the surface of the tile. This often happens when the grout is not thoroughly cleaned from the tile surface immediately following installation. Since grout is a form of cement, it becomes very difficult to remove after drying completely. This can be avoided by grouting only manageable sections at one time and cleaning each well before moving on to other areas. This step is particularly important when working with textured, natural stone-like tile that feature crevices or clefts.

When grout remains on the surface, it attracts and holds dirt, thus making it impossible to restore the original sheen to the tile. Products exist in the marketplace to remove grout haze; these products often contain acids that can damage the surface of the tile. Since the surface of tile is essentially a layer of glass, it can be easily etched by acid. Ragno does not recommend acid cleaning for any of our glazed products. Any effort to remove grout haze with an acid-based product should be cautiously undertaken by a professional contractor and utilized with extreme caution. Improper use of acids that etch the glaze also results in loss of light reflection and dirt retention that diminishes the sheen of a tile.

Additionally, normal wear and tear can result in scratches that, over time, retain dirt and reduce sheen. Culprits can be sand or gravel adhered to shoe soles, chairs or bar stools that are repetitively moved across a tile surface, children’s toys with abrasive finishes, loaded carts or other conveyances, etc. Always consider a tile’s durability classification when choosing a product for specific areas.