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Al's Column: Restoring porcelain’s luster

March 27/April 3, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 21

By Donato Pompo

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.39.49 AMHere at Ceramic Tile & Stone Consultants (CTaSC) we field a lot of questions from retailers and consumers alike about restoring the surface of porcelain tile products, which are growing in popularity. Following is a customer’s recent inquiry about how to remove common grout haze from unfinished porcelain tile:

The grout haze and residue was allowed to cure and dry on the porcelain tile for 11 days before any attempt for removal of this product. After three days of cleaning the floor, I still have a dull residue and dripping spots on a large portion of the tile. (Do you think the grout haze and residue remained on the porcelain tile too long to affect the cleaning process? If so, what would be considered an adequate time frame to start removing the grout haze and residue from the tile?)

All materials were installed on a concrete slab—1,030 square feet tiled, three bedrooms with closets and a living room. The tile—Crossville Moonstruck Series Luna and Juno 12 x 24 unpolished with cross-sheen product—is a rectified tile and porcelain installed over Laticrete Fracture Ban 40 mil membrane with the recommended floor primer. The mortar used for the installation of the tile was Mapei Ultraflex 1.

The grout width is 1⁄8 inch thick and the brand used is a Bostik TruColor rapid cure grout. The grouting process was completed on Feb. 17, 2017, by the installers.

On Feb. 28, I first attempted to remove the haze and residue with Bostik Blaze. But there is still a dull residue and shiny dripping spots on the tile.

I would appreciate your advice on fixing this issue.

Dear homeowner:
It’s important to note there is always a grout haze after grouting a tile. For cementitious grouts, the haze should be polished off with a dry clean cheese cloth soon after the tile surface dries. If you wait too long the haze can be very difficult to remove.

Sometimes the haze could be a latex residue from the polymers in the grout or thin-set mortar. There are special removers of latex haze that can be bought from the various tile and stone cleaning and sealing manufacturers. Check the CTaSC Resource Directory at ctasc.com.

However, it isn’t clear what the drip marks are. If you used a very corrosive acid to try to clean the tile it could possibly etch the surface. If it is etched the only thing you can do is get a professional stone restoration company to hone the surface.

If it is a cementitious haze, you can use some diluted vinegar or diluted phosphoric acid and scrub it with a 3M pad to remove the haze. In situations where the haze is more difficult to remove, use a scrubber with water and detergent with silica sand. Note: This can only work if the product is an unglazed or unpolished porcelain tile. You can never perform these steps on a polished tile, so it’s important to know what you’re working with. Always test the scrubbing method in an out-of-the- way spot before you apply it to the floor.

There is a condition called optical haze that can occur on some polished tiles that gives it a sort of cloudy appearance when the light shines on it at a certain angle. But that isn’t known to happen on an unpolished tile.

If all else fails, there are stone restoration companies that can deep clean and refinish stone and some tile floors. Make sure they are credible and qualified with a lot of experience.

 

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.38.38 AMDonato Pompo, CTC CMR CSI CDT MBA, is the founder of CTaSC and a leading stone forensic expert and consultant in North America.

 

 

 

 

 

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Blustyle launches in the U.S. at Coverings 2017

bluestyleNew YorkAttendees at Coverings 2017 will be the first to experience the North American launch of a Blustyle, the newest Panariagroup brand to enter the US market. The Blustyle brand will exhibit in the Ceramics of Italy Pavilion (Booth #1435) showing a robust offering of contemporary Italian ceramics for commercial and residential settings in different finishes, colors and formats.

The state-of-the-art products on display will include highlights from the 12 new Blustyle collections that are in step with the trends such as rustic and refined wood looks, concrete finishes, oversized stone looks and distinctive marbles in a range of thicknesses from 9mm to 11mm and even 20mm. The entire collection comes with a guarantee for up to 20 years—underscoring the quality and durability of tiles.

“Blustyle is a brand that leverages the experience and qualities of sister company, Cotto D’Este and the whole Panariagroup,” said Paolo Mussini, Panaria CEO. “The brand offers Made-in-Italy, porcelain solutions at traditional thicknesses, taking advantage of the latest technology, the best raw materials, distinctive aesthetics and the production team’s deep respect for the environment.”

In sync with its parent company’s commitment to responsible production methods, Blustyle has already secured eco-focused certifications (EMAS, ISO, Eco-Label) that cover its eco-compatible production that recycles, reduces the waste of all raw materials, manages the plant at its highest efficiency and uses renewable energy.

To accompany the new brand, the Blustyle team has created a range of tools and materials to help with the specification and installation process. A dedicated website and brochure lays out all of the details on the guarantee for up to 20 years and includes technical specs to assist with layout ideas.

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TCNA to celebrate National Tile Day by visiting Clemson’s new Football Operations Complex

TCNA_logoClemson, S.C.—February 23 marks the first-ever National Tile Day, and the staff of Anderson, S.C.-based Tile Council of North America (TCNA) will celebrate the occasion with a tour of Clemson’s new 140,000 square-foot Football Operations Building. The $55-million building is currently pending LEED silver certification, thanks in part to its ubiquitous use of tile.

The Clemson Football Operations Complex encompasses 30,000 square feet of tile, along with 4,000 square feet of thin brick. Jeff Thomas, senior account executive, DCO Commercial Floors, said both the expanse of the project as well as the wide variety of styles used—including stone- and wood-look tiles and glass tiles—contributed to the complexity of the install. Thomas added the TCNA Handbook was instrumental in the team’s success, especially considering they had a firm due date: ESPN’s live broadcast on National Signing Day.

“We’re proud that our research, industry standards and reference materials have been of service to the companies who worked on the Clemson Football Operations Complex project,” said Bill Griese, director of Standards Development and Sustainability Initiatives (Clemson ‘06). “Seeing tile playing a key role toward the building attaining LEED silver certification is even more rewarding. Further, we fully anticipate the energy, environmental, health and lifecycle benefits resulting from the project’s extensive use of tile will serve Clemson and its athletes well, long into the future.”

Clemson aims to achieve at least a LEED silver rating for all newly constructed buildings and large renovations. The LEED green building certification program is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. It contains prerequisites and credits in five categories: sustainable site planning, improving energy efficiency, conserving materials and resources, embracing indoor environmental quality and safeguarding water.

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Crossville hosts private plant tour for congressman

Screenshot_2015-08-26_12.01.04Crossville, Tenn.—Crossville recently hosted Congressman Diane Black for a tour of the company’s tile manufacturing facilities. Congressman Black, U.S. representative for Tennessee’s 6th congressional district including Crossville, requested the opportunity to tour the plant following a meeting with the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) regarding import and trade issues.

Mark Shannon, Crossville’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, and Sam Dryden, vice president of manufacturing for Crossville, hosted the private tour, sharing perspectives of the company and the domestic tile industry and answering questions regarding the domestic tile business in Tennessee.