Old dull porcelain floor tiles are often an eyesore, making a home look dated. The good news is you can make these tiles glossy and newer-looking again with some elbow grease and the right product.
For glazing the porcelain or ceramic tiles, using glossing fluid will work best, provided you have cleaned the area well and have applied thin coats carefully.
You can purchase these fluids at any home improvement store, and you don’t need any special skills or expensive tools; just a little patience and the willingness to get down on your hands and knees.
Making Your Matte Porcelain Tiles Shiny Again
Unlike ceramic tiles, porcelain floor tiles are made from denser clay material and fired at a higher temperature, making them harder and more impervious to moisture.
The downside is that they can become cloudy and lose shine over time, especially in high-traffic areas. This can happen due to a variety of reasons, such as:
- It’s that the tile wasn’t glazed correctly.
- The cleaning products you used on the tile were harsh.
- The bathroom tile sealer has not been well-maintained regularly.
Whether your porcelain tiles start to look dull and lackluster or you just want to turn your matte floor tile glossy, there are a few techniques you can try.
Here is a complete process on how to make your porcelain tiles in the bathroom shine:
Step 1- Detecting the Tiles
This is an important initial step where you need to check if you can actually put the gloss over the tiles or not.
Certain porcelain tiles come with a glass covering pre-coated over them, and adding further shine will not only be challenging but will make it look weird.
If your tile is one of those, then you might have to give this project a miss. Other than that, if your tile is unglazed or has a porous surface, move on to the next step.
Step 2- Cleaning Your Tiles
Once you have confirmed that you can apply the gloss fluid, start by giving the floor a good cleaning. In most cases, sweeping or vacuuming any dust, dirt, or debris and then mopping the floor with a mild soap and water solution is enough.
But if your unglazed porcelain tiles are too old, there may be heavy stains, scum, and wax build-up that need to be cleaned with a mixture of warm water and white vinegar.
- Mix 1/4 cup of white vinegar in a bucket filled with 2 gallons of warm water.
- Dip the cleaning sponge (or an abrasive pad) into the mixture and gently scrub the tiles.
- Rinse the tiles with clean, fresh water and wipe them with a soft, clean towel.
Make sure you get into and wash all the cracks and crevices to remove any dirt that might be lurking there.
Step 3- Applying a Tile Glossing Fluid
Once the floor is clean and dried, apply a glossing fluid to your tiles.
GlazeGuard gloss sealer is what I have personally tried for my porcelain tiles, and I think it’s one of the best products in the market. It’s very affordable, and you can easily find it in any nearby hardware store or online.
There are many other different brands and types of glossing fluids; if you want to choose some other, pick the one designed for use on porcelain or ceramic tiles. Most products will come with instructions on how to apply them, but in general, you will want to:
- Pour a small amount of the glossing fluid onto the tiled floor and then spread it around with a sponge or mop, working in small sections.
- Ensure you don’t apply too much of the fluid, as it will take longer to dry and might leave streaks.
- Once you have covered the entire floor, let it dry for the time specified on the product label.
- After it’s completely dry, apply a second coat if you feel necessary – your tiles should now be glossy, shiny, and looking like new.
If you are unhappy with the shine level, consider applying a third layer of gloss after the floor is dry enough. Make sure the top coat is even and uniform; if it isn’t completely uniform, it won’t look good.
Tips and Warnings
To achieve a wet look on your porcelain tile, apply high-gloss penetrating sealers or enhancers. This will darken the tiles and create a shiny, wet appearance.
Do NOT use bleach on your unglazed porcelain tiles, as it will weaken the tile grout making it vulnerable to getting water damage and deteriorating early.
Also, do not scuff the surface of the porcelain tile with abrasive substances, as this will create tiny scratches that will be visible once you apply the gloss.
Polished vs. Matte Porcelain Tiles – What’s Better?
When choosing between polished and unpolished porcelain tiles for your floors and walls, you should typically consider even the smallest details.
For instance, if you prefer an earthy, rustic feel, I recommend going for unglazed polished or unpolished tiles. Or, if you’re looking for a non-slip option for your hallway, kitchen, or bathroom, matt tiles would be more beneficial.
Matt tiles, although not as shiny, provide better traction than glossy tiles, making them more suitable for high-traffic areas often exposed to moisture, steam, and water.
In contrast, polished shiny tiles are great for creating a modern, luxurious look in your room as they reflect light and brighten up the room while adding an extra layer of design. These are great for use in large open spaces.
So, before you choose the tile finish for your walls or floors, assess the advantages and disadvantages of each option to make an informed choice about which one to use.
It is also important to remember that matte and glossy tiles usually have different cleaning requirements, so make sure you read up on the best way to take care of them.
Can You Make Glossy Tiles Matte – Removing the Shine
There can be a few explanations for why you need to remove shine from porcelain tiles.
It could be that you didn’t like the glossy look after all, or the tiles might have become too slippery and dangerous, especially in a bathroom.
Whatever your specific reason is, there are a few ways you can go about making your tiles matte again:
1- Use a dulling agent
You can find dulling agents specifically designed for use on porcelain tiles. These products work by creating a haze on the tile’s surface, which then needs to be buffed off.
2- Use sandpaper
Another excellent option to achieve a matte finish on your tiles is to use sandpaper. Begin with a coarse-grit sandpaper and gradually transition to a finer grit until you are satisfied with the outcome.
3- Use acidic cleaners
Using acidic cleaners like vinegar or lemon juice to dull the shine on your tiles is another great alternative.
To use that, simply apply the cleaner to a cloth and rub it onto the tile in a circular motion. Once you have achieved the desired results, rinse the tiles with water and dry them with a soft cloth.
4- Use a matte sealer
If you want to make sure your tiles stay matte, you can also use a matte sealer. These products work by creating a barrier on the tile’s surface that prevents light from reflecting off the surface.
Can You Mix Matte and Glossy Tiles During the Installation?
When you are installing porcelain tiles, you can mix both matte and glossy tiles to create an interesting and unique look. Just make sure you lay out the tiles in a way that is pleasing to the eye, and don’t mix too many different colors or patterns.
When installed correctly, the softness of the matte tiles can act as a contrast to the shining glossiness of the glossy tiles. This combination can add texture and depth to any room, making it look stylish and modern.
When grouting, you may need to adjust the color of the grout to match the matte or glossy tile, depending on the look you’re going for. Applying too much grout may make the matte tiles appear dull and ruin the effect that mixing matte and glossy tiles creates.
Also, to ensure a successful installation, it is best to practice laying out the tiles before you begin installation with an adhesive. This will help you determine how the tile pattern will look, ensuring the tiles are aligned correctly in the way you want.
If you are unsure of what to do, consult with a professional tile installer who can help you create the perfect look for your space.
Can porcelain tiles be buffed and polished?
Creating buffed and polished look on your tiled floors is a straightforward process that can be accomplished using soft cloth or porcelain tile polishing pads. You don’t need a buffing solution to use the pads; just by polishing in a circular motion, you can restore the tiles’ original luster.
Do matte porcelain floor tiles need to be sealed?
Most porcelain tiles are non-porous, meaning they don’t necessarily need to be sealed. However, if you want to protect them from dirt and stains, you can apply a premium tile sealant.
Some tiles also require a very light coat of penetrating sealer that can help fill the micro pores on the tile’s surface, making them less prone to staining. This sealer is generally applied after grouting and should be done carefully so as not to strip away any of the finish from the tiles.
The bottom line
Porcelain tiles are a durable and low-maintenance option favored by many homeowners. However, they may lose their shine with time, like other types of floor and wall tiles. If you find your porcelain tiles looking dull, don’t worry: there are simple methods to restore their luster.
If you are unsure, seek advice from a professional tile installer or flooring specialist who can guide you through your options based on your specific tile situation.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.