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Tile Polishing Made Easy: Instructions & Tips | DIY tile care

Polishing tiles is not difficult - we'll show you how it's done!

Difficulty: Easy | Costs for 5m²: approx. 30-80 euros | Workload for 10m²: approx. 2-3 hours

An image of a polished tile floor

Polishing tiles can greatly improve the appearance of your space, protect the tiles, and extend their lifespan.

In this article, you'll learn everything you need to know about polishing tiles, from materials and tools needed to step-by-step instructions and helpful tips.

1. Why should tiles be polished?

Polishing tiles offers numerous advantages. This includes:

Tiles polished and unpolished before/after.

  1. Appearance improvement:

    Polishing can restore matte and dull tiles to their original shine, enhancing the overall space.

  2. Protection of the tiles:

    A polished surface is more resistant to dirt, stains and moisture, which protects the tiles better. From my experience I can tell you that you don't have to clean the new tile surface as often and less intensively.

  3. Increase in longevity:

    Well-maintained and polished tiles are less prone to wear and damage, so they last longer.

2. What tools and machines are needed for basic tile polishing?

  1. Polishing agent:

    There are special polishing agents for tiles that are tailored to the respective type of tile. Make sure you choose the right product for your tiles.

  2. My experience:

    For expensive marble or granite tiles, choose a really good and expensive polish. It provides significantly better results.

  3. Tile polishing pads:

    Polishing pads come in different sizes and degrees of hardness. Choose a pad that matches your tiles and desired polishing intensity.

  4. polishing machine:

    An electric polishing machine makes the work easier and ensures an even result. Alternatively, you can also polish by hand or use 125 mm diamond grinding pads with Velcro for the angle grinder.

  5. Cleaning supplies:

    A mild detergent is important to thoroughly clean the tiles before polishing . Caution: Natural stone tiles should not be cleaned with extreme care.

Diamond grinding pad 125 mm for the angle grinder and flex

2.1 How much does tile polishing cost?

Polishing tiles is comparatively cheap. We have listed the individual costs in the table below.

Material/Tool/Service Costs
polish 10 - 50 euros per bottle or can
polishing pads 10-30 euros per set
polishing machine (purchase) 50 - 300 euros depending on make and model
polishing machine (rent) 20 - 50 euros per day (depending on the provider)
cleaning supplies 5-15 euros per bottle
Professional tile polishing 15-30 euros per square meter

Please note that the costs given serve as a guide and may vary depending on the brand, quality, provider and scope of the project.

3. Preparation of the tiles

Before you start polishing, you need to prepare the tiles:

Person scrubs the floor/tiles
  1. Clean tiles:

    Remove dust, dirt and stains from the tiles with a mild detergent and a soft sponge or cloth. Be sure to clean the grout thoroughly as well.

    My tip: Clean the joints with an old toothbrush.

  2. Repairing Damaged Tiles:

    If you discover a damaged tile, it is advisable to touch it up or replace it before polishing.

4. Polishing tiles - step by step instructions

A picture of porcelain stoneware tiles being polished with an angle grinder and diamond grinding pad as a polishing machine

After the preparation you can start with the actual polishing process:

  1. Apply polish:

    Put the polish on the polishing pad or directly on the tiles. Make sure to distribute the agent evenly.

  2. Polishing with polishing pad:

    Rub the polishing pad over the tiles with gentle pressure and work in a circular motion. Make sure to work all surfaces evenly.

  3. Polishing with polishing machine:

    If using a buffing machine, work across the tiles in even strokes. Be careful not to keep the machine in one spot for too long to avoid an uneven result.

  4. Post-processing and cleaning:

    After you've polished all of the tiles, wipe away any excess polish with a clean, soft cloth. You can then clean the tiles with a damp cloth or mop to remove any polish residue.

My advice: Do not skip any grit level of each polishing pad. It is imperative to gradually use each grit for the best result.

4.1 Tips and tricks for a perfect result

A picture of an exclamation mark and visual tips for the right tile and porcelain polish

Our experience: Polishing tiles is not that difficult if you know all the tips and tricks. Pay attention to this in order to get the desired result faster.

  • Test the polish and polishing technique in an inconspicuous area first to ensure the polish and application you choose is appropriate for your tile.
  • It is best to work in small sections to achieve an even result and to prevent the polish from drying.
  • If needed, apply multiple coats of polish to achieve the desired level of shine.

4.2 How can I avoid the most common mistakes when polishing tiles?

A do-it-yourselfer who scratches his head because he made a mistake polishing porcelain stoneware

  • Using the wrong polish:

    Be really careful to choose a polish that is appropriate for your type of tile. If you are unsure what material your tiles are made of, you can take a photo of you and show it to the specialist shop. In my experience, the employees in a tile shop know best about it.
  • Too much pressure when polishing:

    Excessive pressure can scratch or damage the tiles. Work with gentle pressure and let the polish do the work.
  • Uneven polishing:

    Make sure to work all surfaces evenly to avoid an uneven result. I recommend setting a timer or changing sections every new minute.

5. Conclusion - Tile polishing can be done cheaply and efficiently.

Polishing tiles is an effective way to improve the appearance of your space and extend the life of your tiles.

It can also increase the value of the property when it is sold. With the right materials, tools and techniques, you can achieve great results and make your tiles shine like new.

Pay attention to the right preparation and avoid common mistakes in order to achieve the best possible result.

6. FAQ - Frequently asked questions about polishing tiles

Can I polish all types of tiles?

Not all types of tiles are suitable for polishing. Natural stone or porcelain stoneware tiles can be polished, while unglazed ceramic tiles or rough surfaces may not be suitable for polishing. Find out in advance whether your type of tile is suitable for polishing. I recommend using a tile forum or asking a consultant in a tile shop (exhibition).

How often should I polish my tiles?

The frequency of polishing depends on the use and the desired gloss level. In general, however, polishing tiles every two to five years is sufficient.

Can I also polish outdoor tiles?

Yes, it is possible to polish outdoor tiles. However, be sure to choose a polish that is suitable for outdoor use and will give the tiles extra protection from the elements. Without this additional protection, the effect achieved is immediately gone and the work was in vain.

How long does it take to polish tiles?

The polishing time depends on the size of the area and the method chosen (hand polishing or polishing machine). Plan to spend anywhere from half a day to a full day polishing an average bathroom.

Can tiles be polished by professionals?

Yes, there are companies that specialize in polishing tiles. If you're unsure or don't have time to do the work yourself, it may make sense to hire a professional.
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