Dr. Frederick M. Hueston, PhD

So, picture this: it’s a cold, ungodly hour in Florida, and my alarm clock has the nerve to screech at me at 5 am. Now, who in their right mind wants to be up at that ungodly hour, you may ask? Well, me, apparently. I’ve reached that age where I can’t resist the allure of the morning calm and, for some reason, I’m convinced I’m more productive before the sun properly wakes up. So, reluctantly, I dragged myself out of bed and embarked on a quest to find a good cup of joe.

And where do you go for the best, soul-warming brew? The ole’ greasy spoon, of course! Flo’s coffee could warm the heart of even the iciest snowman. Seriously, I don’t know what she sprinkles in those coffee grounds, but it’s pure magic. Maybe it’s the atmosphere, or maybe Flo’s just got some secret caffeine enchantment up her sleeve. Anyway, off I went, dreaming of that steaming mug of happiness.

Now, I’ve got this ancient car, and it’s as reluctant as I am to wake up early. No fancy automatic starter here. Nope, I had to brave the freezing morning air while my old Woody lumbered to life. Brrr!

As I shuffled into the diner, there he was, the old Admiral, perched in his usual spot, spinning tales like it’s his day job. This time, though, he’d switched up his usual Navy stories for a wild yarn about his hazing days during basic training. Mind you, this admiral was ancient, like “back-in-my-day-we-had-dinosaurs-as-pets” old. So, you can imagine the epic saga that unfolded over breakfast. Naturally, I was in my own world, tuning him out.

Just as I was lost in my thoughts, my phone chimed. At first, I thought it was yet another spam call, but lo and behold, it was Mr. Professional on the other end, yakking about a mysterious haze situation covering over 50,000 square feet of tile flooring. He wondered if I could swing by to take a gander. Lucky for him, I had a free day, so I said, “Sure, why not?”

I guzzled the last of my coffee, waved farewell to Flo, and hit the road.

When I arrived at the college, I was met by a whole entourage of folks, from the janitors to the college bigwigs. They paraded me into the lobby, and BAM! There it was, a porcelain floor with a cloudier haze than a clumsy magician’s disappearing act. They’d tried everything, from acids to alkaline cleaners, with no luck. But I had a hunch what was going on.

We did a victory lap around the entire college, and every square inch was plagued by that pesky haze. Time for some detective work. I whipped out my trusty knee pads (hey, those old knees have seen better days), and my knife to poke at the grout. Bingo! Epoxy grout. Next, I busted out some acetone, wiped down a tile, and poof! The haze vanished like it saw a ghost.

Epoxy grout residue causing haze, before and after

You got it, folks, it was epoxy residue. Turns out, it’s a common blunder with tile contractors who haven’t quite mastered the art of epoxy. Epoxy grouts? They’re as picky as a cat in a room full of laser pointers. If you don’t clean ‘em up pronto, they’ll leave you with a haze to remember.

So, I gave the school custodians the lowdown on how to fix the mess, and they thanked me. My work here was done. But hold on, it just dawned on me that I hadn’t had a proper breakfast yet. Off to the greasy spoon for some ham and eggs. Another case cracked, another meal earned. The life of the Stone Detective is never dull! 

The Stone Detective is a fictional character created by Dr. Frederick M. Hueston, PhD, written to entertain and educate. Dr. Fred has written over 33 books on stone and tile installations, fabrication and restoration and also serves as an expert for many legal cases across the world.  Send your comments to