Humans have been using stone tiles to enhance their homes as early as the year 4,000 BC! With such a long history, it’s no wonder there are so many beautiful tiles to choose from. Whether you choose natural stone tiles or ceramic, it is important to protect your investment.
Sealing your tile can act as an extra layer of protection from everyday usage. But do you need to use a tile sealer? Read on to find out if you should take this extra step in keeping your tile job looking fresh!
Do Both Tile and Grout Need a Sealer?
Understanding the difference between sealing grout and tile is important. Grout should always be sealed because it is very porous. Doing this will leave your grout much easier to keep clean.
Sealing your tiles is a separate step from sealing your grout. Taking the time to seal your tiles will protect your tiles against dirt and water. Though, not all tiles need a sealer.
It is a personal preference whether you want to seal your tiles or not. Some stone tiles are not very porous and won’t need extra protection. Some tiles require more protection from spills and dirt.
Stone tiles that come with a honed finish from the factory do not need a sealer. Untreated, raw stone tiles arranged on a mesh backing can benefit from a sealer. It can enhance the color, give them a wet look, and add a subtle sheen.
How Do I Know if My Tiles Need a Tile Sealer?
Needing a sealer is dependent upon the type of tile you have. There are two main types of tile; ceramic or porcelain and natural stone (marble, limestone, granite). Each type of tile will have different needs, so you may want to test a small area with your sealer before applying it to all your tile to make sure you are happy with the results.
Ceramic and porcelain tiles do not typically need a sealer. These tiles already have a protective coating because they are kiln-fired. You may want to add a light coat to fill in any micro pores still present, though.
Natural stone tiles need a penetrating sealant for proper sealing. Natural stone tiles are porous and will absorb spills and dirt over time. Applying a sealer will keep them looking new for longer.
Unsealed stone is more prone to absorb impurities over time (soap and dirt buildup). A sealer adds another layer of protection to the stone tiles.
How and When Do I Seal my Tile?
Taking the time to seal your tile will keep your investment protected longer. The steps to achieve sealed tile are simple!
When Do I Seal My Tile?
Porous tile needs a sealer before grouting. This will protect your new tiles from scratches and spills during grouting.
It is even more ideal to seal your tiles before they get installed. This will add extra protection from mortar stains.
It is not always possible to seal tiles before installation, and that is okay. Porous tiles, however, will need to be sealed before grouting. Grout will stain many types of tiles, so they need protection.
After the grout has cured, it is important to apply a second coat of sealer. This will not only seal the grout but add an extra layer of protection to your tiles. It will also re-seal any spots of sealer that wore off during grouting.
How Do I Seal My Tile?
Applying sealer to protect your tile from scratches and stains is easy! Choosing the best tile sealer for your tile will make the process quick and easy.
The density and porosity of the stone will decide how much sealer the tiles need. Some may need more and others less.
A penetrating sealer is best on porous tiles. This type of sealer keeps the tile protected from debris and stains while allowing the tile to breathe. It is absorbed by the tile instead of sitting on the surface.
Topical sealer sits on top of tiles and can enhance their appearance. This type of sealer creates a protective film on the tile. Topical sealers need reapplication more often than penetrating sealers.
This type of sealer is best for ceramic and porcelain tile. It protects the tile from breaks and scratches. It is more effective at coating and less porous tiles.
Water-based sealers are another type used on porous natural stone tiles. The pores absorb the sealer, and the tiles are enhanced by it.
First, remove all dust and debris from the tiles you are sealing. Be sure to remove all dirt that may be hiding in corners! Mop your tiles with a solution of soap and warm water to remove any grime or oils.
After your tile is clean, you will want to rinse it with fresh water. Allow your tile to dry for at least six hours or overnight.
Fill up a spray bottle with your tile sealer and start spraying your tile floors. After the floor sealer has sat for five minutes you will remove the excess sealer with a damp sponge.
Apply multiple coats depending on your preference and the stone you used. Wait thirty minutes between coats, wipe between, and reapply.
Do I Need to Reapply Sealer?
In short, yes, tiles need a sealer about once a year. An easy test if your tiles need another coat of sealer is to put a bit of water on them. If the water absorbs into the tile, it is time for another round of floor or wall sealer.
Higher traffic areas will need more frequent tile seal applications. Tile walls and low-traffic areas may only need a sealer reapplication every other year.
Take On That Tile Project
Are you looking to seal existing tiles or have a new tile project in mind? Sealing your tile adds an extra layer of protection to your investment. It is the first line of defense against spills and dirt and will allow for less maintenance.
Are you feeling inspired to tackle your tiling project? We have a generous selection of mosaic and porcelain tiles for you to choose from!