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Question?: Do I Need To Seal My Tile Floors? I love my beautiful tile floors. I've lives in my new home for over a year and
many people have advised sealing my tile floors, but I thought it was just the grout that needed to be sealed?
Answer: It's important to realize that there are two parts of a tile floor...the tile and the grout. Grout needs to be sealed. It's naturally porous and will stain easily.
Most installers of tile floors
do not seal them, because grout has to cure first. It's something you should do to keep your grout looking it's best. As a bonus, sealed grout is much easier to keep clean.
Sealing is done to strengthen tile or grout's defenses against dirt, spills, and erosion of grout, but not all tile needs to be sealed.
If your tile is ceramic or porcelain, it probably won't need to be sealed. There are some exceptions to this, so check with your manufacturer to be sure. If your tile is stone (slate, marble, granite, travertine, etc.) then it will need to be sealed. Stone is naturally porous and will absorb spills and stain fairly easily.
You can sometimes tell if your tile or grout have been sealed by spreading a few drops of water on them. If they darken or change color, they are probably not sealed. If they stay the same, they may have already been sealed.
It's always a good idea to follow your manufacturer's instructions on a schedule for sealing grout and tile. Usually that recommendation is sealing grout annually. Yep- every year! While that seems like overkill, if you are properly cleaning your floor regularly, sealer has slowly been removed by cleaning, along with foot traffic and through oxidation (being exposed to the environment.). But sealing will keep your grout clean and help you to stay off the floor with a toothbrush scrubbing stains on your grout that may never come out.
Brush, Roller or Spray on?
- Brush On Sealer. The sealer itself is milky in appearance, and is applied directly to the grout itself with a brush tip. Avoid getting the grout sealer on the tile itself, though a bit does not really matter. The brush applicator is difficult to use because sealer doesn't feed smoothly into the brush and sometimes requires you to go back and reapply in dry areas where sealer failed to apply.
Roller Sealer. Rollers allow you to keep moving down the tile seam line, with little or no reapplication efforts. Rollers are not perfect, but they are better than brushes. Sealer remains relatively close to the seam line without slopping too far over onto the tile surface.
- Spray-On Grout Sealer. Don't relish the idea of laboriously following the grout lines with an applicator tip? Then, just spray it on. You do pay the price for this convenience, because you have more tile surface cleaning later on. The theory behind spray-on sealers is that sealer fluids soak or can be squee geed into porous materials (i.e., sanded grout) but not into smooth surfaces (i.e., the glazed surface of ceramic or porcelain tile). So, even though sealer will end up on the glazed surface, it should wear off over time--in theory. I don't recommend this procedure. It's very messy and really does not turn out very well. It also wastes a lot of sealer and of you are using a high quality sealer- that can cost a lot of money in wasted product.
FYI: There are many cheap sealers for sale out there. If it seems like it is really cheap to seal your entire kitchen, you may be purchasing a sealer that won't do the proper job. And since, brushing or rolling sealer on isn't something you want to perform all over again, do it right the first time with a quality product.
Cleancare of Boulder also offers you tile and grout floor cleaning services for when your grout does go too far to clean yourself. And we can follow that up with the highest quality grout sealing on the planet. Give us a call at 303-530-0646.