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December 2012

Purchasing Sealers and Coatings

By How To, Knowledge No Comments

There are many types of sealers that are available for your tile.  In most cases the tile does not need sealing, but the grout may.  Most stone products do need to be sealed(travertine, marble, slate).  There are new grouts on the market that need not be sealed( I will blog about grouts later).

Penetrating sealers do not change the look of the tile or grout at all.  In most cases you do get what you pay for; if you are going to the trouble of sealing your tile, buy the best.

Enhancers penetrate the stone and grout just like the penetrating sealer.  The big difference in this product is that it changes the look.  It usually darkens the grout a shade or more.  Enhancers are used primarily on tumbled stone, slate or travertine.  We usually use a solvent-based enhancer as opposed to a water-based product.  The advantage of the solvent-based enhancer is that it can be resealed and the solvent will reemulsify the old sealer coat.  In most cases one good coat of a solvent-based enhancer will be enough for a long lasting seal.

Coatings are sealers, but sealers are not necessarily coatings.  Coatings are like waxes, but are usually more durable than wax.  Saltillo tile can be coated with one of these products.  The coatings do what the name implies:  it “coats”.  These products usually don’t change the look of the tile.  They will, however, put a shine on the surface.

The technology of today has made it a no-brainer to use an off-the-shelf product vs a “homemade” sealer.  Before sealers were available, we used silicone, terpentine/linseed oil, and even motor oil and sawdust.

If you want to seal your tile, read and follow all label directions and you should not have any problems.

Remember to do a test area if you are not familiar with the products you are using.