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Different Ceramic & Porcelain Tile Sealers

A sealer is a liquid coat applied to the porous surface of the tile or grout, to protect them from oxidation, natural deterioration and day-to-day wear. Typically speaking, sealers are used to protect unglazed tiles and grouts from absorbing stains. Take a look at these guidelines, which are meant to get you started when it comes to choosing the right sealant for your ceramic or porcelain tile project:

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Types

The two main types of sealers for ceramic and porcelain tile include:

  1. Penetrating Sealers: These are absorbed into the tile or grout, forming a stain resistant shield just below the surface. Most penetrating sealers will not change the appearance of the tile.
  2. Surface Sealers: These are coated on the top of tile and grout, forming a non-porous, stain resistant sealant. The surface sealer will enhance the rich natural colors of the tile and add a slight luster as well.

Important Considerations:

  • The surfaces of most ceramic and porcelain tiles do not need to be sealed, although some require a light application of a penetrating sealer to fill the micro pores on the surface of the tile.
  • However, all unglazed tiles including dense porcelains, should be sealed prior to grouting. It will prevent the grout from staining the tile, especially when a dark colored grout is being used with a light colored tile.
  • Impregnating sealers go into the grout joint and protect against water and oil-based stains.
  • Highly absorbent tiles such as hand-made Saltillo tiles must be permanently sealed with either a penetrating or surface sealer.
  • Use only penetrating sealers on dense, unglazed tiles such as quarries or porcelains.
  • It is important to follow manufacturer recommendations and read the instructions on any product being used.

The above information is a selected set of guidelines. For further details, it’s a good idea to ask a BuildDirect product expert or a professional installer about which type of sealer performs best for the tile you’ve chosen. While considering color change and stain resistance, it also important to consider whether a penetrating sealer or surface sealer will work best for your project.

Do you need a sealer for your tile installation?
 

Browse our floor care products for Ceramic & Porcelain Tile here. Help ensure your renovation remains beautiful for years to come

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(6) Comments

  1. Hello I have ceramic tile on my front porch the previous owners put down. And when it rains the tile is extremely slippery. I have put rugs down and stuff under the rug to help grip.. nothing seems to work. Do you have any suggestions to what I could do about this? Any kind of non skid I could put down.. Something.. I’m desperate at this point? Please and thank you.

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Tasha,

      Thank you for getting in touch! Unfortunately you have tried everything we usually recommend, putting down some sort of mat or carpet that has a non-slip grip on the back. It seems the tile that is installed may not have been meant to be installed outdoors which makes it very slippery. There also aren’t any types of sealers or chemicals that can be put down. I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help!

      Please let us know if there is anything else you need!

  2. We have a 13 year old ceramic tile floor that needs refinishing. I did put a surface sealant on it a few months ago, but it looks dingy now. So I need to remove the old sealer and put a new one on. How do we do that?

    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team
      BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Anne,

      Thank you for your inquiry!

      Unfortunately, as ceramic is a man-made product that has a sealer already incorporated into the original glaze, you are not suppose to put any extra sealers on top. The first step would be to get a sealer stripper and strip the sealer coat you put on top. That is what makes the tile look dingy as dirt just sticks to the sealer because it cannot be absorbed. If a tile starts to look dull it is usually something on the tile that needs to be cleaned off. If you were looking to get more sheen or luster onto the tile more than what it had originally, unfortunately the only way to do that is to change out the actual tile.

      Hopefully this helps. Please let us know if there is anything else you need!

  3. BuildDirect Product Expert Team
    BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

    Hi Bob,

    Thank you for getting in touch with BuildDirect!

    Unfortunately there is no way to make a glazed tile have a sheen, you would need to install an actual polished tile. All porcelain tile already comes sealed so we don’t recommend putting another sealer on top.

    Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  4. We have installed a porcelain floor tile that has no sheen. Would you recommend applying a sealer to add a sheen?

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