When it comes to finishing off your tile, a tile sealer may or may not be a good idea. It is always a good idea to seal the tile grout, but depending what material your tile is made of, will determine whether or not you should seal it. Some tiles will be damaged by certain tile sealer leaving them brittle, dark, or faded.
What Type of Tile Do You Have?
Before running to the hardware store and buying a gallon pail of tile sealer, you should know which type of tile you have. For the most part, all porous tiles need to be sealed. This will mean that your natural stone tiles and unglazed ceramic tiles will benefit greatly to tile sealer. If you don't know if the tile is porous use a wet sponge on the tile. If the tile has a dark spot where the sponge was, then it is porous.
Petroleum or Water Based Sealers?
Sealers should also be bought according to how porous the tile is. A petroleum based tile sealer should be used on the ceramic tiles, while the water based tile sealer should only be used on natural stone tiles.
Ask if You Still Don't Know
Many times if you bring in a sample of the tile you have, the sales clerk at the hardware store will be able to help you determine the right sealer, or if you need any.
How Much Do You Need?
One you figure out if you need tile sealer, and the type that you should have, then can then figure out how much you need. Measure the length and width of the area that you are going to seal and multiply the two numbers together. That will give you the square feet. Most gallon pails will tell you how much area they cover. If a pail covers 25 square feet, and you have 50 square feet, then you will need two pails.
Applying the Tile Sealer
To apply the tile sealer that you bought to the area you will need to remember to work quickly, but smoothly. As the sealer dries it will show any imperfections in the ways it is spread, or brushed on.
1. Make off area and protect floors, trim, and furniture around the tile. This will protect the sealer getting on anything else.
2. Take all recommended safety precautions and put on any safety gear. This will vary depending on the chemicals you use, but you should always make sure your work area has proper ventilation, wear old work clothes you won't mind getting stained, and wear a face or respirator mask along with gloves and safety glasses.
3. Open the can, or pail, or sealer and mix.
4. Working quickly in one corner of the tile, begin to spread out the sealer with a brush or squeegee. You can transfer small amounts of sealant to a smaller can and pout it out in small amounts on the tile, while quickly spreading it out.
5. Keep an even amount throughout the process until you have finished the area to be sealed. Some of the sealant will penetrate into the tile itself so continue to spread it out until the area is evenly coated.
6. Let sit for 24 hours before walking on the tiles or putting anything on them. This will help the sealant bond and form a protective barrier.
7. Lightly polish to a glossy shine.