All homeowners want to ensure that tiles are kept clean and cared for. They do need routine maintenance, but do tiles need to be sealed?
Natural and man-made stone tiles need to be sealed because they are porous, increasing the chance of stains and eventual damage. On the other hand, glazed ceramic and porcelain, as well as nano-sealed porcelain tiles, don’t need to be sealed because they are not porous.
Read on below to learn about why certain tiles need to be sealed, and why others don’t.
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Is It Necessary to Seal Tiles?
Sealing is an important process that ensure tiles have a protective layer which prevent dirt, stains, grime, and erosion – all of which can cause damage. It also helps improve aesthetic. However, knowing if and when tiles need to be sealed is what makes all the difference.
Tiles That Need Sealing
All tiles made from natural stone need sealing because they are porous, meaning that liquids, dirt, and grime can easily penetrate its surface. These tiles include:
Man-made stone tiles are also porous and need sealing because the process to make them leaves microscopic pinholes that are prone to absorbing stains and liquids. These include:
- Unglazed ceramic
- Unglazed or polished porcelain
Porous tiles should be sealed with a penetrating sealer prior to installation then again after the grout has completely cured.
Tiles That Don’t Need Sealing
Most glazed ceramic and porcelain tiles do not require sealing. These tiles are made by baking them under high heat in a kiln and the glazed tiles result in a surface that is highly impervious to stains and spills.
In addition, some porcelain tiles are labeled “nano sealed” which means they have been treated with a nano polymer compound that has been pressed into these pinholes. They then undergo a series of polishing and reapplication of nano polymer to fill in these gaps, permanently sealing the surface. For this reason, nano-sealed porcelain does not require sealing.
However, some manufacturers of ceramic and porcelain tiles may have recommendations on sealing them so it’s always best to check. Some also believe that a light application of specialized water based or solvent based sealer made specifically for these materials can be beneficial for covering the micropores on the surface of glazed ceramic and porcelain tiles; regular sealers will not be able to penetrate their surfaces.
Porous tiles should be sealed with penetrating sealer, while non-porous tiles shouldn’t be sealed. Understanding the difference will help ensure the longevity and beauty of your tile investments.