Sealed tiles: Do I Need to Seal My Tile Floors?

Do I Need to Seal My Tile Floors?

By

Sarah Aguirre

Sarah Aguirre

Sarah Aguirre is a housekeeping expert with over 20 years of experience cleaning residentially and commercially. Over that time, she has been writing about tips and tricks for housekeeping and organizing a home for national publications.

Learn more about The Spruce’s
Editorial Process

Updated on 08/28/22

Reviewed by

Johnathan Brewer

Reviewed by
Johnathan Brewer

Johnathan C. Brewer II is a licensed general contractor specializing in kitchen, bath remodels, and general construction with two decades of professional experience.

Learn more about The Spruce’s
Review Board

Fact checked by

Jessica Wrubel

Fact checked by
Jessica Wrubel

Jessica Wrubel has an accomplished background as a writer and copy editor, working for various publications, newspapers and in public libraries assisting with reference, research and special projects. In addition to her journalism experience, she has been educating on health and wellness topics for over 15 years in and outside of the classroom.

Learn more about The Spruce’s
Editorial Process

The Spruce / Ashley Luciano

 

Imagine you’ve just moved into a new home that comes complete with a brand new kitchen. Its tile floors are gorgeous but they seem like a pain to keep up with. Many people are advising you to seal the tile floors, but you thought it was just the grout that needed to be sealed. What’s the proper way to take care of your beautiful tiles?

Should You Seal the Tile or the Grout? 

It’s important to realize that there are two parts of a tile floor: the tile and the grout. Most of the floor is made up of the actual tiles but the grout is just as important. It’s the often overlooked material that holds the tiles in place. 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 its best. As a bonus, sealed grout is much easier to keep clean.

When to Seal Tiles

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.

Tip

Sealing hued tiles can sometimes alter the color or tone of the tile. Test the sealant in an inconspicuous area before applying it across the surface to ensure you like the results.

How to Tell If Grout Is Sealed

You can sometimes tell if your tile or grout has 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. If a tile job was completed years ago, it may need to be resealed. If your tile work is in an outdoor area the elements will likely wear it down faster. However, grout in unventilated bathrooms is exposed to a lot of humidity and moisture which can cause it to break down. If you notice loose tiles or your grout flaking off when you wash the tub it might be time to have it redone.

Cleaning Sealed Grout and Tiles

While sealing your tiles and grout will help protect them from stains, accidents still happen. If you notice a stain on your tiles, just rub it with a mild bleach solution. Be careful not to scrub your tiles with anything too stiff, like a metal brush, that could scratch or damage the tiles. Grout usually needs to set for about a month before it can be sealed. If it gets stained before it’s sealed just use the mild bleach solution and scrub lightly. If you seal the stained grout, you will probably never be able to get the stain out again. 

7 Myths about How to Seal Grout & Tile

There are a lot of steps involved in taking on a tiling project – from choosing the perfect material, perfecting your layout, and laying your tile! Sealing tile and grout is a necessary part of the process to protect the materials and ensure your tile has a long lifetime – it’s also usually the step that gets forgotten! 

Ensure the longest life for your beautiful tiles like our White Sparkle Waterjet Marble Mosaic Tile backsplash, and the easiest way to maintain your grout by making sure they are properly sealed! We’re sharing 7 common myths and facts about sealing grout and tiles to make sure you have the right information about this important step to ensure the longevity and appearance of your tile! 

Myth #1: Tile grout lasts forever!

Wouldn’t it be awesome if your grout lasted a lifetime and always stayed clean? The clean lines on this Crema Marfil Herringbone 1X3 Polished Marble Mosaic Tile layout should always look this fresh!

It’s a common misconception that tile grout is designed to last forever. The truth is that grout can last for a very long time in ideal conditions but unfortunately, it’s not designed to last forever! Traditional grout is cement-based, and whether sanded or un-sanded, it’s highly porous by nature. Picture a sponge with thousands of little holes in it, where each of the holes traps any water, dirt, or oil that comes into contact.

Guess what happens? Then you wash or mop the surface, you actually pick up the surface dirt instead of clearing the pores. The result is grout that gets even dirtier and more gross. In addition to looking unsightly, your tiled area also becomes unsanitary as the water soaks up through the pores and creates the perfect breeding ground for mold! Since it’s nearly impossible to get rid of mold without removing the entire grout, you not only end up re-grouting the area but also removing and ruining all the beautiful tiles you’ve just invested in for your home.

Don’t worry! By adding a protective sealant layer, you extend the life and appearance of your grout and tiles. We’ll cover the best materials and ways to do this in the next sections!

Pro Tip: The only exception to this rule is epoxy-groutan alternative to cement-based grout- that offers stain and chemical resistance. Although it’s more expensive, its durability makes it an ideal choice for wet and high traffic areas. As an added bonus, epoxy grout never needs to be sealed due to its non-porous nature!

Myth #2: Should you seal grout with any kind of grout?

There’s an assumption that all grout and tile sealers provide the same standard of protection. 

The truth is, no one sealer is best suited for all situations. Depending on your tile and its location, you can narrow down your grout sealer choices to two main categories: penetrating sealers and membrane-forming sealers.

Penetrating grout sealers absorb into the grout and help protect it from stains and grease infiltration. As the porous grout absorbs your chosen sealer, the material fills in all the gaps and keeps moisture out. This type of grout sealer helps fill the pores within the grout rather than coating the top, meaning the grout can still breathe. That’s why it works best in areas that are exposed to a lot of water, making it ideal for sealing tile showers, tubs and bathroom backsplash areas, which are more likely to have long term water, mildew, and oil exposure. 

Penetrating sealers also have different color options, which may lessen visible stains or discoloration in the grout. Unlike regular colored grout, penetrating grout sealers with color goes directly into the pores of the grout and helps protect it from damage while working to maintain its original color and prevent stains.

Non-penetrating grout sealers (membrane-forming sealers), on the other hand, are ideal if you’re looking for a basic layer of protection. These sealers just create a coating on the surface of the grout that resists water penetration, which eventually prevents water that’s trapped underneath the tile to evaporate and can lead to mold and mildew. Therefore, they are best to use in kitchen floor and backsplash areas, you should not use this to seal grout in showers, bathrooms, or other damp areas. It does not adhere to glazed tiles, making it a better option for natural stone tiles.

Pro Tip: Should you need to seal grout in showers or a kitchen backsplash are, our first choice is Stonetech sealant – the leader in grout sealers offers both sealer types in various options that fit a variety of different budgets and needs!

Myth #3: Sealing grout is not a DIY job!

Does grout need to be sealed by a professional? Not at all! The truth is, you can seal it yourself with proper care and some research! If you don’t know how to seal grout, we’ll now prove to you how easy it is once you’ve got the correct sealer and right tools in hand. 

Assuming that you’ve already chosen your grout sealer, all you need are some protective gloves, clean dry towels, painter’s tape, and a foam brush or grouting sponge. Follow the steps below to complete your DIY Tile Sealer!

  1. Start by taping off other surfaces (such as baseboards or fixtures) to prevent unintentional staining. 
  2. Slowly start applying the sealer using the foam brush (we prefer using a brush or sponge over a spray or roller to ensure the best coverage), coating the grout lines and making sure to cover the grout joints completely. If the sealer gets on the tiles, just take a damp cloth and quickly wipe it away! 
  3. Allow the first coat to soak before adding multiple coats, as instructed by the manufacturer of the sealer. 
  4. Finally, wipe the sealer off with a clean dry towel and allow the sealer to cure for up to 48 hours before cleaning or getting wet. That’s it – you’re done!

To test the success of your job, flick a few drops of water onto the grout line. If water puddles on top of the grout, congratulations! You’ve successfully sealed your grout by yourself!

Pictured – Extra Large Grouting, Cleaning and Washing Sponge from Home Depot

Pro Tip: When you have new tiles and fresh grout, allow it to cure for at least 48 to 72 hours before sealing.  

If you’ve got old grout, you need a few extra steps to help prepare the area before sealing. You can find the details on how you should seal existing grout in the following section! 

Myth #4: You can’t seal old grout!

While sealing grout as soon as you install your tile is the best way to protect your investment and lower maintenance over its lifespan, it’s never too late to seal old grout to avoid future damages. 

If you’re working with existing tile and not sure if it’s properly sealed or not, first test to see if it’s time to reseal. To do so, just put a few drops of water on the dry grout and see if it beads up and sits on the surface or soaks in. If the water is absorbed and completely disappears into the grout, it’s time for a reseal!

Pictured – Aqua Mix Sealer’s Choice Gold 24 oz. Penetrating Sealer from Home Depot for Natural Stone tiles and Grout

Even if you know how to seal grout, there are a few additional steps when dealing with old grout: deep cleaning and repairing. You can use an old toothbrush or a grout brush – it’s time to get down on your knees while you scrub the grout for a deep clean. Whether you’re planning on sealing a tile shower, kitchen backsplash, or bathroom floor, old grout must be cleaned as thoroughly as possible prior to sealing. 

Make sure your grout lines aren’t cracked or chipped before treating with a sealant. If they are, repair them by applying some touch up grout and allowing 48 to 72 hours to cure before sealing.  If it gets stained before it’s sealed, just use a mild bleach solution and scrub lightly. Be careful not to scrub your tiles with anything too stiff, though, like a metal brush that could scratch or damage the tiles.After sealing a tile floor or wall with a stain, there will be no way back as you’ll have sealed the stain into the tile!

Who said sealing grout is not possible after 20 years? 

Pro Tip: A penetrating sealant with color can instantly freshen up and bring back the beauty of tiles especially in old and worn out grout areas!

Myth #5: Sealing tile is not as important as sealing grout!

It’s just as important to seal porous tile as it is to seal grout!

If it’s that simple, then why don’t we seal all tile surfaces? Well, sealing is not necessary for all tiles, as all tile surfaces are not the same. Ceramic and porcelain tiles are popular due to their durability and longevity, and most of the time there’s no need to seal their surfaces. However, sealing tile is a must when the ceramic or porcelain is left unglazed. 

While all kinds of natural stone tiles are beautiful, they can be more likely to show scratches or stains ,particularly in heavy traffic areas. Natural stone tiles benefit from sealing to avoid potential staining and preserve the life of your tiles.

Why is sealing tile so important? Similarly to sealed grout, a proper tile sealant keeps dirt, liquids, and debris out of porous materials, avoiding their chance to penetrate and ensuring that stains can come up without issues. Another reason to seal porous tile is to prevent damage during grout and mortar application, because failure to seal can result in grout that’s absorbed into the tile and ruins the finish.

If you’re serious about maintaining your stone tiles, applying sealer once or twice a year is a must. The frequency may also vary depending on the location and type of stone. For example, travertine is a highly porous material which should be sealed more often than other natural stones. If installed as a kitchen backsplash or behind the stove – areas vulnerable to cooking spatters – you will probably need to seal even more often!

Pro Tip: Seal all unglazed tiles, including dense porcelains, prior to grouting. This protects the tile from grout stains, especially when using a dark colored grout and a light-colored tile.

Myth #6: Grout sealant  can last for years!

Not only do you need to seal your grout after installation, but it’s recommended to do this once a year on average to keep grout looking its best.  

Depending on the wear and tear your tiled area experiences, it is recommended that your grout is also steam cleaned once a year. Although some sealers on the market promise to be extremely long-lasting, The Tile Council of North America recommends that you have your grout sealed every two years at the outside. High-traffic areas may also require sealers applied more frequently than low-traffic areas in the house.

Myth #7: Sealing means you don’t have to worry about maintenance!

Think of tile sealer as a breathable layer of protection, just like wearing a jacket when you go out on a rainy day. You still get wet eventually, but takes longer for the water to soak through, right? Sealers are similar; they provide a good barrier against stains but they cannot protect against chemical damage. 

So, how do you clean sealing around showers and stone tiles? Is there a different grout cleaner for a kitchen backsplash? What if acidic food is spilled on your kitchen backsplash or toilet bowl cleaner drips on your white marble floor tile? 

Most importantly – react fast, and clean it up before the spill can settle or be absorbed into porous surfaces! A Ph neutral floor tile and grout cleaner is the safest way to regularly clean and maintain your surfaces without worrying that you’re wearing out the sealer. Stay away from bleach unless you want your grout to peel off and become discolored. The North American Tile Cleaning Organization recommends a Stonetech’s All Purpose Cleaner as a safe option to clean even the most delicate natural stone tiles.

The clean lines on a dynamic subway tile wall can stay as fresh as this contemporary powder room with our Glacier Gray 8X16 Polished Glass Tile – the key is the right tile sealer!

Ensure the longest life for your tiles and the least maintenance for your grout by ensuring you seal them properly!

Sealing tile and grout may seem like a minor detail that is less important than the look and price point of  your project. However, a sealer is your surface’s first line of defense. 

Don’t overlook the importance of sealing your tiles and grout! This is one simple extra step, but it’s essential to preserving the look and wear of your tiles!

Sealed Carrara Marble Tiles Suppliers, Manufacturers, Factory – Customized Granite Cobble Stone Wholesale

Carrara White Marble Tiles for Hotel Lobby Floor with Seal Treatment

Carrara White Marble is one of the iconic luxury Italian marbles with shades of white and grey.

Carrara white kind of white marble loved by designers and owners, widely used in high-end hotels, high-end villas, high-end leisure facilities decoration, decorative materials. White background with light gray veins, each piece is different, delicate texture, fashion sense, simple and generous with details, so that life presents taste, the ultimate.

Characteristics of the plate: gray vein on a white background, vein with dotted and veined.

Application area: mainly used in interior decoration such as floors, walls, columns and countertops

Carrara White. As a typical and classic dolomiti white marble, Bianco Carrara white marble has a long history in the stone market, it is one of the most popular white marble in the world for it enjoy the durable quality of the marble structure.

material

Carrara White marble

Color

White with gray veins

origin

Italy

usage

Indoor decoration

Recommend tile size

30. 5 x 30.5cm/61cm

30 x 30cm/60cm

40 x 40cm/80cm

Or other size according to customer’s request

Recommend plate size

240up x 120up cm

240up x 130up cm

250up x 120upcm

250up x 130up cm

260up x 140up cm

Or other size according to customer’s request

thickness

1.6cm, 1.8cm, 2cm, 2.5cm, 3cm, 4cm, etc.

finishing

Polished, Honed, Brushed, etc.

Number of economic orders

One full container

No 1. What is the best way to remove stains?

la. If a stain occurs on marble tiles, cleaning is a fairly simple procedure. For the same reason marbles are susceptible to staining for the same reason stains are straight forward to remove – marble is porous. A procedure called “poulticing” is a great way to remove stains because it draws a stain out of marble and into other material – a mixture of reducing agent soaked in a cloth or paper towel is the most basic variety of poultice. The best methods should always be measured against the kind of spots you have.

No 2. Can marble be repaired if it is damaged?

Answer: Yes. Most often, epoxy or filler will be used. Wiping down any broken pieces with acetone to remove any foreign material is the first step in making sure they re-bond with the rest of the tile. Make sure to clean all bonding agents from the marble tile surface. Remember to apply the right amount of pressure for the right amount of time.

How to make a house look like a medieval castle using facade tiles – TECHNONICOL

A stylish facade can tell a lot about the owner of the house. For example, with its help it is easy to show that you are a real knight at heart.

Such a coating is suitable for those who want to recreate the atmosphere of a castle, standing on a hill in the middle of a forest and surrounded by a moat. Right angles, straight lines and well-balanced proportions of the facing material are clearly associated with history, traditions and reliability.

Don’t worry, dark gray tiles won’t make your home look gloomy. Such a palette, on the contrary, will highlight it against the background of stormy greenery, and it will also look advantageous both in cloudy and sunny weather.

The “warm” option will appeal to those who want to arrange a real greenhouse in front of the house with a sea of ​​flowers of all varieties and shades. Previously, social evenings and balls were held in such gardens – you can also organize something similar if you like noisy gatherings.

Or you can equip the veranda with cozy wicker furniture and spend evenings here reading books under a warm blanket – the facing material will perfectly fit into any mood.

You must have heard of the castle-island of Mont Saint-Michel. So, if you are a history lover and crazy about everything French, then you can make your house visually similar to this fortress.

No need to buy a building at the mouth of the Couesnon River in Normandy – just use tiles in a similar shade for cladding.

“English brick” for those who want to live in a British castle, but do not want to leave their native middle lane

Such a tile is suitable for those who see the facade of their nest exclusively in a warm palette. By the way, in the United Kingdom, not only majestic old castles are decorated with red brick, but also many quite ordinary modern buildings. You can feel like a typical Englishman.

A façade with these tiles is a great way to add a sophisticated English aesthetic to your home. Do not forget only about tea, buns and jam.

“Quartzite” for those who love stone (and fairy tales)

This finish looks strict and stylish – it allows you to really feel behind a stone wall. If you want to make your home a real fortress, then take a closer look at this option.

The tile also resembles dragon scales, so fans of fairy tales set in the magical Middle Ages will definitely like it.

How to decorate the facade of a private house? Detailed guide to popular materials

8 minutes

7871

Read

Why we recommend HAUBERK tiles

It is created on the basis of fiberglass, improved bitumen and natural basalt granulate – thanks to these materials, the tile is as tight as possible, resistant to corrosion and temperature fluctuations. And it does not fade, does not crumble and does not collapse under the influence of wind and precipitation.

Facade tiles HAUBERK universal – it is used for covering any type of wall. It is suitable for frame houses, buildings made of aerated concrete, timber or brick. And for real castles, of course 🙂

In addition, it is very easy to install. First you need to make a crate and flooring to create a ventilation gap – this will help to avoid thermal expansion. And then it remains only to attach the tile according to the instructions.