Properly sealing your tiles will assist in keeping their surface free from water damage, staining or discolouration and thus ensuring the product’s longevity and beauty. There are many frequently asked questions surrounding not only the need for tile sealing but also the specific types of sealers available, their key benefits and also what types of tiles will actually require sealing.
What is Tile Sealer?
A tile sealer is a product that is applied to porous tiles and/or cement based grouts that will help protect their surface from staining and damage over time. It is important to be aware of the different types of sealers available when making your final tile selections to ensure a quality end result as these products will have an effect on the look of the tiles as well as your recommended cleaning and maintenance routine.
Why do I need to seal my tiles?
Porous tile materials will require sealing in order to prevent them from becoming damaged or stained as a result of liquid or powder spills. Unsealed porous tiles can potentially absorb anything that has spilt onto their surface leading to permanent staining, discolouration or damage. Frequent use of a quality sealer will assist in the prevention of stains and marks on your tiles, enhancing their appearance while also ensuring the product’s longevity.
Concrete tiles (also referred to as encaustic tiles) are still made using traditional methods. These tiles are simply bursting with character, featuring the traditional vivid colours, bold patterns and smooth textures that have become synonymous with concrete tiles. Greg Natale’s Pavimento collection features a striking range of lively patterns and bold colour options to choose from, offering a unique and stylish look for the home.
What types of Tile Sealer are available?
The two main types of tile sealers include impregnating or penetrating sealers and topical sealers:
Impregnating/Penetrating Sealers: These types of sealers act as a defence against water and oils. Rather than completely blocking the pores of the tiles, impregnating or penetrating sealers repel liquids from entering the material itself. It is important to note that this type of sealer will not provide complete protection against staining, scuffing or dirt so cleaning up any spills from the surface of your tiles as soon as possible is always advised. This is of especial importance when it comes to acidic liquids (such as lemon juice, soft drinks, wine, harsh cleaners, etc.); due to their chemical composition, these types of products can etch or stain a porous tile and should be avoided.
Traditional Terrazzo tiles are created using a combination of coloured glass, marble and granite chips that are set into a bed of concrete. The end result is a characteristic speckled finish that is incredibly durable and hard wearing, making it an excellent choice for a timeless aesthetic in any project. Our Teknika Italian Terrazzo collection can be used as both a floor or wall finish throughout the home, providing a long lasting surface finish.
Impregnating or penetrating sealers provide deep and thorough protection to your tiles as the molecules of the sealing product itself penetrate deep into the tile’s pores and bond with the internal structure of the tile. These types of sealers provide a level of defence against not only water and oils but also efflorescence, salt, freeze-thaw spalling (damage that is caused to a tile when water that has entered the tile’s pores freezes and expands) as well as picture framing (picture framing in tiles is a term used to describe the effect of marks along the edges of your tiles near the grout lines. These marks will appear as if the outline of each tile is wet. This occurs when moisture enters the tile’s body from the grouted edges, leading to discoloration that is especially prominent along the edge of each individual tile).
What types of tiles need to be sealed?
Tiles that are porous will require sealing at installation and then every few years throughout their lifespan. Porous tile materials include: unglazed ceramic tiles, natural stone tiles such as marble tiles or limestone and concrete tiles (also commonly referred to as encaustic tiles) as well as terracotta tiles and natural terrazzo tiles.
Traditional concrete tiles are available in an impressive range of shapes, colours and patterns to suit both classical and modern styled interiors. Being a porous material, concrete tiles will require sealing to ensure their longevity in the home. Our New Paradise collection of concrete tiles is available in a variety of shapes and exciting colour options for that perfect designer tough in your next project!
When do I need to apply tile sealer?
A tile sealer is often applied at the time of installation of certain tiles and then refreshed every few years throughout the tile’s lifespan. When using more sensitive tile materials (such as natural marble for example which can stain or mark easily if not properly protected) a sealer should be applied prior to laying. This process will ensure that grouts and cleaning products used throughout the laying or construction process) do not cause any damage to the finish of the tile’s material during the laying process. Our team at Perini Tiles will recommend the best products and practices to suit your tiling needs to ensure a quality result every time!
How to Clean Sealed Tiles
Sealed tiles can be easily kept clean and tidy with regular cleaning practices, ensuring the surface stays undamaged and well protected over time. As tiles that normally require sealing (natural stone, concrete, terracotta, terrazzo, etc.) are porous and can often be quite sensitive to acidic products as well as harsh cleaners, a gentle cleaning agent is always recommended. A regular daily clean can be performed with a simple solution of warm soapy water while more stubborn dirt or grime can be cleaned away with specific cleaning products that are designed for use with these types of tiles. Perini Tiles stocks a range of cleaning products that are suitable for different types of tiles; we can recommend the very best daily and intense cleaning products specific to your needs during your visit. You will find more information on our range of tile cleaning products in our Tile Cleaning Guide.
Marble tiles have long been favoured in interiors for centuries thanks to the material’s luxurious and earthy qualities. Although natural stone can be prone to staining or decolouration, with the right care and sealing products marble tiles will last a lifetime! Our stunning Blush Marble Tiles feature a striking pink tone with bold veining for a classical and timeless look in the home.
Caring for Shower Tiles
Where porous tiles have been used as a floor or wall finish in your bathroom’s shower area, the right steps must be taken to ensure your bathroom tiles are well maintained. It is important to note that tile sealer is not a replacement for proper waterproofing however and this step should never be skipped in wet areas of the home. When using an impregnating sealer, the tile’s pores are not blocked (as is the case with a topical sealer) and as such can be exposed to hard water deposits and soap scum in the shower. Although the tiles are protected, they are still being exposed to a significant amount of moisture, humidity, minerals in the water as well as the ingredients used in soap, shampoos, etc. which means extra care must be taken to prevent water damage, staining or discolouration of your shower tiles. Rinsing down your shower after each use is always recommended as this will remove any surface soap scum from the tiles and prevent it from building up over time. Using tile cleaning products specific to your shower tile’s materials will also greatly assist in caring for your shower tiles over time; you will find more information on specific cleaning products in our Tile Cleaning Guide, with each recommended product being available for purchase from our showroom.