You could lose part of your home investment by failing to do one thing: sealing your tile or natural stone. There are installation professionals who make the mistake of installing new tile floors or a natural stone patio and never seal them. Homeowners, who don’t know to ask, are then faced with a problem years later when damage starts to show. In this article you will find helpful tips on how to seal your grout and tile.
Sealing keeps water and dirt from entering tile or stone and especially your grout. Some stones, like limestone, are more porous and soak up water and dirt readily. Grout is a mix of sand, cement and water, so it can also allow water and dirt to seep through. Sealer also keeps your tile or natural stone from fading from sun, mopping, weather and ongoing use. Sealers, which look milky white as they go onto floors or other areas, can come in regular or high-gloss finish. Most ceramic and porcelain tile do not need to be sealed, but they should receive a light coat to seal the grout. Unglazed tile and dense porcelain should be sealed because they are more porous.
Sealed or Unsealed – How to Tell
What if you don’t know if your floors or tiled areas are sealed? There is a simple test. Put a couple of drops of water onto your grout or tile. If the water changes color and goes darker, your area likely hasn’t been sealed. If it just looks like water, it has been sealed. The end result of unsealed areas is mold, mildew, stained or faded tile or stone and dirty grout that deteriorates more quickly. This is why it is so important to seal your grout and tile.
Fixing the Problem
You can’t fix the occurring damage by simply sealing the tile or stone. You will first need to remedy your ongoing problems. Luckily, you may not need to replace all your tile and stone. There are professionals who can fix only the damaged tile or stone and replace your grout. Going this route will save you around 70 percent of the cost of replacement. Once some of the damaged tile and grout are pulled away, tile repair professionals can tell you if there are other worse problems like mold or mildew. If there is, then that will need to be cleaned and dried before other repairs can continue.
Some people opt to seal floors themselves. You can do that with a variety of types of sealers from spray-on grout sealer or a brush-on sealer for the entire area. There are membrane and penetrating seals also. However, sealing tile or natural stone is labor intensive so many opt to have a professional do it. Another benefit of hiring the work out is they will clean up afterward so you can enjoy your space sooner.
Your space can then be properly sealed once the work is complete. It shouldn’t give you any more problems for several years. However, you may want to ask your tile repair professional if it will need to be sealed again after several years of use. Once all work is complete, you can enjoy your space knowing it won’t need costly repairs and looks great!