How to Seal a Tile Floor [Easy Step-By-Step Guide]

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how to seal a tile floor

A tile floor is great for hotter climates where you want to keep a room as cool as possible. It’s also a wonderfully durable material that can be arranged in all kinds of patterns. 

However, one of the downsides of tile is that it can be fairly easy to stain. 

Once stains get into the pores of the tile, they seep down to the bottom and are difficult to remove. This can cause permanent spots that could ruin the entire pattern of the tile. 

If you want to prevent this from happening, sealing a tile floor is a great idea. Spills and stains will bead up on the surface instead of setting into the tile. 

In this article, we have laid out all the steps needed to seal a tile floor. By following them carefully, you can protect your tile and keep it clean for many years. 

Sealing a Tile Floor: Basic Idea

Sealing a tile is a fairly easy process and doesn’t require any special tools or techniques. 

  • The basic steps are: 
  • Test the grout for sealer
  • Identify the type of tile
  • Thoroughly clean the floor
  • Apply the tile sealer

Porous vs. Non-Porous Tile

porous vs non porous tile

Before beginning, you should know whether or not you actually need to seal your tile flooring. 

Certain types of tiles are already glazed, which means they are non-porous. Non-porous tiles will not absorb stains and will be protected from any kind of moisture. 

Typical non-porous tiles include ceramic or porcelain. Porous tiles are usually made of limestone or concrete and will have a dull, matte finish. 

Even if you have non-porous tiling on your floor, the grout that holds the tiles together is extremely porous. 

Grout always needs to be sealed, especially if it is going to be in a room like a bathroom. Any time there is a possibility of moisture getting on the floor, the grout needs to be sealed. 

Test Grout 

Before you begin sealing your tile floor, you should check and see if your grout is already sealed. Oftentimes, the installers will seal the grout after it has been put in. 

However, since grout can’t be sealed until it has set, sometimes installers will not do this step. You will have to do a test and see for yourself. 

Take a few droplets of water and put them on the grout. Watch them carefully and see if they stay on the surface or absorb into the grout. 

If they absorb into the cement grout, it needs to be sealed. Otherwise, any water that gets on the floor will seep under the tile and potentially cause mold or mildew. 

Identify Tile Type

You should also take a moment to identify the type of tile you have and whether it needs to be sealed. As stated above, porcelain and ceramic tiles are usually glazed and not porous. 

However, it’s important that you check to make sure. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to water getting under your tile floor. 

One of the ways to identify the tile type is simply to look at it. If the tile is shiny and glossy, odds are it is glazed and non-porous. 

However, if the tile is dull looking and has a matte finish, it might be made of limestone or brick. These materials need to be sealed to prevent water getting into the pores and causing damage.  

Clean the Tile

clean the tile

Before sealing your tile, you should get it as clean as possible

Use an acid substitute in a spray bottle and scrub the floor in sections. Do not use water if you have unsealed, porous tile. 

Use the acid substitute to clean both the tiles and grout. Make sure you get it as clean as you will want it to be after it is sealed. 

Let the tile dry completely before moving on to the next step. 

Apply Sealer

Use an impregnator sealer to seal your tile flooring. Impregnator sealer is designed to get down into porous surfaces and completely fill any holes. 

By using this type of sealer, you can be sure that no moisture will get into the pores of the tile. It will also leave a very nice sheen that will absolutely enhance your floor’s look. 

Use a specialized sealer applicator to apply the seal. Get down into the grout and let the sealer seep into the pores. 

After you have finished with the first coat, let the sealer dry overnight. Then, apply a second coat to make sure every pore is sealed and let that cure overnight as well.

After the second coat, your tiles will be completely sealed and protected from spills and moisture. 

F.A.Q.

faq seal a tile floor

  • How long does it take to seal a tile floor?

Depending on how large of an area you are sealing, it could take around 3 days. 

Since you have to let the sealer dry between coats, this will add that extra time. The actual application process should only take an hour or two. 

  • How long does grout sealer last?

Grout sealer can last between 5 and 10 years. This is provided that you use a high-quality sealer and apply it correctly. 

Do the water droplet test every year or so to make sure you don’t need to reseal it. 

  • What happens if you don’t seal grout?

If you don’t seal grout, you could end up with moisture under your tiles. 

Not only does this contribute to mold and mildew, it could damage the floor. The tiles could begin to disintegrate as well as the wooden subfloor underneath. 

Conclusion

Sealing your tile floor is a great idea if you want to maintain its look and structural integrity. It’s a relatively simple job that most people can do on their own. 

By protecting your tile, you can enjoy it for many more years and keep it stain-free.

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AUTHOR

Michael J. O’Connor is a writer and marketing specialist from the Bay Area of California. A graduate of Sonoma State’s Creative Writing program, he spent many years as a contractor and carpet layer, learning the ins and outs of flooring and general contracting. When he’s not typing away at his desk, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, woodworking and collecting rare books. See full biography here.

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