Should I Seal My Tile Floors?

Sealing tiles and grout can help the materials resist staining and water damage. Every homeowner who installs tile floors will at one time or another be faced with the question of whether or not to seal the tile and the grout. Some materials should be sealed, others should not. Read on to find out whether or not you need to seal your tile floors. 

Stone Tile 

Stone is a naturally porous material that must be sealed in order to be made waterproof. Unsealed stone tiles will absorb liquids and can become stained over time. Furthermore, unsealed stone tiles can absorb color from the grout at the time of installation and may become permanently stained. To avoid this issue, stone tiles must be sealed before installation takes place. Once installation is complete, the grout can be separately sealed if necessary. 

Ceramic Tile 

Ceramic tile comes pre-glazed. It is naturally stain resistant and does not need to be sealed. 

Grout Sealing Practices

The decision to seal the grout can be left to the homeowner. Grout doesn't have to be sealed. In fact, some professionals believe that leaving grout unsealed is better because it allows the floors to breathe and trapped moisture to escape. 

However, light-colored grout will be subject to staining over time. Sealing the grout will prevent it from staining, making floor maintenance easier. To seal light-colored grout between ceramic tiles or pre-sealed stone tiles, use a narrow paint brush to apply the sealant. Homeowners who don't want to seal their grout can use medium or dark colored grout to hide stains.

A Word About Sealant

Sealant deteriorates over time. When this happens, the grout and tiles underneath will be subject to staining once again. To find out if your sealant is still functioning and intact on your tiles, spill some water on the floor and give it some time to sit. If the water is absorbed into the tile or grout underneath, this is an indication that the sealant has deteriorated and needs to be replenished. If the water beads up on the surface of the floor without being absorbed, this is an indication that the sealant is still in place.

For more tips and advice, speak with your contractor at the time of the tile flooring installation. He or she will be able to answer your questions and offer sound advice for maintaining your tile floors.  For more information, contact a professional like Costen Floors Inc.