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Do bathroom tiles need to be sealed? Whether you're building from scratch, renovating, or merely maintaining, you want to know the best practices for your bathroom tiles. We've researched the subject and discovered the answers.
Most bathroom tiles and all grout need to be sealed. Natural stone tiles and dense porcelains will need a sealer, while ceramic and glossy porcelain tiles may not.
We've got details and information for you on this below.
Do Bathroom Tiles Need To Be Sealed?
There are variables in this question. First, there are different types of tiles in the bathroom. There's floor tile, shower tile, counter tile, and tile backsplashes. The second consideration is the type of tile you've chosen. Sealant choices are different for natural stone than they are for shiny ceramic tile. So let's dive right in.
Floor Tile Versus Shower Tile Versus Counter Tile Versus Backsplash Tile
Do all of these uses for bathroom tile require sealing? Because the bathroom is such a moisture-rich environment, if the type of tile you have requires sealant, then yes, you should seal all of these surfaces. You should also seal all of the grout lines in your bathroom because grout is quite porous.
Types Of Tiles For Sealing
Typically bathroom tiles fall into the categories of ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone. They are not all created equal when it comes to sealing. Let's get into more detail on that here.
When thinking about the various types of tiles, the one type that needs sealing is natural stone tile. Natural stone, like the limestone in the photograph, is very porous, and you don't want it absorbing water and staining. The best type of sealer to use on natural stone is something like this Miracle Porous Plus Sealant. This applies to marbles as well as limestones.
This formula is oil and water-resistant and creates an invisible barrier. This is great because it won't affect the original appearance of the stone. It's easy to use and won't yellow with age.
This is another good sealant for stone. Use this one outdoors on an outdoor shower with stone tile as well.
If you want a high gloss shine on your natural stone, then consider this high gloss stone sealer. It gives a clear and brilliant gleaming finish. Apply in just two coats that dry in 30 minutes.
Ceramic And Porcelain Tiles
Ceramic and porcelain tiles do not necessarily need to be sealed, particularly not when new. Most of these tiles come with a glossy surface that is already water-resistant. There may be times when you choose to seal them, and we'll look at that below.
What Kind Of Sealer Do You Use On Ceramic Tile?
Most ceramic tiles manufactured with high gloss shine won't require a sealer. The surface after glazing becomes essentially a coating of molten glass. If you're installing new tile, you can do a light sealant of penetrating sealer to fill the pores of the tile.
Penetrating sealers don't change the appearance of the tile. Instead, they soak just below the surface of the tile to stop water infiltration and staining.
An impregnating sealer like this works to fill any small holes or imperfections your ceramic tile may have. It also works on the grout surrounding the tile. You could also use this for a touch up should you think your tile needs it. Click here for this on Amazon.
What Kind Of Sealer Do You Use On Porcelain Tile?
Just like ceramic tile, new porcelain tile does not need to be sealed. The surface has a slick finish that protects it from water penetration and staining. The grout will need sealing, however. Some dense porcelains may have an unglazed look, and if that is the case, it's good to do a coat of sealer.
Here's another penetrating sealer for use on porcelain. Click here for this on Amazon.
Are Tiles Easier To Clean When Sealed?
Yes, tiles are much easier to clean when appropriately sealed. The same is true for the grout. Sealing helps block moisture and stains. It also prevents bacteria and the growth of molds and mildews.
Before you think about resealing your grout or tile, it's a good idea to give it a good cleaning. Products like this Grout-Eez make it easy to do both in one step. There's not much point in sealing in the dirt.
This natural daily tub and tile cleaner go a long way to keeping your tiles looking great and maintained. The natural eucalyptus oils also smell refreshing. With this package, you get a bottle with spray and a backup bottle.
How Do I Know If I Need To Seal My Tile?
Much of this depends on the type of sealer initially used. Topical sealer typically lasts about three years from the installation of the tiles. Impregnating sealers have a lifespan of up to fifteen years from application. If you don't know which type of sealer was used, the clue is to look for staining or patchy areas on the tile. Chances are your grout will need resealing before your tile does.
Do You Seal Grout In A Shower?
Yes, you should seal grout in the shower. Grout is very porous as it's a mixture of cement, water, and sand. Though it dries hard, it can soak up water and stains. This can promote mold and bacteria growth, which you certainly don't want in the shower.
Even after you seal your grout initially, you'll want to seat it again yearly. This will help keep it in great shape for far longer than if the seal wears off.
What Grout Sealer Is Best For Showers?
Most of the sealers you buy for tile will also work for grout, so if you have one of those, use it. You can purchase grout specific sealers, too.
This grout specific sealer comes with a handy brush tip. The brush makes application directly to the grout lines a breeze. Squeeze the bottle so that sealer floods the brush and paint on to your grout lines. It's super simple. Click here for this on Amazon.
Handy grout pens restore color if you have stained grout. They come with an easy pen tip to draw smoothly over existing grout lines and discoloration. These are available in popular grout colors and, once dry, can be sealed over. Click here for this one on Amazon.
Hopefully, this helps you figure out what you need to do in regards to your tile. Remember, if you have natural stone, you want to keep an eye out for staining. Once you see it, it's time to reseal. As for your grout, a once-a-year schedule is a good rule of thumb for resealing old grout lines.
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