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Home » Do I Need To Seal My Tile Floors? (Explained)

Do I Need To Seal My Tile Floors? (Explained)

  • Zak 
should you seal floor tiles, sealing tiles

Whenever you’re installing new tiles or renovating existing floors, it’s important to consider all the resources at your disposal to help preserve them. Like any material, they’re susceptible to damage, be it from wear and tear or natural elements like rain and sunlight. This begs the question, “Do I need to seal my tile floors?

What you need to understand is that there are two categories of tiles, porous and non-porous. When a tile is referred to as “porous,” this simply means that it is structurally composed of pores. As much as pores could be closely meshed together, there are spaces between these pores wherein water and other types of things can pass through or be absorbed. 

You need to seal tile floors like vinyl and wood to protect them from damage, stains, mold, and mildew. This is accomplished through a process called sealing. To seal floors, you must apply a coat of a chemical solution that is designed to protect floors or enhance the glossy/shiny appearance of the floor. 

Typically, natural stone tiles or porous based materials are primed for sealants because they have a tendency for staining and discoloration. 

Non-porous flooring tends to have a tighter structure that doesn’t permit liquids and other items to pass through its layer.

In other words, it’s more resistant to external stimuli, making it more resistant to different types of problems like staining, rotting, or mold. 

In some cases, a single coat of sealant will be enough to protect most types of tile floors for a significant period of time.

We’re talking years.

But, over time, it’s not uncommon for the sealant to dissipate through wear and tear and the exposure of natural elements.

In such a case, it is advisable to apply a new coat of sealant to ensure that the tiles are adequately protected for the foreseeable future.

What Are The Benefits Of Sealing Floors?

why you need to seal tile floors, why you need to seal floors

The most obvious benefit of sealing floors is that it provides a protective layer that preserves the quality, appearance, and texture of the floor.

Another benefit is that it has the ability to amplify the glossiness or shininess of a tile. 

I’ve also found that with the specific sealants, it is possible that they can deepen a color or enhance the overall texture of the floor in general. 

Most sealants are clear, which means that they don’t negatively affect the overall appearance of the floor. 

It also protects floors from excessive moisture. In the event that you have wood flooring, this will ensure that your floors do not rot. What we also know is that mold or mildew thrives in dark and moist environments.

So, controlling moisture levels on a floor with a sealant will prevent the spread and multiplication of mold or mildew. 

Most of these benefits can be enjoyed for at least 5 years before the floors need to be re-sealed. 

But, given how simple it is to apply a sealant and the time it takes to cure, it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle. 

That’s not to say that every type of flooring needs to be sealed. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of tiles and whether or not you need to seal your tile floors.

Which Type Of Floor Tiles Need To Be Sealed?

which floors need to be sealed

1. Ceramic and porcelain tiles

The manner in which ceramic and porcelain tiles are made makes them non-porous. This means that they don’t really need additional sealing.

The issue here is when the gaps in ceramic or porcelain tile floors are filled with grout, which is porous by nature. 

You may not need to seal these tiles, but you’ll definitely need to apply a seal to the grout, or you will notice discoloration, flaking, and even mold.

2. Natural stone tiles

You would think that natural stone tiles like granite, marble, and slate are non-porous due to their appearance, but they’re actually porous. 

Once installed, it is highly recommended to have these natural stone tiles sealed to protect them from damage or unnecessary darkening.

3. Saltillo tiles 

A common natural clay tile used in southwestern-style homes is called saltillo tile. 

As we know, the composition of clay is quite porous by design. It may be sturdy and affordable, but it definitely isn’t the most durable or moisture resistant tile on the market—far from it. 

You will need to seal your floor tiles if they are saltillo or clay based.

4. Grout

Okay, I know that grout isn’t a tile, but it goes hand in hand with tiles. It’s part of the tiling process that completes the floors. It fills in gaps and protects the floor from moisture. 

Whenever I walk into a home that is on the older side, I always notice the grout. In some cases, you can tell that the homeowner took a great deal of care to ensure that it remained clean and correctly colored. 

Others tend to keep their tiles clean and sealed but neglect the grout, which usually results in discoloration, darkening, or even mold. 

Grout sealers can be purchased in either spray-on or brush- formulas and should be reapplied yearly.

Final Thoughts

That brings us to the end of this article on whether you need to seal your tile floors. 

The crux of it is that tiles or flooring that are porous in nature or unsealed after installation need to be sealed with the appropriate chemical. 

Not only will this protect your floors from moisture, but it will also preserve their overall appearance, gloss, and texture against natural elements like rain and sunshine. 

When sealing tiles, be sure to also seal the grout once it has been applied and dried. This will also protect it from damage or mold. 

If you’re not keen on sealing floors, consider investing in tiles like porcelain or ceramic, as they are non-porous and do not really require a sealant to be protected from moisture and other issues.

With that being said, I hope you found this article to be insightful and easy to understand. If you would like to learn more about flooring, be sure to check out some of our other helpful articles linked below.

Should you paint walls before or after installing floors?

How to make laminate floors less slippery

How to fix gaps in hardwood floors

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