Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: Which is better, a solvent (oil) based sealer or a water-based sealer?
A1: It is important to note that the respective solvent and water only serve as "carriers" to help transfer the actual sealer into or onto the stone, porous tile or grout. It is the quality of the polymer used in the sealer that dictates the quality, lifespan and performance.
Q2: Does a sealer make porous tile, stone or grout, stain-proof?
A2: A sealer is designed to create stain resistance. The objective is to create reaction time, where a stain can be held at surface level where it can be easily cleaned within a reasonable period of time before it is able to be absorbed into the porous surface.
Q3: How can I tell if my unglazed tile, stone or grout is adequately sealed?
A3: A simple test is to put water droplets directly onto the sealed surface at various locations after the sealer has been allowed to dry. Allow the droplets to remain for 5-10 minutes, then blot dry with absorbent towel. If surface has darkened, it should return to original color with 2-3 minutes. If it stays darkened for a longer period of time, the need for an additional application of sealer is indicated.
Q4: Can I use a topical (coating-type) sealer on my kitchen countertop?
A4: This is not normally recommended due to the heavy moisture, chemical exposure and heavy wear issues associated with constant use. Penetrating-type sealers are normally recommended here for stone, grout and even concrete surfaces.
Q5: If sealers are not recommended on ceramic tile and I want to create a shiny surface, is there any type of product that I can use?
A5: Yes, but the reservations must be listed. Wax-type finishes can be used (interior areas only). It must be noted that they should be reserved for textured surfaces only, and that these synthetic finishes will normally increase the maintenance requirements and require periodic reapplication.
Q6: Does all grout need to be sealed?
A6: It is a good idea to seal grout, with the exception of 100% epoxy grout, which will not accept a sealer. Regular cement grout, even polymer-modified grout is porous and subject to staining if not properly sealed.
Q7: If my floor has been previously sealed, and I do not know the sealer that was used, can I use just any sealer to re-seal?
A7: If you do not know the previous sealer, identify if it left a shinny surface. Put water droplets in various spots to determine current porosity. If there is no shine or coating and water penetrates, a penetrating sealer should work fine, but always perform a small test area, with a 24 hour cure time to determine desired results. If a coating was used, the coating should be stripped in it is in a distressed condition before re-sealing with another coating sealer. It is always a good idea to contact the toll-free technical hotline of the "sealer manufacturer" if there are any questions!
Q8: If my stone has a polished (shiny) finish, does it still need to be sealed?
A8: Most marble, granite, and some travertine, quartzite, limestone, and even slate is available with a factory polished finish. These polished stone are still porous, subject to staining, and should be sealed with a penetrating-type sealer.
Q9: Can I use coating-type sealers on all porous tile and stone?
A9: A good rule of thumb is that with dense, smooth or polished surfaces, only penetrating-type sealers should be used. Coating-type sealers are usually only appropriate on high porosity or med-high porosity textured surfaces. Most coating-type sealers and finishes are recommended for interior areas only.
Q10: My tile has a dull, matte finish with no shine. Does it need to be sealed?
A10: Most likely not! Most of the glazed ceramics available today have matte, no-shine finishes, yet they are still glazed and will not accept a sealer. In these cases, only the grout should be considered for sealing.
Q11: What provides the best maintenance for polished stone or shiny ceramic tile in a shower, bath or Jacuzzi area?
A11: The polished stone and grout should be sealed with a penetrating-type sealer. The installation should then be maintained by using a squeegee or absorbent towel to polish dry any surface moisture that accumulates on a regular basis. This will help eliminate the buildup of hard water deposits. Clean regularly with a neutral ph cleaner.
Q12: Can a penetrating-type sealer protect an acid -sensitive stone such as marble from acid etching?
A12: No, a penetrating sealer does not coat the surface, so the surface is still subject to acid etching.
Q13: My grout color did not dry to an even color and is faded or blotchy. Is there anything I can do to change or even the color?
A13: Yes, grout colorants are available to change the existing color or even out a modeled color, and provide a protective seal at the same time.
Q14: I am trying to darken the color of my stone or grout. Will the color enhancing sealers also give the surface a nice shiny finish?
A14: No! Color enhancers are designed to darken and bring out the colors in a natural stone, but do not provide a shine. They are designed to be applied just like penetrating-type sealers. When applied, product that does not penetrate into the porous stone or grout must be completely removed from the surface within a few minutes after application. If a shiny surface is created, this would be an indication of misapplication.