To ensure your natural stone tiles have a long and healthy life, they need to be sealed regularly. This should be done soon after installing and then every twelve months to two years. Sealing your tiles is done for two reasons – first, the seal provides a barrier between your tiles and liquids, and secondly, it provides a seal between the grout and those same liquids. Grout is often forgotten when we consider maintenance, yet that very grout is what is helping to keep your finished tile project looking good and safely in place.
There are many different types of sealant available, some of which are multi-purpose and can be used on any natural stone tiles. Others are type specific. For example, a marble sealant is generally only suitable for marble – and travertine (travertine being from the same family as marble) – and a granite sealant best used on granite tiles. The choice is yours, what is important is to carefully read the instructions and to follow them to the letter – don’t try any short cuts.
Our tile experts at Éco Dépôt Céramique don’t just provide advice and assistance when selecting tiles for your project. They can also provide advice on how best to install your tiles, and how best to seal them against future damage. It is also worth pointing out that sealing a tile won’t make them invincible – they can still be damaged by acids. Deep scratches can also get below the barrier that a sealant provides allowing liquids to access to the interior of your tiles. Natural stone tiles are porous, the degree dependent on the hardness of your tile. Granite tiles, being harder, will be less porous than marble, however, granite is still not 100% water resistant.
Man-made tiles (such as ceramic and porcelain tiles) are far harder and much less porous, and they can be installed without any need for further sealing. You should regularly check the grout lines, however, as grout is not as hard as ceramic or porcelain and can be affected by liquids. If you are installing man-made tiles like ceramic or porcelain, take special note of any maintenance requirements for your grout, including whether or not further sealants are required. Look after your tiles and they will last for decades, and sealing doesn’t take that long to complete.