Sealer can be in all probability the most confusing product a novice or DIY tile cleaner encounters. The fact that there are many various sorts of sealers offered on the market, adds to the confusion. Also information and general directions on application and usage is quite scarce and all the more confusing. Sadly, creating a blunder on that waterproofing job will cost you dearly and highly. Thus it’s crucial to settle on the correct product for every application and use it exactly as detailed by the manufacturer.
This blog will quickly help all those beginner, novice and DIY cleaners & homeowners to know what sealers are and how to use them properly.
What is a Sealer?
More importantly you should ask the question “Why use Sealer?” Well the answer might surprise you. You see most stone tile & grout is quite porous even though they are strong on the the outside. So just like any other porous material like sponges it absorbs anything that spills on it. Well this might not happen as quickly as in a sponge. But anyways overtime it will surely absorb liquid spills and hence damage the tile later on. So how do you prevent it? You guessed it right a Sealer.
Which Sealer should I chose?
Now you know what it is and what its used for its time to chose which type to use. The basic answer for this question is “it depends on the type of tile.” However, to go a little in depth, there are 2 types of sealers; Surface sealers & Penetrating Sealers. All of these could be water-based, oil-based, lacquer-based, and solvent-based
Also called topical, coating or film-forming Sealer helps enhance the tile. It is normally applied on stone tiles to give the tile a great look. Hence it is quite popular and this type of sealer is what comes to the head of many when talking about sealer. However contrary to this as a professional I need to say that this type of sealer doesn’t actually do much to protect the tile even though it gives a great uplift to its looks. This is because the sealer seeps into the porous tile or stone over time and once this happens the tile will loose its looks very quickly. Hence it should be used with a penetrating sealer to work well.
These surface sealers can be either solvent based or water based & there are two types of topical sealers.
- Acrylics – This is the cheapest & most cost effective option for outdoor areas. It is relatively easier to apply & gives a great finish & color enhancement. Note that the solvent based ones are better at color enhancement and are relatively easy to apply compared to water based ones. On the downside though acrylics needs proper weather situations to work since moisture is it’s number one enemy. Check the weather forecast whenever you want to apply it and make sure its sunny with no rain or fog.
- Polyurethanes or urethanes – They are the opposite to acrylics as its expensive and hard to apply. It is not recommended for the novice. Nevertheless they are tougher (specially the water based sealers) and last longer compared to the acrylics. Typically you will find them as either 1K where you want need to mix anything and 2K where you’ll get a separate mixture known as a catalyst and you’ll have to mix both to activate the product.
Penetrating (non-film-forming) Sealer
- Silanes – This will deeply penetrate the stone or concrete surface & fill up all pores. It is ideal for thick concrete or thick stones and also areas which can be suspected to be having damages deep inside the surface.
- Siloxanes – This has bigger particles compared to silanes and hence will not penetrate as deeply as silanes. It is most suitable for the regular sealing of stone or concrete.
- Fluoropolymers – This type of sealer is quite expensive but lasts longer and gives the best protection against stains. Furthermore, it increases the life to the stone more than the previous two sealers.