How To Seal Ceramic Tiles With A Glossy Or Matte Sealer

Ceramic Tile Sealing Tips

By Troy Cantini


It is a common problem for the grout color to look much lighter than desired.   Using too much water in the grout is a common reason for the grout color to look too light or splotchy. Too much water in the grout can also cause the grout to look splotchy with different areas of dark and light colored grout throughout the grout lines. The color and look of the grout can ruin the look of the entire tile installation. Luckily there are ways to darken grout and make it have a more even looking appearance.

dull ceramic tiles before sealing

Many times people want their ceramic tiles to look shiny or have a matte type of reflective finish.  A topical sealer is the best way to give ceramic tiles some type of glossy finish. There are many issues that must be considered first before applying a topical sealer to ceramic tiles.

Applying a topical sealer to ceramic tiles will make cleaning and maintaining the ceramic tiles more difficult and costly over time.  Ceramic tiles are extremely non porous tiles and the non porous surface of ceramic tiles makes them extremely easy to clean and maintain. Over time a topical coating will scratch and dull and get dirt embedded in it. It may then be necessary to strip the topical coating and reapply it to restore the shiny looking appearance of the tiles.

The only type or topical sealer that can be applied to ceramic tiles to make them shiny is a water based topical sealer.  Topical sealers for tile come in glossy or matte finishes. The most popular type of topical sealer is the glossy topical sealer. Topical sealers are not typically designed for non porous ceramic tiles but they are still often used on ceramic tiles to give them some type of sheen or shine. There is always a risk that the topical sealer will not adhere to the non porous ceramic tiles so you should test the sealer on an out of the way tile first before applying it to the entire tile installation.

You should use a clean dry microfiber mop or some type of thick bristled paint brush to apply the topical glossy sealer.   It is important for the sealer applicator to be able to apply an even coat of sealer to the surface of the ceramic tiles. The applicator must also be able to pull the sealer out of the grout lines so that pools of sealer do not settle in the grout lines. A thin even coat of sealer will provide the best looking most durable type of finish. If a more glossy appearance is desired a second or third thin coat of sealer can be applied to increase the glossiness of the sealer application. Thick coats of sealer that pool up on the tiles or in the grout lines will not dry properly and the sealer will crack where it is applied too thick.  One quart of high gloss sealer will seal approximately 125 Sq/Ft of ceramic tiles.

applying a topical sealer to ceramic tiles

A topical glossy sealer will have a milky white appearance when first applied to the ceramic tiles.  A little bit of sealer will go a long way especially when sealing non porous tiles such as ceramic tiles. It is important to evenly coat the tiles and grout with the sealer and try to not make many sealer bubbles while applying the sealer. If there are too many bubbles on the surface of the tiles then not all of them will disperse an this can cause deformations in the glossy sealer application. Use the micro fiber mop or paint brush to evenly distribute the sealer over the tile and grout and do not allow puddles or pools of sealer to accumulate on the tiles or in the grout lines.

shiny looking ceramic tiles after sealing

You should allow the sealer to dry for approximately 20 minutes before applying a second or third coat of sealer.  It is important that the sealer is not still wet and can be walked on without damaging the sealer application before applying a second or third coat of sealer. Also you do not want to allow the sealer to fully cure over a few hours before applying additional coats of sealer. It is generally not recommended to apply more than three coats of glossy sealer to ceramic tiles. Too many layers of sealer can start to crack and not properly adhere to the preceding layers of sealer. You will not gain much shine or glossiness with more than three layers of sealer.

After applying the last layer of sealer you should allow the sealer to dry for at least 4 hours before walking on the ceramic tile surface.  The glossy sealer will fully cure in 48 hours so it is best to not clean or spill anything on the surface of the ceramic tiles before the sealer has fully cured.

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