How To Seal Ceramic Tiles With A Glossy Or Matte Sealer

Ceramic Tile Sealing Tips

By Troy Cantini

Many times people want their ceramic tiles to have a glossy type of reflective finish.  A topical sealer is the best way to give ceramic tiles some type of glossy finish. Topical sealers come in glossy and matte finishes. Before applying a topical sealer to ceramic tiles there are many issues that must first be considered.

ceramic tiles with high gloss sealer

Topical glossy sealers were never designed to be applied to ceramic tiles.  Glossy topical sealers are best applied to porous stone tiles where the sealer can bond firmly with the porous stone tiles. When applying topical sealers to ceramic tiles you risk having the sealer not bond well with the ceramic tile and having the sealer chip or flake away. You should always to a test on a spare or out of the way tile first before attempting to apply the topical sealer to ceramic tiles.

Topical sealers on ceramic tiles will make cleaning them 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. The non porous easy to maintain properties are what make ceramic tiles the tile of choice for many homeowners. A topical sealer on top of the tiles will scratch, dull and get dirt and grime embedded in it. Over time the beautiful glossy look of the topical sealer will fade and become dull and lifeless. It will then be necessary to strip the topical sealer off of the tiles and reapply it to restore the shiny looking appearance.

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 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.

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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