Types of Tile Sealants

Types of Tile Sealants

Insights into various stone floor sealers, their characteristics, and applications. This post offers valuable information for anyone seeking to understand the different types of tile sealants available in the market.

Stone floor sealers come in various types, each with its own characteristics and purposes. Here are some common types of tile sealants that are available on the market today.

Types of Tile Sealants

  1. Topical Sealers: These sit on the surface of the stone and create a protective layer. They can be made of wax, acrylic, or polyurethane. They provide good water and stain resistance but may require more maintenance and reapplication due to wear. They are suitable for low to medium traffic areas. Topical sealers consist of dense particles and are suitable for rough, porous tiles such as sandstone and limestone. Topical sealers may also be suitable for slate restoration purposes.
  2. Impregnating Sealers: These penetrate into the stone, providing protection without changing its appearance. They are often made of siloxane, silane, or fluoropolymer. Penetrating sealers offer excellent protection against water and oil-based stains and are ideal for high-traffic areas. They generally last longer than topical sealers but may not be suitable for all types of stone. Generally, we use impregnating sealers for calcium carbonate stone stone restoration projects such as limestone floor sanding, marble floor polishing, travertine restoration and slate sealing.
  3. Enhancing Sealers: These sealers darken and enrich the colour of the stone while providing protection. They are suitable for enhancing the natural beauty of the stone. The most popular services that require this colour enhancing sealer is limestone and marble floor polishing of dark colours such as Marquina marble and green serpentine marble. Dark slate sealing services are also sometimes finished with this colour enhancer sealer. 


Pro’s and Con’s of Different Tile Sealers

Topical sealers can be worn off quickly in high traffic areas. This is especially true if the sealer was applied to a smooth surface. This is why we never recommend a topical sealer for smooth limestone, marble or travertine. In some cases a topical sealer may be suitable for a tumbled floor, which tends to have a textured surface, making it a suitable substrate for the sealer to bond to the stone. 

Topical sealers do offer a darkening effect on stone, however it’s not as dark as Colour Enhancer sealers. This topical sealer is great for Victorian tile maintenance. This is because Victorian tiles tend to be porous. The rough texture helps the sealer to bond. This topical sealer enhances the colour of Victorian tiles to some degree. The greatest benefit of this final refinishing process is that it gives the old floor a silky smooth texture and helps to keep the floor clean. 

We can never offer an guarantee for topical sealers, whereas an impregnating sealer, because it soaks into the stone, is protected by the stone immediately above it. It can’t be scraped off. Our most popular sealer is Dry Treat Premium Impregnating sealer. It has a high-end cost, however the supplier does offer a long term warranty on their quality product. We use this product because it’s easy to work with, and we know that our customers will always be satisfied. 

The advantage of a topical sealer is that it does offer better protection against spillages that would otherwise dissolve impregnating sealer. Such spillages would be slightly acidic such as lemon juice, vinegar, wine, etc. 

Both types of sealers can be dissolved by extreme chemicals such as harsh floor cleaning solutions. They can also be dissolved by hot foods and beverages. 


How to choose the right type of sealer

Choosing the right sealer depends on several factors:

  1. Type of Stone: Different types of stone (marble, granite, limestone, etc.) have varying porosities and reactions to sealers. Some may benefit from penetrating sealers, while others might work well with topical or enhancing sealers.
  2. Location and Use: High-traffic areas benefit from penetrating sealers due to their durability. Topical sealers may suffice for low-traffic or decorative areas where appearance enhancement is desired. Topical sealers should not be used in rooms with a high moisture content because it would eventually peel off the stone. During our bathroom stone restorations we always prefer to finish off with impregnating sealers.  
  3. Desired Finish: If the stone’s natural appearance needs to be altered or enhanced, an enhancing sealer might be suitable. For rough surfaces, a topical sealer can create a smooth surface. For carbonic stone we prefer to polish the stone to a desired finish before sealing it with an impregnating sealer. 
  4. Your budget: Whichever type of stone or tile you may have, there’s bound to be a sealer that meets your budget. If you’re concerned or have any questions please get in touch. 


How Much Do Tile Sealers Cost

Tile Sealants

As for costs, these can vary significantly based on several factors:

  1. Type of Sealer: Impregnating sealers tend to be more expensive than topical ones due to their durability and deeper penetration.
  2. Type of Stone: Some types of stone are very porous and absorb much more sealer than denser stone such as smooth marble. Examples of porous stone would be certain types of limestones, sandstone. 
  3. Quality: Higher-quality sealers often come at a higher cost but may offer better protection and longevity.
  4. Coverage Area: Costs can vary based on the square footage the sealer covers. Some sealers require multiple coats for effectiveness.
  5. Professional Application: If you hire professionals for application, the labour costs will also add to the overall expense.

What is the difference between water-based and solvent-based sealer?

The main differences between water-based and solvent-based sealers are as follows:

  1. VOC Content: Water-based sealers have lower volatile organic compound (VOC) content compared to solvent-based sealers, making them more environmentally friendly and safer to use.
  2. Appearance and Odour: Solvent-based sealers may result in a slight wet-look finish and have a strong odour, while water-based sealers offer a matte finish and have a milder odour.
  3. Penetration and Coverage: Solvent-based sealers have smaller particles and can penetrate dense and highly polished surfaces, while water-based sealers go on thin and provide more coverage.
  4. Application: Water-based sealers are easier to clean up and are not flammable, making them safer to apply, especially in enclosed areas.
  5. Regulations and Safety: Due to regulations and advancements in technology, many water-based sealers can now hold their own against solvent-based sealers in terms of durability and performance.

It’s important to consider the specific requirements of your stone flooring, the expected foot traffic, desired appearance, and your budget before selecting a sealer. Consulting with a stone flooring professional can provide valuable guidance tailored to your situation.

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