One might think that ceramic and porcelain tiles are impervious to staining and water damage since they are such solid building materials. Some tiles are more porous than others, meaning that they have tiny channels through them which can allow liquids or small dirt particles to pass through below the surface.
Tiles and stone are so strong and durable that it might surprise you later down the line when a spill stains your expensive flooring, or you get a build-up of rust and hard water stains that becomes a nightmare to remove. And of course, you shouldn’t forget to look after the grouting between tiles which easily retains water and becomes a breeding ground for mold!
Before your grout becomes brittle and stone or tiled surfaces are stained and need replacing, consider using a sealant that is applied and dries fast to create a protective barrier against moisture and stains. This will save in future costs from replacing materials, and the labor and time which that involves.
Not only do these products prevent liquids from soaking into the tiles and grouting, but the protective coating for some sealants also enhances the natural color of stone or tiles in the process.
Should You Seal Ceramic and Porcelain Tile?
Ceramic and porcelain tiles come either glazed or unglazed, and unglazed tiles will easily soak in water or oil so they will need protection from a sealant. Glazed tiles are only somewhat porous and don’t always need to be sealed depending on the environment they’re used in, but in situations where they will be exposed to moisture regularly such as in your bathroom, kitchen, or patio, it’s a smart idea to seal them.
A sealant protects the tiled surface from dirt and staining over time – essentially futureproofing them.
Another important factor to keep in mind is that often the grout which holds the tiles tightly in place is unprotected. If that grout isn’t sealed then you can expect it to deteriorate much sooner, staining, breaking apart, and becoming a breeding ground for mold. Cleaning old dirty unsealed grout is difficult and requires a lot of elbow grease, the use of harsh chemicals, and abrasive cleaning supplies which could all damage the tiles in the process.
Compare that to cleaning sealed grout which will be relatively easy using soapy water and a sponge, and you’ll be thanking your past self for going through this process now!
What to Consider When Buying a Tile Sealer?
You’ll see some products that come in spray bottles, some that need to be mixed before application, and most that arrive in a bottle ready for application after a good shake. In the description for each sealant you’ll find instructions for application, so do make sure that you have all the necessary tools to apply your tile sealer of choice when you purchase it.
How Well it Seals the Tile
What you want is a product that prevents liquids from easily penetrating the surface so you have time to clean spills before staining can happen, while adhering perfectly to the surface of the tiles and grout. A good sealant makes cleaning a breeze and extends the life of your tiles, stone, and grout.
How Long it Will Last (Durability)
The more time before reapplication is necessary, the better, since you’ll be saving money and effort if the sealant has a longer working life. Take note that most of these products aren’t formulated to endure the elements outdoors, and if it’s used outside most manufacturers will warn that the expected working life of the product will be reduced.
Especially for floor tiles in a bathroom or kitchen, be aware that if the sealant leaves the tiles slippery then they will become a safety hazard. Take caution and look for specifications that clarify if the sealant is designed to give grip to sealed tiles or leave the texture of the tiles as is – which is the case for penetrative sealers. Failing that, see what other users have to say about their experiences in the reviews.
Liquid tile sealants are not made for contact with skin or eyes and can harm you and your pets if you aren’t careful with it before it’s dry. Always comply with manufacturer’s instructions for safe application, use disposable gloves while handling these products, ensure that the area is well ventilated, and always keep out of reach of children and pets.
10 Best Sealers for Ceramic and Porcelain Tiles
GlazeGuard’s ceramic and porcelain tile and grout sealer is mixed with a catalyst in a 1:3 ratio for an extra strong bond when applied, however this does mean there are a couple more steps involved. While protecting your body you’ll need to ensure the mixture is made using the correct proportions and that it’s mixed until homogenous.
Despite the extra effort in the application process, this sealer gives your tiles a clear glossy finish that enhances the colors of the tiles while also providing grip wherever it is applied. The use of a paint roller is recommended for getting an even coat.
Rather than creating a protective outer coating, MORE’s grout, ceramic, and porcelain sealer is absorbed into the outer pores of the tiles and grout to set inside the small pores of the material. From there, it has a firm hold to resist staining liquids, grease, and dirt. Unlike the GlazeGuard sealer, this product won’t change the color of your tiles or leave them with a glossy finish – giving your tiles invisible protection.
This 511 anti-slip sealer from Miracle Sealants is marketed primarily as an anti-slip sealer that won’t change the look of your tile or stone surfaces. It’s made for use both indoors and out, with raving reviews from the many people that have tried this product. This is a great choice for sealing your tiles and grout from staining and water retention, as well as increasing the grip on surfaces like marble flooring or your shower.
It’s easily applied with a paint roller, but do test it out on a small section of the surface you want to apply it onto to ensure that it doesn’t change the appearance of your flooring in a way you don’t like before you’ve done the whole floor.
When it comes to longevity, Aqua Mix Sealer’s Choice Gold Quart lasts up to 15 years for indoor or outdoor use. With a price tag higher than most sealers, you can rest assured knowing that the price difference is indicative of the higher quality product you’ll be using. This sealer specializes in penetrating the tiles or stone it’s applied to so that it can protect it below the surface, leaving the color and texture indistinguishable after it has been applied.
AQUA-X’s Clear Grout and Tile Sealer is made to easily seal the grout using a spray bottle applicator and simply wiping away the excess. It can be used to seal unglazed tiles as well and goes on in 1 easy coating. If you want to work fast and simply, this is the perfect choice as the spray bottle provides ease of use and effective coverage in one convenient package. Make sure to clean the grout well and allow enough time for complete drying, then it’ll be up to 5 years before you’ll need a fresh coat!
Stone Grip non-slip floor treatment solves the problem of slippery surfaces differently from the other products on this list. While some of the sealants in this list reduce slipping and improve grip using small grippy particles in the sealant, Slip Doctors’ product is an acid that creates micro-cracks in the surface of a material to drastically improve grip in dry or wet conditions.
There are mixed reviews since some tiles haven’t reacted well to this product so as always, try it out on a test piece to see if you’re happy with the results before using it to improve grip on the entire bathroom floor. And remember, this product won’t help with sealing the tiles or grout against water damage or staining but can be used in conjunction with a penetrative sealer applied after the non-slip floor treatment.
This quartz and porcelain tile sealer by STONETECH is water-based, which means that you won’t need to throw away any tools you use during application. All your tools can be washed clean with water, whereas some other sealants will have your tools ruined and unsalvageable.
To apply this sealer to your tiles or stone surface, all you need to do is put down a generous layer which will soak in for 10 to 15 minutes and wipe away the excess. It does take some time to fully cure, around 1 to 3 days dependent on weather conditions, but the surface can be used again after only 8 hours at most.
If you’re looking to get the job done in a hurry, FILA’s MP90 Eco Plus natural stone sealer will be ready for foot traffic 4 hours after application and it fully dries in only 8. As a penetrating sealer, this product can be applied to a multitude of surfaces from porcelain tiles to concrete – protecting them from staining by water and oil spills.
The fully cured product will not leave a visible film coating the surface’s exterior, leaving the finish and color practically unchanged for the sake of appearance.
Mapei has several useful products for cleaning and sealing tiles and grout. Their UltraCare penetrating Plus SB Sealer for tile, grout, and stone is versatile and easy to apply, following all the instructions on the packaging and taking care to abide by all the safety recommendations.
This sealant is solvent-based, so use cheap paint rollers or brushes to apply it since it will make them unusable afterward – but on the plus side, that means you’ll have a more durable product that won’t need to be reapplied any time soon!
DRY-TREAT has an appealing 10-year performance warranty for their Premium porcelain and quartz sealer. It is very reassuring to know that their faith in the product they sell is so strong, and even though the price is steep you’ll be saving time and money in the long run by not needing to reapply sealant every other year.
This sealant can confidently be used outdoors too, making it a strong contender against the others on this list. If you want a quality product, you’ve come to the right place!
A good quality sealant goes a long way in saving you time and effort down the line trying to keep your tiles and grout clean and stain-free. Spending the time early on sealing my bathroom and kitchen tiles has paid off, so I do recommend you do the same to extend the life of your tiles far into the future. Just please be safe during the application of these products and don’t take any health risks, those safety precautions are there for a reason!
Jamie is the Founder of My Home Dwelling. He is a homeowner and enjoys sharing his homeowner tips with others. He has real estate experience working as a new home construction Realtor. Jamie has worked on numerous residential construction sites helping with interior and exterior renovations. He loves refinishing furniture, DIY home projects, and sharing his knowledge online.