Figure 6-13: Clear Floor Space required in kitchens (C) J Wiley, S Bliss Guide to Using Ceramic & Stone Tile Floor Sealers

InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.

This article discusses the use of sealers on ceramic and stone tiles used in kitchens and bathrooms.

We describe the strength but also the water absorption properties of ceramic tiles as well as the risks of water penetration into a floor, subfloor and even building structure at tile grout joints. We include a table of the water resistant properties of each type of ceramic tile.

Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved.

Ceramic & Stone Tile Sealer Advice for Bathrooms & Kitchens

Mexican quarry tile installation outside, San Miguel de Allende (C) D FriedmanOur page top photo shows a ceramic tile bathroom floor installed in the Lotus Club, New York City. At left we illustrate a Mexican clay tile installation in process in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico. There was much debate about whether or not we should use a sealer on this tile exposed to the weather.

Ten years later (in 2015) we can report that the roof has not leaked, though algae has left black stains on these un-glazed terra cotta floor / roof tiles.

This article series discusses current best design practices for kitchens and bathrooms, including layout, clearances, work space, and accessible kitchen and bathroom layout, clearances, turning space, grab bars, controls, etc.

We include advice on choosing and installing kitchen countertops, cabinets, and kitchen or bathroom flooring, sinks, and other plumbing fixtures and fixture controls such as faucets. A list of kitchen and bath product manufactures and sources is included.

[Click to enlarge any image]

This article includes excerpts or adaptations from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, by Steven Bliss, courtesy of Wiley & Sons. As detailed in Chapter 6 of Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction:

Strength and Water Absorption of Ceramic Tiles

The body of a ceramic tile, also called the bisque, is made by heating a mixture of clay and other additives in a kiln. In general, the longer the clay is fired and the higher the temperature, the denser and stronger the tile will be and the more impervious to water absorption.

Nonporous tiles that absorb little water will perform better in wet applications than porous tiles. The tile bisques manufactured according to ANSI standards are rated from nonvitreous to impervious (see Table 6-4).

[Click any image or table to see an enlarged version with additional detail, commentary & source citation.]

Table 6-4: Tile Bisque Characteristics (C) J Wiley S Bliss

Guide to Using Kitchen or Bath Tile Sealers

A wide variety of proprietary sealers are available to protect natural stone against staining from grout, dirt, foods, and household products. In addition, some sealers help conceal minor scratches and increase slip resistance.

Some products require regular reapplication and may cause a surface buildup unless stripped. Penetrating oil-type sealers may change the color of some types of stone and can even trap dirt in the finish.

For best results, follow recommendations of the stone supplier and use products with an established track record.

Guide to Using Tile Grout Sealers

While latex or acrylic additives help protect the grout from staining, sealing the grout after it cures provides the best protection. There are a wide variety of products on the market.

Consult the directions regarding when and how often to apply. Many require reapplication annually or more often, depending on the specific use.

Regardless, to keep grout from darkening and staining, it will need regular cleaning with a grout cleaner or mild detergent.

Avoid oil-based soaps as they tend to darken grout.

Kitchen and Bath Product Manufacturers, Sources, Associations

Ceramic Tile-Setting Material Manufacturer List

Bonsal American Setting compounds, grouts, preformed shower pans, curbs, and niches. Also, distributor of backerboards, isolation membranes, and other tile-setting products

Color Caulk, div. of Roanoke Companies Group Color-matched caulking

Custom Building Products Elastomeric and liquid-applied membranes, self-leveling underlayments, setting compounds, and grouts

Laticrete International Trowel-on membranes, self-leveling underlayments, setting compounds, grouts, and sealants

Noble Company CPE sheet membranes, trowel-on membranes, clamping ring drains, and preformed slopes, niches, and curbs

Mapei Trowel-on and sheet membranes, self-leveling underlayments, setting compounds, grouts, and color-matched sanded caulks

Ceramic Tile Backerboard Producers

Custom Building Products Wonderboard cement backerboard, Easyboard cement and polystyrene lightweight backerboard, and Rhinoboard fiber-cement backerboard

Georgia-Pacific Gypsum Denshield gypboard backer with glass-matt facing

James Hardie Building Products Fiber-cement backerboard

National Gypsum Permabase lightweight cement and polystyrene backerboard

Schluter Systems Kerdi tile membrane goes directly over drywall or other substrates

T. Clear Corp./Fin Pan Inc. Util-A-Crete lightweight concrete backerboard

U.S. Gypsum Durock cement backerboard

W. R. Bonsal Extruded polystyrene backerboard with fiberglassreinforced cement facing

-- Adapted with permission from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction.

Ceramic Tile Articles


Continue reading at FLOOR TILE SETTING COMPOUNDS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.


Suggested citation for this web page

FLOOR TILE SEALERS, CERAMIC, STONE at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


Or use the SEARCH BOX found below to Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Click to Show or Hide FAQs

Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia

Questions & answers or comments about how to use grout sealer on ceramic tile floors & walls.

Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.

Search the InspectApedia website

Comment Box is loading comments...

Technical Reviewers & References

Click to Show or Hide Citations & References

Publisher's Google+ Page by Daniel Friedman