Seal tile joints for better durability: explained step by step

The tile mortar between the individual tiles usually contains a certain proportion of cement. The material is permeable to moisture, sharp cleaners can cause damage. Durability increases with a seal: how does it work?

Are your tiles porous?

Natural stone tiles and porcelain stoneware are often open-pored materials that are incompatible with a normal joint sealant. The agent penetrates into the tile pores and leaves there stains no longer to be removed.

Open-pored tiles can be treated with a special agent, which not only seals the joints. The tile surface changes as a result, but becomes more resistant to external influences.

Where is it worthwhile to seal the tile joints?

Wherever a lot of moisture occurs, a tile joint seal is worthwhile. Because the penetrating water provides tension in the joint material and thus causes in the long run that the mortar is discolored and porous.

Tile areas, which often come in contact with strong cleaning agents, also benefit from a seal. Cleaners attack the material. In that case, consider whether you may want to seal the tiles at the same time.

Already crumbling areas should not be sealed immediately, but scratched and grouted first. A sealant does not repair any existing damage.

Do not use a conventional tile sealer on the following material:

  • Porous joints with plastic content
  • water-repellent joints
  • painted joints

Seal tile joints: a guide

  • tile sealer
  • possibly for sealing suitable special cleaner
  • water
  • brush
  • Brush or sponge
  • lint-free rag

1. Clean the surface

First clean the entire surface to obtain a stable, spotless surface. Scrub tiles and joints with lukewarm water and a brush, then let everything dry well.

Follow the instructions for use of your joint seal: You may need a suitable special cleaner, which is used after washing with water. Do not use other cleaners that can leave behind harmful residues.

2. Apply joint sealant

Apply the sealant to the joints using the brush or sponge according to the instructions for use.

3. Remove excess material

Remove excess material quickly within the next 30 minutes with a lint-free cloth.

4. Maintain drying times

Follow the drying times according to the instructions. After several hours you can use the room again normally, but it usually takes about 2 days to clean the tiles.

Tips & Tricks

Pay attention to whether a post-treatment of your tile joints is necessary. Some products require a second application after a short drying time, other seals should be refreshed after only a few years.

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