Porcelain tile continues to be popular in homes across the country and beyond. It has incredible properties that make it ideal for use in many rooms throughout the home. Its benefits are also enjoyed in a wide range of commercial venues. Generally, porcelain tile can be created to mimic the look of metal, natural stone, wood and other high-end materials. It has infinite aesthetic appeal as a result. However, it is affordable, easy to maintain and suitable for use in areas that may be exposed to moisture or humidity. If you have decided to install tile in your home, you need to know how to properly care for it. The specific care instructions for porcelain tile vary based on the manufacturing process. For example, some types of porcelain tiles must be sealed to maximize their longevity and to protect them from unnecessary damage. A closer look will help you to answer the important question of, “Does porcelain tile need to be sealed as part of its maintenance needs?”
Exploring the Types of Porcelain Tile
Before you can determine if your home’s tile needs to be sealed, you need to understand that there are two primary types of porcelain tile. These are glazed and unglazed tiles. Unglazed tiles are prone to blemishes from wear, natural deterioration and staining from oxidation. On the other hand, glazed porcelain tiles are produced with an additional glazing process that naturally protects the tiles from these factors. Because of this, adding a protective sealant to glazed tiles is unnecessary.
Despite lacking the protection of glazing, some unglazed tiles also may not need to be sealed. This is because unglazed tiles may be polished or unpolished. All porcelain tile has a rating from the Porcelain Tile Certification Agency. If the absorption rating for your tile is less than a half-percent, the tile is less susceptible to staining and may not need to be sealed.
You may assume that polished, unglazed tile would be less susceptible to staining than unpolished and unglazed tile. However, this is not the case. Through the polishing process, tiny holes and fractures are revealed on the tile’s surface. These make the polished, unglazed tile very porous and more likely to stain.
Does Porcelain Tile Need to Be Sealed?
As you can see, there are several factors to consider when determining if your home’s tile should be sealed. Failing to seal some types of tile can result in reduced longevity and an increased risk of staining. Because of this, it is vital that you accurately determine if sealant must be applied.
There are a few ways to determine if your home’s tile must be sealed. The first is to inquire about the finish and sealant recommendations while you are selecting the tile from your flooring company. If your tile has already been installed, you can reach out the flooring company or the manufacturer directly for more insight. Ideally, you will determine if sealant must be applied before the tiles are installed so that the risk of damage after installation is reduced.
Sealing Porcelain Tile
When porcelain tile is installed in the kitchen or in another high-traffic area, a premium sealant with stain repellent qualities may be necessary. Application instructions vary by product, so you should analyze the instructions of your preferred product upfront. Keep in mind that some sealants should be applied before grouting. Others may offer protective benefits to the grout without changing its color, and they may be applied after grouting.