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Porcelain Tile

How to:

Seal | Clean | Repair | Protect
Strip & Restore | Easy Care

Sealers and Sealing instructions
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porcelain tile floor
Porcelain Tile - Cleaning and Sealing Porcelain Tile - Cleaning and Sealing

Advantages of Porcelain tile:
High fired and very tough and durable. Many color, pattern, and texture options available. Replicates many other materials also, such as stone, slate, wood, etc.

Yes, the new versions of porcelain tile usually need to be sealed. And, of course, the grout needs sealing.

Consider using Aldon "Grout Easy" to keep grout from getting trapped in tile texture during grout installation and creating a more difficult cleaning problem than necessary. Do not use a sealer (pre-seal) for this purpose.

Stone or Wood Look and other considerations:

Years ago porcelain tile was totally non-absorbent, therefore, not needing to be sealed except if a rough surface needed a little bit of sealer coating for ease of cleaning. These days, this tile has evolved into excellent replicas of other materials using machine texturing and color processes such as silk-screening. In this process, most of these tiles now have enough absorption and texture characteristics to justify the need for the right sealer. See below.

For textured face tile (looks like stone or wood) - do not use a sealer as a grout barrier (pre-seal). Prevent grout smears, surface scratching and keep grout residue out of surface texture by coating with Aldon "Grout Easy" before grouting. "Grout Easy" is a water soluble coating that comes off easily while grout is being cleaned up with water and a sponge.
Also these tile floors are difficult to clean because the texture traps dirt and grabs at the mop. To overcome those problems you need a thin, tough coating for tile and grout. This is accomplished with S-B-S Sealer (create very light gloss level) if you need a sealer or with Tile Cover if you do not need a sealer and want the coating to be almost invisible.

If the tile was installed without using "Grout Easy" and you now have a grout haze to clean off the tile face, use Aldon Grout Residue Remover.

Efflorescence (subsurface originating white powdery stains) can occur on the grout. However, it is easily cleaned.

Grout can have light efflorescence, but that can be stopped by sealing with the appropriate Aldon sealer.

Some manufacturers ship their porcelain tile with a coating on the face to ease the grouting process (act as a grout release). The coating materials can vary from weak sealers to greases or oils. These coatings can cause problems after installation and should be removed after grouting. See the Aldon Problem Solving section for the Redoing a Previously Sealed Surface as these factory applied coatings fall within that category.

Sometimes porcelain tile will vary from batch to batch in terms of smoothness of finish. If the tile finish or color is uneven or "dull", test Aldon SBS Sealer to even out gloss, enhance dull colors, and seal the grout in the same operation. The sealer's low gloss finish will also make cleaning easier.


As you progress down this page you will see:
  • The products you may need for surface Preparation before sealing.
  • Pictures of each of the recommended sealers for this surface type. Click the sealer's picture for it's full description.
  • Handy tips to prevent issues that others have had before coming to Aldon.
  • Perhaps more information than you need now, but might be of interest later.

Surface Preparation before sealing grout
What you need for your Porcelain project


You have 1 of the 3 possible situations that follow. The products you need are listed in the sequence that you would use them. Click the picture to add a product to your list.

#1. If the Porcelain tile is not yet grouted

Use 1st 2nd 3rd
Grout Release
Grout Easy

Grout Release
*Grout Residue
Remover

Remove white stains
**Efflorescence
Treatment

* Should not be needed after using Grout Easy.
** for the grout if needed.

#2. If the Porcelain tile is grouted, but grout is not sealed.

1st 2nd
Grout Release
*Grout Residue
Remover

Remove white stains
**Efflorescence
Treatment
Remove white stains
***Grout
Restoration
* If you have old grout smears.
** If you have white powder (efflorescence) stains on the grout.
*** If your grout is badly stained.

#3. If the Porcelain tile has been sealed in the past.

Use 1st 2nd
Remove all sealers
Premium
Stripper

Grout Release
*Grout Residue
Remover

Remove white stains
**Grout
Restoration
* If, after stripping, you find old grout smears or crystal efflorescence from years ago.
** If your grout is badly stained. Regular stains are usually removed by the stripping process.

Your Choices for Sealing


"Same Day Sealer" on Porcelain Tile. This sealer is Water Base | Penetrating Type. Provides: No color enhancement or gloss. Coverage guidelines (depending on absorption) 250 to 600 sq.ft./gal.

"Same Day Sealer" is recommended when sealing only the grout. It wipes easily from the tile face to make the process easier.

clean, protect, seal tile - stone - pavers - brick
Add to Project List
Gallons

Case (4 gal)

Quarts

Case 12 qt

Sample


"S-B-S Sealer" on Porcelain Tile. This sealer is | Solvent Base | Penetrating Type. Provides: color enhancement | low gloss | strengthening | efflorescence barrier. Coverage guidelines (depending on absorption) 150 to 500 sq.ft./gal.

S-B-S Sealer is a low solids sealer that is perfect for Porcelain tile projects. In addition to sealing and protecting, it creates some color enhancement and an easier to clean surface.

The aerosol makes doing back splashes, showers, and other small projects easy.

clean, protect, seal tile - stone - pavers - brick
Add to Project List
Gallons

Case (4 gal)

Aerosols

Case Aeros

Sample


"Crystal Glaze Sealer" on Porcelain Tile. This sealer is | Water Based | Coating Type. Provides: little or no color enhancement and high gloss. Coverage guidelines (depending on absorption) 350 to 600 sq.ft./gal.

"Crystal Glaze" provides a high gloss, very tough finish in one application.
clean, protect, seal tile - stone - pavers - brick
Add to Project List
Gallons

Case 4 gal

Sample


Easy Care Products: for a Porcelain floor or wall.


Mexican tile - clean, protect, seal tile
_____________________
Quarts

Case 12 qts

Gallons

Case 4 gal
Sample n/a

Mexican tile - wet mop cleaning without streaks

_____________________

Quarts

Case 12 qts

Sample n/a
"Insta-Clean" removes food, grease, oil, etc. stain causing materials - from floors, patio furniture, machinery.
"Maintain" - for no streak wet mopping of Porcelain and all other types of flooring.

Mexican tile - clean, protect, seal tile
_____________________
Gallons

Case 4 gal

Mexican tile - dusting the easy way

_____________________

Pints

Case 16 pts

Sample n/a

"Lifeguard" prevents traffic wear to a sealer. Adds gloss.
"Dust Whiz" - easy dry mop dust pickup at 1,000 sq. ft. in 3 minutes.


Items of Interest

You may have heard of concerns about Porcelains. All of them would be prevented with the information we provide here. Therefore, you can have the floor you want!

How to select a sealer
To select a sealer it is good to have some idea of the absorption rate so you achieve the gloss level (none to high) and all the other benefits available without using more sealer than necessary. Also, you can test for (and protect against) acidic liquid sensitivity.

An Aldon sealer does far more than just bead water and look pretty! To see what that is click here.

Your results may vary somewhat from these pictures due to variations in computer display and the surface materials themselves. Nevertheless, you will be able to see the differences well enough to make good choices.

Important: If your project has had any sealer applied in the past, it must be evaluated differently. To see why, Click here!

Sealer "solids" levels?
This discussion applies only to the petroleum solvent based sealers. With the water based sealers, solids level is not a consideration.

Here are the relative solids level of our petroleum solvent based sealers:
  Lowest: SBS Sealer
  Next level Higher: Penetrating Paver Sealer
  Another level higher: Porous Stone Sealer
  Highest level: Mexiglaze

A porous surface will require more gallons (more money) of a lower solids sealer than using a higher solids level sealer. That, plus different surfaces have different requirements, is why we make the different solids levels. They all work as described, so it is only a matter of which is best for your needs.
The more porous the surface, the more solids will be required to achieve the desired effects of gloss, strengthening, stopping efflorescence, etc.

The more porous the surface, generally the greater the need for the sealer to create a stronger surface.

An old sealer below the surface, even after stripping, will lower the absorption and porosity to some degree. Sometimes it is uneven below the surface and can create an uneven coloring effect with a color enhancing sealer applied later. Another reason to test first.

Do not make decisions based only upon the price per gallon.
Unlike other sealers, Aldon's sealers typically require fewer applications (fewer gallons), less cure time, and longer life. And that is only a few of many considerations.
To see more of why the price per gallon has little to do with what will be your total project cost, click here. For other questions about sealers, see the FAQ Sealers link on the slide out menu.

Do not believe yet that you have the type of surfacing you were told:
There is no need for confusion or problems brought about by misidentification of a surface type, yet it happens all too often. Sellers use fancy marketing names that can be misleading about the true nature of a surfacing. For instance, a customer was told they bought "Petite Granite" for a bar surface. But, unlike granite it was etching circles from wine drips. After simple testing, it proved to be a limestone which is treated very differently than granite. It was easily restored and protected after a 60 second test. Please review our "Surface Types" page to compare pictures, descriptions, and testing if needed, to confirm you have what you were told.

Do not "pre-seal" - apply a sealer BEFORE grouting.
Do not use any sealer as a grout release barrier (pre-sealing). This technique creates many risk factors to be avoided. Prevent grout smears, surface scratching and keep grout residue out of surface texture by coating with Aldon Grout Easy before grouting. Grout Easy is a water soluble coating that comes off easily while grout is being cleaned off in the normal process with water and a sponge.

Colors fading?
The iron oxide pigments used in concrete products, and the colored clays in clay products, do not fade . The appearance of fading is actually from tiny efflorescence particles (white powder) in the pores. It can be removed and color restored (with Aldon Efflorescence Treatment) and then stopped from returning, and color restored, by sealing with the appropriate Aldon penetrating type sealer.

You can stop efflorescence (white powdery stains)
Efflorescence (subsurface originating white powdery stains) is common with many surfaces. This can even occur before installation. However, it is easily made to disappear without scrubbing by using Aldon Efflorescence Treatment. If the white powder is old and is now "crystalline" that is bonded to the surface - it can be eaten away with Aldon Grout Residue Remover.

Renew a glossy finish
Aldon Sealer applications can be made hours or years later, but do not apply thin layer upon thin layer. Apply a sufficient quantity to insure below surface penetration & bonding. Or, for the solvent based penetrating sealers, test spraying lacquer thinner as an alternative to slightly melt and reform the surface and not build too much gloss or create sealer "layering". A layer of sealer on top of another layer of sealer can result in poor bonding between layers and that can cause separation peeling that looks grayish.

Concerned about Doing It Yourself or what your contractor says?
If you are concerned about doing it yourself - consider that the satisfaction of a project is directly related to YOUR knowledge of what needs to be done and how. Who actually does the work is less important. We estimate that 50% of the usage of Aldon products is by "do it yourself" homeowners and we know they are happy because we hear from them.

Our goal for our contractor customers - NO CALL BACKS. A good contractor will understand the logic of Aldon application instructions on the labels and will not take shortcuts. If a contractor does not agree, feel free to let us find out what is so unusual about this particular project so the contractor does not have to return.


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