For bathroom tiling, seal the deal

Doing the bathroom over? Remember to seal the tile.

You’ve finally decided to put in a tile shower. The plans look great, and the expectation is the new addition will make the room even more attractive. You have all the tiling you need and yen to get at it. You’re good to go. Well, wait. There is one more thing you need to take into account, and that is sealing the tile. This is where a large number of people make their first mistake. There is a difference between tile and grout.

The grouting is the “gunk” that is used to fill the gaps between the tiles. This gunk needs to be sealed because that protects it from mildew and mold, and means it is easier to clean. However, remember that you do not seal the group right away. You need at least one day for it to set. If you had the tiling installed by someone, the chances are that they did not seal it. This is a do-it-yourself job, but it is relatively easy. It is also something that needs to be done every few years or so, and not doing it allows water to leak behind the tiles, leading to mold. If you don’t want to replace all of the tiles in about two years or less, seal your grout.

Sealing the tile is optional and this largely depends on what kind of tile you use. For instance, if you choose slate, matte tiles, natural stone or marble, you should seal it. Most natural stone is porous and absorbs water. If you don’t want mildew in the bathroom, seal your stone tiles. On the other hand, if you choose to use ceramic tiles, you don’t need to seal them. Bonus. Sealing tiles means less cleaning.

There is one thing to consider. Sometimes sealing the whole tile causes issues. This is because some sealers cause tiles to darken, or they may become stained. It also takes a lot of time to seal a whole shower. However, having said that, some of the newer sealants on the market last for up to 15 years. Gone are the days of re-sealing every year.

Also remember not to seal your shower tiles or grout until it is completely dry. For an older shower, you may need to wait for up to five days, because there is usually moisture behind them and it needs to evaporate. If you don’t let it get completely dry, expect trouble down the line. When in doubt, ask a Tampa flooring contractor what works and what does not. They may also be your best choice to hire the job out and get it done professionally.

Dean Dupre is with Champion Tile, a Clearwater Flooring, Tampa Flooring, and tile installation company. To learn more, visit

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