How to Seal Saltillo Tile

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Saltillo tiles are thick, unglazed, typically handmade floor or wall tiles that are extremely porous. It is wise to apply at least one coat of penetrating grout and tile sealer to these tiles before they are installed. Then apply one to two more coats (for a total of two to four coats) of sealer after they are installed and grouted. Sealing the tiles before they are installed will prevent the grout dye from seeping into the tiles and discoloring them. It is a little more work in the beginning, but it makes life easier at the back end of the installation.

Things You'll Need

  • Air compressor
  • Broom
  • Dust pan
  • Penetrating grout and tile sealer
  • Paint tray
  • Disposable paint tray liner
  • Latex or blue nitrile gloves
  • Small kitchen sponge
  • Blow any surface dirt or dust off of the tiles with compressed air. If the tiles are installed and grouted, sweep the flooring with a broom and clean up the debris with a dust pan.

  • Pour a high quality penetrating grout and tile sealer into a paint tray with a disposable liner. Put on a pair of latex or blue nitrile gloves.

  • Apply the penetrating sealer over the surface of the whole floor, including the tile and the grout, with a small kitchen sponge. Do not allow the sealer to pool for very long. Wipe up any excess sealer with the kitchen sponge.

  • Allow the sealer to dry for three to four hours in between coats. After the last coat of sealer is applied, allow the final coat to dry for eight to 10 hours (or overnight) before exposing the tile to regular traffic.

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