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tarheelblue 07-12-2008 12:38 PM

seal a polished marble bathroom floor?
I have finally finished tiling my master bath. all poished marble.
I have not yet sealed the grout. when I went to Lowes to get grout seal, the guy said I need to seal the polished marble. mainly due to water spotting. another sales guy disagreed. 3 guys...3 different opinions.

A floor "expert" (non store employee) said it was not necessary for the tile, but cant hurt.

so what is the consenesus? again, its my master bath floor...not a shower application. so there are skinks, a tub, and a seperate there will be water splashing about to some degree. but the tile is a light brown...its not like its jet black and will show every spot if thats even a concern.

I was planning to just seal the grout well and put some kind of protective shine on the floor but not use the $40 sealer (20 oz) Lowes suggested.

Am I making a mistake?

Any advice is appreciated. PS, there is radiant heat I installed under the floor if that chnages the equation.

If I did end up and seal the tile, does that also seal the grout?


JazMan 07-12-2008 12:54 PM

Hi Blue,

Marble needs to be sealed or you'll really have a tough time with maintenance. You'll want a high quality penetrating sealer so that it does not change the appearance of the stone. Be sure to follow directions and wipe off excess after 3-5 minutes or whatever the directions tells you. Obviously it'll also seal the grout at the same time.

Which sealer are you going to use?


ccarlisle 07-12-2008 02:04 PM

Polished marble cannot be sealed. Won't take it.

No sealer out there will ever protect marble from acidic products like orange juice, toothpaste and even water, so you's best get ready for a lifetime of being careful not to put anything on there. But ditto for water spots, which would be more common than OJ on the floor.

But I kid you not; POLISHED MARBLE WILL NOT BE SEALED. Has to do with the polishing process, a phenomenon called the Beilby layer and surface tension. So don't waste a dime on any sealer they care to sell you. But physically, it cannot be sealed. Etched, sure but no sealer out there will prevent etching. What we recommend in some cases of polished marble tabletops is a sheet of glass.

Go to a stone expert and ask him, not box store people. Google on it, but you hear it from me: polished marble won't accept a sealer. Honed marble maybe; most marbles that are polishable won't.

JazMan 07-12-2008 02:47 PM

Hey Carlisle,

What are you talking about? :eek: Of course polished marble can and should be sealed. Apply it, lets it soak in whatever it will take, then wipe excess off just like it says on the directions. Yes, it will only absorb a little, but that is what you want to do...fill the microscopic pores. Maybe you're thinking of glazed ceramic that looks like marble?

The phenomenon also applies to porcelain tiles. Matter of fact, unpolished porcelain is less porous than polished porcelain. When polished, microscopic pores are created and why it's more likely to stain.

You're right however about acidic and other stains. That's why marble, although beautiful is NOT the best choice for many applications....including bathrooms and of course counter tops.

Right again on the big box store advice. I don't even ask which aisle to find things anymore. HD and others refuse to hire people that know what they're doing for the most part. Nice people, they just have no experience.:furious:


ccarlisle 07-12-2008 02:59 PM


Check your facts. I will say that there may be one or two marbles that when polished might take a sealer. But 99% of them won't. If they polish, they don't take a sealer. That's it.

Oh sure, you can apply a sealer and get paid for doing so, I don't dispute that. But any stone restoration professional will back me up. Because of the inherent density of the stone and the manner in which it is polished, plus that thing I mentioned called the Beilby Layer, polished marble will not take a sealer. It probably won't even take a stain. Etch yes, but stain? no sir.

No bull. :whistling2:

tarheelblue 07-12-2008 03:21 PM

tile sealant
thanks for your replies. I am not sure the product. Its some sealant they have on the shelf at lowes. meant for marble (and I think some other "polished" stone). I guess if it wont hurt I will go ahead and seal. the product is 40 bucks...much more than other sealants for natural stone. There is a lot of other stuff I could do with $40 bones but what the heck.

ccarlisle 07-12-2008 03:45 PM

Well, it's your floor, your money - your choice. But don't equate high price for = "it works" because anyone can jack up a price for that reason and make money in the short term. BTW what is the name of the marble or is there one? Sure it is marble and not limestone?

Seal the grout by all means; I never didn't say that was a good idea. We seal grout so know its benefits. But we know what we are sealing and why.

There is a polished marble called Serpentine that is green and does need a sealer. That's about the ONLY polished marble that really needs sealing. And keep in mind, "sealing" is not a catch-all phrase that means something like what a carwax does to your car. No, sealing is the application of typically an impregnating sealer (most of the time these are silanes or siloxane - "silicones", if you like) that are meant to protect against stains just below the surface. They work on some things - but don't on polished marble.

Find yourself a good stone restoration expert in your area because he'll be able to polish your marble when it comes time for you to need him. Which you will in due course. Sealer or not.

Good luck!

Nestor_Kelebay 07-12-2008 04:54 PM

My understanding is that silanes and siloxanes, or "silicone" based sealers are all film forming sealers, and not penetrating sealers.

If that is correct, I wouldn't use a silicone based grout sealer at all.

The problem is that if you eventaully want to build up the protection by going over those grout lines with more silicone based sealer, the new sealer won't stick to the old sealer.

If you're planning to put a silicone based film forming sealer on your grout or marble, you're much better off going with an acrylic film forming sealer like Glaze N' Seal's Grout Sealer:
Acrylic grout sealers don't have that problem.

ccarlisle 07-12-2008 05:59 PM

I'd have to review my literature to determine if all silanes or siloxanes are film-formers, my impression is no they aren't - but I'll hold off on that for now.

I know some siloxanes are used as grout sealers, not the ones we use, but I know they're out there. But we don't use film-formers anyway in grout sealing and many a time we have had to remove existing filmformers from grout in order to seal it use a penetrating sealer technology, one that is more chemically reactive with the cement rather than making a physical barrier. We are after all trying to reduce staining, not making it waterproof.

JazMan 07-12-2008 06:06 PM

I do not recommend using a film building sealer/polish on polished stone or glazed tiles. Generally acrylic sealers are intended for more porous materials and when a sheen is desired.

I do not recommend using silicone based sealers at all. They were about all we could get 25 years ago, but they do not work well or last very long. Today's penetrating sealers are much better. For example; Miracle Sealant's 511 Impregnator is very good for all marbles (including polished) as well as most other surfaces needing sealer. It's even used for polished granite. Another great brand is

I think the confusion in this thread about whether to seal or not is in the appearance of polished marble before and after it's sealed. There is NO apparent visual difference in polished marble or granite after it's sealed with a penetrating sealer. All you're doing is filling the MICROSCOPIC pores, as mentioned earlier. You can NOT see microscopic,:yes: that's why it's called that!:wink:

As a matter of fact, 511 Impregnator, (and some others), can be used on glazed tiles to fill microscopic pores too. Another fact is that 511 helps increase the coefficient factor of glazed tiles when the tiles are discovered to be too slippery on floors. Now some of you will say "you don't seal glazed tile". Oh yes you can, check it out.

Still another misconception as mentioned before, is that a sealer prevents anything from passing into the sealed surface, kinda like paint of varnish. That is not true. Penetrating sealers are breathable, (so they don't peel), and only slow down how fast spills soak in. At best you have 15-30 minutes to wipe, and some spills will stain immediately. :eek:


ccarlisle 07-12-2008 06:56 PM

Interesting post Jazman. You will, however, find a gang of professional stone restorers who have earned buckets of money correcting problems caused by 511. Many of them curse up and down about why you need strippers to remove it.

I've never used it myself so I can't comment but take it from me, 511 is a dirty word in stones restoration circles that I frequent.

I agree about the silicones. Matter of fact, silanes and siloxanes are comparatively new in the silicone world and by that I mean as compared to the original fluids of old.

Restore - One 07-14-2008 03:27 PM

sealing polished marble

I must agree with you after my trial and BIG ERROR. the sealer wouldn't take and has left a wave of sealer into the marble. What's the best way to remove the sealer?

also, I guess I will need to repolish the marble?:huh:

ccarlisle 07-14-2008 04:05 PM

Depends on what the sealer is called...give us a name+brand and I'll see if it comes off. You may or may not need to have the floor repolished. 3-4 grits, and/or polishing powders, heavy machinery, about two days work, not full days (depending on the size to be polished). Fun work for the restorer because he can charge $500 a day...

Unfortunately you found out the hard way. Sometimes some sealers come off with more-of-the-same. Put some more sealer on a rag and go over some of the spots that were the worst and see if it re-dissolves. Then pick up with a paper towel or something.

But let me know exactly what the product was you used and any description on the label. Keep your fingers crossed!

Restore - One 07-14-2008 05:27 PM

the sealer used was TILELab surfacegard penetrating sealer

ccarlisle 07-14-2008 05:49 PM

One of the ingredients in that product may take it off. I suggest you try what I said in an inconspicuous corner. Otherwise we'll have to call in a pro. Trouble is it is said to contain Teflon...and that's tough to get off.

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