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roost 06-26-2008 05:37 PM

Sealing tile
After a grouting disaster, I had to use diluted acid to clean up all the grout on my floor tile. It is a porcelain textured tile and while doing the scrubbing with a brush, it appears the finish on the tile has been stripped to some degree. It was not glossy in the first place, but was wondering if any type of sealer or tile finish could be used in this instance to bring it back. I'm not looking for anything really glossy and shiny, sort of a satin look.

angus242 06-26-2008 08:04 PM

While not an answer to your question, here is some important info about using acid on tile:

Porcelain tile typically cannot be sealed. There are exceptions like a polished porcelain. However, in your case, if you damaged the finish, that's an issue. Unless ALL of the finish is gone, you wouldn't be get "get the finish back".

Unfortunately you just learned (the hard way) on why it's so important to follow tiling procedures to the "T".

Can you post pictures? Perhaps that will shed some light on what the issue is.

Nestor_Kelebay 06-26-2008 08:05 PM

Well, one way to do it would be to simply apply a low gloss floor finish like S. C. Johnson Wax's "Carefree Matte". I use Carefree Gloss on all my vinyl composition tile floors, and I'm very happy with it.

The problem with this gameplan is that in order to properly maintain the floor finish on a floor, you need to periodically scrub off the dirty surface layer and apply another coat of finish. And, there's not a person born that's able to scrub off the dirty surface layer of a floor finish by hand. For that you need to beg, borrow or steal a floor machine like the ones on the right side of this web page:

On the right side of that page, you see someone cleaning a carpet with a wool bonnet on a floor machine. The 2nd and 3rd pictures show someone using a floor machine with a rotating brush to clean ceramic tile floors.

So, you can apply a coat of matte floor finish to your tile floors, but in order to keep that floor looking new for many many years, you need to buy at least a used 12 inch diameter floor machine for about $300 or so, and a drive block and rotary cleaning brush for another $100 I figure.

But, the results are worth it to some people. Because you're replacing the surface finish on the floor, you can spruce up the look of the floor whenever you machine scrub it and put on a new coat of finish.

Take a look at the floors in my building.

All the vinyl composition tile floors you see there were done a minimum of 10 years ago. They're glossy because I scrub off the dirty surface layer after each tenant vacates and apply a new coat of finish. I purchased a "Rabbit II" floor machine made by Centaur for $1700 new back in 1987, and I use it to maintain all the vinyl composition tile floors in the building.

angus242 06-26-2008 08:21 PM

I have to disagree. As stated, ceramic and porcelain typically CANNOT be sealed. A damaged finish doesn't mean that you can now seal it.
Further more SC Johnson doesn't say anything about using Carefree Matte Low Gloss Floor Finish on ceramic or porcelain tile.

VCT is a completely different animal and is not comparable to porcelain at all.

If possible, please post pics.

roost 06-26-2008 09:58 PM

Having a problem with attaching a photo. Actually it's not terrible. I could live with it as is, but would like to know if anything could be done. Think my file is too large to post.

Nestor_Kelebay 06-26-2008 10:18 PM


Carefree might not be the appropriate finish for a ceramic tile floor, but the S. C. Johnson Wax Company makes many different finishes for commercial floors, including finishes for ceramic and granite floors. I was simply citing Carefree Matte as an example of a floor finish that wouldn't be as glossy as floor finishes normally are.

To find the correct finish to use on this floor, just open the Yellow Pages to Janitorial Equipment & Supplies, and find out who sells S. C. Johnson Wax products in the area. They would know who the Johnson Wax sales rep is, and he would know what to recommend for a ceramic tile floor.

angus242 06-26-2008 10:24 PM

Yes but unless it's a rare circumstance; such as unglazed ceramic or polished porcelain, YOU CANNOT SEAL IT. Further more, IF you wanted to find a sealer, it would be in you best interest to not limit yourself to a single manufacturer.
Again, if we were talking VCT, your reply would be spot on. Unfortunately, no use in talking about something that can't be done. :wink:

roost: I really, really doubt there is a fix for this issue if you have truly damaged the finish. Sorry :(

JazMan 06-26-2008 10:46 PM


I can't imagine how you could have damaged the finish of porcelain tile. I don't think there's an acid made for tile cleaning that would hurt it. Can you explain? In your last post you indicated it's not terrible. Try posting again along with an uninstalled tile side by side.


HomeDepot23 06-27-2008 09:31 PM

Nestor. I wish you were right. I get so many people angry at me because I cannot give them a solution for putting a finish back on their tile in circumstances like this.

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