QUESTIONWet Look Sealer - My husband and I have installed a (non-gloss) ceramic tile hearth and surround for our new fireplace insert, and we have discovered that we like the look of the tile better when it is wet as it highlights the underlying colors and appears glossy. We also need to seal the grout. Do you have any recommendations for a sealer that is 'multipurpose' for all aspects of our needs: able to withstand moderate heat, create a glossy look on the tile, as well as seal both the tile and grout? Thank you.
ANSWERANSWER - I assume you must have an unglazed (throughbody) ceramic tile. It is not clear how absorbing the tile body is, but you must consider the tiles’ absorption when you select a sealer.
There are sealers called “Enhancers,” which will seal the tile and grout, but gives it somewhat of a wet look. They are more commonly used on natural stone to enhance and bring out the colors. They should be a breathable sealer to allow the tile or stone to breath. Be sure to wipe all excess sealer off the tile with a lint-free cloth right after you apply it or it could become a sticky surface that will be problematic.
If your tile is very absorbing (over 3%) then the sealer manufacturer may first recommend using a penetrating sealer before the enhancing sealer.
You will have to review the sealer manufacturer’s data sheet on how it is effected by heat and if they have any limitations, but it is common to use these sealers on fireplaces.
For a list of manufacturers of sealers go to our website at www.ctasc.com to the Resources section in Expert Answers for Cleaners and Sealer Resources.