How to Reseal a Tile Floor

How to Reseal a Tile Floor

Restore the shine to your tile floor with these tips

By Robert Ferguson

Closeup of orange tiles, floor
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Sealing a tile floor and its grout joints can keep the floor looking brand new. Some types of tiles, especially stone tiles and their grout joints, are very porous. In addition, the sealer on a tile floor will eventually wear off -- especially in high-traffic areas. Sealers protect the tile and grout joints by not allowing dirt and spilled liquids to absorb into them. It is important to clean the floor thoroughly before reapplying sealer, as any dirt and stains will be trapped underneath the new coat. There are two types of sealers: an enhancer, which adds a glossy shine, and a matte-finish variety.

  • What You Need to Know
  • Before resealing your tile floor, gather all the supplies and tools you'll use in one easy-to-reach location, including a broom and a dustpan, a shop-type vacuum, vinegar, warm water, a sturdy bucket, a nylon bristle brush, grout sealer, and a paint roller and tray. A paintbrush will also come in handy around the perimeter of the floor and under the lip of cabinets and in small spots.
Sealing Tips

Step 1:

Sweep and vacuum the floor thoroughly. Pay special attention to the areas under cabinet toe kicks and around baseboards and doorjambs.

Step 2:

Clean the floor using vinegar and warm water. Mix 1 part vinegar with 5 parts water in a bucket. Apply the liquid with a sponge or mop it on. Scrub excessively dirty floors with a soft-bristle brush and a sponge. Alternately, use a generic mixture of trisodium phosphate (TSP), readily available from hardware stores and lumberyards.

Step 3:

For extremely dirty floors, use a wet floor cleaning machine, rented or purchased at local home improvement stores, after scrubbing. Allow the floor to dry overnight before sealing.

Step 4:

Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions for the sealer you have chosen. Wear a mask or respirator, as the sealer's fumes can be strong. Use a paint roller to apply the sealer to the floor. Apply the sealer in the same direction in nice, even coats. For tight, hard-to-reach places, use a paintbrush to apply the sealer.

Step 5:

Soak up or spread out any excess sealer with a sponge. Do not allow the sealer to pool, as it will leave a milky residue after it dries. Porous tile, such as clay, will usually absorb all of the sealer quickly whereas ceramic surface tile will not.

Step 6:

Follow the manufacturer's instructions and allow the sealer to dry for the specified amount of time. Apply the sealer to the tile and grout joints on a regular basis, such as once a year, to help keep your floor looking new, while protecting it from unsightly stains.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • Make sure the area is well-ventilated.
  • Use a respirator and gloves when applying the sealer.
  • Keep the sealer away from finished furniture.

About the Author

Robert Ferguson is a licensed building contractor with more than 30 years of experience, focusing primarily on residential remodeling, repair, renovation and construction.

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