January 2, 2012

Sealing Tile

Ahhh...2012. The tools having been put away and out of sight for the 23 days since the open house, it's now time to get back on with things. Things, in our case, being finishing up those last pesky bits of trim, molding and tiling on the main floor. Drats.

I'm easing myself back into it. Today's adventure was limited to sealing tile (different of course, from ceiling tile). This soft limestone will be the backsplash behind the stove and the trim around the rest of the counter-top.

Yah, limestone. The thing with natural stone like this it's soft and is prone to pitting and wearing if it comes into contact with acid (think lemon juice, tomatoes...) so it needs to be sealed. It's not something I would use as a countertop material, but with care it will make a beautiful backsplash. 

The pale grey of the stone by itself is gorgeous, but to get the full effect of limestone you really need to use an enhancing sealer so that it retains the wet look that highlights the variations and fossils.

The enhancer takes it from nice, but vanilla, to wow.  Above and below are the same tiles - before and after sealing. The variations in the stone really come forward and the colour is even richer.

And why put the sealer on before I've even installed the tile? Experience. The sealer is drippy stuff, trying to apply it on a vertical surface would be a serious pain. The other reason is that if you've got the stone sealed before you install it any thinset or grout that gets on the face of the tile is easy enough to wipe away if the pores are sealed.

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