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Old 03-23-2011, 01:16 PM   #1
Freida
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Enhancing sealer vs regular stone sealer

I have looked and looked for pictures of travertine tile that have been sealed with a clear sealer vs one that has been sealed with an enhancing sealer, and have not been able to find any pics. I like the way my tile looks when it is wet.
Will I achieve this look with a regular stone sealer, or do I need to use an enhancing sealer? One clerk told me that the only difference was that the enhancer made the tile glossy which made the color look richer. If this is true, why do they make regular sealers in matte and glossy and have enhancing sealers,too. I am so confused. Also, my tile man told me to seal the tiles before he lays them to protect them. If I am using an enhancer, do I put it on first?
If I seal with more than one coat, do I continue to seal with the enhancer or then use a regular clear sealer?
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Old 03-23-2011, 01:41 PM   #2
Brian in San Diego
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Freida,

Enhancer tends to bring out the colors in stone. Each application will make the stone darker and richer in color. An enhancer is also a sealer. Once you have achieved the desired color result with an enhancer then you want to stop applying any more. If additional sealing is necessary then you would want to use an impregnator. I like the StoneTech line of products and use the Enhancer Pro which is a solvent based enhancer. If you want one that's easy to find I would recommend Miracle 511 Enhance and seal. You can find it at Home Repo.

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Old 03-23-2011, 02:11 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum, Frieda.

A penetrating sealer is one that soaks INTO the tile and leaves solids in the pores. Once dry, it isn't visible...you can't see a real difference in the tile color.

An enhancing sealer soaks INTO the tile and will bring out the color in a similar fashion to the way wetting the tile does. However, it doesn't leave a glossy coating. This sealer also soaks INTO the tile. If you like the color of the tile when it's wet, this is probably the best option for you. But don't forget that there will not be any real sheen to it once dry.

If you like glossy, then you'll want to use a topical coating. This sealer sits on TOP of the tile and imparts a gloss. I think this is the least desirable sealer because the coating is susceptible to wearing and this degrades the quality of the sheen in a big way. A topical coating requires the most maintenance to keep it up.

So, probably your best option is to take a sample tile an apply any sealer you're considering to it and allow it to dry so you see exactly what the tile will look like. Realize that travertine is a natural material and if you apply an enhancing sealer (vs. the penetrating sealer) the color will vary from tile to tile...in some cases, dramatically.

Typical protocol on sealing natural stone is to seal the face (and the face only of the tile, being careful not to get it on the sides or bottom of the tiles) once before you grout, then a second time after you've grouted. This is for a couple of reasons: 1) the sealer helps prevent the grout from soaking into the face of the tile thereby helping you clean off the grout haze during the grouting process; and 2) the act of grouting can be pretty tough on the sealers and it's a good idea to seal again after the grouting.
...However, using an enhancing sealer (vs. plain penetrating) on natural stone tile can get a little tricky because you have to contend with the grout. Using an enhancing sealer over grout darkens the grout....which might be okay if you choose an artificially lighter color that will darken to your liking, but there's a common problem of the grout taking on the sealer unevenly and becoming rather splotchy. That splotchiness isn't predictable. And the splotchiness is permanent, unless you regrout. If you're okay with both the grout darkening and there being a chance for splotchiness, then do the normal protocol of sealing once before the grouting and a second time after grouting.

But I don't like taking chances, so if I am going to enhance natural stone, I like to do it the day before grouting, then be done with it. I don't want to take that crap shoot on the grout darkening evenly, or very splotchy. So I don't enhance after grouting. If the act of grouting does strip away enough of the enhancing sealer to lighten it's affect, I'll carefully seal the tiles individually with a foam brush, taking great care to not get the sealer on the grout. This also brings up another reason why enhancing natural stone is tricky...if you're going to avoid sealing after grouting, the grout will receive no protective sealer. So it's a good idea to use a grout that has built-in self-sealing qualities or to use a special additive like "Grout Boost" that imparts these sealing qualities.
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Old 03-24-2011, 06:09 AM   #4
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Excellent posting Bubba.
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Old 03-24-2011, 11:32 AM   #5
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I took this picture from a sample we put together. Hope it's clear enough.

http://i.imgur.com/INdX0.jpg
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Old 03-25-2011, 04:00 PM   #6
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Smile

Thank you! Thank you, Brian, Bubba, and Daniel, for your input to my questions. Bubba, you were so detailed and concise with your answer. You should write a book "Tiling for Dummies". Based on Brian's answer, I have another question. I definitely think I will be using an enhancing sealer to achieve the effect that I want. Can I use that for the first, protective coat before laying the tile, and then use a penetrating sealer (without enchancer) after installing to better seal the tile. I'm pretty sure the grout I am using already has a sealer in it. I think that is what Brian is saying I can do; but Bubba's answer makes me think if I use an enhancing sealer that additional coats have to be the same sealer. I read the labels on the sealers at Lowes, and the enhancer has moderate protection while their premium sealer has maximum protection. I want to enhance but maximum protection.
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:09 PM   #7
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We actually wrote a blog post on this last week. You probably have all the answers you need now but here's the link anyways =)

http://stonetooling.wordpress.com/20...ncing-sealers/

You really can't beat the info you get on JB. Some great professionals here.
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Old 03-30-2011, 01:14 PM   #8
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thanks for enhance link

Thank you, Daniel for the link showing a picture of before and after enhancing a tile.
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