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Unread 04-29-2022, 11:56 PM   #3
Tool Guy - Kg
Moderator -- Wisconsin Kitchen & Bath Remodeler
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Oak Creek, WI
Posts: 23,397

Alkaline products degrade sealers unquestionably. Will it completely strip away the old sealer? No, not likely. Your current sealer works by soaking into the surface and below the surface. So, it’s difficult to remove.

But let’s pause there for a second. Many times when folks ask about stripping sealers, they are interested in going from an impregnating sealer (this is the type of sealer that soaks in and, after it dries, does not alter the original look of the tile or grout) to an enhancing sealer (this is the type of sealer that tries to permanently enhance/enrich/darken the tile and/or grout as though it’s wet).…or they want to go from an enhancing sealer to an impregnating sealer. In both of these cases, it would be critical to remove 100% of the old sealer or the results would look splotchy, rather than homogeneous. This is extremely difficult to do.

Your 511 sealer is an impregnating sealer. If your new water-based sealer is also an impregnating sealer, you may not really need to remove all the old sealer. In fact, there are some chemists that will say that you can put one on top of the other, provided that the old sealer is completely cured. But I wouldn’t be overly quick to jump on that before studying what products you’re working with because they might be incompatible. Yes, this is confusing. This exact topic of sealers on top of other sealers is likely to produce different answers depending on who you talk to. It’s also one of the big reasons that most folks and most technical service folks will say that you ought to pick one type of sealer and stick with that from now on.

But let’s get back to your notion that water-based sealers will help protect from what the dogs are dragging in. I’ve never heard that. Can I ask what you read or heard that made you think that?

In general, oil based sealers are thought to protect tile and grout better because the oil molecules are physically smaller than those of water molecules and can thereby act as a carrier to take the solids (the part doing the pore clogging) deeper into the tile and/or grout and provide better protection. But these days, chemists can alter the surface tension of water and get them to penetrate as deep as oil.

Your Miracle 511 sealer is a rather high-quality sealer compared to most others. Unless you’re considering DryTreat (top product I’ve ever known), I don’t think you’ll be happy switching to this other water-based sealer.

Can I ask how often you clean the floors and what your methods are? I ask because sealers are one of the more misunderstood products in the tile industry. Based off my experiences and interactions of the last 30 years, I’d estimate that a majority of the folks that sell sealers in their store think that sealers prevent stains…or that they somehow keep the surfaces cleaner. I’d much rather the bottle be labeled “if you use this product, you’ve got 10 minutes to clean a spill before it becomes a stain”. But the marketing folks would object due to the drop in sales they’d experience, eh? But that’s the function of most sealers…to buy you a few minutes before the potential liquid stain has a chance to sink into the pores below the surface. If the wet liquid dries before penetrating into the surface, it’s just surface dirt that isn’t difficult to clean.

If you really need to upgrade, I’d look into DryTreat.

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