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Unread 03-28-2022, 03:28 PM   #1
JimQPublic
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Saltillo Tile sealer for So-Cal?

Summary: What's the best solvent-based sealer for porous Saltillo tile that's available in Southern California? (Or Reno). So far it looks like Glaze 'n Seal wet-look-lacquer-green is the only solvent-based sealer available locally.

I'm a DIY'er building an exposed outdoor countertop in LA County. No frost, seldom rain, lots of sun. We will be tiling with 8x8 Saltillo in a pinwheel pattern with 4x4 Malibu reproduction accents.

We would like a sealer that brings out the variation in the clay, hopefully darkens it a little, and works well for a countertop. The advice I've seen strongly suggests pre-sealing to prevent mortar and grout staining, set dry with modified thinset, then sealing again after grouting. Solvent-based sealers appear the best but aren't very available here, other than the Glaze 'n Seal Wet Look Lacquer "Green" which is in-stock at Lowes. It's a low-VOC, CARB compliant product.

Would this product work as both the initial penetrating sealer and the top coat? With only 30 square feet to cover I'd rather only buy one gallon-sized product.

I'll be passing through Reno Nevada in a few days but the two tile stores I called don't have any other solvent-based products like Sparks Mex Seal.

We have set a few hundred square feet of tile inside but never outside or with big rustic tiles. Luckily rustic is the look we're aiming for!
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Unread 03-28-2022, 04:18 PM   #2
Lazarus
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Just a good "enhancing sealer" should work....
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Unread 03-28-2022, 05:07 PM   #3
cx
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You can order the Mex Seal online at the Sparks site, Jim. Might be easier than shopping brick and mortar at random.

[Edit] Just noticed their red print saying they cannot ship to California. Imagine my surprise. Perhaps you could have it sent to Reno?

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 03-29-2022, 02:39 PM   #4
JimQPublic
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Thanks. I'll try the "green" Glaze 'n Seal on some practice tiles to see how it looks. We might want to mix some pigment into the 2nd coat since we like a little darker color.

The nice thing about Saltillo tiles is that they're so cheap, practice doesn't cost much. Honestly I can't see how you can pay the manufacturer, ship 5 pound tiles 1500 miles, pay the importer/distributer, and pay the retailer all for $2 to $3.
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Unread 03-29-2022, 02:49 PM   #5
John Bridge
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Hi Jim,

Got my hands onto quite a bit of Saltillo tile back in the day. I would use something like Thompson's water seal for the first coat or two. Otherwise, that stuff will drink your top coat.
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Unread 03-29-2022, 03:02 PM   #6
JimQPublic
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Thanks John.

Problem is that other than the few Saltillo-specific commercial sealers, there are probably hundreds of products and recipes that people have successfully and unsuccessfully used. Turps & Linseed; Kerosene and wax; Used motor oil; New motor oil; Water based sealers; Oil-based sealers; nothing; paint...

Also thanks to the moderator who moved this post from the general discussion forum to "Cleaning, Restoration, and Sealing". I had been searching in the wrong forum!

Jim
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Unread 04-01-2022, 06:09 PM   #7
John Bridge
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Well, I don't know, but back when I was doing quite a bit of Saltillo I routinely hired a finisher to do the sealing. He used Acrylic products.
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