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Unread 03-27-2021, 12:10 AM   #1
willspence
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To seal or not to seal

Bathroom, new installation 12x24 honed Carrera Marble, 1/16" grout lines- floor and shower surround over tub. Floor is over Ditra-Heat, tub walls over Kerdi.

I planned on sealing before and after grouting, but a little research turns up conflicting advice, so I came to the experts. What say you, experts?

If yes, what product(s) to use?

THANKS!
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Unread 03-27-2021, 12:30 AM   #2
Tool Guy - Kg
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With this being a honed marble, there are pores at the surface and that means it has the capability of being stained by a potential staining liquid. The same is true for the grout.

But here’s the question: will you have potentially staining liquids in the bathroom? If you do, a sealer will temporarily buy you a few minutes to get it cleaned off before the potential staining liquid soaks in and leaves a possibly permanent stain. But if your answer to the question is “no”, then I don’t see a benefit to sealing.

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Unread 03-27-2021, 08:46 AM   #3
willspence
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Thanks for the reply… I was thinking of sealing before grouting to make it easier to remove the grout from the surface of the tiles, Then again after grouting as part of the grout sealing process.

The only staining liquids I can think of might be haircolor in the shower (this is an upscale rental unit), And the usual problem of poor aim in front of the toilet. Also I would just like to minimize any chance of staining or damage. What are the downsides of sealing? Some people say sealing marble is a bad idea because it prevents any moisture that gets behind the tile from escaping… What do you think about that?
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Unread 03-27-2021, 10:51 AM   #4
KarenA01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill
Some people say sealing marble is a bad idea because it prevents any moisture that gets behind the tile from escaping
I'm no expert but I have been reading about sealers... It depends on the type of sealer. That is definitely true for a topical sealer - which should not be used on floors anyway.

A penetrating sealer that lets the stone breathe will slow down/minimize staining (but will not affect etching) and I think still allow evaporation .

The way I think it is, is that water vapor can still pass through (though perhaps more slowly) whereas liquid penetration is much more retarded. That way water can still evaporate if it gets underneath...

If I'm wrong about that maybe someone from latecrete (it makes a penetrating sealer) will chime in.

-Karen
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Unread 03-27-2021, 10:58 AM   #5
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What Karen said.
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Unread 03-27-2021, 11:05 AM   #6
Tool Guy - Kg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willspence
...Some people say sealing marble is a bad idea because it prevents any moisture that gets behind the tile from escaping… What do you think about that?
Tile and grout are not completely waterproof. When you’ve got a situation where more moisture is entering the tile assembly than is leaving, you have a potential for the exact problem you are concerned about...moisture that darkens the tile. However, the vast majority of problems occur in areas that are considered “continuously wet”....like a shower floor and the bottom few inches to the shower walls. On shower pans with surface waterproofing or traditionally built showers that are built with a clog to the weep holes or a lack of a pre-slope under the liner, there’s a higher potential for too much moisture to accumulate and darken the tile.

The same is not often true with tub walls. It’s not impossible for moisture to accumulate (like if you had a niche), but it’s not nearly as prevalent a problem as stone shower floors.

In your particular case, I don’t see it causing a potential problem on the tub walls. It may help with prevent hair colorants from staining the tub walls, but permanent hair colorants are chemically harsh to the sealer...they are quite alkaline on the pH scale, which means they will break down sealer relatively quickly. So...the sealer might help in this situation for only a single hair colorant session. Better than nothing, but...

As far as bad aim at the toilet, urine is acidic and an enemy to marble. Sealer has no ability to protect from acid. Normally, the first sign of damage to tile is that the high polish is physically etched to leave a dull spot on your tile. With your tile being honed, the damage won’t be as easy to detect. But it’s still being slowly etched with each pee. Cleaning the urine right away to neutralize the acid is the best way to prevent the damage, but let’s ask ourselves how quickly it’s typically cleaned up. Not right away.

You’ve already got the tile installed or I’d try to convince to to choose something else. So I’ll leave you with another warning: toilet bowl cleaner is very, very acidic. I’d go out of my way to protect the floor with an old towel when using harsh toilet bowl cleaners.

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Unread 03-27-2021, 01:03 PM   #7
KarenA01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonto
but permanent hair colorants are chemically harsh to the sealer...they are quite alkaline on the pH scale, which means they will break down sealer relatively quickly.
FYI from what Dry-Treat says, that is not the case for their Stain-Proof Impregnating Sealer. To learn about their product (as i intend to do the sealing of granite and grout myself), I just sat through an almost 2Hr video of a training session for their installers.

Their product is very high VOC... But the main VOC is ethanol.

For anyone interested the youTube link is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ku_xErjSXMY

-Karen
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Last edited by KarenA01; 03-27-2021 at 01:23 PM.
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