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Unread 05-05-2021, 04:01 PM   #1
midwest girl
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Sealing slate tile advice

I am having slate tile installed soon in my laundry room. I have read some advice regarding sealing tile - but some of it has been conflicting. My understanding is that the tile should be sealed after installation but prior to grouting. I have read a post (I think on here) where someone said that they sealed the tile prior to installation. I also read a post where someone specifically advised not to seal prior to installation because it might interfere with the thinset adhesion. I want to make sure this is done correctly- especially since this is where my dogs are kept when no one is at the house. My 12 year old yorkie poo has digestive issues and I definitely need to protect the tile from stomach acid. My plan is to use 511 impregnating sealer - this seems to be the most recommended brand. Please let me know if I should be using something else.

Also - I had the same slate tile installed in one of my bathrooms recently. I just found out that the tile has not been sealed. My contractor thought that one of his employees had sealed the tile - but he didn’t. Do I need to wait a certain amount of time before sealing it now since it’s already been grouted? My thinking is that if I seal it too soon, I might trap moisture in the grout/thinset - but I may be overthinking this.

One last question, if I assume that I shouldn’t use an enhancer on the tile that’s already been installed because it would also enhance the color of the grout. Is that correct? I’m not sure that I want to enhance the color anyway - but I thought before I spent any time thinking about it, I should find out if it’s too late. I may also be overthinking this - but I thought it was better to check than to do something incorrect.

Thanks!!
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Unread 05-05-2021, 08:11 PM   #2
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Hi Dani, I think the sealer interfering with the bond was when someone mentioned dipping the whole tile in the sealer. That won't happen if only the tops of the tiles are sealed.

With slate, I like using a topical sealer like Sparks Stone Glamor. It's a penetrating sealer that also seals the tops of the tiles. 511 is a good sealer and we've used many gallons of it but it's a penetrating sealer that won't protect from anything acidic. And to be honest, I don't know how well any sealer will hold up to stomach acid. Stone Glamor will leave a shine on the surface and enhance the colors.

Which slate did you use? The main 3 we have used are Vermont slate, Chinese slate and Indian slate.
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Unread 05-05-2021, 11:47 PM   #3
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Davy - the slate is from Brazil. My understanding is that it is a pretty good slate vs. some others. My contractor said that the tiles were consistently sized and pretty easy to install. The floor looks great - I do have a little grout that still needs to be removed - but it’s not too bad. I’m hoping that sealing the slate will help with that before the next install. Do you have any suggestions re: the easiest way to remove the leftover grout?

I do remember the part about dipping the tile now - I thought maybe that was related to marble tile but now I remember I read it when I was researching the slate. Makes perfect sense!

The floor looks very nice - I really like the color but am thinking that enhancing it may be the right call (the colors are obviously “off” in the photo below - the electricity is turned off to the bathroom right now so had to let sun flood in from daughter’s bedroom which added a golden hue). We decided to do a 90 degree herringbone pattern in this first bathroom. The floor is only a little over 45 sf - I think it makes the room look a little wider maybe? I also thought it would be less work for my contractor to install (less cuts/easier cuts?). He is laying it on a 45 degree pattern for the laundry room. Plus, he will be adding a doggie shower in the laundry room - I am excited for that to be installed!

I will hunt down some Sparks Stone Glamor. How far in advance should I seal the tile? Will I be able to use this brand on the slate that is already installed? I like the current contrast of the grout/slate as installed and don’t want to change the color of the grout. Should I carefully apply it to the surface of the installed tile?

I am now a bit concerned about Sam’s stomach issues and the slate tile. Guess I will have to figure something out.

Thanks!!
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Unread 05-05-2021, 11:59 PM   #4
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Hi, Dani.

Realize that a topical sealer requires routine maintenance as it isn’t what most people would call durable. It does look beautiful, though. In the long run, most folks who don’t pay someone else to keep up with stuff like this don’t like the routine maintenance associated with topical sealers.

And trying to seal the tile without overlapping onto the grout would be super hard.

I want to echo what Davy said: penetrating sealers don’t do anything to protect the tile from acid etching.

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Unread 05-07-2021, 03:24 PM   #5
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Well . . . Just a few minutes ago, I discovered some “vomit” on my UNSEALED slate tile! Clearly, it’s been sitting on the tile for a few hours.

It wasn’t my 11 year old dog. It was my 5 year old dog! I’ve cleaned it up using water + some Dawn dish soap. Now I will have to wait to see what it looks like once it dries . . .

Anyone want to buy a dog??? ????
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Unread 05-07-2021, 05:09 PM   #6
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Cute little dog but I'll pass. I think Cx is looking for a dog.

It might be worth making a sample board using scrap tiles. Grout and seal them.
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