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How To ..... Seal It

WHY SEAL A FLOOR:
• Floors require sealing in order to prevent permanent staining from destroying their aesthetic appeal.
• Some flooring materials are susceptible to chemical attack from household cleaners and acids in food, e.g. vinegar, wine, cool drinks, and therefore need protection.
• Other floors are sensitive to abrasion and need a surface sealer to protect them.

WHICH FLOOR TYPES NEED SEALING:
Porous surfaces such as:
-   Quarry tiles; Clay tiles
-   Terracotta; Terrazzo
-   Marble; Natural Stone
-   Cement
-   Vinyl
-   Wood; Cork

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE STARTING:
• The type of floor one is trying to seal, e.g. terracotta, cork, vinyl, etc.
• Whether the floor has previously been sealed or treated.
• If the previous sealer or polish needs to be removed. (Note - if this is the case, see Tile Doctor's Guide: How to Strip a Floor).
• The rate at which the surface to be sealed absorbs liquids.
• The type of sealer required.

SEALER SELECTION:
If an unsealed floor is wet, one will notice that as the floor absorbs water, it becomes darker. This is the type of effect that will result from the application of a penetrating, colour enhancing sealer. Certain sealers can show up blemishes that may previously have been unobserved. Remember that if any blemishes on the floor became evident when the floor is wet, these may remain after the floor has been sealed. Penetrating sealers are available that do not colour enhance the surface. Those sealers that do not change the colour of the floor will not hide blemishes. Sometimes it is more practical to choose a sealer which will hide blemishes than it is to attempt to remove all old stains before sealing. The proper function of a sealer is to protect a floor against staining and to make the floor easier to maintain. For this reason it is advisable that a penetrating sealer is used which protects the floor against abrasion and wear and tear. This will provide a maintenance-free seal, with long lasting protection. If a gloss finish is required or a surface sealer is selected for surface protection, then a self-shine product would be required. This will require regular maintenance applications.

Gloss finishes are not recommended for outside areas as they are prone to peeling or flaking and are slippery when wet.
Only those surfaces that require surface protection against wear and abrasion should have a surface sealer applied to them.

CHECKLIST FOR SEALING A FLOOR:
-   Suitable Tile Doctor Sealer
-   Lint free cloth or sheepskin block applicator
-   Masking tape
-   Water to clean waterbased sealer off tools after use
-   Suitable solvent to clean solvent sealer off tools
-   Protective gloves, clothing and appropriate breathing apparatus

• Tile Doctor Selection Chart - Seal It