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Sealing Ceramic Tile Showers


It is Critical to Seal Ceramic Tile Showers Periodically to Prevent Mold and Mildew Growth


By Mark J. Donovan


Sealing ceramic tile showers should be done every year or so. When it comes to keeping ceramic tile showers looking like new, besides wiping them dry after every use, you must also periodically seal ceramic tile showers. Grout and some ceramic tiles are porous and as a result absorb moisture. If the ceramic tile shower is not sealed water can penetrate into the tile and grout, and breed mold and mildew. In addition, minerals in the water can also etch the surface of some glazed tiles. Sealing ceramic tile showers protects them from absorbing water, and thus prevents mold and mildew growth, as well as protects against tile pitting.


In general, glazed ceramic tile does not need to be sealed. In addition, some types of unglazed ceramic tile do not need to be sealed. However all grout lines should be. To determine if your unglazed ceramic tile needs to be sealed, apply a little water to the surface of one of the tiles and see if the tile turns darker. If it does, then the tile is porous and should be sealed.


Sealing ceramic tile showers is easy to do and there are a number of tile shower penetrating sealers on the market to choose from.

  Sealing ceramic tile showers

Photo by Mark Donovan


There is latex or acrylic based tile sealers, as well as mineral based sealers. The mineral based tile sealers have a strong smell, whereas the latex or acrylic based ones do not. I recommend using the latex based tile sealers. Each offers various lengths of time between reapplication, however I find it is wise to seal a ceramic tile shower every couple of years.


How to Seal Ceramic Tile Showers


When it comes to actually sealing ceramic tile showers, it is important to make sure that they are thoroughly dry first. Keep in mind that it can take up to a week for shower wall tiles to completely dry, and even longer on tiled shower floors.


Before applying a penetrating tile and grout sealer, make sure to read the instructions on the packaging first. In general, sealing ceramic tile showers is performed by applying tile sealer to the tile and grout lines using a rag or sponge. After it has soaked in for a couple of minutes, the excess material is wiped off the ceramic tile and grout using a clean damp rag or paper towels.  Note that you do not want to allow the tile sealer to sit very long on the ceramic tile, as it is can become nearly impossible to remove it once it has dried. 


Shower Pan Membrane Liner Installation Ebook

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For additional protection, apply a second coat of tile sealer after you have allowed time for the first application to fully dry.


See My Shower Pan Ebook for More Details:  For a detailed set of instructions on building a shower pan, including pictures and a detailed cross-sectional view of the make-up of a shower pan, see my Shower Pan Membrane Liner Ebook.


For more information on tiling a custom ceramic tile shower, see the How to Tile a Custom Ceramic Tile Shower Ebook from HomeAdditionPlus.com.  It provides detailed instructions for every step in the process of tiling a custom ceramic tile shower and is loaded with instructional pictures!


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- Sealing Ceramic Tile Showers -

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