sealing tumbled stone backsplash tile?

juleecatFebruary 22, 2009

We are in the planning stages of installing our tumbled stone tile backsplast. I would think it would important to seal thses tiles to avoid grease stains, etc. I love the rugged look of the tiles, and I don't want to fill in the "crevices" with grout. So. Should I seal the tiles before installation, and with what? And, how do I avoid getting grout in the crevices? (these are 2" tiles with copper accent tiles)

Thanks soooo much for any advice!

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ventupete

With most stone tiles you typically do put a coat of sealer on the tile before installation to serve as a "grout release" (keeps the grout from sticking to the suface when you grout the seams). However, with tumbled stone which typically has rounded and uneven edges, if you put the sealer on, it's very hard to keep the sealer from going too far down the edges. If this happens you could have trouble getting the grout to stick later on. What I typically do (which takes more time) when I don't want the holes filled (what you are calling crevices) is put the tiles on without any grout release. Then when I grout it, I do it seam by seam with my finger (in a latex or rubber glove) and have a water spray bottle handy which I use to flush out any grout that inevitably gets in some of the holes (keep paper towels handy to absorb the water). After a few days when the grout has had a chance to dry thoroughly, I put a coat (or two) of any good quality stone sealer. It's slow going, but you will end up with a good result and no filled holes.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 12:07PM
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homebound

ventupete,

Wow, that sounds like a pain, but you do have patience. While I never grouted with that issue, I wonder if it would be simpler to grout it the normal way and immediately combo toothbrush/sponge the tile surface (sponge would need to be thoroughly wrung out). What are you thoughts on that method working?

Alternatively, maybe using one of those rubber floats shaped like a margin trowel would work. That way one could cram the joint quickly, focusing mostly on the joint....then finish with a sponge/toothbrush as necessary.

Unrelated, but I just did a Bizazza glass backsplash and thought it would have good (yet again) to have of those small rubber floats handy (margin trowel size) to tamp the tile. (This is probably another reason to just buy it so it's handy for the next job.)

    Bookmark   February 22, 2009 at 5:15PM
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juleecat

So perhaps for the novice tiler, natural stone is not the way to go?? Maybe we should rethink this and choose a tile that is more suited for a kitchen backsplash? Our kitchen and great room are open, and we have wall of natural stone/fireplace opposite the kitchen wall that needs the backsplash, and I thought it would be a good idea to keep it looking "tied" together.............grouting the lines with a glove sounds pretty time-intensive-and the grout lines will only be 1/8th inch........hmmmmm......back to the drawing board!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 6:40AM
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ventupete

It's not really that bad. Another option is to fill the holes when you grout. I did that in my powder room and it looks good. also it's more practical for a back splash since you won't have holes to collect dirt.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 10:26AM
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