How to Seal Mexican Pavers
Mexican pavers are made from handcrafted clay tiles that have porous surface and are softer than natural stones. They absorb water, oil and other liquid substances faster when they are not sealed. To protect the surface and prolong the life of your Mexican tiles, here are the steps on how to prep the surface and apply the sealer.
Step 1 – Clean the Surface
Vacuum or sweep the surface to remove dirt and other debris. Mexican tiles are soft and porous and thus need mild cleaning materials. To clean the surface: mix liquid dishwashing soap or a mild detergent with water and wipe it on the surface. Use a scouring pad to scrub away dirt that hardened on the surface. Rinse with water.
Prepare the oxygen bleach solution. Use this to remove mold, algae, efflorescence and other living organisms on the surface of the tiles. Rinse with tap water afterwards. Allow the tiles to dry.
Step 2 – Degrease and Strip
Mexican pavers may be exposed to oils and greases, so if this is the case with your paver, you can use a degreaser to clean the surface. You may forego the degreaser if your paver does not receive a lot of oil spills. To use the degreaser: apply on the surface by diluting the chemical in certain parts of water, although there are degreasers that are ready to apply and need not require water to create a solution. Use a sponge or cotton cloth to apply it on the surface. Let the solution stay on the surface for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing it thoroughly with water. Allow the surface to dry completely before you proceed with the floor stripping process.
Apply the stripper using the manufacturer's recommended usage, although strippers are usually applied with a paintbrush. Allow the chemical to work by leaving it on the surface for 10 minutes. Afterwards, rinse the surface thoroughly with water.
Step 3 – Apply the Sealer
After prepping the surface, do not apply sealer yet for 3 to 4 hours. This is to give time for the Mexican tiles to dry completely.
Purchase a film forming sealer, specifically for porous stones. This type of sealer protects the surface and gives a high-gloss finish. If you have the budget, a better sealer would be the Mexiglaze, or a type of sealer that is specifically designed for Mexican tiles. It is a penetrating type of sealer, which unlike other types of penetrating sealer, provides a high-gloss finish after applying the second coat. Penetrating sealers are better than film forming sealers. The former penetrates deeply into the pores of the clay, and serves as a barrier to moisture and other outside elements from surface down. The latter simply protects the surface from moisture, yet might not work well with acids that can seep through the film on the surface.
To use the sealer: dip the paintbrush or roller brush on the sealer and apply the first coat thinly. Brush in a single direction, not back and forth, to prevent bubbles from forming. Allow 4 hours of drying time for the first coat. Apply the second coat in the same fashion and allow 3 to 4 hours of drying time before applying another coat (when so desired).