Saltillo Mexican tile is a handmade tile that is unglazed, and very porous. Many homeowners like to use these tiles because of they are handmade. Using these tiles does mean that some extra work is involved. These Saltillo Mexican tiles need to be sealed in order to protect them. The sealant also gives the tile some added strength and keeps dirt and rocks from scratching the surface. Applying the sealant is not a difficult job, but does require some time and attention to detail.
Step 1: Clean Tiles
The first step to sealing your Saltillo Mexican tile is to clean them of any type of dirt or debris. It is important to make sure that the entire surface of the area you are going to seal is free from any dirt. Use a broom for a very light sweeping, and then use a vacuum. After the must has been lifted, then use some warm water to clean off the tiles. Make sure to let the tiles dry thoroughly before continuing.
Step 2: Stain Tiles
Before applying any sealant to the Saltillo Mexican tile you should always apply some stain to the surface. This will make the colors come out much more vibrantly. Use a grout sponge for applying the stain to the tiles. Work in a small 6 square foot area at a time. Continue applying stain until surface is covered. Wait for an hour and then apply a second coat.
Step 3: Clean Tiles Second Time
After the stain has had 24 hours to set and dry, go over them again with a vacuum cleaner. Use a sponge and warm water and go over the area. Make sure not to saturate the tiles with water, but to clean them of any dust and dirt. Allow the tiles to dry thoroughly.
Step 4: Seal Saltillo Mexican Tiles
Apply a coat of the sealant of your choice. You can choose from either a matte finish or a gloss finish for an extra shine. Work the sealer onto the tile with the use of a grout sponge. You should work in a circular motion and do not exceed a 6 foot square area. Continue working along the tiled surface until it is completely sealed. Wait for an hour and then add a second coat of sealant. You can apply up to three coats of the sealant if you feel it is necessary.
Step 5: Grout Tiles
A penetrating grout is best used to give the tiles much better protection. Use a grout float and apply the grout to the space between the tiles. Glide the float over the tiles pushing the grout into the spaces. Allow to dry until it begins to set and wipe away the excess grout.
Step 6: Add More Sealant
Once the grout is dry, and you have washed the tiles of any debris, apply up to three more coats of sealant to the Saltillo Mexican tile. This will ensure that there are no imperfections, or low spots in the sealer.