Repairing Saltillo tile

QUESTION

I got a call today from a customer who chipped her Saltillo tile and wants to know if it can be repaired. The tile actually has many chips and imperfections, but these particular chips took the outer glaze or sealer off of them, exposing the raw clay. Could I go over the open spots with a high-gloss sealer and close them up? Any ideas or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER

Depending on the depth of the chip, the application of a high gloss sealer could work. One important component when using sealers over pre-sealed tile is to make sure that the sealers are compatible with each other. Whenever two sealers are not compatible, it can leave a white cloudy appearance on the tile that is difficult and sometimes impossible to remove. So always do a test area in an inconspicuous place like a closet or behind a refrigerator. If you can identify what was used originally to seal the floor, it would be ideal to use that product. Many times changing the color of the clay underbody that is visible in the chipped area by sealing makes the chip virtually disappear. I hope this helps. 

– Robb Roderick, NTCA Technical Trainer

Robb Roderick

Robb Roderick has been in the tile industry for nearly 25 years. He has worked with homeowners, builders, architects, and interior design professionals on projects in both residential and commercial settings. Prior to coming onboard with NTCA, Roderick was a member of the association for several years and is a CTEF Certified Tile Installer. He graduated from Missouri State university in 2000 and has also served in the United States Army as a medic. Roderick tours the country bringing NTCA Workshops and CTEF Educational Programs to local audiences nationwide.