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This post is in partnership with Rust-Oleum.
If you’re a homeowner, you probably have tile somewhere in your home.
I installed this beautiful real cement tile in my home 3 years ago and let’s just say that it’s seen better days. No matter how hard I’ve tried to keep it clean, it never looks clean. After hours of research, I was led to the conclusion that 1. I probably didn’t seal it well enough when I installed it… and 2. I needed a redo. I needed to start over and re-seal it the proper way.
This was a fairly straight forward process – but I was worried about getting the tile clean enough to my liking before applying sealer. I felt like the tile was permanently stained. After a little more research I read that I could sand with fine-grit sandpaper or use a heavy-duty cleaner. I decided to try the cleaner first and then I could move on to sanding if I felt I needed it.
For this step, I used this Acid Substitute. Note, this is strong stuff and should be used cautiously. You should wear gloves and a mask if you will be touching it. I have a video below with neither but I added one after I shot the short video.
I put the cleaner in a spray bottle at full strength and sprayed it all over the floor – letting it sit for more than 5 minutes. At this point, you could scrub normally with a rag or pad, but I used my favorite drill scrubber trick. This saves SO much time and energy.
One thing to note about this cleaner is that it is recommended at different dilution ratios depending on the job at hand. This is really powerful stuff. I am using it to clean my cement tiles and grout – but it can be used to remove mortar residue, grout, hard water deposits, and rust from just about any material. I’m happy to add this to my cleaning arsenal!
As I was saying… this stuff is powerful. I could see using this just to clean your grout if it’s gotten dingy over the years. I was shocked at how clean the tiles and grout got after using this cleaner… and even more surprised that I didn’t realize how dirty they were! It even removed some nail polish that I’ve tried for 2 years to remove!
After scrubbing the floor in sections, I used a damp rag to get all the residue off. This step is important! I was pretty dang happy with the results. There were some areas that had water spots that I did end up using 400 grit sandpaper to remove… even that didn’t remove them completely but they are 95% gone which is more than I had hoped for.
After the tile was completely dry, it was time to seal! This 511 Impregnator Sealer is the real deal… it’s meant for medium to dense porous surfaces including sanded grout and most tiles – both interior and exterior.
I would highly recommend the applicator. It comes with a tray for a really easy application. The steps are easy: wipe on the surface, let sit for 3-5 minutes, then wipe off the excess.
Cement tiles are more porous than most surfaces so I chose to do 2 coats! I waited overnight between my coats but I don’t think that’s necessary.
This 511 Impregnator Sealer is meant to actually penetrate into the surface to create an invisible layer – not just sit on the surface… which is why it’s best used for porous surfaces. If you have something like porcelain tiles (that doesn’t need sealing), you can still use this to seal your grout and it will wipe right off your tile!
Here’s a good “after” of how easy water beads up on the surface… no more water spots!
I’m so excited about the results of this quick refresh for my bathroom tiles… cheers to clean bathrooms everywhere!
Wife, Mama, Renovator, DIY Educator, and Founder of Making Pretty Spaces. If you’re ready to create a home you love with your own two hands, I’m your girl.