Tile coverings outdoors are always problematic. Right from the start, tiles on balconies and terraces have to be regularly maintained and cared for. Otherwise, there is a high risk of water getting under the tiles, then you can literally watch the speed of the building structure decay, that's how fast it goes from this point on. Below you will find tips on how to effectively protect your terrace and balcony tiles - including with sealing.
Why seal balcony tiles when indoor experts advise against it?
In the interior and especially where the tiles are often walked on, many experts advise against tile sealing. Because seals usually have the unpleasant and dangerous property of making the tiles significantly more slippery. However, the situation is different with tiles in the outdoor area on balconies and terraces. Here, sealing the tiles can be the only effective way to protect the subsurface against moisture in the long term and, as a result, from severe structural damage.
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Tiles and tile adhesive beds are severely damaged by water and moisture
The problem: although tiled external surfaces are often protected from below by a barrier layer, moisture can also penetrate the tiles and the adhesive bed from above. In summer there is efflorescence, which lifts the tiles, in winter the trapped water freezes and bursts its surroundings. If it is still a relatively old tile surface on your balcony, there may not even be a barrier to the concrete. Then the penetrating water can soak the concrete and severely affect it.
Depending on the tile material, you may have to impregnate before sealing
So the balcony tiles must above all be protected against the ingress of water. Seals are the first choice for this. But there are also big differences in the tiles used. Many natural stone tiles are open-pored, which means that moisture and dirt can penetrate deep into the tiles. It is similar with porcelain stoneware tiles. If these tiles are polished, i.e. sanded, there is also an open capillary system into which dirt, oil or moisture can penetrate. Such tiles must therefore be impregnated before sealing. The impregnation penetrates deep into the tiles and protects them against dirt particles, moisture and other substances that would otherwise penetrate.
The different products for sealing balcony tiles
Are the tiles then appropriately impregnated or. once it has been clarified that you do not need to impregnate, you can now seal the terrace or balcony tiles. You can choose from different products for the seals. There are seals based on plastic that cover the tiled surface with a protective and elastic layer like a lacquer.
But nano-sealants are also increasingly finding their way into tile protection. In any case, you have to choose a sealant that matches the type of tile, i.e. the ceramic or natural stone from which the balcony tiles are made. Remember that the sealing for your balcony tiles must also be suitable for the joints, because water also enters through the joints. There are also differences in slip resistance.
Damage in the tiles or joints
That brings us to the next important point. If the joints are already damaged or if the first tiles already have cracks, sealing alone is no longer sufficient. You can fill gaps in tiles with liquid plastic, as can the joints. The sealing then follows. The expansion joint around the tiled balcony must also be in order. The filling with liquid plastic should rather be viewed as a temporary measure that you might carry out in winter, when a tile has just cracked, in order to prevent more moisture from penetrating and causing great damage.
Certain solutions are to be viewed as temporary workarounds only
Otherwise, a professional renovation of the balcony tiles is always preferable: remove broken tiles and replace them. If the grout (€ 6.99 at Amazon *) has already been attacked and partially decomposed, it must be completely scraped out so that you can refill the joints with grout (€ 17.59 at Amazon *). You can postpone all of this for many years if you impregnate your terrace and balcony tiles from the outset according to the tile material (for tiles that are open-pored) and then seal them regularly. You then have to renew the seals themselves at regular intervals. How long this is primarily depends on the mechanical impact, i.e. how often the tiles are walked on.
If the balcony tiles are already severely destroyed, you can usually do nothing with a sealing. If the ground is wet, you must absolutely dry this moisture previously. In other words, that means to exclude the tiles and rehabilitate the balcony or terrace extensively. Otherwise, connect existing moisture into the tiles, because of course a seal acts in the opposite direction, so from below.Tips & Tricks Use only products that are intended for tiles. In addition, you can not use products here - seals and impregnations are always selected according to the material from which the tiles exist are selected.