Sign In to join the community | Help

Stripping, cleaning and staining saltillo tile

I need to know the best products to use to strip old sealant from saltillo tile, to clean the tile and then I would also like to stain the tile a darker color. Does Home Depot sell all of these products? If you have any tips (equipment to use, type of stain, etc.) on the best way to do these three things  that would be greatly appreciated! 

Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2011-12-03T03:46:24+0000  by DBF DBF

What about grout? In the staining method you described, it seems like one would be staining grout along with the tiles. If so, do you remove stain from grout afterwards? Or do you not spray grout to start with? If that's the case, it seems spraying stain would be more time consuming than hand staining tiles.


Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks in advance,

Posted 2013-08-09T06:28:24+0000  by SDA1111

Hey there buddie2000,


With the product that Joe is recommending, I would use the same Behr style products that they recommend for finishing the stain job off. 


You have your choice between a Low Lustre Sealer or a Wet Look Sealer, both of which will help protect your newly stained saltillo tile.




Allow the stain to dry for at least 4 hours before applying the sealer topcoat. For first coat needs a similar dry time, at 4 hours and then you can apply your 2nd coating (no more than four coats however.)


Give it about 24 hours before you resume foot traffic and up to 72 if you need to place furniture or other heavy objects on it.

Posted 2012-04-05T18:17:22+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI

Great information. But what do you do after the staining? What is the best way to seal the tile. This will be indoors in a high traffic area and will be stained almost black. The area  will take some wear. What's the best sealer for this?


Posted 2012-04-05T17:29:44+0000  by buddie2000

Good morning DBF!

Welcome to the community; let's talk about getting your saltillo tile back on their feet again.


We get this question a lot not only on our tile aisle, but also in our paint department. It is a multi-step process, but it can give you the exact results you want. So let's get started....


Stripping/Cleaning the tiles


You are dead-on in wanting to first start out with stripping and cleaning the old finish/grime/sealant off the surface. The great news is that we sell a product that will clean AND strip your saltillo tiles in one step! It's by Custom Building Products, and is a concentrate that comes in a 32 oz. bottle. Apply it with a sponge mop in a 4ft by 4ft area and let it set for 5 minutes, and scrub any tough areas with a scrub brush. Lastly, take up the remaining residue with a mop and now you have a clean and unsealed surface ready to be re-finished! If you have a large area you are working with, consider renting out a floor maintainer with a scrub pad to really cut down on the time and effort. Lastly with this step, if you have any stubborn spots or you would just like a tougher acid-based product to use, I would recommend using Sulfamic Acid.  The one well sell comes in concentrated crystals that can be mixed with water, giving you a effective yet safe-to-use tile cleaner. Only use this though if the cleaner and stripper product I first recommended didn't meet up to your expectations.

saltillo tile process.JPG


Staining your tile


Now that the tile and grout have the sealant taken off and down to its unglazed state, you are now ready to apply a stain of your choice. There are many types of stains out there, they are mostly for concrete and some are acid-based. However, after speaking to Behr's Consumer Hotline and our in-house stain expert, ChristineClaret, we all agreed that you can use a Semi-Transparent Concrete Stain,shown in the image above.


The semi-transparency of the product will still allow the color and texture of the tile to show through, but now giving you a darker new color of your choice. The solid color concrete stains out there will give you more of the look of a paint, so I would rule this out for you. This is where coming down to your local Home Depot and checking out samples of semi-transparent concrete stain colors will greatly assist you.


Now this is the part of the process where it is CRUCIAL to know the steps of working semi-transparent concrete stain properly. Failure to do so will give you the results you will not want. As shown in the image above, this product is best used with a deck pump sprayer rated for stains. This is the absolute best way to apply this product as it's consistency will allow you to mimic the look of an irregular surface. The best temperature to use the stain is at 50–90°F. That shouldn't be a problem indoors but make sure not to apply it in direct sunlight or if humidity or rain is in the weather forecast for the next 24 hours if this project is being done outside


Work in the same size (4' by 4') section as you did for cleaning the tiles. You'll need to spray the stain with the pump sprayer at a fine setting and use a circular pattern when applying. Work quickly before the stain dries/tacks and feather the edges using a roller or brush. As soon as you are done spraying, go over the surface again with a 3/8" nap roller to give it a professional even appearance. Depending on how porous the tile is, you can usually get a 250-400 square foot coverage rate out of one coat of the semi-transparent stain. I know this may sound like a lot of tools to use as once, but having a helper is a big plus in applying this, as you can save lots of time.


If you'd like a 2nd coat, wait 4 hours before applying it again. Just remember, the more coats you'll do, the more darker and uniform the finish will look. Additional coats will cover better, at around 400 square feet a gallon.


Again, I can't stress enough the steps to take to apply the semi-transparent stain down. I've had a lot of personal experiences from customers not following them or just applying it with roller and giving them results they didn't like. It may sound like a bit tedious, but remember, you will get great looking floors again with this product without having to reseal afterwards, as the stain does that for you as well!


Hope this helps you out, and if you have any further questions, please let us know.


Posted 2011-12-03T17:32:27+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question