Available in many styles, textures and colours, decorative tiles enhance the look of any home. When initially set in position, an adhesive compound known as grout holds tiles in place. Both tile and grout contain from soft, porous materials that will readily absorb any liquid they come into contact with. To prevent this, you must seal them on a regular basis. Although there are many commercial products designed specifically for this task, you can make a simple homemade sealant from old-fashioned linseed oil.
Pour 2 tbsp of liquid dishwashing soap into a large bowl or bucket. Add 1 gallon of warm water. Stir the solution briskly, until a light lather develops. Sponge the soapy water over the tiles, gently scrubbing away any dust, dirt or debris. Rinse with cool water. Rub dry with a clean towel.
Place 2 cups of boiled linseed oil into a glass bowl. Add 2 cups of turpentine. Stir until the two are well-blended. While you can use plain linseed to seal tile and grout, turpentine thins the oil and helps it penetrate the surface, reducing drying time.
Apply the sealant with a large, damp sponge. Cover the surfaces liberally, using firm, broad strokes. Wait two hours and then blot up any excess oil by pressing down on the tiles with an old towel. Let the tiles dry for 24 hours.
Add a second coat of sealant. Be sure the tiles are completely dry before adding additional layers of oil. You can apply up to four coats at one time, but excess oil can cause the surfaces to feel sticky. If this occurs, simply wipe the excess oil away with a cloth soaked in turpentine.
Cover the tiles with layer paste wax for additional protection. Apply the wax to small sections of tile with a damp, lint-free cloth, using firm, back and forth strokes. Rub the wax into the tile until the compound is no longer visible.
Linseed oil can cause tiles to darken.