How to seal brick pavers in a kitchen

Question: We’re a busy family with a dog and are planning a kitchen remodel. We are contemplating using thin brick pavers as our flooring. It’s my understanding that bricks do fine in a kitchen as long as they’re sealed well. What’s your opinion? FYI, we live in a cookie-cutter colonial, not a rural farmhouse. We like the texture and rustic idea of a brick floor. --Loudoun County

Answer: You’re correct in your understanding that a brick floor can work in a kitchen provided the bricks are sealed to keep water, grease and grime out of the pores. However, adding a dog to the mix might warrant considering whether you’d be better off using tiles that look similar to brick but have a tougher surface, especially if you don’t trim your pet’s nails often.

There are basically two kinds of sealers for brick and other masonry surfaces: penetrating sealers, which sink in and plug pores in the material; and surface sealers, also known as topical sealers, which coat the surface with a film that doesn’t let water through.

Penetrating sealers work best for most brickwork indoors and out. They don’t scratch off or change the surface texture. However, in a kitchen, you probably need a surface sealer on brick so you have a smoother surface to mop. Once that sealer is on, it’s the actual surface that you clean — and that your dog’s claws dig into.

It’s possible to strip and replace surface sealer once it becomes scratched, but you can eliminate this periodic chore by switching to dense, tough tile, such as porcelain. For the rough look of brick, look for styles with a matte finish and a textured surface.

Have a problem in your home? Send questions to localliving@washpost.com. Put “How To” in the subject line and tell us where you live.

 
Read what others are saying