Hi, if you’re reading this that would mean that you are in need of grout sealing services either in your home or office. We at Millers Carpet Cleaning can fix this problem for you with our professional tile and grout cleaning services. Just fill out the form or give us a call at 1-800-253-2669.
Why it’s important to seal your grout and how to do it yourself
The short answer is yes, not only do you will need grout sealer, but you should reapply it every couple of years. The good news though is that this is an EASY job. I will show you how to do it and where to purchase sealer.
Why you need grout sealer
Grout is basically a combination of sand and cement. Because of this, if you do not seal your grout, it will absorb stains, bacteria and water. Your grout is protected by adding a grout sealer so that it’s water resistant and will repel moisture and germs. Sealing the grout helps prolong consistency, feel and the look of your grout and it prevents mold and mildew. Your grout will look better and last longer.
The one exception to the rule is if you’ve epoxy grout. Epoxy-based grout (which is more expensive) is made from a different material. It is often used with glass tile installations (particularly for kitchen backsplashes). SpectraLOCK from Laticrete is the most popular brand of epoxy grout.
Epoxy Grout Exception
Epoxy grout is a tough, water-resistant material that doesn’t need a sealer. But it is not right for all sorts of tiles. It’s used with glass and other nonporous tiles and is used in areas prone to water such as backsplashes and showers. Epoxy grout remains flexible, compared to grout, so it is less vulnerable to cracks and chips. This also enhances its resistance to water and stains.
When do you seal your grout?
After you’ve installed new tile, you need to wait at least 48 to 72 hours for the grout to dry and heal. Your grout should be clean and dry and make sure the grout lines are cracked or chipped. Then touch up the grout if they are before you start sealing the grout and then wait an additional 48 to 72 hours.
Can you seal the tiles, too?
Generally, no wouldn’t seal the tile, assuming that your tile is glazed ceramic or porcelain. In case you’ve got unglazed tile/clay (e.g. unglazed Terra cotta. . .not very common nowadays ) or natural stone, you would seal them as they are porous. (But this is not the same sort of sealer…I hope to write about that soon).
Take note that you shouldn’t ever apply grout sealer to the surface of non-glazed tile or natural stone. If you do, the tile will absorb it and it will never come out (and it might be discolored).
If you’re unsure what sort of tile that you have, contact the store that you bought the tile from.
Is It Difficult To Apply Grout Sealer?
No, it’s easy to apply grout sealer yourself. It’s somewhat tedious, and requires some time, but even a novice DIYer can easily do this. If my mom can do this, I know you can, too. When you have larger tiles (e.g. 12″ x 12″), it is pretty easy; if you have smaller tiles, then you’ve got more grout lines and it will take somewhat longer.
Choosing the best type of grout sealer – penetrating or nonpenetrating
Pick your sealer depending on the sort of tile you’ve got and its location. There are 2 types of grout sealers – penetrating and non-penetrating sealer.
Penetrating Grout sealers use a water base which lets the formula’s particles to penetrate the grout. Grout is porous, so it absorbs the sealer and keeps the moisture out. Penetrating sealers the best choice for damp areas such as bathrooms and shower areas.
Membrane-forming grout sealers create a coat on the grout’s surface that resists water penetration. These are great for kitchen floors and backsplashes, but they are not good for toilets because they won’t allow water that’s trapped underneath the tile to evaporate. . .and this may lead to mildew. Membrane-forming sealers are good for tiles such as natural stone. Take note that these grout sealers won’t adhere to glazed tiles, such as most ceramics and subway tiles (they’ll slide off the surface).
So, if you’re using tile in a bathroom and/or have regular porcelain or ceramic tiles, I’d suggest that you use a penetrating grout.What is the best method to apply grout sealer – paint vs spray or roll?
There are 3 ways to use grout sealer – you can paint or roll it on, or you can spray it on. Painting and rolling are the same process, it depends which type of instrument you would like.
The brush applicator is more challenging for some because sealer doesn’t feed easily into the brush and sometimes requires you to return and reapply in dry areas where sealer failed to use.
Rollers aren’t perfect, but many believe they are better than brushes. Without slopping far over on the tile surface, sealer remains relatively near the seam line.
I’m not a big fan of spraying. It feels like it is easier, but it is really not. You save some time at the program, but you spend way more time on cleaning the tile and you generally have residue that dries on the tile and it takes some time to get off this (and no you, you shouldn’t just let it wear off naturally (as a few cans may indicate). And, because the spraying process is somewhat less purposeful areas do not get coated. Plus, sometimes the spray goes where you do not need it to (e.g. walls, glass) and I’m not crazy about the aerosol and inhaling that. I’d recommend roller or brush.
Final thoughts on sealing your grout
Most people don’t even realize that they need to seal their tile grout. Contractors often neglect to tell their clients (or else some might not even understand ). But, now that you do know the value of sealing (and resealing) your grout, in addition to how to do it yourself, give your tiles a few love and protection. They will look much nicer and last much longer.