Common-Sense Grout Sealing Tips

Grout sealant helps grout last by keeping it dry and clean, forming a barrier between the grout and exposure to air, moisture and grime. New grout should be sealed right after it dries, or as soon as possible after that, and old grout should be resealed periodically. Grout can be sealed professionally, but with a few basic grout sealing tips, the job is an easy one to do on your own. Always choose the right kind of sealant for the type of tile and grout used.

Why Use Grout Sealant?

Grout is a porous substance, and as a result it often absorbs particles from the air around it. All sorts of things can seep into the grout and stain it, and too much moisture can create the perfect breeding environment for mold or mildew in the tiny pores of grout. If the mold or mildew is allowed to grow, it can grow under the tiles and cause serious damage to the tiles or the floorboards beneath them. Grout sealant is important because it protects the grout, tiles and underlying materials from being damaged in the first place, so the grout between your tiles should be re-sealed periodically.

Getting Professional Help

As with so many other things in life, the easiest way to solve the problem is by calling a professional. It is easy to tell whether installed grout has been sealed, since water will bead on top of sealed grout instead of being absorbed into it, as it would with unsealed grout. Even if the tile has been grouted months or years before, it can be sealed by a professional at any point.

What Kind of Sealant to Use

There are a number of different kinds and classifications of sealants, so the first step in sealing grout is choosing the correct product. Water-based or acrylic sealant is best for cement-based grout. Silicon or latex-based sealants are ideal for sand-based grouts, since they are less likely to cause a color change. Topical sealers give a wet look and may allow a small amount of water into the grout, whereas penetrating sealers offer a natural matte look and do not let any water in. Some sealants need to be brushed on, while others are a spray.

Grout Sealing Tips for DIY Projects

Things like dirt, moisture, or mildew could end up sealed into the grout permanently, so old grout should always be given a thorough cleaning before it is sealed. Since the grout also needs to be perfectly dry when it is sealed, allow it at least two to three days to dry out from the cleaning before sealing it. Add a layer of sealant to the grout, give it a few hours to dry, and then add a second layer of sealant. Once the second layer of sealant is dry, seal the grout a third time, and then give the sealant at least twenty-four hours to dry. Reseal the grout every two to four years.

For grout that stays dry and clean, consider using sealant. Though you can hire someone to do the job, it is also fairly simple to do on your own.

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