How To Seal Grout
Grout is an extremely porous substrate and collects stains, dirt, and mold quickly if it is not properly sealed. You can get unwanted urine smells in bathrooms, stains on kitchen floors, and mold growth in shower stalls. You can prevent this from happening by properly sealing your grout. It’s easy, with natural stone tile and grout the entire surface can be regularly sealed with either a penetrating sealant or a topical sealant to prevent these problems. With porcelain and ceramic tile this can be obtained by using a penetrating sealer on the grout or a grout color sealant. This article will teach you how to seal grout easily and effectively.
Natural stone tile and grout can be sealed regularly with a penetrating (impregnating) sealer applied to the entire surface. I would recommend that the surfaces be properly cleaned before sealant application to remove any oils, dirt, and mold build up on the stone or grout. This usually needs to be done every couple of years to prolong the life of the installation.
Topical sealants can also be used to seal natural stone tile and grout. Topical sealants are usually used on honed surfaces (not glossy) or on textured stone like slate. There is a wide variety of topical sealants on the market ranging from acrylic sealants to epoxy coatings. Barrier urethane sealer is an amazing water based topical sealant that comes in a gloss or matte finish. It is a hydrophobic topical sealant that is great if you are looking for a finished look for your natural stone tile and grouted surfaces. This sealant lasts for years considering it’s meant for high foot traffic floors. Above all, Barrier works great for sealing honed travertine, slate, or pavers tile bathroom floors and shower stalls.
If an enhanced look is required, Enhance sealer can be used. Enhance is a water based sealer that brings out the natural colors of the stone. It will also darken the grout a little bit which might be the exact look you’re going for.
Porcelain / Ceramic Tile
Porcelain and ceramic tile are more durable than natural stone tile and provide a larger array of color and style options. Ceramic tile can look like natural stone, wood paneling, concrete, etc., or come in unique shapes and patterns.
If your installation is old then grout color sealants are the way to go. Stained grout is usually stained forever, unless you re-grout the area or use grout color sealants to cover the staining. These types of sealants are hard to apply correctly and I don’t recommend that they are applied by a “do it yourself’er”. Seven years of owning a natural stone, tile and grout restoration company taught me this. I went to whole classes on grout color sealing and it was difficult to teach to my employees. Three words, hire a professional… if you want to color seal your grout.
If your grout is not badly stained and needs to be sealed, Preserve is is the solution. Preserve is a penetrating sealer that seals your grout, leaving it hydrophobic and stain resistant. I personally like it because it was formulated for outdoor use. Because of this, it seems to hold up for much longer than any other grout sealer I’ve used. Especially in shower stalls which get water introduced daily.Preserve can be used on natural stone as well and is my go to for sealing outdoor natural stone tile.
Commercial Grout Sealing
Another option is using Creto DPS when installing the grout. Creto DPS will permanently waterproof the grout so it’s easier to clean and doesn’t deteriorate as quickly. You add it into the grout mix instead of water. Make sure that all the grout residue is wiped off of the tile before it dries so it doesn’t etch the tile. Creto DPS has a high alkalinity so as long as it’s wet it won’t etch the surface. I recommend this for commercial applications like restaurant kitchen tile installations where water and oils are introduced daily. This will make the grout last immensely longer under harsh conditions. Adding Creto DPS to the grout when installing will PERMANENTLY seal the grout so you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
In conclusion, if you pick the right sealer for your grouted surface, it will be protected for years to come. Yay!