How To Seal Grout Permanently
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.
Natural Stone – 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. Creto Top Seal is an amazing water based, VOC free, topical sealant that doesn’t change the look of the stone tile and grout but seals the substrate well. It is a hydrophobic topical sealant that is great if you are looking for a natural look and sheen for your natural stone tile and grouted surfaces. This sealant lasts extremely long and usually is removed from abrasion. A high traffic floor is not the best application for this sealant, on the other hand a shower stall or a residential kitchen counter top would be perfect.
Porcelain / Ceramic Tile – Porcelain and ceramic tile are more durable than natural stone tile and provide a larger array of options for the ambiance. Ceramic tile can look like natural stone, wood paneling, concrete, etc. If your installation is old then grout color sealants are the way to go. Stained grout is 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 in San Francisco 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 your grout is not badly stained and needs to be sealed, Creto DPS is the solution. Creto DPS is a penetrating sealer that permanently seals your grout. It’s a one time application and actually strengthens the grout while protecting it. This awesome sealant is much easier to apply than grout color sealants though. You apply Creto DPS to the grout using a terry cloth rag soaked in the sealer. Work small areas, and allow the sealant to marinate for about ten minutes. Don’t allow the sealer to dry on the ceramic / porcelain tile because this can lead to etching of the tiles. Wipe away the excess sealant with a dry towel and finally go over the areas with a damp towel to remove any sealant residue. This is the only way I know of to permanently seal grouted surfaces. This can be used in conjunction with Creto Top Seal for an added layer of protection.