How to Seal Tiles and Grout

A newly tiled,counter-top,shower or floor is always a sight to behold, and you probably want to keep it that way.  Grouting is usually the last step in tile installation. But the grout is not as resilient as the tiles, so protecting it with a durable sealer is always a wise decision. The glazed surface of tiles is usually durable, hard and it does not stain.  But when I comes to the grout surrounding it, that is another story. Unless you are the one who laid the floor, and used stain proof grouts, it is just a matter of time before the stains appear.  This is because grout is usually very porous and it soaks in anything that comes into contact with it.  This how to seal tiles and grout guide will help you fight against mold and staining.

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Why seal tiles and grout

The traditional tile grout is a sand and cement based product that is mixed into spreadable paste with water. The cement and sand makes it very porous which means liquids can easily seep in if they are not cleaned properly or right away. When moisture starts infiltrating the grout, it can dismantle the design of the tiles or sometimes even cause mold to grow.  Colored liquids such as coffee, fruit juice and tea can also become embedded in grout when the liquid evaporates which results in deep set stains.  Grout sealers help protect against stains by sealing the grout pores. Even though bleach may lighten some specific stains,vit is not a fail safe technique for keeping the grout looking new.

Best way to seal tiles and grout

If your floor is new, you will have to wait for at least 30 days for the grout to fully cure before you seal it. If it is older you will have to clean it first. If it is dirty or stained, use a bleach solution to scrub it and clean it, then give it time to dry before sealing. There are several grout sealing products out there in the market and they can be used to suite different purposes and benefits. The main ones include penetrating grout sealers and non-penetrating grout sealers.

Penetrating Grout Sealers

These type of grout sealers work as the name suggests. They seeps into the grout to protect it from grease and stain infiltration. It is a common type of sealer and anyone can apply it easily without special skills.  This type of sealing is not permanent, which means maintenance is required.  Another type of sealer is one that impregnates the grout pores sealing them for good. This type of sealer does not change the color of the grout and leaves no shine behind.

Non-penetrating Grout Sealers

These type of sealers form a barrier or film on the surface of the grout,which helps repel stains and water. Damp and moist conditions often found in the kitchen and showers,usually lead to mildew and mold growth. Because the traditional grout is porous, there is always more lurking under and inside the grout. Killing mildew and mold is a big challenge once they have gained a foothold. A more simpler approach is just to keep the moisture at bay.

To use this type of grout sealer, apply the sealant by brushing on the grout. If it spreads to the surrounding tile wipe it off with a cloth. Failing to do this may create an in-appealing haze on the tile’s surface.

Precaution:

  • Always use grout sealers in well ventilated areas.
  • Always use eye protection and wear gloves,because grout sealants are categorized as skin,eye and respiratory irritants.

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