It can be a real chore cleaning grout because of its depth, it is almost impossible to reach the inside area with a hand scrub brush. And yet, even with extensive scrubbing, it won’t truly look clean.
This leaves DIY-minded homeowners wondering how to get rid of dirty grout lines and restore that lovely white finish that they know their tiled floors deserve.
Here is a great tutorial on how to seal grout the easy way.
Step 1 – Clean Your Grout
Before sealing grout, you must prepare the surface by cleaning and repairing the dirty grout. If you have any loose or cracked grout, use a hammer and chisel to tap in the loose pieces of grout and fill in any cracks with a new grout mix.
Don’t forget to remove all debris from floors and walls before starting. This will aid in taking down dirt and fine particles that could cause blemishes on your finished surface.
To clean grout that’s stained from deposits such as oil, mildew, or mold on tiled surfaces, first, sweep up all debris. Use a water-dampened sponge to apply tile cleaner to grout lines using gentle back-and-forth strokes.
Let it sit briefly before wiping with a clean sponge and warm water.
Step 2 – Choose Your Sealer
Sealing tiles is important for the longevity and appearance of your tile floor, countertop, backsplash, or shower wall.
The sealer protects the tile from water damage and grime buildup and also helps to keep your tile looking bright without streaks or spots. Sealers should be reapplied annually or more often in high-traffic areas.
Marble, stone, and ceramic tiles are porous, which means they are absorbent. This means a sealer must be applied to the surface in order to protect it from substances like household cleaners, water, food, and grease.
Sealing also helps slow the appearance of stains and scrapes.
The most common sealers for stone, ceramic tiles, and natural stone will be epoxy-based products. These are more versatile but require serious maintenance to maintain their shine.
If you have access to a dedicated shower and can be diligent about cleaning, use these sealers. Otherwise, opt for a water-based sealer.
Step 3 – Choose Your Sealer Applicator
Although they are convenient, aerosol spray-on sealers tend to deliver an inconsistent coating. That’s because the pressure that pushes the sealer out of the can also come in contact with the surface of your stone.
This happens even if you use a “trigger sprayer” nozzle, which directs most of the sealer to pass through the spray tip, as opposed to spraying it over the surface of your stone.
If you’re painting on a slick surface, the aerosol can cause drips and runs. For such surfaces, it may be better to use flat paint, which will have less drag.
Flat paint does not hide spray-on sealers applied to glossy paints, so if your project will consist of complicated colors and textures, you may want to avoid using spray-on sealers.
Step 4 – Let It Dry
After you have grouted, you will need to let it dry out. The instructions will tell you how long that will take. Some grout sealers dry within a day while some can take two or three days.
Follow the instructions so that you will be sure that your tiles will not end up with trouble after installation.
Normally it is just a few hours to overnight. Make sure you do not wet the grout while it is drying or it will ruin the grout job.
Step 5 – Apply a Second Coat of Sealer
Once your first coat of sealer is dry, apply a second coat. You can apply a second coat of sealer in the same way that you applied the first.
However, it’s important to let your base coat dry for an hour before applying the second coat, and then again before applying a third.
This gives the sealer ample time to cure so that when you do apply another coat, you won’t end up with uneven layers of sealer.
Use the roller to push the sealer into all the cracks in the floor or your applicator for spots that need a little extra coverage.
Although there are lots of ways to speed up drying time — from heat lamps to fans — we recommend saving them for your third and fourth coats, just so you don’t have to deal with drips or runs.
Do You Always Need Grout Sealer?
Yes, you should always apply grout sealer to a new tile floor. That’s because grout is made of oxygenated water and other additives.
By applying a grout sealer immediately, it will protect the bond between your tile and your grout. It also protects against moisture that others might not notice yet can cause big problems down the road.
Grout can become discolored and unsightly if not properly maintained. Sealer protects the grout color for a longer period of time saving you both cleaning and replacement costs.
Grout sealer prevents dirt build-up on your tiles, reducing the frequency of cleaning or replacement which is critical to extending the life of your tile floors.
How Long Should You Wait Before Sealing?
The time you should wait can vary depending on a number of factors. In most cases, you will want to wait at least two weeks for your freshly grouted tile to cure before applying the sealer.
If the project is located in a humid environment (i.e., near an area that could create moisture in the air), you may want to wait even longer to allow the grout to cure.
Delaying up to three months may be necessary for severely humid conditions, but try not to delay it this long because it could lead to mold and mildew growth on your newly sealed grout.
How Often Should You Re-seal Grout?
A typical recommendation for re-sealing is once a year, although many homeowners can go even longer between applications.
This all depends on how often the grout is exposed to water and other elements that might cause grout discoloration or staining.
In certain climates, it may be necessary to re-seal grout more frequently in order to maintain new grout lines for as long as possible.
Sealing grout in your home is an essential part of home maintenance. Grout protects the floor from minor problems that can build into larger issues over time. It also helps your flooring look beautiful for many years to come.
Grout is one of the most porous materials found in homes, which makes it more likely to absorb water.
When this happens, the water could begin to deteriorate your floor and walls. This risk can be reduced by sealing your grout.