Installing tiles can be a grueling process from start to finish, but it is important not to cut corners at any point over the course. Even if it is tempting by the end. Once you choose your tiles and your tiling and grout steps are finished, it is important to take the final steps and apply grout sealer to ensure that your floor is resistant to moisture and stains. It is a simple final step which you will be thankful for.
What Type of Grout Sealer
There are two main kinds of grout sealer that should be considered for any home project you have. The one which you use will be determined by the kind of tiles and or natural stone the grout will be sealing.
Membrane Forming Grout Sealer: This kind of sealer is most effective when used on unglazed tiles since it doesn’t easily bond to glaze. The sealant itself is nonporous which will absorb some of the moisture. The main con of this sealer comes from this trait; this sealer takes longer to properly dry.
Penetrating Grout Sealer: Drying is not an issue for this sealer. It is also the most common grout sealer. It is composed of either latex or silicone depending on the brand and fills the grout’s pores. It is resistant to moisture, and stains once dry. Penetrating grout sealer works on glazed and unglazed tiles alike.
If you are unsure about what kind you should use, just visit your local tile store or tile supplier for advice.
Homeowners have the option to hire a professional to do the grout sealing process, but many choose to save a little but of money and to do it themselves. It is a straightforward process and just requires a little bit of preparation.
It is important that new grout should be completely dry before it is sealed because applying it to wet grout will result in a mess. Due to this it is a good idea to let grout dry for 72 hours before sealing just to stay on the safe side. During this time you can begin the process by assembling the necessary tools. Assemble your tools and collect:
- A foam paint brush
- Dry cloth or towel
- Damp cloth
- Bucket of clean water
Once the grout is completely dry go over the floor and double check that the grout lines are even and free of dirt and cracks. You can then tape the baseboards and surfaces to avoid stains. While doing this it is also a good idea to clean the area of any items which could get in the way or be stained. Then it is time to get started! Leave 1 to 2 hours for the sealing process and then stay off the floor for 6 hours.
Once it is time to begin the sealing process, start on the far end of the room and gradually work your way towards the exit. Apply the sealer with the foam paint brush slowly. Have the damp cloth handy to wipe off sealer that gets on the tiles during the process. Leaving the sealer on the tiles will result in unattractive stains and will look messy. While you might want to finish as quickly as possible, it is worth taking extra time in the long run because you will have a more polished product by doing so.
It is important to remember that a couple of coats of the sealer are required for a proper effect. Once the first coat is completed take a short break of 10 to 15 minutes before getting started on the second coat. Follow the same path for the second coat, and then wait 2 to 5 hours before walking on the floor. This will ensure everything is set and protected properly before use.
Cleaning should occur at every stage of the process, but it is still a good idea to go over the floor when it is all done. Clean each tile with the damp cloth and a mild detergent.
After 48 hours have passed and the sealer has had enough time to fully dry, it is time to test the sealer. Do this by pouring a small amount of water on the floor, let it sit for a little bit and watch what happens. What you want to see is a puddle form on top of the tile and grout. If the floor absorbs the water, the grout was not properly been sealed. If this happens visit a tile store for advice from professionals.
Once you have applied the grout sealer, you will be happy that you did. It ensures a hygienic and water resistant floor for you home. So don’t forget about this vital final step!