Often, you may be left wondering that despite spending a lot of time and effort to clean the tiles in your bathroom, your bathroom still looks dirty and dull. The culprit is dirty and grimy grout lines, which can take away from the look of your tiled walls and floors.
Grout is a mixture of cement, water, and sand; and by nature, it is porous and tends to absorb various substances such as water, oil, grease, etc. which make it very dirty and discolored. The best method to keep the grout clean and prevent your bathroom from looking dirty and also keeping mold and mildew away is by sealing the newly laid grout and resealing it whenever required.
Since the floor and wall tiles do not get a lot of moisture, it is recommended that you seal the grout once a year or so but it is better to reseal the grout on your bathroom backsplash and shower more often.
Sealing grout when it is freshly laid with a high-quality grout sealer will help to prevent dirt and grime from working their way into the grout lines. And, although your grout may contain additives to prevent mold and mildew, a sealer offers added protection against mold and mildew growth. Also, sealing the grout can help to extend its life and if you actually understand how to seal grout, then it is an extremely easy and quick job that you can do on your own. Some of the advantages of sealing grout are:
Sealing the grout can help to prevent and also reduce the effect of staining. Now, there is no need for you to spend hours of your time and effort bleaching away the stains.
Applying sealer to the grout can help to prevent the moisture from penetrating the tiled surface. This is especially important for bathrooms and kitchens that are always in contact with water, humidity and steam.
By following the steps below, you can learn how to seal grout and prevent ugly stains and the dull appearance of your tiles.
Before applying the sealer to the grout you must ensure that the grout is cleaned properly. Any crumbles and cracks in the grout lines should be repaired, otherwise, all the dirt and the damaged joints will get sealed in. Take some warm soapy water and using a toothbrush, try and remove as much of grime and dirt as possible. If the grout is stained, then you could use a mixture of 1-part vinegar mixed with 1-part water. Clean the grout lines one at a time and once you have finished cleaning, let the entire area dry for at least 30-40 minutes before you begin the sealing process.
Next, you must choose the appropriate type of sealer on the basis of the kind of tile and the location. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to choosing the sealer and there is no single sealer that is ideal for all kinds of situations. You can find a variety of grout sealers that you can customize according to your requirements to a certain extent.
Certain sealers are best for tiles made of stone, ceramic and marble and also the amount of moisture that can be tolerated by the sealer, whether you need it for an area with low moisture i.e. along your kitchen backsplash or a high-moisture area such as the bathroom shower. You can select the appropriate sealer depending on the type of tile and the location. There are essentially two main categories of sealers i.e. membrane-forming and penetrating sealers.
These work by creating a coating on the surface of the grout which prevents water from infiltrating it. These types of sealers are suitable for use in the kitchen; however, it is not recommended that you use membrane-forming sealers in your bathroom because these sealers do not allow the water trapped below the tile to evaporate and in a shower, this can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. The membrane-forming sealers also contain pigments that change the color of the grout. While these types of sealers are suitable for unglazed tiles such as stones, they will not adhere to glazed tiles like ceramics.
These sealers use either a water base or a base of mineral spirit which allows the minute particles of silicone or latex in the formula to penetrate the grainy structure of the grout. Since the grout is porous, it absorbs the silicone or latex particles, which fill the gaps and this helps to keep the moisture out. Penetrating sealers are best for damp areas like bathrooms, particularly in the shower areas.
You need the right kind of grout sealer applicator. While aerosol sealers that can be sprayed on are the most popular because of the convenience and ease of use, in many cases these spray-on sealers may not be suitable for the project.
However, whichever applicator tool you decide to use, do read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to seal grout before you start.
Apply the sealer carefully and apply it in small sections at a time. Start from the left and move to your right. Working methodically will help your grout lines look neater and more consistent and this way, you will not overlook any areas, the sealer will offer better protection. Keep a dry cloth at hand and use it to wipe off the excess sealer.
Avoid any drips of the sealer on glazed tiles, whether you are using an applicator or sponging a large area. And, if any sealer drips onto the tile, make sure to remove it immediately before the sealer begins to dry. Leaving it for a longer time will leave a foggy layer over the tile that will be impossible to remove later on.
Once you have applied the first coat of sealer, let it dry at least for one hour before applying the second coat. It is recommended that you apply at least 3 coats of the sealer in order to get sufficient protection. Once the second coat dries, use a few drops of water to test the surface. The water should bead up into drops and if this does not happen, then apply another coat of the sealer to ensure that you get the best results.
Once all the applications are completed, let the tiled area dry fully. While some sealers may require 24 hours for curing, others may take around 48 hours. To be sure, check your manufacturer’s instructions on how to seal grout.
Here are a few tips that you should follow while sealing the grout for best results:
It is extremely important to know how to seal grout and here are mistakes that you should avoid:
Grout is very porous and can attract dirt, grime, bacteria, mold and mildew and sealing the grout can help to protect it from all these contaminants and also prevent it from getting dirty and stained. While you may find keeping the room where you are sealing the grout off-limits for a couple of days, you will realize that it is completely worth it when you clean the grout the next time.
Using a good sealer and sealing the grout well translates into lesser time spent scrubbing the grout clean. So, in short, by sealing the grout, you can make your tile-cleaning routine a cakewalk.