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Thread: Sealing Tile Grout

  1. #1

    Default Sealing Tile Grout

    Our contractor just installed 2-inch hexagonal floor tile in our bathroom with a white grout. I have heard in the past that the grout should be sealed, and that this can be a painstaking process. Is it true that white tile grout should be sealed, and if so, is there a certain product and/or method that is recommended over others? Perhaps most important, are there decent sealants that are not a pain in the butt to apply?

  2. #2
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schook
    ...painstaking.... pain in the butt...
    an old toothbrush. you on all fours. Hire someone to do it if that is too hard.

    grout will gradually pick up the color of dirt in your area.

    I'd use an oil based sealer. Real stinky.

    david

  3. #3
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schook
    ... 2-inch hexagonal floor tile in our bathroom with a white grout.
    I just installed the same in ours, but with blue grout.

    Quote Originally Posted by Schook
    I have heard in the past that the grout should be sealed ...
    Correct, or else it can absorb things you do not want in it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Schook
    ... and that this can be a painstaking process.
    Yes, and the length of the "pain" of the process is directly related to the area to be sealed!

    Quote Originally Posted by Schook
    ... is there a certain product and/or method that is recommended over others? Perhaps most important, are there decent sealants that are not a pain in the butt to apply?
    Your local tile store folks should be able to tell you what sealer is best, and here is the applicator I used. By the time you get from one edge of the floor to the other, you will likely have learned a certain pattern of application that makes the second coat go a little quicker!

    Check out www.ezsealinc.com for the applicator. This one is a small brush, and for the tile you and I have, that is going to be better than the kind with the little roller.
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    You'll use a little more, but forget just trying to put sealer on just the grout - wipe it entirely over the tile. The magic key point to remember is you MUST buff off the sealer on the tile before it dries, or you will end up with streaks. A little more sealer will help disolve it and let you clean it off, but don't wait too long.

    There are all sorts of sealers..both water based and oil based. A good sealer can cost over $100/gallon. The good thing is you don't actually use much. Depending on use, you may only have to do it once every few years. A sealer will not prevent moisture from penetrating, but it will slow things down, help prevent oils from penetrating and soap scum. Avoid the cheaper ones from the big box stores. StoneTech and AquaMix both make some good ones.

    Trying to keep white grout white will be a challenge, and you'll probably lose. Sealer will slow that down. Next time, consider an epoxy grout. Costs a lot more for materials, though.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua
    You'll use a little more, but forget just trying to put sealer on just the grout - wipe it entirely over the tile. The magic key point to remember is you MUST buff off the sealer on the tile before it dries, or you will end up with streaks. A little more sealer will help disolve it and let you clean it off, but don't wait too long.
    That was my quicker "pattern of application" for my second coat, but the flooring-department salesperson at the box store said I should not do that because of some possible conflict with the "sealer" on the ceramic tile. I actually doubt that is any kind of issue, however, and the idea of hitting all those little grout lines a second time did not appeal to me at all!

  6. #6
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    It is a real pain to get the streaks off, but you won't have any if you buff it off before it dries. A glazed tile or a porcelain probably won't absorb any, so it shouldn't hurt. If you are using an enhancing sealer, it is harder to clean up, but still works.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Member D.Smith's Avatar
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    Check with the tile setter on what he reccomends. Check also in local yp for Carpet cleaners that also clean and seal grout. Ave price on sealing is about dollar psf. Cleaning white grout is simple with the correct tools. I have cleaned grout thats been tracked on by landscapers,construction toons here in SW home of red clay and was able to get that cleaned. Redying is also an option if you so choose at a later point of time.

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