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Thread: Bathroom Sealing and Grouting

  1. #1

    Default Bathroom Sealing and Grouting

    We're starting our bathroom remodel and my tile vendor has advised that he does not do sealing since it can significantly change the color of the tile. Is it just me or does that seem a little hog-wash? If I'm willing to accept and expect that the color will enhance with a sealer shouldn't he do it if I'm willing to pay for it? So my question other than complaining is how difficult is it to DIY a sealer? Is it better done professionally?

    Second question is regarding grouting - how often do people regrout their showers?

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    First, a glazed tile or a typical porcelain tile is not helped by a sealer, it won't absorb any, and if it is left on the surface to dry, it will leave streaks that are a pain to clean off.

    A stone tile, though, will benefit from a sealer, as well as the grout (unless you use an epoxy grout). There are various types of sealer, and some will darken the stone and grout. Not all of them do, though. An enhancing sealer makes it look closer to what it does when it is wet, but a typical sealer normally doesn't change the color much if any. Sealers come in both oil and water based, a water based one usually doesn't change the color.

    As to how hard it is to install - there's nothing to it. Brush, or wipe it on, let it absorb, buff off any that doesn't get absorbed (like on the glazed tile surface) before it dries. Sometimes, they suggest a couple of coats...basically keep putting it on until it no longer absorbs any. Then, you're done. Not all sealers are created equal. A good sealer is not cheap and could cost $130/gallon or so. You don't need all that much, since a little goes a long way. A typical shower may not take more than a pint, and even that may give you enough to redo it in a few years. Depending on the use and how you clean the shower, you could get many years before it needs to get done again.

    If the shower is built properly, you may never have to replace grout. it should not crack or fall out. If it gets mildew, the shower may not have been built properly, or you didn't let the exhaust fan run long enough after showering.

    Industry standards call for caulk at the changes of plane (corners and floor/wall intersections). If grout is used there, there's a good chance it will crack. Some people decide to chance it since they like the look of grout instead. Nearly all grouts have a color matched caulk available if not from the same manufacturer, one of the places that specialzes in caulk.
    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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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    JAD pretty well summed it up. Glazed tiles do not need a sealer, unglazed tiles, or stone, DO need a sealer.

    It is a simple matter to experiment with a couple of scrap pieces, to see the look of the various types of sealers and choose the look you want.

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    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking Sealer on tiles?

    I always thought that the sealer was more for the grout lines around and in between the tiles....

    to keep the grout from discoloring

    If it is a clear sealer it should not matter too much

    but experimenting with it on a out of the way and sight
    grout line first might be best



  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks Jim!

    We are doing stone tiles - 'tumbled travertine' which is why the enhancing sealer was recommended some of the squares are red and the associate at the tile store did a wipe of a wet paper towel on it to show us how the color would pop a little with the enhancer. BTW is there a recommendation on how long you should wait after sealing tile? We'll need to move in the vanity, bathtub, toilet etc and wondering if we need to wait days or weeks?

    Another question if you all don't mind on the grout/sealer.

    We're using 4x4 tumbled travertine tiles for the shower floor and a 12x12 for the shower walls. I've read a lot of mixed reviews on requiring any type of additional sealer since it's in the shower as well as doing an allover grout. What are peoples thoughts on this?
    Last edited by VAwife; 10-07-2007 at 07:22 AM.

  6. #6
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    For excellent professional information, it would be a very good idea to refer this question to our friends at the tile forum> www.johnbridge.com
    One of the best forums of any type on the net, in terms of the level of expertise available in a very friendly format.

  7. #7
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    the vendor is OK. The installer is the one who will seal it, since you want to pay for it. Did your vendor show you the bottles of sealant? They all say "to be applied after tiling, a week or two after if the grout is Portland cement based grout."

    Epoxy grout is good. Many people don't know about it. Your installer may warn you that it increases his work. That may not be a concern for you. Work it out with him. Pay him accordingly.

    The stone you mentioned is porous so I'd use epoxy grout in a shower. And then seal the tiles with oil based sealant, which is the most expensive, most smelly and most noxious type. You could use regular grout outside the shower, that is the kind that has Portland cement as its base, not epoxy solids. You can get the same color.


    david

  8. #8

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    sorry I meant my installer said he doesn't do sealers which I thought that was odd.

    I dropped some water on the tile and it has a very low absorption rate (10 minutes later the drops of water are still on tile).

    I'll ask about the epoxy grout....

    Shirin

  9. #9

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    BTW pictures of the tiles. 12x12 will go on main bath floor and shower walls. 4x4 go on shower floor, and 4x12 is trim for wall.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  10. #10
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    I used a StoneTec sealer, one of their enhancing sealers on some granite tile. The granite I used (Kashmir white) does absorb water, and the sealer makes it look almost like it is wet - it does enhance the colors, bringing out the black specs and the garnet. Aquamix makes some good stuff. I've not had good luck with some of the Tilelab stuff, but they may make a decent one.

    You can order the StoneTec stuff at the store on www.johnbridge.com. You may find it locally.

    Depending on the brand of sealer, follow their instructions. You need to wait at least a little bit before sealing to allow the tile and grout to dry. Then, depending on the sealer, you may have to wait again before you can take a shower...this is very much specific to what you use, but they all want you to wait a little.

    Epoxy grout is nice in that it does not need a sealer and resists stains and buildups of soap and crud. It does cost about 4-5x more in materials than regular grout, and is (only a little) harder to clean up after, but - it does require a different cleanup technique. If you don't follow the instructions, it is a MAJOR BEAR to clean up later.

    WIth the tumbled travertine, when grouting, the usual procedure is to fill the depressions and holes. You can wash some of the grout out, but any deep holes should be filled, as otherwise, it is a maintenance pain to keep accumulations of crud out of those holes.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  11. #11

    Default Sealer not sealing?

    I just had my bath remodeled and sealed the grout a few days ago.

    I applied the sealer 3 times now and the grout still changes color after taking a shower. Is this ok? or does this mean i have a poor sealer or do I need more coats?

  12. #12
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Does the water bead up if you sprinkle a little on?
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  13. #13

    Default sorta

    Not on the parts the water goes into the grout. The grout lines are about1/4 inch between each tile. Maybe it needs 5-7 coats?

  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member Livin4Real's Avatar
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    sorry it's been a week since the last post but sealer usually isn't put on until 3-4 weeks after the tile is grouted, maybe that's why yours keep sucking it up?
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  15. #15
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The waiting period for application of sealer to grout varies radically between manufacturers from 24-hours, to weeks. Follow the instructions for the stuff you have. Usually, no more than 2 coats is required to achieve the maximum benefits offered by the product you choose. Not all are created equal. Generally, you get what you pay for.
    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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