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flooring, tile, bathroom

Easily Seal Grout Joints

By The Ugly Duckling House on May 18, 2012
For some reason I thought sealing my grout would be messy, time consuming, and stink.  Instead, it couldn't have been easier.

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When I was first shopping for tile, I learned that there are two different types of sealant products available.  Actually, that's not true; I first learned that I needed sealant in the first place.  Grout sealer not only helps keep the grout from staining, but the more the grout can keep moisture out, the more pristine it stays over time (the porcelain tile itself is pretty stain-resistant and doesn't require the same kind of protection, but there are also varieties of porous tiles that also need sealing).

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Where was I?  Oh, right - there are two kinds:

  • additives that can be mixed into dry grout powder instead of water (which is supposed to seal the grout as it dries as a protective membrane, eliminating the need to seal afterward) and
  • sealant to apply to the surface of grout lines after the grout cures (which can be done to either dry grout that is later mixed, or pre-mixed grout)

I went with treating the grout lines after curing for a number of reasons:

1.  Every time someone tried to convince me to get the additive product, they were a store clerk using the "listen, little girl" tone and selling it a little too hard.  By default, I say no if my bullshit meter goes off.  Nothing against the product on that one, but after two years of getting simultaneous opposing pieces of advice on virtually everything, I've learned to listen to my gut.

2.  I did some research online, and again found conflicting opinions on if the additive really works forever like it says it does.  Some complained that it still stained (which would imply that either it was done improperly or really is a faulty product).  This would eventually result in having to re-seal the grout in the future if it is true, so I really didn't see the difference.

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3.  Unlike mixing to exact specifications and worrying whether I did it right (especially since this was the first grout job on a tile floor that I've ever done), the sealant comes in a nifty applicator brush, much like a giant bottle of nail polish.  I can handle that with my eyes closed.

4.  It took less than an hour and a wad of paper towels (really though, you just apply the liquid generously all over the grout lines and let it soak in for 15 minutes, then wipe it up - another coat in a half hour, and you're done).

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5.  I spoke to a few people who have been tiling for years, and none of them suggested I try the additive (though the argument could be made that the additive is a newer product than traditional sealant, so it's not universally accepted yet by everyone even if it's a good product).

6.  The bag of grout I was using specifically said not to use an additive and to instead use water.  For once, I actually read and followed instructions.

Listing them out, I realize none of these reasons are necessarily good ones for going the sealant route versus the additive.  I suppose one can go either way, especially when the coverage area is as small as mine.  Nonetheless, my grout is sealed, leaving only one other part of the floor to take care of before I can continue on with the walls.

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What have you been working on lately?

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