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Should Kitchen Grout Be Sealed?
Grout is used by builders to fill gaps between floor tiles. Sometimes its use can be applied for other functions such as filling gaps between walls and crevices.
Since grout is used when laying kitchen tiles, installers tend to treat them differently; some may seal them while others may leave them unsealed.
But, should kitchen grout be sealed?
Yes, The kitchen grout should be sealed to protect it against elements such as moisture. The grout sealer used makes it water-resistant, exposure to moisture conditions may not result in adverse effects such as early damages and germs.
Mold and mildew do not have any survival chance, and the grout will maintain its initial texture and consistently look better for longer.
Despite the grout needing to be sealed, there are always possible exemptions that may be made during the installation of tiles.
Manufacturers always have a set of instructions on how to go about installing their products.
Therefore, it’s advised you consult with the manufacturer if the grout used when installing the tiles need to be sealed or not.
Failure to do so may tamper with your warranty as you may have ignored some instructions within the manufacturers notice.
For instance, when installing porcelain tiles, you may not need to seal the grout.
So, the main concern is to ensure you contact the manufacturer or go through the set of instructions regarding installation and use of grout to be sure.
How Do I Seal Kitchen Grout?
Tile installers, most of the time, leave the grout unsealed. In most cases, it’s not due to negligence but, the grout needs to cure first before the sealer is applied.
Furthermore, sealing your kitchen grout is not much involving, and you can accomplish it by yourself.
Here is the way to go if you plan on sealing your kitchen grout by yourself;
Clean the grout
You should ensure the kitchen grout is sparkling clean before you attempt applying any sealer to it. You can use your toothbrush to clean off the dirt and.
Water used should also be soapy to remove stains that may have developed over time.
The cleaning process not only entails dirt removal but also accompanying it with necessary repair for damaged grout parts.
Once you are done with scrubbing, cleaning and repairing, let the grout sit for 45 minutes as it dries. Do not rush.
Choose the sealer
Choosing the type of sealer to use is a very crucial point in the grout sealing process. You should consider the type of tiles in place and your location.
Different types of sealers have different levels of efficiency depending on how and where they are used.
For instance, some sealers may have a high tolerance to moisture than others, and some may only be efficient when used on some types of tiles.
Be sure to follow the manufacturers guide on which sealers may be best for use to seal the grout of your kitchen tiles.
If, for one reason or the other, you still find it overwhelming on which type of sealer you should go for, then perhaps you may narrow your choices by considering the following;
There are majorly two types of sealers;
- The penetrating sealers
- The membrane-forming sealers.
Penetrating sealers; when this type of sealers is absorbed by the porous grout, its silicon and latex components fill the spaces between the grout particles.
The process results in effectively preventing moisture from getting in, hence sealed.
If your kitchen is always experiencing moisture conditions, or if moping has to be done more frequently like in a busy restaurant.
Then the penetrating sealers(Amazon Link) will be the ideal choice to consider for the kitchen tiles.
The membrane-forming sealers; This type of sealers, when applied, they basically form a coating on the surface of the grout, thus making them impervious to water.
They are mostly recommended for kitchens that do not experience frequent cleaning or heavy moisture, such as standard home kitchens.
The other bit of information you have to keep in mind is that the membrane-forming sealers do not allow the escape of initially trapped moisture under it to get out.
Thus, mold and mildew may form. That is why it’s always necessary to let the grout dry adequately before going ahead and applying the sealer.
Therefore, among the two types of sealers, there is one that may suit your preference, depending on the kind of conditions or state your kitchen tiles are in.
Narrow your search down and identify the type of sealer to use with much ease.
Your mode of applying the sealer on your kitchen grout should be accompanied by the type of sealer applicator to use.
For convenience purposes, most of the time, those applying sealers tend to use aerosol spray on.
However, you should note that this method may not be considered adequate every time it’s used, especially if there could have been better choices to consider.
The kind of method or tool you use in the process of sealing the grout should be within the manufacturer’s instructions and directives.
You should consider going through them before starting the entire sealing process.
Apply The Sealer With Utmost Precision
You should not apply the sealer too fast, which may result in inefficient work done at the end of the whole process.
Move slowly, sealing small bits of the kitchen grout at a time, preferably; left to right.
By following a strategic sealer application method, the grout will be more protected as there will be no left spots uncovered.
Once you are done applying the sealer on a given section of the kitchen grout.
Ensure you use a cloth to wipe off the sealer, which may have been accidentally applied on some parts of the tiles.
Do the wiping as soon as possible, say after about 6 mins, so that when you are done, you do not have to start another task of cleaning excess sealer, which may be difficult if allowed to stay that long.
Second Coat Sealer Application
You may have been thinking that applying the sealer one time is adequate for kitchen grout protection. That’s not it.
For efficient performance and guaranteed sealing, the sealer should be applied about three times.
It’s only after the third sealing process that you may be sure you have adequately done an efficient job sealing the kitchen grout.
Always consider letting your already done sealing sit for about an hour to let it dry before proceeding with the second or third application.
The ultimate test for testing your sealer integrity is by pouring some water drops on the sealed grout.
If the water drops fail to bead into more droplets, then the work may not have been adequately, and it’s time to apply another layer of the sealer.
Once you have accomplished the entire sealing process, ensure you let your kitchen be for about 48 hours. Some sealers may cure faster, while others may need more time.
Keeping your kitchen out of bounds for about two days may sound inconvenient, but the result of your patience will be astounding.
No more intensive scrubbing when mopping and more durable floor.
Does Sealing My Kitchen Grout Make It Waterproof?
Sealing protects your kitchen grout from moisture. Therefore, once the grout has been sealed, water flow to the surface is repelled.
We can therefore say the grout is waterproof.
Failure to seal your kitchen grout will expose its moisture, to which it’s much vulnerable. The grout will also gain stains frequently, making it difficult to clean.
Exposure to damage is also on the list of demerits likely to occur when you do not seal your kitchen grout.
However, before deciding to apply any type of sealer on your kitchen grout, you should know they are manufactured differently and may deliver different results.
Strive and get more information on the type of sealer to use, especially from the manufacturers, before settling on one.
They are different, and a kind of sealer may work adequately on one set up and not so much better on a different setup.
How Long Does Grout Sealer Take To Cure?
Grout sealers take different times to cure. Some grout sealers may cure faster and take only 24 hours after application, while others may last longer up to 48 hours.
I would also like to point out that the time taken by the grout sealers to cure may also depend on other elements such as temperature and humidity.
In regions where the temperature is relatively high, the grout sealers are likely to take lesser time to cure;
Whereas, in regions experiencing low temperatures, it may take longer.
But generally, most grout sealers used in most regions take between 24 hours to 48 hours to adequately cure.
During this process, you should avoid movements to your kitchen at all cost and let the process complete.
It may be inconveniencing, but you will acknowledge it was worth it when it is all done.
How to Remove Grout Sealer When It Dries On the Tiles?
Sometimes when sealing your kitchen grout, the sealer used may extend to the tiles.
If noticed early enough, the cleaning process may not be much involving. After about 5 minutes, the sealer may not have dried up on the tiles.
So just wipe it off the tiles before continuing with your task.
However, in instances where the sealer dries, then the wiping it off option is removed from the table of choices to consider.
You will need a stronger sealer removal mechanism, such as using chemical-based sealant strippers.
Most home supply stores have it, and you may not go through much hassle to acquire one.
Here are some steps you may consider following to remove dried grout sealer from your tiles;
Removing the Loosely Bound Sealer
Get some hard-bristle brush, mildly abrasive cleaner and pour some warm water in a bucket.
Pour some of the cleaners on the brush after dipping it in the water warm water, then proceed to scrub the surfaces with the dried sealer.
If there were any loose sealer on the tiles, conducting this process will ensure they are removed as you scrub all over.
Testing the Sealant Stripper
You do not want to go about causing further damage to your floor in the process of removing the dried grout sealer.
Therefore, it’s prudent to do a removal test before doing the actual task on the affected area.
You should take some of the available grout sealers and apply them on tiles at hidden points. Let the grout sealer dry for an hour.
Afterwards, use the sealant stripper to remove the grout sealer.
If the process is successfully accomplished and no damages have occurred to the tiles, then you can use it to clean the affected parts.
Using the Sealant Stripper
Use a sponge to rub the sealant stripper on the floor’s parts with a dried grout sealer. After some time, a thick layer forms on the part where the action is taking place.
Once the layer has been formed, let it sit for some time. During this time, the existing bond between the tiles and the grout sealer is weakened.
After some time, proceed to use the hard-bristled brush to scrub the affected area.
By thoroughly scrubbing, the remaining parts of the dried grout sealer, which were not removed in the first process, come off.
Once you are done with all the scrubbing and the grout sealer is off the tiles, use a damp piece of cloth to clean the spot.
The remnants of the process will be wiped off clean from the surface of the tiles.
You should then dry up the tiles, and there you go. Your clean tiles have been restored.
During the grout sealer removal process, you should pay attention.
Especially during the process where the sealant stripper is involved, not to allow the sealant stripper to get into contact with the grout.
The aim is to remove dried grout sealant from the tiles, not from the grout itself.
When the sealant remover gets into contact with the sealed grout, then your kitchen’s grout integrity shall have been compromised.
Leaving the grout exposed, and you may have to redo the entire process of grout sealing.
Also, you should avoid using sharp objects such as razor blades to removed, dried grout sealer from the tiles.
Such actions may lead to scratching on the tiles, which may ultimately result in damages.
How Can I Tell If My Kitchen Grout Is Sealed?
The test for determining whether your kitchen grout has been sealed is relatively simple.
Pour some water droplets onto your kitchen grout. If sealed, the water drops should splash away after hitting the grout, forming more droplets in the process.
When you notice that doe not happen, the grout is not sealed, and you should consider doing so as soon as possible.
How Many Coats of Grout Sealer Are Effective?
In most cases, two coats of grout sealer are adequate to provide efficient sealing.
Once you have done the first coating, wipe the excess off, let it sit for one hour then proceed to apply the second coat.
When you have completed the second one, let it cure for about one hour again.
If the grout is still absorbing the sealer or if you pour drops of water on the sealed area and it’s absorbed too, then that is an indication you proceed to apply a third coat.
The third coat is always a confirmatory coat of effectively, and in very rare cares can anyone proceeds to a fourth one.
The third coat is like a confirmation of effective work done on sealing the kitchen grout. However, two coats are adequate most of the time.
After How Long Should I Reseal My Kitchen Grout?
Your great sealers will likely wear off over time, thus prompting a reseal.
However, it will take about three to five years before you may have to consider doing a kitchen grout reseal.
Always ensure the grout is adequately cleaned every time before doing a reseal.
Kitchen grout should be sealed, and if you haven’t done it already, I hope this article has presented you with all the reasons why you should consider doing so.
However, before you dive into the action, it would help a lot if you made inquiries about your tiles from the manufactures and which types of grout sealant should be used.
Different types of tiles may react differently to grout sealers.
Following the manufacturers’ instructions on grout sealant use may also play a crucial role in preventing damage to your floor.
In the event where you have to remove dried grout sealer from your tiles when sealing your kitchen grout.
Remember to do a test first on hidden parts to determine whether the sealant stripper to be used is effective and harmless to the tiles.
Otherwise, getting into action without adequate know-how and necessary instructions may lead to more problems than solutions.
And, of course, you may end up jeopardizing your warranty.