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How to Seal Grout (or Seal Tile) in a Bathroom

When our tile was laid we were instructed to seal it in about a week. I’d never sealed anything before, so this was a learning experience.

We used SurfaceGard Sealer from our local True Value store. For those of you who don’t live near a True Value, the exact same product on Amazon is pretty pricey and not available through Prime. Instead,  I’d check out some of these similar options {affiliate link} on Amazon or at a local hardware store.

The instructions on the bottle were:

  1. Spray liberally and wipe onto tile and grout with a clean cloth
  2. Let sit at most 5 minutes
  3. Wipe the tile and grout dry with a clean cloth
  4. If the sealer penetrated the tile or grout, repeat the first 3 steps
  5. This may take 2-3 coats

Instead of doing the entire floor at once, I did my first coat in sections. This allowed me to get a feel for the sealing process. Here’s what I learned…

Use a timer.

I set the timer to 5 minutes each time I started applying sealer to a section of the floor. When there was about 30 seconds left, I’d start wiping it all back off.

 

The sealer may penetrate the tile and grout differently.

Grout and tile {as well as the various types of tile} aren’t equally porous and therefore won’t absorb equal amounts of sealer. I’m sure this is obvious to someone who has sealed before; but I didn’t really consider it ahead of time. It was puzzling, at first, when our tile wasn’t absorbing the sealer. All that means, though, is that our tile isn’t going to absorb water easily either. In contrast, the grout soaked it right up.

 

Once it is sealed, the liquid will start to “pool” instead of absorb.

Again, this might be obvious to someone who has sealed before, but I wasn’t sure exactly what I was looking for until I got to my second and third coats. For some reason, I expected the grout to actually darken in color after it was sealed {which I was bummed about, because I liked the contrast}. It did darken while it was soaking up the sealer but returned to it’s original color once dry.

Instead you can identify the sealed grout by “pool”ing of the sealer. Or, you can simply flick some water onto the surface. If it soaks in more sealing is needed. If not, then it’s sealed!

 

Sealing isn’t a One-Time event.

Tile and grout should be sealed periodically. I’ve read every 6 months or once a year. Since we just invested in these pretty floors, I’m going to seal them again at the 6-month mark. The great thing about this is that if you didn’t get every nook and cranny perfectly, it will be getting a new coat in a few months. It’s a continuous process of sealing and re-sealing to protect your floors. Also, if you notice water from the shower or sink getting soaked up by your grout or tile then that means it’s time to re-seal.

It took me about 30 minutes to seal the tile. However, now that I’ve done it before I’d just take a clean mop, wipe down the entire floor, wait a few minutes and then dry. This would make it even quicker!

Have you ever sealed tile or grout? How did it go? Any tips?

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Craftivity Designs

Wednesday 28th of May 2014

Glad I'm not the only beginner :)

[email protected] Design for Living

Wednesday 28th of May 2014

Good to know. I've never done this either and we have a backsplash that I will have to attempt.