Tile grout is generally made up of a mixture of sand, cement, and water and that is why it is naturally porous and absorbent. If you left it unsealed, it can easily soak up dirt and mildew like a sponge and once it gets in, it can be really time-consuming to get out.
According to the report of MarketWatch, the global Tile Grout market size was valued at USD 2526.96 million in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 4164.76 million by 2027. However, wet grout in your bathroom is a perfect place for dangerous mold and mildew to breed.
But, sealing bathroom tile grout is a comparatively easy process to prevent moisture from seeping between and under your tiles. You just need an effective shower grout sealer that can penetrate and protect the grout to stop mold and mildew from forming and you need to know how to use it.
In this article, we have shared 7 easy and simple steps on how to seal tile grout in the bathroom where moisture, shampoo, and soap residues can cause hard-to-remove stains and contamination. Also, here we have covered the things you would need in sealing bathroom tile.
So, let’s get started.
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Things You Will Need In Sealing Bathroom Tile
When you are ready to seal and protect your shower tile grout, you need to choose the correct tools and materials which is very essential.
First, you should understand that not all grout sealers are the same. Because some sealer is mainly designed to work with only certain types of grout and tiles.
So, you should ensure that you first assess your tile and grout before purchasing a sealer from a home improvement store. The steps described below would provide detailed instructions for applying most grout sealers, however, some products may require different steps.
So, you need to make sure that you read the manufacturer’s directions thoroughly to use the grout sealer before you get started. The tools and materials required for this project are –
- Eye protection and Rubber cleaning gloves
- Grout sealer
- Clean towel
- Applicator bottle with a roller-wheel top
- Damp cloth
- Dish soap
How To Seal Tile Grout In Bathroom: 7 Easy And Simple Steps
By sealing bathroom tile you can stop stains from black mold, hair dyes, and shampoo, and also make daily cleaning and maintenance comparatively easier. Here we have explained 7 easy and simple steps on how to seal tile grout in a bathroom properly by using the best grout sealer for your shower floor and walls.
1. Clean Your Grout Thoroughly
Before you apply a sealer, you should ensure that you clean your grout completely and repair your grout by fixing any cracks or crumbles in the grout lines.
Because you may seal in dirt and damaged seams. So, try to scrub away as much of the grime and dirt as possible using a toothbrush dipped in soapy water.
And if you are trying to remove stains, then you can use a 50-50 vinegar and warm water solution and try to clean one grout line at a time.
And when you are finished cleaning the grout, you should allow the area to dry for at least 45 minutes before applying any grout sealer product.
Actually, you need to allow the grout to dry for the amount of time that is recommended by the sealer manufacturer, because drying times may vary among products. And before starting the sealing, you should ensure that the shower or bathroom is well-ventilated.
Also, we recommend you to wear personal protection equipment including rubber cleaning gloves, eye protection, and a suitable vapor mask while working.
2. Select The Right Type Of Grout Sealer For Your Project
Now, you should choose one of the best grout sealers that are perfect for the type of tile you have and also its location. Because no sealer is perfect for all situations and every environment.
When you will shop for grout sealers, you will see the variety of products available in the market allows for a certain level of customization. Their labels specify which sealers generally work best with marble, stone, and ceramic tiles.
Also, it shows how much moisture the sealer can tolerate – it can be high moisture in the bathroom or low moisture along a kitchen backsplash. The two main types of grout sealers that you can use are penetrating sealers and membrane-forming sealers.
Penetrating sealers generally have a water or mineral spirit base that allows the tiny particles of latex or silicone in the formula to penetrate the granular structure of the grout.
And as the porous grout starts to absorb the sealer, the particles of latex and silicone fill in all the gaps and keep the moisture out. Membrane-forming sealers create a coating on the grout surface to resist water permeation.
Penetrating sealers are generally the best choice for use in mainly damp areas, such as bathrooms. And Membrane-forming sealers can work well in your kitchen, however, they should not be used in the bathroom.
3. Choose The Correct Type Of Sealer Applicator
Selecting the correct sealer applicator is very important to achieve desired results for a grout sealing project. And the applicator selection mainly depends on several factors, that includes the thickness of the grout lines and whether you are working with sealed or unsealed tile.
When you have very thin grout lines and unsealed tiles, then a sponge will easily allow you to seal larger areas of your bathroom walls or floors by wiping over both surfaces at once.
And for glazed tiles where sealer would not adhere, you will need to seal only the grout lines and this can be done best by using an applicator brush or applicator bottle with a rolling wheel on top.
You just need to pour the sealer into an applicator bottle and try to fill the bottle completely to the top. Then, you should place the roller-wheel top on the bottle and tighten it securely before using it.
4. Apply The Sealer Slowly To The Grout Lines
Now, just use a foam sponge or brush according to your needs to apply the sealer slowly to the grout lines. Also, you need to ensure that the grout is covered evenly and completely to make sure the sealer creates a watertight barrier.
Then, let the sealer set for about 10 minutes and after that use a dry cloth to wipe off the excess sealer from the surrounding tile. This is a really important step because if you miss this step, you will end up with a foggy film on the tile that is almost impossible to remove.
And when you are using the applicator bottle, just turn the applicator bottle upside down, so that the roller-wheel points toward the bathroom floor.
Now, you need to roll the wheel down the center of the grout line and saturate it completely with sealer. And try to work in small sections and use dry paper towels to remove excess sealer from the surface of the tile.
5. Let It Dry And Apply A Second Coat Of Sealer
When you have completely applied the first coat of sealer, let it dry for about an hour. You should remember that you need to allow the sealer to dry for the full amount of time recommended by the manufacturer.
After that, you can apply a second coat as per your requirement. And use the same procedure to apply the second coat of sealer to the grout lines. It will usually take about one to three coats of sealer to achieve adequate or desired protection.
Because multiple coats of sealer can be applied until you reach the desired coverage. And you should know that the shower has been sealed sufficiently when water beads on the surface of the grout are unable to penetrate.
6. Test The Sealer By Applying A Few Drops Of Water
When the second coat of sealer dries, you should test the surface by applying a few drops of water to the grout. And then the liquid should bead up into droplets. However, if it does not, then you can apply a third coat to achieve quality results.
And you can re-wet those areas where sealer dried on the tile surface and buff the haze off with dry paper towels. Also, some solvent-based sealers usually are not compliant with volatile organic compound regulations in all areas.
So, you should check with state and local regulations to make sure that solvent-based products comply with VOC regulations in your area. And we always recommend you to use a VOC-compliant and solvent-based formula that can penetrate the shower tile grout.
7. Allow The Sealer To Dry Completely Before Using The Shower
Some sealers need only about 24 hours to cure, however, others can take even up to 48 hours. You need to check the manufacturer’s directions on the grout sealer that you are using for specifications.
And in some cases, it may be inconvenient if you could not use your bathroom for a day or two, but you should remember how convenient it will be the next time you clean your grout.
Because a good sealer means you will need less time in scrubbing. This one important step will make your routine bathroom cleaning really easy.
Your shower grout should be sealed every 12 months at least, but, it really depends on the wear, tear, mold, dirt, and debris that are present in your bathroom.
And you need to wait at least 48 hours after installing fresh grout before sealing it. Because this will give the grout enough time to dry so it can properly absorb the sealer.
Should You Use Aerosol Spray-On Sealers
Aerosol spray-on sealers are generally easier to use than those that require a sponge or brush to apply. However, there are a few important things that you should keep in mind before buying one of these products.
Spray grout sealer starts working quickly, but it can also leave excess sealer on the tile surface. It means that you will need to spend some time after applying it to wipe off overspray to prevent hazing on the tile.
Also, as sprays are not as precise as other sealers that are applied by other methods, you can easily waste a lot of product.
And another thing you should remember about aerosol grout sealers is that they usually create thinner barriers. It means that you will need to spray more coats of these aerosol spray-on sealers to get the same protection that you would from a brush-on or sponge-on sealer.
Wrap Up On Sealing Bathroom Tile
Grout sealing is a comparatively simple project that does not require any special tools or skills, and is a doable project even for a beginner DIYer. When you apply it properly, a good grout sealer can provide protection for a year or more.
You can easily maintain the beauty of the tile in your bathroom by preventing stains, bacteria, and mildew from leaching into the grout by following these simple steps.
And water-based sealers generally dry faster and are also safer to use, however, solvent-based sealers are more durable and seal longer.
We really hope that our detailed and informative guide has helped you to know how to seal tile grout in the bathroom. If you have any questions or doubts about sealing bathroom tile, please let us know in the comments below.
FAQ: Sealing Bathroom Tile
Many people have different problems regarding sealing bathroom tile, so they have lots of questions in their minds. Here I have tried to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about this topic.
Q1. What Happens If The Shower Grout Is Not Sealed?
Ans: When your shower grout is not sealed in time, grime and water can easily seep into it, which can cause cracks on your tiles and force them to break at a certain point. So, when you seal your grout, you get to prolong your tile surface’s lifespan and you can also minimize damage to a considerable extent.
Q2. How Long Should Grout Last In A Shower?
Ans: Grout in your shower definitely doesn’t last forever. You can expect a lifespan between eight and sixteen years and its lifespan will generally vary mainly depending on how you treat your shower. And in some cases, you may have no idea when your grout was actually installed.
Q3. How Do You Know When Grout Needs To Be Sealed?
Ans: First, you can spray a mist of water evenly into your grout and then wait for two or three minutes to allow the water to set on the grout properly. Now, you need to examine the grout very carefully. If it starts to change color or gets darker, then this is an indicating sign that your grout was not sealed properly.