Grout fills the seams between the tiles in your home. The two types of grout are sand grout and epoxy based grout. The vast majority of grout in use today is sand grout. As the name implies sand grout contain sand. Sand is used by grout manufacturers because it is literally dirt cheap and because it is a great material to be used for its intended purpose – filling the holes or seams between tiles that have been set in place with mortar.
Sand is porous, which means that grout is porous. Once grout has been applied and allowed to dry, it’s ready to absorb about any liquid that comes in contact with it. This is why it is so important that newly cured grout be sealed right away and then re-sealed ever 4-6 months thereafter.
Grout sealer is a water-based sealer that resists water, oil and acid.
Benefits of Sealing Grout
Sealing grout will help make the grout surface smooth and waterproof which is important because it is the only way to prevent the porous material from attracting and absorbing dirt, grime, and bacteria making a home a lot more sanitary. Unsealed grout will get dirty and stained a lot faster. The grout will gradually get darker and darker over time because it is slowly but steadily absorbing dirt, grime, bacteria, and germs resulting in dark discoloration.
Using a grout sealer will increase the life span and beauty of your grout and tile.
Using grout sealer will make future grout cleaning a lot easier. It can also prevent tile from getting damaged by water or moisture.
Do It Yourself Versus Hiring a Professional
The procedure to seal grout is simple and straight forward. Anyone can learn to do it. The decision as to whether to tackle the job yourself or hire a professional really comes down to a few factors. These factors, candidly, determine whether the job will be relatively quick and easy, long and tedious, or somewhere in between:
- The number of square feet to be cleaned
- The size of the tile which determines the lineal feet of grout to be sealed
- How clean or dirty the grout is
Obviously, the first 2 factors are totally personal preference. You can hire a professional, but learning how to seal it yourself could possibly save you a lot of money over the years to come.
However, getting the grout thoroughly clean before applying sealer is essential to achieving satisfactory results. A professional carpet and tile cleaning company like ClearPro Window and Carpet Cleaning has the equipment, cleaning chemistry, and training to get the job done right. A consumer just does not have the same resources available.
Grout Sealing Basics
Typically, grout should be sealed every 4 to 6 months. This maintenance schedule should keep the tile and especially the grout clean.
The tile and grout must be thoroughly clean before applying a grout sealer. Using a steam cleaner can accelerate the cleaning process.
Apply at least two coats of grout sealer but 3 to 4 coats are even better. Some experts recommend that grout sealer be applied until the grout cannot absorb any more. As always, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Grout sealer is not fun to apply. It is tedious and the immediate results are not visible. However it must be done.
Never apply grout sealer to the surface of non-glazed tile. The sealer will soak into the tile and cannot be removed.
Go slow and make sure that the entire surface of the grout is covered. Try to stay in the grout lines as much as possible. Make sure that the surface of the grout stays wet for at least 10 minutes during each application process. This will allow a thick coat of sealant.
For best results, use a neutral stone cleaner to clean your tile and grout.
Trust ClearPro Window and Carpet Cleaning for all those difficult and unpopular projects like deep cleaning your ceramic tile and grout or grout sealing.
Types of Grout Sealer Applicators
There are three different types of grout sealer applicators based on how the grout sealer is dispensed. For most applications, a bottle brush applicator or a roller applicator will work just fine.
- Brush on Sealer - The sealer itself is milky in appearance, and is applied directly to the grout itself with a brush tip. Avoid getting the grout sealer on the tile itself. The brush applicator is difficult to use because sealer doesn’t feed smoothly into the brush and sometimes requires a second application on dry areas.
- Roller Sealer - Rollers permit constant movement down the tile seam line with little or no reapplication efforts. Rollers are not perfect, but they are better than brushes. Sealer remains relatively close to the seam line without slopping too far over onto the tile surface.
- Spray on Grout Sealer - Spray on grout applicators work well with very small tiles of 2 inches or less. This is because it’s very time consuming to apply a sealer to very small tiles. This applicator requires more clean up than the other two types. The theory behind spray on sealers is that sealer fluids soak into porous materials like sanded grout but not into smooth surfaces like the glazed surface of ceramic or porcelain tile.
All of us at ClearPro Window and Carpet Cleaning are dedicated to helping you keep your home healthy clean and always looking its best.
The quality of the sealer is very important as there is definitely a big difference in the quality of sealers available on the market.
Even actually MORE important, though, is to make sure you are using the correct cleaners for your ceramic tile and grout. General purpose cleaners not specifically formulated for ceramic tile and grout are never recommended. These products can breakdown the sealer, thereby removing its protective properties and making the tile and grout susceptible to stains. Worse yet, many cleaning products including those that contain lemon, vinegar, bleach or ammonia can etch away the polish, discolor the surface, or even scratch your tile. It is of critical importance to use a neutral pH cleaner to maintain your tile and grout floors, showers, and countertops.
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ClearPro Window and Carpet Cleaning guarantees all work performed will be completed as specified in a professional, workman-like manner following standard trade practices, safety guidelines, and federal, state, and local regulations.