Are you looking for the best grout sealer that would be ideal for your brand new tiles in the bathroom? Or are you just interested in the perfect moisture and dirt protection for the plaster on your ceramic kitchen floor?
It doesn’t matter what type of tiles we are talking about. The dilemma is always the same. Which grout sealer would be the best choice? Well, answering this question isn’t an easy task. I know from personal experience how tricky that can be. The biggest problem is that we don’t have any objective and established standards that we could use as a metric. And you can forget about the manufacturers and their claims – they are really not the source you should rely on. Of course they’ll claim they make the best product ever, but that doesn’t mean it’s a perfect option for you.
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Basically, when sealing grout, this is the final result you want to get:
And there is only one way to find the best grout sealer. It’s personal testing! I know, I know. You probably think it is impossible for you to check every applicator and every spray on the market. I understand you. You’re not so crazy about grout sealing to do something like that. But I am. Yes, I tested almost all products I could find around during my contractor career. This article is the result of this research.
However, before I jump on with the list, I just want to say a couple of things. If you are looking for a product that would be ideal for all kinds of tiles and grouts, that would be ideal for all joint sizes, durable and easily removable in the same time, both chemical-free and penetrating, you wouldn’t find such a product. This is the reason why you should ask yourself what would be the perfect sealer for the certain job, not the perfect in general.
For instance, if you already sealed your tiles, you wouldn’t need the sealer again. It is the same with the epoxy grout. What about non-glazed tiles? Just don’t dare to apply it on these tiles. If you do, your piece of work will be ruined for good. In addition, for long- lasting protection, so – called surface sealants or coatings would not be enough. Bathroom tiles need silicone, not water based products. You see? The decision what sealant would be the best depends on several different factors, such as the type of the tiles, location, your intention, applying method, budget…
Best Grout Sealant Reviews
Miracle Sealants 511 is a premium penetrating sealer that you can use both for interior and exterior tiles. This product penetrates deep in the tiles, making the invisible barrier for the water and oil stains. At the same time, it allows the vapor to escape. You don’t have to be worried about your ceramics, because this protector wouldn’t change its natural look. This product is well- known because of its special molecular structure, which makes this sealer more water resistant than similar products. I would definitely recommend any other product from the line of Miracle Sealants as these are quality made products.
Aqua Mix Sealers Choice Gold is considered among to be among the best water based impregnator sealers. I used it many times and I must admit that all grouts and tiles look great even after a couple years. The optimal protection is reached only after four hours. The great thing about Aqua Mix is that you can use is it in the kitchen or food preparation rooms without any fear of intoxication. It is effective as both grout sealing and pre-grouting sealer.
DuPont StoneTech BulletProof is another water based penetrating sealant that showed very good any time I tried it. It is especially great for natural stones and porous tiles. You can use it equally outside an inside. Although it lasts shorter than other products from the list, you can be sure that your tiles or stones would be perfectly safe at least five years.
Scotchgard Tile and Grout Multi-Surface Sealer is definitely one of the best water based surface sealers on the market. It is very durable and you will be pleased with the condition of your tiles for a long time. It is very important that you can apply it even on the extremely porous tiles, same as on the natural stones, concrete and grouts. This product provides great protection from a wide range of strains. This grout sealer is applied in one coat with brush, roller or spray.
Ok, now after we have discussed all that, I also want to say something about different grout sealers. These products are divided into three major groups, which all have their own subcategories. I will list only the products from the two groups – surface and penetrating sealants, because the third category, color tile protectors, is something that nobody can rank. It is all about personal preferences.
Surface sealers are also known as membrane forming or just coatings, simply because these products stay on the surface of the tiles or grout and make the protection barrier from the water, moisture, oil and other dirt. As we already said, we have more subcategories here, and the main difference between them is in the substance of which they are made. In that way, you can choose between water, silicone or even acrylic sealants. They all have their pros and cons, of course. However, you should know that these products are not very durable as the products from the second group. According to my experience, water and silicone based products can withstand from three to five years. On the other hand, acrylic can be intact for about 10 years.
Regarding penetrating sealers – this group also has several subcategories. In general, we can divide them into two types: oleophobic and hydrophobic. These types are more durable than coatings, but they are a little bit harder for applying at the same time. If you want long-lasting results, you should definitely use this kind of sealers.
Different Types of Sealers
There are many grout sealing products on the market and they can be used for various purposes, offering various benefits.
What we need to clear up first is that not all grout needs to be sealed – already sealed grout and epoxy grout. Now, you may ask, how do you determine this? Well, you can do a quick test to figure this out. Spill some water on your tile flooring. If the water doesn’t bead up on the surface, you should seal your grout.
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For someone who never used these products, it’s tough to choose the suitable one. There are hundreds of different products, but they all originate from 3 different categories.
- Penetrating sealers
- Color sealers
3 Grout Sealer Categories
Lets talk about coatings first. These represent the thin layer on the grout surface so no oil, water or dirt can penetrate the grout pores. There are two coatings available:
Strippable coatings can be easily removed from the grout’s surface. These are made of styrene, acrylics, polyethylene and other polymers. Most of them are water based so they can be easily removed. If you take a look on the label, you will see something like: acrylic, high speed, metal cross link etc.
Second, penetrating sealers. These are made to penetrate the grout surface and then deposit particles that will protect the grout. Now water and dirt won’t be able to enter the grout. These impregnators mostly contain silane, siloxane, silicone, or some other silicon derivatives.
Just like coatings, there are two penetrating sealers available:
Oilophobic impregnators repel oil (grease, cooking oil, body oil) and water based liquids.
Hydrophobic impregnators repel water only and are water based solutions.
To explain this a little bit more, oilophobic impregnators are hydrophobic but hydrophobic impregnators are not always oilophobic. This is why you need to read the label. Oil repellent means that oil will be prevented from entering grout, while oil resistant means that the oil will only be slowed down but will still penetrate the grout.
Should you go for a coating or an impregnator
I’ll show you the advantages and disadvantages of both options so you can determine which way to go.
- They are economical
- They have a sacrificial coating, meaning that grout will be protected from wear
- Are tough to apply
- They need to be reapplied because they get worn out quickly
- They can produce a lousy appearance
- Sometimes they turn yellow if you expose them to sun (UV light)
- Since they need to be reapplied often, the removal process may damage the grout
- Some coatings do not allow grout to breathe and if moisture is trapped below, the grout may simply fall apart
- They do not change grout appearance
- They last several years, no frequent application is needed
- The UV light doesn’t influence them
- Some impregnators produce flammable vapors
- Some impregnators are solvent-based which is bad for the environment
- High cost
Always read the label and talk to the distributor or salesman to know everything you can about the product you want to use.
The name says it all. After sealing your grout, it will be colored as well as protected when you apply these sealers.