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There are many grout sealing products on the market and they can be used for various purposes, offering various benefits. If you are wondering which product to use, read this post about the grout sealer options and you will be one step closer to getting the right product.
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
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:
Permanent coatings are very tough to remove. They are made of epoxies, polyurethanes and such. Many contractors do not recommend them for grout because they are almost impossible to remove.
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.