Options

Your Grout Sealer Options

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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.

  • Coatings
  • 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
  • Strippable

grout sealers

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:

  • oilophopic
  • hydrophobic

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.

Coatings:

  • 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

Impregnators:

  • 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.

Color sealers

The name says it all. After sealing your grout, it will be colored as well as protected when you apply these sealers.

Guide

Best Grout Sealer For Your Tiles

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decisions

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? Well, ansewring this question isn’t an easy task. It isn’t easy at all. Believe me, 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 for the comparison. Forget about the manufacturers and their claims – they are surely not the source you should rely on. Of course they’ll claim they make the best product, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect for you.

Basically, this is the result you want to get:

looking good

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, you’ve heard me. I tested almost all products I could find around during my long contractor career. This article is the result of this research. You can thank me later  🙂

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…

Ok, now after we have discussed all that, I also want to say something about different grout sealer types. 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.

As far as penetrating sellers concerns, 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.

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. It is applied in one coat with brush, roller or spray.

Scotchgard Tile and Grout Multi-Surface Sealer

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 Miracle Sealant 511.

Miracle Sealants 511

Aqua Mix Sealers Choice Gold is another supreme water based impregnator sealer that is very durable. 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.

Aqua Mix Sealers Choice Gold

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.

DuPont StoneTech BulletProof

Guide

How To Grout The Tiles

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Grouting the tiles of your bathroom, outdoor patio installation or any other area is the final step of ceramic floor installation. Once successfully completed, you can enjoy the beautiful ambiance created by the ceramic floor. Grout is epoxy resin or cement based decorative component, which is used to fill the seams and joints between the tiles. You will need the following instruments to successfully grout the tiles:

  • Paint mixer/paddle

  • Electric drill
  • Tile sponge

  • 5 gallon bucket and clean water

  • Grout and grout float

  • Rags

Broadly speaking, there are 3 types of grout that can be used for fixing the tiles. The standard grout is made using combinations of fine sand and Portland cement. Standard grout is used for fixing the joints that are thicker than 1/8-inch. For smaller joints than 1/8 inch, un-sanded grout or Portland cement is used without mixing it with fine sand. Epoxy grout is made using minerals and epoxy resins. Although, it doesn’t contain cement, the resins make it more durable, harder and stain proof than cement based grout. However, installing the ceramic floors with resin based grout is more difficult and expensive in comparison to cement based grouts.

how to grout the tiles

You can use the following steps for grouting the tiles:

Clean the tiles: When you set the tiles, the thinset can be squeezed out between the tiles. When ignored, they create patches of different color showing through the grout. So, scrape them out with a sharp blade or utility knife and use a damp sponge to wipe the tiles clean.

Choose a product: Considering the size of the joints and your budget, you have to decide whether you want to use cement based or resin based grout. Grout is available in different colors. So, you should ask for the color charts to find the grout color that perfectly matches with the tiles. The coverage chart on the back of a grout bag will help you in calculating the quantity of required grout for your specific project.

Mix: Prepare the grout by following the instruction on the grout bag. Mostly, grout is prepared by mixing the powder with water, but some products require liquid latex additives for extra protection. Grout in combination with liquid latex additives should be used for outdoor projects as the latex increase the strength and resistance of finished ceramic floor.

Spread it: Now you are ready to spread your mixed grout. Spreading in small areas like 3 x 3 feet gives a very good result. Use a grout float to thoroughly spread and fill every void and gap of your tiles. Don’t bother about the mess as the grout may entirely cover the tiles. Properly filling the seams and gaps of your tiles is the only thing you have to concentrate at this point.

Remove excess: Once you have thoroughly spread the grout and filled all the voids, use your grout float to remove excess grout from the tiles. If you properly wipe off the residual grout, you won’t have to work extra hard during the cleaning process.

Sponge it: Allow sufficient time to dry the grout and then use a moist sponge to wipe the floor. Don’t use a wet sponge, it should be almost dry. The idea is to clean the tiles without removing the fillings between the joints. Don’t aim for perfection while cleaning the tiles. You will achieve this goal after wiping the tiles again. Repeat this process until you have grouted and wiped the entire area of your project.

Clean wipe: Once again, clean the tiles by wiping with a moist sponge. Make sure to use clean water and rinse the sponge after each swipe to make the tiles really clean. Leave the tiles to dry.

Buff it out: Regardless your efforts in cleaning and swiping the tiles, some grout will remain stuck to the tiles. Use rags or clean towel to buff the tiles and remove the grout haze.

Know How

How To Fix A Bad Ceramic Tile Floor

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Ceramic tiles give a neat and colorful look to the kitchen and may last as long as the structure. However, an improperly or an inaccurately laid tile arrangement or too much of grout between the tiles can mar the beauty and style to become an eyesore.

tile floor repair

Having prepared the surface and fixed the tiles with an appropriate adhesive nearly completes the job of tiling the floor. After the tile is set and dried in place, you need to fill the spaces with grout. Depending on the size of the spaces between the tiles, one may use grouts with a sand content or those with latex for improved performance. Grout is available in different colors but white or off-white seems to be more popular a color. If the grout has not been spread out evenly in the gaps, it makes the whole floor look untidy and a blot on the floor. Improper sealing also adds to that look. Good news is that this problem can be sorted out by do-it-yourself fixes over the weekend.

There are two ways of fixing this snag in the floor tiles. Depending on the enormity of the deformity you may remove all the grout and redo the whole thing or grind off the excess of it by using suitable means and devices so that the whole floor looks even. Here is how to go ahead with it.

lay-stone-floor-x

A dermal tool available at any hardware store would do the job. Primarily it is a cordless screwdriver that comes a bunch of attachments. Special attachments are available for removal of ceramic tiles.

After you have made the grout even it will look dirty. The grout is a very porous material, meaning it has many tiny holes in it. These holes provide space for the dirt to settle in and thus impart that dirty look we have been talking of. The small pores therefore need to be sealed up. Before you seal those you need to clean them. There are many cleaners available and any one would work well. But an easier and more effective way is to use bleach. Prepare a mixture of bleach and water in equal proportion and scrub the grout. This treatment not only cleans and brightens up the floor but also takes away mold or mildew that might have grown in the grout. Now wipe up the floor and check how the grout appears. You may have to repeat the exercise till the grout attains the color that you want.

Tile Floor Installation Lakeville_medium

Next action is to seal the grout. But, before doing that ensure that it is absolutely dry. Sealers are available at most of the hardware stores. Follow the simple instructions provided by the manufacturer. The application needs a bit of patience and a steady hand so that the sealer is applied on the grout and not on the tile. Use an appropriate sized paintbrush and whatever sealer is applied on the tile should be wiped off then and there before it gets dried up. Now that the holes in the grout are sealed, no dirt or water can enter there and you’ll continue to have a good looking and bright floor all the time.

Know How

What Is Silicone Grout Sealer And Do You Really Need It?

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By trying grout sealing with acrylic silicone, you will be among those few who have proven its worth. I’ve known about the fabulous effects of acrylic silicone grout sealer for a long time. Having said that, you can now have some idea of how great this product for tile floors really is. But if you ask me is this type of  grout sealer necessary, I will tell you that it isn’t.

But, it seems that I get a lot more for my money and the durability is definitely better when compared to the regular stuff. I also find it easy to apply to floors, with a little assistance from the brush.

Just think about the effects of epoxy paints (click here for more on epoxy), which are used on garage floors mostly. This is how I see silicone grout sealer and the protection it makes in the bathroom. Some would say that it’s the best thing since sliced bread!

silicone grout sealer

WHAT DOES IT DO?

Silicone grout sealer is the best way to deal with moisture and dirt. Period!

Yes, it will protect your tile floors, or should I say grout – defined here, and will keep them look young for a long time. And the small cracks we can have here and there will also be sealed with it. Cool, right? I know that some of you may think that there is a better solution for this. The truth is, maybe there is, I wouldn’t know. Why? Because grout sealing I did with this product was more than enough for me and for people who used it. If there are any disadvantages, I wouldn’t know about them. At least not yet. Silicone grout sealer is a must in my opinion and will contribute to the grout a lot. If you have something better, please share it with me here. I would certainly love to here if I’m missing out on something good.

Like I said, my experience taught me that this is a good option for anyone who likes to do some maintenance work in and around home. I’ve mostly been happy with what epoxy can do for me. I’m not an expert, but I’ve used it more then a dozen times. So now I’m thinking outside the box and I’m going to do something completely different with my grout. I’m gonna use some epoxy paint I have to cover all those small patches and spaces between the tiles.

acrylic grout sealer

I know that I will have to prepare the surface in detail and that it will cost me time. But I think that this could be a great solution. Epoxy is resistant to everything. Why not use it as a sealer? Once you use the grout cleaner and get rid of the dirt, what is stopping you from trying it? Again, this is not necessary, but it is a better option.

My blog is dedicated to something different than epoxy, but I want to write about it too, if it is useful and can be used for other purpose. This is a way to learn how to solve problems. You probably used different material instead the one that usually solves certain problem. Well, that is just thinking out of the box. I can think of many reasons for applying silicone sealer for grout. And this is really important to me.

Few things are as special and satisfying as a good silicone grout sealer when it comes to tiles. I suggest you try it too. And be serious about this, do it all by the book. You may want to learn how to apply it properly, it is not too complicated.

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