Do I Have to Seal the Grout?
A freshly tiled surface can do wonders for a home. Many people even some professionals believe that once you have laid the tile and the grout is applied,cleaned, and dried that your tile installation is complete. Fact is that grout is not as durable as the tile it holds in place, protecting your grout with sealer is a very wise choice in keeping your tile in top shape.
Not sealing grout leaves it vulnerable. Grout is a very porous material made of a cement compound that mixes with water to form a spreadable paste. This means that liquids seep deep into the pours of the grout if they are not cleaned up right as they spill. If you spill a liquid with color such as juice, soda, wine, coffee, or tea the water in these items will eventually evaporate leaving the color behind resulting in a very deep set stain. Bleach can sometimes be used to lighten stains but it is not a guaranteed fail safe method to clean up stains on unsealed grout. Oils also seep into grout pours and removing oil stains could mean chipping out your grout and re-applying. Grout sealer protects against stains by coating or penetrating pours,depending upon the type of grout, and preventing substances from going deep into the grout.
Types of Sealer
Penetrating Grout Sealer- penetrating grout sealer does just as the name describes, it penetrates or seeps into the grout and protects it from stains and grease infiltration. This is probably the most common type of grout sealer and can be applied pretty easily . Penetrating grout sealer is not permanent and will need to be re-applied. A great time to apply grout sealer is after a yearly professional tile cleaning.
Impregnating Grout Sealer- this is a less common type of penetrating sealer. This sealer impregnates grout pores and seals them permanently. While penetrating sealer leaves no shine and will not alter grout color,impregnating sealer may darken your grout slightly.
Non-penetrating Grout Sealer- these types of sealers form a film or barrier on the surface of the grout. This barrier helps to repel water and stains. This is a good sealer for really moist environments like the bathroom in the shower. One downside to a non-penetrating grout sealer is that it can turn a milky color over time. You can get rid of the milky color by removing the old sealer and replacing it with a fresh coat.
Grout sealer may seem like just another step that is not necessary, but it can work wonders in keeping your tile in top shape. Another way to keep your tile at its best is with a regular deep cleaning.
All Kleen has been deep cleaning tile for over 30 years we can even re-apply sealer when we are done cleaning. Make an appointment online.