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How To Seal Grout: A Beginner’s Guide

Did you know that you need to seal your grout after tiling? Learn how to apply 511 Impregnator Sealer on grout with these easy-to-follow application instructions for beginners. In this tutorial, you will learn how to apply grout sealer with an applicator, the tools you need, and expert tips.

After the tile is installed, you may think your home improvement project is complete; however, many DIYers skip a very important step when completing tile work: sealing the grout.

Whether you are installing tile in a living room, kitchen as a backsplash, or in a shower or on the bathroom floor – it’s important to seal the grout and protect it from water and bacteria.

Grout is not just the stuff that goes in between tiles, it’s the “glue” that holds a flooring project together and acts as a bonding to prevent the edges of the tiles from chipping and cracking.

With that said, sealing the grout is a very important step in putting the final touches on your flooring project. Unfortunately, it’s also one of those chores that tend to be put off, even by professionals.

This how to seal grout guide contains affiliate links, but nothing that I wouldn’t recommend wholeheartedly. Read my full disclosure here.

Before you apply grout sealant, the grout has to cure fully (of which the exact time varies, but never less than 24 hours), so many contractors neglect to return for this part and leave it up to the homeowners. The good news is: you can do seal your grout very easily and inexpensively with a quick trip to a home improvement store.

Sealing Grout: Video Tutorial

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Is sealing grout really necessary?

Since grout products are basically a mix of water and cement, this means they are porous. Porous materials are easily stained and absorb water, which makes them prone to bacteria, water absorption, and even mold if they are not properly sealed.

For our tiling projects, we use the 511 Impregnator Sealer which has worked really well in all applications. Plus, it can be used on many different types of tile and stone.

It is easy to apply in just two to three coats on your tile floor. These directions will walk you through the process of applying a sealer to your grout and tips on using the applicator.

How to Seal Grout: 2 Methods

There are a few different ways to apply grout sealer. For this tutorial, we will use a bottle with an applicator tip. This brush makes it really easy to apply the sealant and is great for small grout lines.

We used this process for the large format tiles in our living room entryway, but this process will work on any size floor tile.

Other grout sealer applicator options come with a rolling applicator tip, but I’ve found the brush is the easiest to work with. Alternatively, you can use a foam paintbrush for larger grout lines if you’re in a pinch. If using a brush,

What else can you do with 511 Impregnator?

The 511 impregnator sealer is actually used for more than just grout! We’ve used it for several different things, like sealing marble tile coasters and more!

As listed on the container, 511 Impregnator Sealer is great for:

  • Natural Stone (like marble)
  • Slate
  • Quartz
  • Ceramic (unglazed only because glazed ceramic tiles do not need to be sealed)
  • Grout

We used it to seal real marble tiles on the bathroom floor in our kid’s bathroom. We applied the sealer to the tile before it was installed to protect the tile.

We’ve also used it on real cement tiles, which we added to the back of the shower niches in our kid’s bathroom. Real cement tiles are porous, so they need to be sealed before installation as well.

It is also a good idea to go back and reseal your porous tiles to maintain them. It’s recommended to seal most tiles every couple of years.

Supplies needed for sealing grout:

Step 1. Prepare grout to be sealed.

First, make sure the grout has had at least 48 hours to cure and is clean. We like to wait about 7 days to ensure all of the grout has completely dried. You can check on the back of your box of grout to see what the cure time is for your grout.

If you choose to wait an extended period of time, be sure to keep the grout as dry as possible.

If your grout is dirty before it is sealed, it needs to be cleaned well before applying grout sealer. You can use a bleach and water mixture and rinse well. Then let it dry thoroughly before sealing.

Step 2. Apply grout sealer

Using the applicator bottle, brush a thin layer of sealant directly onto the grout lines and leave it in place for 3-5 minutes to soak in. Start with a single thin layer on all areas of the grout, then you can apply additional coats if needed.

applying grout sealant with a brush applicator

Step 3. Wipe grout sealer dry

After a few minutes of drying, wipe away the excess sealant with a clean, dry cloth. Cotton paint rags work well for this.

Be sure to use a new dry spot on the cloth each time you wipe away to prevent smearing sealant on the tile.

wiping away grout sealant with a white rag

If you are applying more than one coat, wait 30 minutes between each coat. Everything should be dry within 2-3 hours.

Sealing Grout FAQ

Is sealing grout really necessary?

Yes, sealing grout protects the integrity of the grout lines and tile. Grout sealer also prevents stains and bacteria from growing on your grout, which could lead to mold and mildew – yuck!

Do you have to seal epoxy grout?

No, you do not have to seal epoxy grout. That is the one exception! That is because epoxy is not a porous material.

What happens if I don’t seal grout?

If grout remains unsealed, water absorption, bacteria, stains, and mold could impact your flooring project.

How long does it take for grout sealer to dry?

Grout sealer takes a few hours to completely dry. If you are applying more than one coat of sealer, wait 30 minutes between each coat.

How do you tell if grout is sealed?

To tell if your grout has been sealed or not, you can splash a little bit of water on the grout lines. If water beads repel from grout, it’s sealed. If the water beads absorb into the grout lines, the grout has not been sealed or it needs to be sealed again.

How often do you need to seal grout?

Grout should be sealed every 3-5 years to continue protecting the tiles and grout lines.

How do you seal grout?

Seal grout with a grout sealant applied to the grout lines only.

What happens if grout sealer dries on tile?

If grout sealer dries on tile, it could produce a hazy film and reduce the shininess of the tile. If you accidentally smear sealant on tiles, you can easily remove the sealant with a little vinegar and water applied to the tile.

If you’ve had new tile installed in your home by a professional or DIYed it yourself, don’t forget that the grout needs to be sealed when you’re all said and done! But don’t worry, the process is simple!

By following along with our easy step-by-step guide for beginners, you’ll quickly learn how to seal grout in just 3 steps!

How to Seal Grout in Three Easy Steps

How to Seal Grout in Three Easy Steps

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $7

Sealing grout is a very important step in putting the final touches on your flooring project. You can do it just three easy steps.

Instructions

  1. Prepare the grout to be sealed. Wait at least 48 hours after applying grout to tile and check the manufacturer's instructions for drying time before applying sealer. Clean grout if it is dirty and make sure to keep the grout dry if you are waiting to apply sealer.
  2. Using the applicator bottle, brush a thin layer of sealant directly onto the grout lines and leave it in place for 3-5 minutes to soak in. Start with a single thin layer on all areas of the grout, then you can apply additional coats if needed.
  3. After a few minutes of drying, wipe away the excess sealant with a clean, dry cloth. Cotton paint rags work well for this.

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