Grout sealer is one of the essentials of taking care of tile in your home, but the choice can be complicated when you’re looking at all of the products on the market.
Since you’re already here, we can help you make sure that you find the right one to suit your needs, allowing you to move forward problem free and keep everything looking spic and span until the next time you need to apply it.
Best Overall !
For a maximum seal over both stone and grout this is a clear choice, but it can add up pretty quickly if you have to cover a large area.
Top 5 Grout Sealers
|Aqua Mix Sealer's Choice Gold Quart|
|Aqua Mix Grout Sealer Dual Protection||Non-penetrating|
|Tuff Duck Granite, Grout and Marble Sealer||Penetrating|
|StoneTech Heavy Duty Grout Sealer||Penetrating|
|Miracle Sealants 511 QT SG 511||Penetrating|
What is Grout Sealer?
Simply put, grout sealers protect the porous surface of the adhesive between your tiles. Since the stuff which holds them down, grout, has a bunch of micro holes in the surface it has a tendency to discolor over time which can leave things looking gross even if you go over the whole surface with bleach and a tooth brush.
- Top 5 Grout Sealers
- What is Grout Sealer?
Don’t let anyone trick you into thinking you need it to maintain the longevity of the tile surface you’re working with, however, this is purely a cosmetic issue. It’s a pretty rare surface that will regularly be covered in the kind of acidic conditions required to really mess with the mortar in your grout.
The thing is, grout consists of sand and mortar and the sand allows micro-gaps which will absorb anything it comes into contact with them. Over time this will discolor, most of us have seen a gross public restroom with yellowed or even brown grout and it’s caused by a lack of sealing.
When Do I Use a Grout Sealer?
If you’ve just laid down your tile, then investing in a grout sealer is an awesome idea. This will keep the colors true for a long time, as long as you remember to keep applying it when it wears off.
It’s most important in applications that will be seeing a whole lot of liquids like showers and even bathroom floors. The idea here is to keep things looking neat and clean instead of aging out over time and making for an uncleanly look.
It can also help to lower maintenance time. Cleaning grout by hand can be done, but it’s tedious and not perfect. With the right sealer laid between your tiles you can cut down on this time by a lot and a simple sponge and wash job will usually be sufficient to take care of the whole mess.
The only time you don’t need to use it is if you used epoxy based grout. In which case it’s naturally fluid proof. This is generally only used in commercial, high traffic settings and in places where the tile is likely to be exposed to harsh chemicals, it’s really not the sort of thing which is commonly found in the home.
What Type of Grout Sealers Are There?
There are two main types of grout sealing products available, and it’s pretty easy to figure out which one is ideal for you.
Penetrating sealers get into the pores in the grout. This makes for a long lasting, but not permanent seal. If applied as soon as you get things laid down, it can also help to prevent mold and mildew from ever appearing in the pores between your tile. Keep in mind penetrating sealers will also tend to darken the shade of the grout they’re applied to.
Penetrating sealers generally last for ten to fifteen years with proper maintenance applied to them. You will have to strip the grout and reapply it once it has faded, however, since you can’t just apply another coat.
Non-penetrating sealers are laid down as a semi-permanent overcoat. They work great for repelling water and other fluids, but they will discolor over time. This is opposed to penetrating sealers which simply wear out. These sealants need to be watched over time for chipping in order to prevent nasty growth in the grout.
For the most part, they’ll last for three to five years before needing replacement, barring some catastrophe. At the end of this you’ll have to strip up the old sealant and lay down another coat, which is time consuming but certainly faster than having to refinish the entire floor surface.
Acrylic non-penetrating sealers last longer but are much harder to remove. They serve as a good middle ground between the two types of sealer, despite their lack of penetration.
For a new floor it’s up to you to decide which option is better, we recommend penetrating sealer if you’re on the fence however. It’s lower maintenance in the short term and serves as a mostly permanent barrier against mold and bacteria, as well as discoloration.
How to Pick a Grout Sealer for You
You’ll have to figure out where you’re using your sealer in order to make sure that you have the ideal one for a long lasting solution. It basically comes down to one question and your personal budget
Oil or Water Resistant?
Due to the properties of oil and water, it’s a pretty rare sealer that will reject both equally well. While there’s bound to be some cross over, this is a pretty easy choice to make.
For kitchens use an oil resistant sealer. You’re far more likely to spill cooking oil or drop a pan full of butter in the kitchen than you are in the bathroom, and oils will penetrate and discolor grout if they break the seal.
For bathrooms and general use, err on the waterproof side. Spilled drinks are common in other places of the house, and in bathrooms particularly you’re looking at a significant amount of water. If you enjoy hot showers, you’re also looking at steam penetration. On the floor it’s not a big deal, but higher up there can be issues there.
There are also sealants which can add color to your grout. If you’re looking for an extra, aesthetic flair in the room then they can be great but they generally only come in a non-penetrating type. If this is the case do not sacrifice durability for a bit of extra color. It might cost more, but get the best sealant you can afford no matter what.
Colors may fade, but discolored grout is something which will cause a whole mess of serious problems farther down the line.