Many people consider grouting the final step of a tiling project.
And while grouting does pull the entire project together, in terms of both look and function, it’s actually not the last step to complete.
The majority of grouting projects also require sealant as a finishing touch to protect the grout and increase the overall resiliency.
Even though you might be unfamiliar with sealing grout, it’s actually a very quick and useful skill to learn.
Here’s exactly how to seal grout for your next DIY tiling project.
What You’ll Need
There are a handful of different ways to seal grout.
However, I’m going to focus on the most common method today. Liquid grout sealer is perhaps the easiest and most effective method to use.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Masking Tape
- Foam Paint Brush (or Small Paint Roller)
- Liquid Grout Sealer
- Clean Cloth
Use our best grout sealer complete buying guide and reviews to find the best grout sealer for your project.
Step I: Let Dry
One of the biggest mistakes I see for both beginners and DIY veterans is failing to let the grout dry completely before applying the sealer.
According to The Spruce, it’s essential to wait between 48 and 72 hours after grouting before sealing. Don’t rush this step.
The grout needs adequate time to dry out completely. You will then need to clean the grout and make sure there are no cracks or chips.
If you find cracks, chips, or similar defects in your grouting, you must touch them up to make the grouting smooth.
Remember to wait an additional 48 to 72 hours after all touch ups to allow for complete drying.
Step II: Prepare Area
Now that the grout has dried completely, it’s time to prepare the nearby area for sealing.
Start by taping off any areas prone to damage. For example, it’s important to tape off baseboards and other trim with masking tape.
Failure to tape off these sensitive areas can result in staining and similar damage.
Step III: Apply Sealant
Use a foam paint brush or small paint roller to apply the sealant to the grouting lines.
I personally prefer the paint brush method as it enables you to use the edge of the brush to apply the sealant thereby limiting the amount of sealant that gets on the tile.
Make sure to cover all of the grouting with the sealant. Pay particular attention to the grouting joints or the areas where multiple lines of grout meet.
Use a damp cloth to wipe the sealer off the tile. Chances are you will get at least a little sealant on the tile, so I strongly recommend keeping a damp cloth on hand.
Double check the area of application and apply sealant to any grout that you missed.
Step IV: Apply Second Coat
Although you can get away with a single coat of grout sealant, it’s best to apply at least two coats.
Wait for the first coat to dry for at least 5 to 15 minutes. You should then use the same application method described above to apply the second coat.
Wait another 5 to 15 minutes for this newly applied second coat to dry.
Step V: Wipe & Let Cure
Keep your damp cloth on hand to clean any sealant off the tiles as you work.
Take a minute or two after the second coat has dried to inspect each tile for dried sealant. A damp cloth should be able to wipe this sealant away from the tile.
Although your sealant will dry within roughly 2 to 5 hours, the North American Tile Cleaning Organization states you should wait at least 24 hours, if not 48 hours, before using the area in any way.
In fact, you should wait a full 78 hours before using the area in a way in which the grout might possibly be stained.
A common alternative to the liquid grout method is to use an aerosol grout sealer.
I personally prefer the first method because it’s actually quite simple and provides a higher quality, longer-term seal.
If you do use the aerosol method, keep these simple steps in mind:
- Wait for grout to dry (48 to 72 hours)
- Shake aerosol sealer can for one minute
- Spray about a foot away from the grout
- Wipe residue off the tile
- Wait for at least 24 hours before use
Note that you can test the quality of your seal by placing a drop or two of water onto the sealed area to see if the grout soaks it up or if the sealant repels it.
Learning how to seal grout is a walk in the park.
If you’re involved in a tiling or grouting project, there’s little to no reason not to apply a sealant as an additional layer of protection.
Now that you’ve read this guide, why not look into some of my other favorite DIY projects?