Do I Need To Seal Tile Grout In My Shower?

Sealing tile grout

Many people do not realize that grout is a very porous material. It will absorb any liquid that comes in contact with the surface. With the kitchen backsplash, you may be able to get away without sealing your grout. But do you need to seal tile grout in the shower?

The grout in your shower should always be sealed; this will block any moisture that could easily enter the very porous material. A sealer will prevent water from becoming stuck behind the tile and grout, forming mold and mildew.

Why Shower Grout Should Be Sealed

Sealing your grout is not a lot of work. The protection it gives makes it even more worth it. If you use an epoxy-based grout that naturally repels water in your shower, you will not need a sealer. For many who will use the more traditional grout, which contains sand, the sealant is needed. That sealer absorbs liquid far top easy to not be sealed.

While people sometimes go back and forth whether they should seal the grout in the shower, most people would agree that it is needed. It doesn’t cost much, is not too time-consuming, and will protect your shower. In the end, it does not hurt a thing to apply added protection to your shower.

The sealant also helps to keep your shower much cleaner looking, repelling stains, dirt, and grime.

Different Methods to Seal the Grout in your Shower

Sealing your grout is an extremely easy process. Much easier than the task of tiling your shower you just took on. This will be a breeze. It is important to note not to ever apply grout sealer onto the non-glazed tile. The sealer will soak into the tile and will not come out. Here are some of the different methods on how to apply the grout sealant:

  • Brush On – This type of sealer has a milky appearance and is applied directly to the grout with a small brush tip, though many do not choose this method.
    • Make sure to not get any sealer on the tile, small spots will not hurt though but should be wiped off.
    • Brushing on the sealant is a very tedious task. The sealant doesn’t always flow evenly out of the brush, causing a simple task to take an awfully long time – for days stuck in your bathroom sealing your tile which could drive someone mad.
  • Roller – When using a roller application, the roller moves down the grout line without missing any spots and very rarely needing any touch-ups.
    • This is by far the easiest method out there. No, it won’t always be perfect but with the thin roller, the line will be very close to the seam line without spilling over onto the tile like the brush would. This is the fan-favorite by far.
  • Spray-On – For those that refuse to follow the small grout line tediously taking hours and hours out of your day, trying to keep the line perfect, well this is for you.
    • It is not all it’s cracked up to be though. You will need to wipe down the tiles afterward, but some don’t find that difficult and some even leave it on.
    • It is said that when it is sprayed onto the surface it will only soak into the grout, not the glazed tile. Also, it will wear off over time.

Source – The Spruce – Grout Sealer

Applying Sealant to Grout

When doing home remodels, you will often come across many chemicals that you should use caution when using. A sealant is no different. Always follow the safety guidelines on different products.

Now let’s go over the very simple process on how to apply the sealant to the grout in your shower:

The First Step is to Thoroughly Clean your Grout:

  • Using a coarse scrub pad and a bucket of clean water, remove all the loose grout and debris. Wipe the debris and water with a clean towel (you do not want it going down the drain.)
  • Allow the grout to dry for the recommended time, typically around 45 minutes.
  • You can also use a toothbrush to scrub the excess grout away and remove stains (if resealing old grout).

The Next Step is to Choose the Type of Sealer you Want to Use – 

  • As mentioned above there are a few different methods when applying grout sealer. There are many different brands and types of sealers though. Depending on your tile will decide what type of sealer you use. Sealer is specifically labeled for what it is to be used for.
  • The two main types of sealant are:
    • Penetrating Sealers – These sealers use a water/mineral spirit base that allows the small particles of latex or silicone that penetrate the grout. As the grout soaks in the sealer allowing the latex and silicone to fill in all the gaps. This will keep all the moisture out.
    • Membrane Forming Sealers – These form a coating on the surface of the grout that repels water. These do not work well in a bathroom because water will not be able to escape out from under the tiles. Also, these types will not adhere to glazed tiles.
    • Pick the applicator of your choice (those are listed above)

Now it is Time to Start the Process of Applying the Grout – 

  • Put on rubber gloves, kitchen “dishwashing” gloves work well and prepare sealer in whatever method you have chosen to use. Follow directions for each method.
  • When applying, make sure to saturate the grout line while trying your best to stay away from the tile. Work on small areas at a time using a clean, dry towel to wipe tile off as needed. Sealer typically takes around ten minutes to dry. Remove any standing sealant from the grout lines with a clean, dry paper towel.
  • After you allow it to fully dry, then it is time for the second coat. The number of coats you will need depends on your desired level of coverage. You will know your shower is properly sealed when the water beads on the surface of the grout roll freely without soaking in.

Allow the sealant to cure before using the shower for the first time and enjoy your brand new shower.

Source – SF Gate – Home Guides

How Much Grout Sealant Will It Take?

The first step is to find the grout you need and the right amount. You don’t want to be over halfway finished and run out. You can always take back unopened containers or store it. It is best to seal your grout about once a year to prevent the buildup of mold and mildew.

Smaller tiles will use more grout than large tile patterns. Smaller tiles = More lines to fill. If you used small tile its best to spray on grout sealer, it will speed up the process.

A one-quart container of grout sealer will seal around 200 square feet of grout with 12-inch tiles. The sealant is not that expensive when doing it yourself. If you hire a professional it would easily cost hundreds of dollars. Typically, a one-quart container of grout sealer will set you back under $15 and a one-gallon name brand is as low as $30. Prices do vary based on location and brand.

Source – Tile Cleaning – Grout

How Long Will it take to Seal Tile Grout?

After installing your tile, you must wait until the grout is completely dry before adding sealant. If there is any moisture at all the grout sealer will not be able to soak into the grout to seal it. The time to dry is typically between 48 to 72 hours before it is time to apply sealer.

Be sure to check the package of grout to see the typical drying time. Different grouts dry at different times. Keeping the newly tiled room warm will help the grout cure.

Water-based sealers dry much faster and are far safer to use than solvent-based sealers. However, solvent-based sealers are far more durable and last longer.

Will Grout Sealant Change The Look Of my Tile?

Some sealers will leave a dull hazy film over the surface of the tile. While applying a sealant to the grout, if you happen to get some on the tile, simply wet the area. Then use a dry paper towel to buff the sealant off the tile.

If you apply it correctly and clean up well, then no, it will not change the look of your tile at all. Some types do have color to them to change the look of the grout. Those should be cleaned up well to make sure they don’t stain your tile.

The next time you step into your shower it will feel like a brand new sparkling clean shower. With your grout sealed, you will also spend less time cleaning your shower which means more time working on other DIY projects around your home.

3 thoughts on “Do I Need To Seal Tile Grout In My Shower?”

  1. Thank you. I’ve just epoxied coated my shower and added an 8in., small tile trim around the shower that I will seal with your recommendation of the correct sealer to use and how to apply it.

    Reply
  2. Hi, Viktor,
    I happened to run into your article about sealing grout and thank you for your expertise shared. may I make an enquiry of grout thing further? I had a problem with either grout between shower floor tile or sub-flooring beneath tiles. water comes out of grout between floor tiles while treading on shower floor somewhere. could this problem be solved by applying grout seal or caulking with (rubber-like) silicon?
    thank you!
    jackie

    Reply

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