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Whether it is your bathroom, kitchen or any place that you have tiles installed, dirty grout lines will appear at some point. Cleaning the tiles won't save your day. Cement-based grout is porous by nature.
Oils, grease, and water cause discoloration by seeping inside. So, the best way to overcome this is to seal tile grout and repeat it every year or so depending on the frequency of appearance of the ugly grout lines.
Sealing grout mainly protects bacteria and mold from growing. It protects wet areas from water damage and increases the longevity of your tiles. There are lots of ways that you can seal tile grout.
The sealers that can get into the grout help prevent staining and other substances from getting in while other sealers will form a shield to protect the grout from water and stains. These sealers are used for stone, ceramic and porcelain tile grout.
Following are some steps that you can apply to seal your tile grout and keep the tiles sparkling every time.
Clean The Grout And Repair Cracks
Do not apply the sealer initially. Take a step back and clean the grout thoroughly. If the grout lines have any breaks, repair it. By doing this in the beginning, you will prevent the sealers from sealing dirt and damaged seams.
If it happens unintentionally, your plan on cleaning the tile grout will go to waste. Also, if there is dirt ingrained on the line, scrub it away. Do it with a toothbrush dipped in soapy water. If the stains are hard to remove, scrub it with a mixture of equal parts of vinegar and warm water.
Clean one grout line and then switch to the next. Apply the sealer after the cleaning area dries after around 45 minutes.
Choose The Sealer That Suits Your Tiles
You must know the type of tiles installed in your home. Otherwise, you will end up buying the wrong sealer as they are specifically designed for different tile type. Choose the sealer which fits the type of your tile and its location. Different sealers work best with different tiles (marble, stone, ceramic tiles, etc.).
These are available in your nearby home improvement store. Different sealers have different toleration levels towards moisture, so they are divided into categories according to the requirement of the tiles.
For showers, high moistures are present, and for kitchen backsplash, there are low moistures. So, you have to apply different sealers in these different areas.
Sealers Getting Into The Grout
These sealers are best for bathroom and shower tiles. It contains tiny particles of latex and silicone. The particles are easily absorbed due to the granular structure of the porous grout. After the absorption, the particles of latex and silicone fill all the gaps and create a shield to keep the moisture out.
Sealers Forming A Layer On Top Of The Grout
These are good for kitchen tiles. The sealers create a coating on the surface of the grout that prevents water from getting in. Do not use it for ceramic tiles. It is highly recommended that you use it on stone tiles.
Pick The Right Sealer Applicator
For thin grout lines and unsealed tiles, use a sponge as an applicator. This will seal large sections of your bathroom walls or floors. For glazed tiles, the sealer will not stick. So, the grout lines are the place that the sealer should be applied to. Use a brush or a bottle with a rolling wheel on top as an applicator.
Always read the instructions on the sealer package. It will help you to choose the applicator as well as guide you to seal the tile grout effectively.
Use A Spray To Seal Grout
Apply spray with grout sealer to the entire surface for sealing grout. This is a quick and easy process. The excess portion should be wiped off as soon as possible.
Apply Masking Tape Horizontally
Apply the tape horizontally to each side of the grout line. This is done to make sure the sealer have straight edges.
Apply Sealer Without Any Rush
Start from left to right and apply sealer slowly at a time. This will help the grout lines to look more uniform, and the sealer will give you better protection. You will notice that no stains or discoloration are present if you do it correctly.
While applying on the grout line, you might see that the excess sealers are going out of the line and moving towards the tile or other places.
In this situation, use a dry cloth to wipe it off. Try to do it fast as the sealer takes five to seven minutes to dry at maximum. After that, a foggy film will be created, and you will have a hard time removing it.
Apply A Second Coat Of Sealer
After you are done with the first coat, allow it to dry for at least thirty minutes to one hour. After that, apply the second coat and let it dry again. Now, you should get ready to test the sealers’ protective capability.
Apply a few drops of water onto the surface and check whether the water changes into droplets or not. If it changes, you are done with the second coating, and if not, you have to apply a third coat to get useful results.
Remove The Masking Tape
Once you are finished applying the sealer and testing its protective capability, remove the tape. Gently wipe the tiles with a dry cloth to remove any excess sealers.
Apply Masking Tape Vertically
Now, use the same procedure as the horizontal one but this time, apply the tape vertically along the grout lines.
Wait For The Sealers To Dry Completely
Different sealers take different amounts of time to dry completely. Some take a day while other takes two to three days to dry. Do not walk on the floor tiles if you have applied sealers on it, wait for at least 4-6 hours.
If you have sealed tiles in the shower area, wait up to 2-3 days and then use the shower. The sealer will not be useful if you have started using the shower on the very day you have sealed it.
Things To Keep In Mind
If you understand the techniques about sealing the grout, it will become easy for you every time. Your sparkling tiles will be proof that your hard work got paid off.
Enjoy the process.