is it really necessary to seal tile grout right away?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Ted Lee, Jan 22, 2005.

  1. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    hi all -

    i'll be moving into a brand new home in a couple of months. we opted for a *lot* of tile - on the floor, in the showers, on the counters, etc. most of the grout is colored to compliment the tiles (mostly lighter shades of brown), so there is no white grout.

    a friend told me i should seal the grout *first thing* when i move in...especially in the showers (even before first use). he said if i don't seal the grout, i risk the grout staining if spilled on. he also gave some reason to seal the shower right away, but i don't recall now. something about the tile grout is dry, therefore more absorbant, to the sealer.

    it definitely sounds like sound advice, and i do plan to eventually seal the grout. i'm just concerned about the immediacy of the project.

    anyway, any advice or info you have on this is most appreciated! also, if you've done this yourself, any recommendations on products/procedures would be appreciated as well.

    thanks!
     
  2. Mike_Mig

    Mike_Mig Stunt Coordinator

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    Ted,

    I'm certainly not any kind of expert, but have bought two brand new homes in the last 4 years and have honestly never heard of such a thing. My tile has consisted solely of floor tile in bathrooms though. How do you apply it? Spread it over the whole area and then wipe off the surface of the tile and let it sit into the grout, or try to paint it in between the tiles? Seriously, never heard of it.

    Mike
     
  3. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    I would seal the tile if it hasn't been already, especially in the shower. The time spent is well worth it considering that if it stains or molds you'll be living with that for a long time.
     
  4. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

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    I install a lot of tile on remodeling jobs and I always recommend sealing especially in bathroom and kitchen areas. This is to reduce the likelihood of staining the grout........ which WILL happen......

    There's a lot of products out there for sealing purposes and I typically use one that is applied over the entire surface, tile & grout. Just apply, spread evenly and let dry.
    And yes, I'd get the sealing done before moving in as it will be a lot easier..........
     
  5. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    thx all.

    donny - from the stuff i've read, they always say to apply the sealer only to the grout, and *wipe off* any stuff that gets on the tile. obviously, you must be doing something different...???

    mike - i'm surprised your builder never told you about sealing the grout - especially considering they were new homes. it's considered a standard procedure to maintain/care for your grout. my builder's website even lists it as one of the things to do when you first move in.
     
  6. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    Seal it.

    It doesnt take long.
     
  7. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

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    Ted.... yes, some products can be used on the entire surface and some are simply for the grout. Glazed wall tile and most ceramic floor tile will need different sealers. For floors, it is a lot easier to spread the sealer on the whole floor instead of just the grout lines. Sealing the entire surface of ceramic tile makes it much easier to clean in the future.
     
  8. Mike JL

    Mike JL Extra

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    We just rebuilt a bathroom in early fall and installed a tile floor. Sealing the grout prevents stains from spills, but it also prevents discoloation from dirt over time. Highly recommended.

    Grout sealers and tile sealers are two separate products. Some grout sealers will form a haze on the tile surface if not wiped off immediately. The haze can be a real bear to remove later. Make sure you read and follow the directions.

    We found a sealer applicator at a local building supply store that really made the process easy. It is a plastic bottle with a cap that has a felt roller installed. All you have to do is fill the bottle and roll it down the grout lines. Virtually no clean up necessary.
     
  9. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    definitely seal it.
    I used some stuff from home depot that had to be brushed on the grout, I put 2 or 3 coats on with a foam brush, but I do seem to remember the directions saying to wait for the grout to set 30 days before doing it, or maybe that was my garage floor paint, I can't remember.
     
  10. BrettB

    BrettB Producer

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    Yes, seal it. Our house is 4 yrs old and our grout is in terrible shape. Is there any hope for dirty/stained grout or am I screwed? I was wondering if you could use a Dremel to whack off the top of the grout.
     
  11. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

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    Brent.... there are several products available to clean your grout. Take a trip to Home Depot and Lowes and check out your options.
     
  12. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    thx all.

    i'm *definitely* going to seal it...that's really not my question. [​IMG]

    the question is if i should do it immediately, or if i waited a few days (especially where the shower is concerned) ... if that could do any harm.

    well, in any case, i think i'll do the showers as soon as i move in ... just to be safe!

    thx again all...i appreciate it!

    ted
     
  13. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    Not sure about a dremel but you might be able to scrape it, I'm really not sure. Could always saw it out and regrout, wouldn't be that much work really.
     
  14. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    Yes, definately seal it. I install quite a bit of tile. If the shower grout is not properly sealed, water could penetrate completely through the grout - and start to "dampen" the crappy green drywall wallboard that builders use behind the tiles.

    Now, if all builders had used Duroc or Wonderboard cement-backer board, I'd say you have a little time to seal them.

    Home Depot sells some aerosol based grout sealer. It's in a blue and yellow can. Costs $9.99. Lasts 15 years and is very easy to install. You don't have to wipe the sealer off the tiles because it will safely evaporate from those surfaces.

    If tile has a glaze on it, there's no need to seal the tile surface itself. Usually, just tile that doesn't have a glazing on top of it (e.g. - terra cotta tiles) would need to have the tile itself sealed to prevent damage.

    A $9.99 can of tile sealer is cheap insurance. I'll get $2,000 to rebuild your tile walls with new tile and cement backer board.
     
  15. Bob-N

    Bob-N Supporting Actor

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    Ok, you have enough to say seal it. I say seal it right away. You don't want any moisture to penetrate the grout. Its a very porous material and unless you use a grout sealer, it will absorb the moisture. Definitely seal your bathroom (high humidity on the floors/walls) and any high traffic area if you have tile floors since it's winter (think dirty wet shoes). Probably the other areas can wait. Weird that the builders/tilers didn't do it themselves.

    For the poster who asked about grout removal/replacement:

    My grout replacement was done using a Dremel with the grout removing bit. Worked well but did take some time to get the right angles and technique to get straight lines. My advice:

    - buy the knockoff grout bit and buy at least 5-10. The official Dremel ones are at least $5 each. They do get dull. I used 4 1/8th inch bits for my shower stall. Got them from Ebay for about $1.25 each in groups of 10 as I recall. Still have leftovers for the next project.

    - buy the grout "guide" attachment. This helps keep the bit perpendicular to the surface, at the correct depth and at the correct grinding angle (about 45 degrees). I ended up finding a good Dremel kit with the grout guide attachment for $50. Came with case and about 30 bit attachments.

    - take your time with it. Let the tool do the job. Some gaps will be easier to grind, others are tighter and take some time to get through.

    - put down some aquabar (I had leftovers) or other thick material on the bottom of the shower. Helps keep the material from going down and clogging the drain.

    - don't try the saw technique. I tried using a friends hand saw but for my shower, the original owner did a crappy job (facilitating the regrout) and the gaps were of varying width making a grout saw useless. If you're only doing a bit of grout to replace a tile or two, then it may make sense not to do the Dremel route (cost factor).

    - use a filter mask and eye protection. Cheap at Home Depot. Worth every penny.

    My shower stall is approx 45" wide, by 36" by 84" and it took about 5 nights, about 2-3 hrs per session, after work to get the grout out and cleaned up. The grouting was cake and done in about 4 hours total including sealing.

    Hope this helps someone. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions. I also tiled my second bathoom bath/shower prior to tackling the regrout project above.
     
  16. Todd Henry

    Todd Henry Second Unit

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    I just asked the guy installing my tile and he said no need to seal it because it only lasts about 6 months and darkens the grout.

    Todd
     
  17. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    I completely disagree. I've noticed no changes to the color of the grout I've sealed. However, I do get plenty of tile repairs for tile that wasn't properly sealed.

    Of course your tile person isn't going to recommend that you seal it. He looks forward to coming back to your house in a few years to redo some of your tile. [​IMG]
     
  18. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    so if a little bit of moisture gets in the shower grout, should i wait (until it dries out) before sealing it? seems like i should otherwise i'll seal in the moisture.

    and, if that is the case, how long does it take for grout to dry out anyway?
     
  19. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    Let the grout dry for a couple of days. If you have a 2nd shower, use that one instead. Then, after a couple of days, apply the sealer. The grout sealer needs less than 8 hours to dry, so you can use your main shower the next day.
     
  20. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    After tiling my laundry room I sealed the tile, and I'm so glad I did. My wife dropped a full bottle of Simple Green on the floor, spilling it everywhere. The damage was minimal -- I'm sure I'd have dark green grout if I hadn't sealed it.

    In bathrooms, the same thing applies...urine will inevitably miss the toilet and you don't want that soaking in...
     

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