We use various ways to protect grout from contamination and soiling. In general what we are trying to achieve thus is to ensure that the grout remains in its original state and colour, is easily cleaned and allows for robust usage be it in shower walls, wetrooms or kitchen floors.
The first system and probably the most widely used system for grout protection is to apply a solvent based penetrating sealer. This will normally not change the appearance of the grout when it has cured fully (normally 24hrs). The idea here is that the grout is penetrated on a molecular level to such an extent that it becomes saturated and will not allow other contaminants to penetrate and thereby stain the grout. There are a huge number of such sealers and grout protectors available in hardware and tile shops, most common amongst them Lithofin or Fila. We tend to use Faber sealers as we find them very high quality and we tend to find less problems and a happier set of customers. It is important to note that if we are trying to protect old grout we must first ensure that the grout is meticulously cleaned and completely dry.
The second system for grout protection is the application to the cleaned and dried grout of a surface based, topical sealer. Again we have a huge choice of types and again brands, but pre-eminent amongst those are the acrylic sealers from Buckeye which also seal and protect the tile surface as well. We can also use various of emulsion based waxes and acrylic and water based waxes. These are topical sealers and as such are very very effective in the short term. The downside of this system is that there can be a tendency over time for the topical sealers to wear off with footfall and or improper use of harsh detergents. With the proper maintenance program, using ph neutral detergents and the proper pick up systems to dry the grout joints we can ensure a much longer lifespan of this type of grout sealer
Another grout sealing system which we use in Old 2 New Tiles is to apply an acrylic resin bond to the cleaned and dried grout. This acrylic resind bond or colour seal comes in a variety of colours and is actually formulated to penetrate the old and usually stained grout. Therein it dyes or recolours the grout and at the same time saturates the grout to prevent further soiling or staining and also and most effectively it acts as a topical sealer to leave the grout in showers or floors impervious to wine, coffee, tea or false tan stains. This is a very effective and easily applied system and if we ensure to use the best brand available then we can be sure of a very long serving grout protection system.
The last system for protecting grout is useful only at the installation stage or if we a re prepared to remove the old or soiled grout as it is grout with stain protection built in. As experienced tile fitters we have found this type of grout to be very effective at reducing the heartache of soiled and stained grout. We recommend Larsens stain resistant grout which comes in a range of colours and is available from good tile shops or by searching online.
We hope this has answered briefly some of the questions about grout sealers.