to seal or not to seal? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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12-05-2004, 03:06 PM
I am new at tiling, but have used my grandfather's expertise in other home improvement areas plus some "how to" books to guide me through a 5x5 bathroom floor tiling project. So far so good. Ceramic tile is down and grouting is completed.

However here is where the question arises. I intended to seal the grout. My grandfather on the other hand has had three tile installations done in various houses of his and 2 of the installers said that sealant was not necessary and only served to make a mess on the tile and to darken the grout...The third guy sealed the tile but my grandfather wasn't convinced that it was necessary.

This info is contrary to everything I've read, so am curious as to the current professional opinion. Is it necessary? What happens if I don't use it? What happens if I do use it?

Thanks for any opinions.


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John Corley
12-05-2004, 04:11 PM

The only time you don't seal grout, is if you don't want it to stay clean.

Let the grout cure or dry for 48-72 hours depending on what part of the world you are in, get a grout sealer applicator and read the instructions on your sealer.

John :)

John Bridge
12-05-2004, 08:55 PM
Hi Sarah, Hi John, :)

Your grandfather is right and wrong. :) Years ago sealers were not good at all, and I used to tell people they were pretty much a waste of time. But more recent products are vastly improved and do a super job.

It is not essential that cement grout be sealed, but as John says, it will help in keeping it clean. Modern impregnating sealers are very good at inhibiting oil and grease penetrations, and oily substances abound in the bathroom. I recommend you use a good impregnator on the grout. Wipe it off the edges of the tiles as you apply it. We sell a very good line of Stone Tech products in our store.

12-05-2004, 09:25 PM
I have never used a sealer. IMO the biggest culprit for filthy grout is dirty water from mopping the floor. The rough characteristics of a sanded grout are going to collect dirt every day of the week and especially dirty water drying over the suface. I have used Custom's grout stain and have gone back years later and the grout looks as good as the day it was applied. I also believe it depends on the specific application.

12-05-2004, 09:46 PM
I gotta agree with JB. As recently as five years ago I was still telling customers that trying to seal grout was a waste of time, energy, and dinero.

The technology of cleaners and sealers, as with glues and caulks, has come a long, long way in the past decade. There are some seriously good pookies out there for most any application.

12-06-2004, 06:27 AM
Thanks for the up to date info. He'll be happy to know that he was right in a way. I think we'll do a comparison. He didn't seal his bathroom so I will seal mine, and in a few years, we'll compare. Thanks again.


12-06-2004, 08:53 AM
Better test would be to seal half of his shower some time when he won't be home for a few days. Then see which half lasts longer.

you can't see what's been sealed and what's not when the shower is dry. He might notice that ones side dries out a lot faster than the other, though. But he'll prolly think it coincidence. Or maybe magic. :)