Sealing grout in rarely-used tub-surround -- how necessary is it??? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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05-29-2005, 01:02 PM
I'm finally getting around to sealing the grout in the tub-surround we had installed about 2 months ago (the one with the 3 colors of glazed blue tile). The shower in this bathroom is very rarely used, only by guests and very seldom by us. We use the master bath shower on a daily basis.

I'm using an applicator bottle with a brush on the tip, holding the bottle at a slant to let gravity help a bit. Sealer is dripping out near the tip so I'm wrapping a paper towel around the bottle to absorb those drips and that means I have to hold the paper towel close to the bottle tip AND squeeze the bottle, all the while guide the brush along the grout line and try to keep it off the glazed tile. I completed the wall where the shower hardware is mounted, the wall with the least amount of area to grout.

Meanwhile, I'm wondering....... how necessary is it really, in a shower that will rarely be used, maybe several times a year if that??????? I have a problem with both wrists that makes it hard to grip and squeeze for long periods of time, and Hubby (bless his heart) is up to his ears in other projects so I wanted to do this myself to take it off his hands.

So I thought I'd turn to you and ask -- do I really need to do this???? What if I don't? Will we regret it later? Or will we just need to buy some of your good grout cleaner and clean it more often??

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05-29-2005, 04:15 PM
It's not that big on an issue for seldom used units. I would get rid of that bottle and apply the sealer using a grout sponge. Wipe the excess off of the tile itself before it dries - usually about 5-10 minutes after application


05-29-2005, 06:00 PM
Thanks Jason.

It's done now. What a way to spend a Sunday. :sick: I LOVE the look of tile but I hate the maintenance. I told hubby next time it needs sealing, let's just put the house up for sale and bail out. :)

What does a grout sponge look like? Are they easy to find at HD or Lowe's?

The floor and fireplace hearth will be much easier without drips running down the walls.

05-29-2005, 06:16 PM
Can find them most anyplace that sells grout Jen. Lowes, HD, ACE, TrueValue.
Under $5. Cut a piece off with a scissors, 2" square or so and use it. Do one entire wall in 10 min. or less. Let sealer dwell according to directions then wipe it all off, ALL off with a soft dry towel/cloth.

05-29-2005, 06:38 PM
Hi Mike,

10 minutes?????? :bang:

How do you put it on the sponge? (Sorry 'bout all the questions.)


05-29-2005, 07:05 PM
I thought that would get your attention Jen. :D

I really don't want to rub it in but it actually goes quite fast. Like Jason mentions, don't sweat getting it on the glazed tile surface. It will rub right off. Get a small bowl like maybe one of those pyrex muffin dishes/bowls, pour some sealer in, hand the mini sponge to hubby, then with a big smile exit quick, grab the last beer and enjoy the rest of the day. :nod:

05-29-2005, 07:48 PM

Now that I look back on the posts, these guys said it all, but since I already have this typed up:
With the sponge you will be applying the sealer to the entire area - hitting the grout as much as possible, but still getting sealer on the tile too. From the sound of it, you've been trying to do just the grout line and keep the sealer off the tile? Although I use white-ish towels (to avoid pulling any dye out of say a red shop towel) I just coat everything as I try to get good wet grout coverage, then use a dry towel (because the application towel is mostly saturated with sealer) to clean up. If there is a haze (at least with the Miracle penetrating sealer) I just hit it with the saturated towel then wipe it more quickly then before. I pour the sealer right on the towel instead of using an intermediate container.
That's my non-professional method; which is up for all kinds of constructive criticism. :-)


05-29-2005, 08:37 PM
Yeh Mike, that got my attention. :laugh2: And I'll take your advice about Hubby next time I do it. :) By the way, I have a new camera on the way (to replaced mine that was stolen last month) and when it arrives one of the first things I'll do is take a picture of the new tile job in the kitchen/family room (the 35-year-old-cracked-slab tile job) and fireplace.

Wayne, thanks. Yes, I was just doing the grout line and trying to keep it off the tile. The tile is very shiny glazed so it shows every itty bitty spot. I wiped it up as best as I could (by then, my arms were tired and I was getting grumpy). When I was done with everythingl, I went over the tile with a Miracle Cloth (terry-cloth-like microfiber towel) to wipe up the residual haze. I just went over the tile again with a slightly damp one and I saw some streaks that I can't rub off. So..... you're saying that I can rub them off with a towel dampened with a little sealer, then quickly wipe that off with another dry towel?

The old fiberglass tub surround is starting to look mighty attractive all of a sudden...... :cool:

05-29-2005, 09:32 PM
It is my understanding that the solvent in the sealer will rewet the sealer, then you can wipe it off.

05-29-2005, 09:36 PM
Jen, what brand of sealer?

05-29-2005, 09:37 PM
Jen --

If you find streaks or spots wipe a bit of wet sealer on them and then wipe the whole area dry with a dry cloth. The solvent in the fresh sealer will dissolve the dried sealer and allow you to wipe it all off.

Glad to hear the new digital camera is on its way.

05-29-2005, 11:09 PM
Jim 'n Jeff -- thanks! That's what I'll do.

Mike -- Aquamix Gold

05-29-2005, 11:23 PM

1. You may want to try the “re-wetting method” in a small area before going all out or on a left-over tile.
2. As Mike2 asked. What brand? I dunno anything about any other brand. The entire scope of my LIMITED experience is the Miracle Tile & Stone Penetrating sealer, and I don't want to steer you wrong. But someone here will know.
3. I think you may have a much more discerning eye than I so…
4. I would say re-wetting (its not glass cleaner) could leave streaks on a very glossy surface, and someone here can probably recommend something to shine it up (if needed) as part of the process. Now you are about 15 minutes from start to beer.

Let us know how things turn out. I can help recommend a shower curtain that will hide all the problems. :)

05-30-2005, 09:51 AM
Thanks Wayne. :)

We used Aqua Mix Sealer's Choice 15 Gold.

Good idea to try on a small area, I'll do that.

We already have a shower curtain which I'm going to hang just as soon as I'm done with this tile. Then I'm going to have a Snapple (my drink of choice). :) :)