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Unread 01-28-2022, 02:24 PM   #1
davidcaswelltile
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i dont seal grout on walls or floors, should i?

seriously i dont seal grout, i recommend grout refresh be used as a maintenance instead, i think that grout sealers are over rated and dont do a good enough job to justify the expense of 30 an hour plus product used. maybe i am being too cheap. help me out here. i think there is a solid arguement to made for both approaches, but i certainly am not confident to sell grout sealer to my clients.
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Unread 01-29-2022, 05:50 PM   #2
Lazarus
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David. I think much depends on the grout. With a cement based product, there is a benefit with a non enhancing grout done perhaps annually. (An enhanced sealer will tend to accentuate the colour of the grout. Good if you like it...not so good if you don't.)

Some grouts, like Fusion Pro, Prism and Flexcolor CQ are pretty much pre-sealed and stain resistant. Would they benefit from an additional sealer? Probably would not hurt but may not really be necessary.
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Unread 02-01-2022, 11:23 AM   #3
davidcaswelltile
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Thanks Laz

Where I live, Mapei Ultracolour is the most commonly used grout. It's what I'm timed too, so far no hazing burn in quite a bit. Also, CQ is getting more common.

I guess the reason why this is still bugging me is that everyonce in a while i get a look from a customer like, "you didn't seal the grout!?"

And then I sound like a lazy hack, or I have to character assassinate the sales rep at home depot who told them they have to.

I would love to set aside one month a year, like January, for just grout maintenance on jobs and just charge it out hourly. It would be a nice month.
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Unread 02-01-2022, 02:44 PM   #4
davidcaswelltile
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I guess the final conclusion for me is that a positive practice will be to OFFER a seal at installation and a seal or colour refresh on a maintenance basis kind of like an oil change. Or to simply educate the customer. And to advertise it at a price that justifies the hassle, especially, when at times one is dealing with too tight of a schedule.

Even if i recommend a DIY, I bet most would benefit from watching sealing done properly at least once, that so they don't stain the tile with translucent gunk because of overspill.

It's a bit of a hang nail because the requirement of sealing tile deviates from a normal allotted time to complete a job and stores and sales ppl (and myself) dont usually schedule it, because they are trying to run hard during busy times so they can maximize their margins. At least that's how cynical and overworked me sees it.

I bet tho that sealing tile shouldn't have to threaten the price line and that any argument that it does do that is due to failure to charge enough or to schedule time for it.

I mean a season where 15 jobs are performed with sealer should pay better than a season where 15 jobs are performed without sealer.

Now to find a sealer that is both impermeable, can handle wet areas and enhances grout colour. I hate sealers that make the grout line more opaque.

All this being said. If a customer does not seal grout line....maintenance is still good and honestly i think the colour of naked unsealed grout is really the best. I don't have any sealed grout in my house.
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Unread 02-02-2022, 12:20 AM   #5
jeffnc
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Well traditional wisdom says that grout should be sealed, and most customers read random websites to get their information, so obviously many customers will think grout needs to be sealed.

For interior work, there are basically 2 things grout sealing does: protect from stains, and reduce water absorption. Plain powder grouts will have neither built in. Some better grouts will say "no sealer required". IME that means they have stain inhibitors in them, but they are no less absorptive of water. Finally, the newer quality premixed drying type grouts are both stain blocking and do not absorb water. (I'm not counting "enhancers" which is something different, or at least something aesthetic and additional.)

If staining is an issue (for example in a kitchen backsplash or floor, especially), then either seal the grout or get a grout that doesn't need protection from stains.

If water absorption is an issue (for example in a shower where water will darken the grout wherever it hits), then either seal the grout or use a quality premixed grout.

If there is no issue, then don't seal.

The problem with sealing grout is not so much how much time it takes (it's super fast to apply with a mini roller and wipe up), nor the cost of the sealer (it's expensive but it goes a long way and can be used on multiple jobs), but rather the fact that you can't grout and seal in the same day - you have to come back when it's dry, and you spend more time driving than doing billable work.
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Unread 02-04-2022, 02:55 PM   #6
tilemanct
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Bigger problem is customers don't know how to clean a tile and or stone shower. Thats where you can educate them. Most of my customers have cleaning people who will destroy the shower in a year or two regardless of what I tell them to use.
They call me back and say there is a problem. I go out and see. $650 later they have a beautiful clean shower that takes me about 4 hours to do. I show them the products to use and tell them where they can purchase them.
Funny how they will maintain their expensive cars and toys to look like new, but the shower they use every day is supposed to take care of itself.
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Unread 02-04-2022, 07:29 PM   #7
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OK tileman, so what do you do?
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Unread 02-06-2022, 09:30 AM   #8
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99.9% of the time it's just poor cleaning by the cleaning crew. They just spray on some sort of low budget cleaner, and they just wipe with a towel. They never do the hard work.
I invested in a set of good drill brushes and keep a stock of various grout brushes. Also, some hard bristle toothbrushes.
What I have been using as my cleaners are Soft Scrub, white vinegar, Clorox Clean Up with Bleach, and Mapei Ultra Care Heavy Duty Tile and Stone Cleaner. (not all used at once) Very seldom do I need to use a Sulfamic Acid or acid at all.
Pre wet the shower and go at it. Most of the showers have a handheld which aids in the rinsing step.
A good squeegee and microfiber towels are a must along with white Scotchbrite pads. They replace 0000 steel wool.
It's always soap build up that leads to mold build up that gets stuck in the grout. Don't care if its cement based or epoxy, the crud happens. Mold needs food and soap, and body oils are a great source of nutrition. A good mild abrasion of the surface with a cleaner that has a surfactant in it will allow the crud to become suspended and wash away. If this doesn't happen the crud just settles back into the surface and lays there.
Squeegee and microfiber towel dry and your good to go.
The best advice you can give your customer is to squeegee down the shower after use. Some go as far as towel drying also. I do this to my shower every day and only have to do a light cleaning once a month if that.
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Unread 02-06-2022, 09:48 AM   #9
jeffnc
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Most of the showers I see do not have handhelds, but I suppose if I wanted to do some serious cleaning I could temporarily screw one in.
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Unread 02-06-2022, 10:12 AM   #10
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Imma firm believer in the power of the squeegee too, Dave, I even do the floor. 2+ years into my master bath and need to it clean only after 2 or 3 months. Even then it's only the floor, and a few spots on the walls. Smooth porcelain tile, epoxy grout, silicone joints, and no bar soap.
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Unread 02-06-2022, 10:16 AM   #11
jeffnc
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Hmm, no bar soap - that never really occurred to me as a benefit of pump soap. I just buy bar soap because it's less expensive. I think I might switch!
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Unread 02-06-2022, 10:34 AM   #12
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To avoid getting looked at like your some hack, use a grout that says "no sealer required" and show them the language on the package. We really like PermaColor Select and have had good long term results with it. We did not have such great results with Prism.

Of course, jump to CQ or SpectraLock 1 and you can sell "stain proof" work.
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Unread 02-06-2022, 10:44 AM   #13
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I never pass up an opportunity to lay out my method of shower maintenance. Towel dry the entire shower after each use.
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Unread 02-06-2022, 11:26 AM   #14
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A bottle of liquid soap, aka bodywash, is a bit more expensive but actually lasts me quite a while.

The benefit of less food for mold to get started, and no soap scum, is worth every cent.
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Unread 02-06-2022, 12:11 PM   #15
Dave Gobis
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A good grout job far outweighs the benefit of any sealer.
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