Grout Cleaning & Sealing
Tile is one of the nicest materials you can install in your home, and the grout that completes its look will eventually get dirty and need to be cleaned and sealed. There may be no flooring type with more variety than ceramic and porcelain tile. In addition to this, the number of different grout shades and colors is vast. After your tile has been installed and you’ve lived on the surface for a while, the grout will collect dirt and grime and will lose its luster over time. Fortunately, cleaning and sealing grout can be an easy process!
So, how do I clean my existing grout?
First things first, you need to make sure you have the proper cleaning supplies. You will need hot water, dish soap, a sponge, rubber gloves, and a spray bottle. It is advised to start with hot, soapy water, but you may need to use more aggressive products with more stubborn dirt. These could include baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Always test new cleaning products on an inconspicuous portion of your floor just in case there is an adverse reaction. Of course, you don’t have to use home brew cleaners. There are many name brand grout cleaners on the market as well. They also make grout pens, which are super convenient for covering (not cleaning) your grout lines with a fresh coat of paint. Steam cleaning is another option, but caution is advised.
If cleaning grout in stone tile, never use vinegar or any other caustic cleaner, as they can and will stain your tile. Hot soapy water is advised here as well, or you can make a gentle solution with water and baking soda. Otherwise, a name brand stone cleaner is the best way to clean grout in stone tile.
The grout is clean and now all that’s left is to seal it!
Unless you have an epoxy grout, it must be sealed after being cleaned. Your efforts will have been wasted on all that cleaning if the grout is not sealed immediately. Grout sealing increases stain resistance, durability, and moisture-resistance, so this is a crucial part of the process. Stone tiles and grout require a sealer application every few years. There are a few different types of grout sealer based on your application. For bathrooms, kitchens, and other high traffic areas, a solvent-base sealer is recommended. There are lots of chemicals involved in the solvent-based variety. So, to avoid the chemical compounds of solvents, a water-based sealer can be used. This would be a viable option for bedrooms. Penetrating sealers can be used to create a waterproofing and stain-resistance to your tile, by penetrating deep to fill all the porous areas. Penetrating sealers may require multiple applications for an effective seal. Lastly, enhancing sealers can be used to “enhance” the look of your natural stone products. Again, multiple coats may be necessary with enhancing sealers.
How do I apply a grout sealer?
Once you’ve selected the appropriate grout sealer, it’s time to apply it. To apply grout sealer, you must first select an applicator. The three ways to apply grout sealer are roll, paint, or spray. The roll method provides the most precise, even, and complete application. Painting can provide a great look, but depending on the brush tip applicator, can look a little sloppier than the roll method. And the spray method, lacking any precision at all, is only viable if you are also sealing the tile in addition to the grout.