Several things contribute to the structural integrity and safety of a building. Some of them are major, like where you erect the pillars or how strong they are. Others are equally important, like how deep the foundation is and other things of that sort. A few of them seem minute but are just as essential. One of such contributing factors is whether or not the necessary parts of the building are water-proofed with a grout sealer.
You quite literally cannot complete most buildings without water. This is because most buildings are built with concrete, which needs water to mix. However, as much as it creates, it destroys. If you do not water-proof the necessary parts of the building, especially where the tiles are, you would be subjecting yourself to several possible disadvantages. One such is the possibility of an electric shock. This could happen if your building’s wiring is passed through the walls and not on the outside.
In addition to that, over time, the walls would get weaker with increased amounts of moisture seeping in. The potential problems associated with that goes without saying. One of the easiest ways for water to get into the wrong parts of a building is through the crevices of tiles. This is where a grout sealer comes into play.
Our Top Pick
- Use on all natural stone & tile
- Expected wear up to 15 years
- Water-based penetrating sealer with new rapid cure formula
- No-sheen, natural-look
- Effective for interior and exterior applications.
Not all of the grout sealers are particularly good. We looked around, and the grout sealer that came out at the very top for us is Aquamix Sealer’s Choice Gold. It is useful for protecting a variety of surfaces. In addition to that, it has an excellent cure time, and it can last several years.
What exactly is a grout sealer?
For you to properly understand the concept itself, you need to know what grout is fully. Grout is a mortar that people generally use to fill the crevices and tiny gaps between tiles on the floor or the wall. There are two significant types of grout that construction workers use for filling cracks.
1. Epoxy Grout: This type of grout is made from filler powder and epoxy resins. It is highly durable and does not require a grout sealer. However, it might not exactly be the best choice for your construction needs. It is generally more expensive than its counterpart. Construction workers often have a hard time working with it. As such, they charge higher for it. In addition to these disadvantages, it has a sort of plastic look. Some home-owners do not quite like that.
2. Cement Grout: This kind of grout is made of a mixture of sand and pretty much all the necessary materials for cement. It is literally dirt cheap, and it is durable. Unfortunately, because it is made of sand, it shares the same porousness that sand has. Due to its porous nature, it absorbs water. This can be bad for your building in different ways. For you to get the best out of it, you need a grout sealer. Fortunately for you, that is what this entire grout sealer review is about.
A grout sealer is an essential component of the process of installation. Construction workers apply grout sealers to cement grout after it has dried up. This would make it resistant to water and oil stains. It water-proofs the crevices through which water could seep in between the tiles.
What are the types of grout sealers?
Like most other products, grout sealers come in different types. These types each have the unique qualities that give them an edge in the industry. Here are the four significant kinds of grout sealers that there are:
1. Applicator Sealer
Sealers under this category are often white. They are not very laborious. There are even rollers that make the job easier. All you need is an applicator, a brush, or a roller to apply the sealer on your tiles. After or while using an applicator sealer, you can also use it to clean the tiles.
2. Spray Sealer
This kind of grout sealer involves spraying the grout as the name implies. It is a popular choice among professionals. However, while using these, it is essential to be careful not to overspray. If you overspray, you would have to spend extra time cleaning up the tiles. This overspray cleanup process could sometimes defeat the whole purpose of the speed of the spray grout sealer in the first place.
3. Membrane Sealer
This type of sealer is just as the name implies. It forms a protective membrane on the surface of the grout. This effectively prevents water from getting into the group and making it damp. It is an excellent choice for kitchens. It would easily prevent splashes and little spurts of water. However, it is not a great choice for bathroom floors or walls. This is so because the membrane it forms might not allow water trapped beneath the tiles to evaporate. The prolonged dampness of that area could lead to mildew.
4. Penetrating Sealer
This is a direct contrast to the membrane grout sealer. A penetrating grout sealer does not just seal at the surface level of the grout. It gets absorbed into the grout. Afterward, it changes a few properties of the grout. Take, for example, you just installed a beautifully designed set of tiles in your home. The color looks great, but it would be even greater if there were a touch of black to it. A penetrating grout sealer could help you darken the color of the grout you use it on. All you would have to do is to select a grout sealer with a darker tint.
Four of the best grout sealers out there
At this point, you have read pretty much everything you need to know about grout sealers. You are probably wondering what the answer to the question, “what is the best grout sealer?” is. Well, we have checked for the best grout sealers around and compiled a list of four of them for you. Here is a review of our top four products:
1. AFM Safecoat Grout Sealer (Best for lack of toxicity)
The very first on our list is AFM Safecoat Grout Sealer. This product is a moisture-resistant and clear grout sealer for cement and porous grout surfaces. When you apply it, it reacts to the grout and becomes a part of it. This makes it particularly water-resistant and minimizes how much liquids can penetrate. It is safe and is as non-toxic as it can be.
- Weight: 2.3 pounds
- Dimensions: 7 x 7 inches
- Size: Quart
- Volume: 0.95 liters
- Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
Pros (What we like)
- It is almost completely odorless, which makes it less offensive to the applier.
- It does not contain formaldehyde
- It is relatively safe to use, especially for those who are sensitive to chemicals.
Cons (What we don’t like)
- It may not be easily compatible with previously sealed grout. As such, you have to conduct several test patches to determine whether or not you should use it.
- The quantity isn’t quite as much as you might want it to be.
You could say this is the best grout sealer for shower if you are the kind of person who is concerned about chemicals and the inherent danger in them. It has as little toxins as possible. This makes it perfect for you if you are particularly concerned about that. All in all, it is a great choice.
2. Tuff Duck Granite, Grout and Marble Sealer (Best for multi-surface compatibility)
Just one quart of Tuff Duck Granite, Grout, and Marble Sealer is enough to cover about eight hundred square feet. It is a penetrating sealer, and it does not affect the natural finish of the surface you want to use it on. One of the formulating components of this sealer is advanced fluoropolymers that are water-based. As implied in the name, it is compatible with granite, marble, grout, etc.
- Weight: 8.63 pounds
- Dimensions: 8 x 4 x 8 inches
- Size: One gallon
- Shipping Weight: 8.64 pounds
Pros (What we like)
- It has a reasonable quantity.
- It is compatible with numerous surfaces.
- It does not affect the appearance of natural stones.
Cons (What we don’t like)
- It may not be useful for every color of tiles. As such, it might be a good idea for you to check the color first to see if it matches.
This grout sealer gives you high durability. Alongside that, it covers such a wide area. As such, you do not have to worry about how much you are using. However, you must be conscious of the color you pick because the color might not be compatible. Asides that, there aren’t too many other reasons why you shouldn’t go for it.
3. Aquamix Sealer’s Choice Gold (Best for cure time)
Number three on our list here is Aquamix Sealer’s Choice Gold. It is useful for both pre-grouting and grout sealing itself. All you would need to do for pre-grouting is to apply it to clean stone surfaces an hour before you want to grout. You can use it on all kinds of natural stone, porcelain, saltillo, quarry, cotta, etc. It can last up to fifteen years under the right conditions.
- Weight: 7.15 pounds
- Dimensions: 7 x 4 x 11 inches
- Size: 128 oz
- Shipping Weight: 7.15 pounds
Pros (What we like)
- It is compatible with almost all surfaces.
- It has a cure time of about four hours
- It can last up to fifteen years under the right conditions.
- It is useful for exterior as well as interior use.
Cons (What we don’t like)
- There is a possibility that its protection time would reduce under relatively unfavorable conditions.
This grout sealer is an excellent choice if you are looking for longevity. The only clause here is that for it to last as long as you want it to, the conditions must be right. Other than that, it is pretty good and effective too.
4. Stonetech Heavy Duty Grout Sealer (Best for lack of discoloration quality)
The last but not least here is the Stonetech Heavy Duty Grout Sealer. It provides advanced stain protection. It protects against water and oil-based stains. The former makes it one of the best grout sealers for shower floor. It can last for up to five years on interior surfaces and about three years outside.
- Product weight: 8 pounds
- Dimensions: 8.9 x 8.6 x 4.5 inches
- Size: 1 gallon
- Shipping weight: 8.87 pounds
Pros (What we like)
- It does not discolor the surface you use it on.
- It washes off quickly if it spills on tiles while applying
Cons (What we don’t like)
- It requires quite a lot of dry time
The Stonetech Heavy Duty Grout Sealer is one of the best in the industry. It protects your grout against stains aggressively. It is reasonably durable. You might have to wait up to 72 hours for it to cure. Other than that, it’s a good place to put your money.
Why should you use a grout sealer?
There are several grout sealer reviews online that do not give you enough information regarding the need for sealers in the first place. The essential purpose is to make sure that water does not get into the wrong places when you install your tiles. However, when you look at it a little closer, you would understand that there is a bit more to it than that. Here are a couple of reasons you must use a grout sealer:
1. It reduces the work you have to do when cleaning the floor/walls
Usually, when people choose not to use grout sealers, especially in bathrooms, it comes with extra cleaning efforts. That is just because when water seeps into the crevices between, which it would, it carries dirt with it. The dirt would get itself absorbed into the porous sand, thus, literally getting stuck. When you want to clean it, you would then need to do a lot of scrubbing. Alongside that, you would need harsh chemicals so that you can get out the dirt. If you ask us, that is pretty tiring.
On the flip side, if you use the best grout sealer for shower floor, you would be cut your required work effort in half. The grout sealer prevents moisture and dirt from seeping into the crevices. As such, you can simply wipe them off with soap and water, depending on the stickiness of the dirt.
2. It keeps the building looking beautiful
When moisture starts to build up on walls and floors, they generally become more challenging to clean. If you are unable to put in the effort that the cleaning requires, you would be stuck with walls and floors that are dirty and consequentially ugly. This leaves your once prized, beautiful looking building looking below average. Imagine having an important visitor over and having to cringe every time they walk into a particular room. Yeah, we don’t like the idea of that either.
However, if you use a good grout sealer, you would be able to keep the dirt out. Doing so would make it easier to keep your building looking beautiful and visitor-ready.
3. It prevents mold and mildew from growing on your walls and floors
If we were to make a list of the top five things we would not want to see in our houses, mold would definitely make that list. Imagine how disconcerting it would be to see undeniable evidence that germs are thriving in your house. Scientifically speaking, there are germs and bacteria everywhere. However, those are invisible to the naked eye without a microscope. Out of sight, out of mind. If it becomes visually evident, it becomes inconceivably appalling.
It is no news that mold and mildew grow much faster and easier on wet/damp surfaces. Unsealed grouts would leave the surface almost permanently damp. This makes it an excellent breeding ground for mold. However, if you use a grout sealer, the surface would not stay wet long enough for it to become a breeding ground for mold. The best part is that you do not necessarily have to use a penetrating grout sealer. All you have to do is use an effective grout sealer on the surface. If the surface remains dry, you would not have to worry about mold.
What are the different methods of applying grout sealers?
When it comes to applying a grout sealer, there are different methods to it. These methods are peculiar to the way the grout sealer itself is, and you should use them in accordance. It is important to note that you should not apply grout sealers to a non-glazed tile’s surface. This would be a bad idea simply because the sealer would soak into the tile itself. When this happens, it would never come out.
1. Brush on/Paint
This method of applying grout sealers is often used with the kinds of sealers that appear milky. You carry out this method by using a brush tip to apply the sealer to the tiles. While a little bit spilling on the tiles wouldn’t hurt, it is very important to keep in mind that the kind of sealer used here shouldn’t spill on the tiles. It is relatively difficult to do. This is so because the sealer used in this method does not feed into the brush easily. Sometimes, you have to go back and reapply to places that were accidentally left untouched. These places are basically where the sealer refused to apply.
This method is basically the same as using a roller to apply paint on the walls of a building. All you have to do is go back and forth with the sealer with little to no effort. This is, of course, besides the natural effort required to move your arms. This method is not precisely the perfect method for you to use. However, it is still preferred over the brush-on method by some people. It is quite easy to use. While using it, the sealer avoids sloping too far to the surface of the tile. It does so by staying relatively close to the seam line.
3. Spray on
This method is one of the most convenient of the three listed methods. Tediously following grout lines with the tip of an applicator or a brush is not a way many people want to spend their day. The running theory behind the spray-on method is that when you use it, it soaks into the porous grout. That is, it penetrates sandy grout. However, it does not penetrate tiles. As a result, when you spray it, and it spills on tiles, the surface would become glazed, but it would wear off eventually. At first glance, this seems like the most comfortable and least laborious method. You really do not have to do much work in applying it. However, you pay for the ease of application in the cleaning of tile surface later on.
How often should you apply a grout sealer in your building?
Grout sealers are not by any means permanent. They are subject to wear over time. As such, you must reapply them after certain periods. The time of application depends on the kind of building that you have.
The general rule-of-thumb is to reapply grout sealers every twelve months. However, if the place you need a grout sealer is a high traffic area, you should consider reapplying every six months. This might be a great idea for sites such as restaurant or gas station bathrooms as people visit them frequently. If, however, the place is a low traffic area, like the bathroom in your vacation house, you can reapply every twenty-four months.
A grout sealer is always a good idea when you are working with tiles. They protect your building from mildew, mold, and dirt generally. They are pretty simple to install, and most of them can even be carried out by you. However, there are many of them in the market. This makes it relatively hard to make a choice. What we have tried to do here is to show you some of the best options available to you. We hope that this review has been helpful.
Last update on 2020-02-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API