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If you are looking to for the best grout sealer, I’ll help you choose the right tile grout sealer.
Imagine this. You’ve done all the hard work to clean your grout and a few months later the dirt is back. You’re scratching your head and wondering what happened. You’ll probably blame it on the grout cleaner solution you used but ironically the more you clean the floor the dirtier it gets if you don’t maintain and seal your grout properly.
By using the best grout sealer, you’ll never have to deal with these problems again. The best grout sealer will last 10-15 years, but it also depends on you applying it properly. This site will show you how to seal grout, why you should be sealing grout, and give you the best grout sealer review. You can get really technical with tile grout sealers, since there are so many types.
A penetrating sealer reacts with the pores of your grout and makes it impenetrable to water, while a coating sealer sits on top of your grout and gives it a nice matte or glossy finish. Often, people use them together. Because a penetrating sealer last longer and requires less maintenance, it is also more expensive and harder to apply.
I’ve have tested many types of sealers and here are the best grout sealer:
Top 3 Best Grout Sealer Reviews
For Shiny New Grout
Stonetech High Gloss Finishing Sealer: Stonetech makes the best grout sealer if you are looking for coating sealers. Coating sealers are generally used for enhancing the color of your grout and tiles and adding a nice matte or glossy finish. Unlike penetrating sealers that actually get inside of the pores in your grout and seal them up, coating sealers simply rest on top of your grout. They last only a few years and require more maintenance. But they are also cheaper and easier to apply.
Our Rating: (3.7 / 5)
I recommend using the best grout sealer for coating sealers on low traffic areas and/or on top of a penetrating sealer to add a nice finish or aesthetic reasons. You should also use this on very porous stones like terracotta and slate and avoid using it on already glazed, polished, wet or moist surfaces.
Stonetech High Gloss Finishing Sealer is definitely the best grout sealer available today if you like a nice glossy finish. We prefer the gloss finish over the matte finish, which ends up looking a bit dull and drab. We also find that the Stonetech High Gloss Finishing Sealer gives better results and looks shinier than its main competitor TileLab Gloss Sealer and Finish.
For Long Lasting Grout
AquaMix Sealer’s Choice Gold Penetrating Sealer: AquaMix is the best grout sealer if you are looking for a long lasting penetrating sealer. Many people choose penetrating sealers because they last much longer than coating sealers and require less upkeep. The trade-off is they take longer to apply and are generally more expensive. Some people will even use both to completely fill in the grout pores and top it off with a layer of glossy or matte coating.
Our Rating: (4.5 / 5)
We recommend using a penetrating mix if possible, but the initial investment is well worth it. The Aqua Mix Sealer’s Choice Gold is by far the best grout sealer we’ve tested. It lasts up to 15 years, which is way longer than any other product in its category.
It is also extremely versatile and can be used on all types of tiles including sanded grouts, non-sanded grouts, polished marble, polished travertine, polished limestone, unpolished marble, unpolished travertine, unpolished limestone, polished granite, slate, other natural stones, unglazed ceramix, porcelain, masonry, saltillo, and terracotta.
The Aqua Mix collection has 4 core penetrating products: Sealer’s Choice Gold, Ultra-Solv, Penetrating Sealer, and Pro-Solv. Sealer’s Choice Gold and Penetrating Sealer are both water-based products. The only difference is the Penetrating Sealer lasts only 5 years while Sealer’s Choice Gold can last 15 years. The Penetrating Sealer is generally cheaper as well. The Ultra-Solv and Pro-Solv are both solvent-based products. They tend to penetrate deeper and get in more crevices because the solvent molecules are smaller than water molecules.
However, these sealers tend to be dangerous and produce odors and fumes, so we would not recommend using solvent-based products unless you’re a seasoned veteran. The difference between Pro-Solv and Ultra-Solv is that the Pro-Solv doesn’t last as long but is also generally cheaper. I think AquaMix Sealer’s Choice Gold is the best grout sealer of the 4 AquaMix products.
For Quick Repairs and Bathroom Touch Ups
DAP DAP KWIK SEAL GROUT RECOLOR KIT: The Kwik Seal has been recommended by most professionals who work in the industry as the best grout sealer for quick repairs. When you have minor repairs and don’t have time to take on a large sealing project, this is what you want.
Our Rating: (4.6 / 5)
Because it is a penetrating sealer, the DAP Kwik Seal reacts with the pores in your grout and completely closes the gaps. It is generally more resistant to mildew, stains, and is perfect for the toilet and shower, where you tend to get the most debris. It is easy to wipe off and doesn’t damage your tiles or grout. And the best part is it is only a few dollars which makes it the best grout sealer if you are on a budget.
The only real downside is you have to wait a few days for the sealer to harden and dry before you expose it to water. The DAP is often compared with the Tile Guard Tile Grout Coating, which basically the coating version of this sealer.
The best grout sealer for shower, bathroom, or toilet fixings is a penetrating sealer for bathroom because it lasts longer and prevents water and stains from forming. Because the tile guard only provide a layer of coating that sits on top of the grout, it wear down over time and water and debris will eventually seep through. We recommend the The DAP Kwik Seal over the Tile Guard Tile Grout Coating because of this.
How to Choose the Best Grout Sealer
If you walk into any tile and grout section of a home improvement store, there will be so many options and it can be intimidating. I will help to simplify your options by recommending the best grout sealer. If you are installing tiles and sealing grout for the first time, definitely go with a penetrating sealer. They last much longer and require a lot less upkeep.
If you are looking to clean your old grout and reapply sealant, it is still worth it to use a penetrating sealant, despite the fact that you may have to tear off your old grout and start from scratch. The initial investment and hard work will be worth it years down the line. Penetrating sealers should definitely be used in the bathroom and shower, because it can sustain much more damage from water than a coating sealant. Don’t just use a coating sealer and call it a day. You’ll be regretting it a few years later.
The only reason why you’d only use a coating sealer by itself is if you have terracotta or slate, because the grout will be too porous to use effectively with a penetrating sealer. A coating sealer should usually be used in conjunction with a penetrating sealer, to add an extra layer of protection and to add a nice glossy or matte finish. So there you have it, we just made your life much easier.
Different Types of Grout Sealers
These kinds of sealers are the most popular and are generally your best grout sealer when it comes to sealing. They are durable and great at preventing mildew growth, keeping out stains, and making sure your grout and tiles stay the same color.
Unlike topical sealers that sit on top of the grout, penetrating sealers dissolve in the porous grout and fills in the extra spaces. While topical sealers can leak water underneath where it will be trapped, penetrating sealers completely seal off the grout, offer better protection, take less to maintain, and last longer, up to ten to fifteen years. This is why penetrating sealers are typically used in wet environments such as the shower or bathtub and areas with a lot of traffic.
You’re probably asking yourself why I should even bother with the other types of sealers. Penetrating sealers tend to cost more and generally take longer to apply. Also, if you already have penetrating sealer applied on a previous installation, you won’t be able to reapply the sealer. This is because the pores are already filled from earlier, and you won’t be able to refill them. The best thing to do in this situation is to use another type of sealer or start from scratch and tear of the original penetrating sealer.
Topical Coating Sealers
This is the best grout sealer if you want a glossy finish. These kinds of sealers are made of either water or silicone and rest on top of the grout, offering a layer of protection. However, over time this layer can slowly weaken and allow water, moisture, and small dirt particles to seep through. Because of this, they often last only three to five years and are often seen as a cheap and easy to apply alternative to penetrating sealers. These types of sealers are not the best choice in damp areas such as the bathroom or toilet. While initially you may see good performance, over time the moisture in the bathroom will tear down the sealer and seep through.
There are some situations where topical sealers are more appropriate than penetrating sealers. For instance, if you are using a highly porous tile such as terracotta, it is probably better to use a topical sealer. Due to its high porosity, you will have to apply lots of penetrating sealer to seal off the pores. This can damage or discolor your tiles as well as cost you a lot of money. The safer solution is to just apply a layer of protection over the terracotta.
Another reason you may want to use a topical sealer is if you want to add a nice matte or glossy finish as opposed to leaving in the natural look of tile and grout. You can even apply the topical sealer over your penetrating sealer to give it an extra layer of protection as well as making it look better.
Water-based vs solvent based: The best grout sealer is either water-based or solvent-based. Some experts recommend using a solvent-based sealer because they claim it penetrates deeper since the solvent molecules are smaller than water molecules. Also, water-based solvents tend to haze up if you don’t clean it off of the surface properly. The water-based solvent can even develop into streaks if you don’t wipe it off and just leave it on the surface of the tile. The drawback to using a solvent based sealer is that it gives off strong odors and fumes, so you need to be extra careful when you handle it.
When to Apply the Best Grout Sealer
First Installation: Use the best grout sealer when it is the first time you install tiles and grout as a way to prevent contaminates from entering in the future. The grout and tile needs to be completely cured before you apply the sealer. This is because there may still be excess liquids in the adhesive material used in the initial installation. If you apply sealant over that liquid, then the liquid will be trapped for a long time.
To avoid this, just be extra careful about waiting for the adhesive material to dry. The recommend wait time is two or three days, but can range from as little as one day to up to one month. It is better to consult your tiling company to ask when you can start applying sealant.
After cleaning your grout: If you’ve already installed your tiles and grout, then you don’t have to wait for them to dry. We recommend you to use the best grout sealer shortly after cleaning your grout with the best grout cleaner to minimize exposure to dirt and debris. Remember, if you properly applied sealant, you shouldn’t really have dirty grout lines in the first place!
Epoxy grout: This is a special kind of grout that is made of shiny plastic rather than cement. Therefore, it is naturally sealed on its own. There are no epoxy grout sealers because the grout itself is already waterproof and resistant to staining.
Applying the Best Grout Sealer – A Step-by-Step Guide
Clean and DRY the tiles: You will need to clean and dry the surface before starting any tiling work and using the best grout sealer. This is especially true if you have just installed your tiles and grout, since you could still have coatings, waxes, and other finishes. You typically need to wait two or three days before sealing you grout or tiles if you have just install them, since you need to wait for the adhesives to cure.
Make sure you are following the instructions on the bottle: This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at the number of people who think they know it all and don’t read the instructions first. The best grout sealer will come in a variety of bottles and depending on the solution you use, the instructions maybe very different.
Some solutions can be used to seal tile and grout, some are grout only, and some are tile only. Please don’t think they are all the same. Also, we advise you to browse through the Material Science Data Sheet (MSDS) to get a list of active ingredients and precautions you must take. Every product is required by law to have one and they can all easily be found online.
Apply the sealer: The biggest misconception that people have when taking on a big tile and grout sealing project is they think they need to get on their hands and knees and break their backs. Also, people think that you have to selectively apply sealer to the grout lines and not the tile and be extra careful when doing so. For the most part, this is not truth. The best grout sealer is tile friendly and can be wipe off when you’re done. There are only a few sealers that are meant for only grout lines, so again be sure you are buying the right sealer and make sure you read the instructions.
When applying the best grout sealer, you don’t have to get on your hands and knees. Give your back a break and just use a small brush and attach it to the end of a stick. There are even some sealers that are sprays, so the only thing you will need to do is spray the sealer on the grout lines and smooth it out using a sponge. Remember, when in doubt, just follow the instructions on the back of the product.
Wipe off the excess: Nobody will be able to do a perfect job and you will have some uneven spots. Normally, you’ll have to wait a few minutes and then use a slightly damp mop to remove the excess sealer. Again, it’s important to follow the instructions given to you on the back of the sealer packaging. They will let you know how long you have to wait before removing the excess. If you are just sealing your grout lines, then it is extremely important to wipe away excess sealer on your tiles. Removing it later when it is already hardened is much harder.
Test your sealer/Reapply if needed: The best grout sealer should cure and harden in a few hours. You should wait an hour after the recommended time just in case the sealer hasn’t completely cured. After, simply apply some drops of water over the sealant. If it floats on top, then you know you’ve done a good job. If some water is still absorbed in your grout lines, then you may have to apply additional sealer. You usually have to wait a bit before reapplying the sealer, so please check the instructions first. Continue applying the water test until no more water seeps through. Then wait until the area is completely dry before using it again.