How to apply sealer to grout – step by step guide

Sealers play an important role in the care and maintenance of natural stone, tile, and grout. Though solid these surfaces need a little help in order to protect against water and weather and on some cases just improve their look. I’m not an expert but based on my research and experience I believe I can help newbies with some guidance and tips.

You do need to seal grout

First, let’s remove the question from the table: You do need to seal grout. As it is a mix of sand and cement it really needs some help stop absorbing water and other liquids. Not only that you need to waterproof it you want to do it every one or two years.

Where do you need to seal? Shower floor, kitchen counter, outdoor flooring and anything with a porous stone

Step by step

In this guide, I will show you how to select and apply a sealer in 9 easy steps

  1. Choose the right sealer
  2. Gather the tools you need for the task
  3. Make sure the surface is dry and clean
  4. Apply sealer in an even coat
  5. Allow sealer to dwell for five minutes
  6. Wipe remains until the surface is completely dry
  7. Wait for 30 minutes and apply a second coat (steps 4-6)
  8. Wait two hours and test
  9. If failed apply the third coat

Choose the right sealer

As I do not recommend the spray option I will assume that you are going to choose one of the liquids that need to be applied using a brush or a roller. The three main options and recommended brands are  Miracle Sealants, Tuff Duck and StoneTech. I believe that those three are more or less the same with some minor differences between them. If I would really need to choose I will probably go with the StoneTech one.

If you are interested I added my little review on those three options below

Gather the tools you need for the task

Sealer – make sure that you have enough of it for the surface you plan to cover

Applicator – Here there is a personal preference. The roll is a bit easier to work with while the brush is more exact and pinpointed. A soft sponge brush will probably be a nice middle between the two options. Anyway, there is no need to invest as an old toothbrush will be great for the job.

TIP: you can skip buying all those ‘miracle applicators’.

Container – anything to hold the liquid

Towel – Any type will do

Protection – Anything to protect your hand skin from touching the sealer.

Make sure the surface is dry and clean

I mean really clean, anything that will be sealed under to the sealer will remain there for a long long time. In case of floor sweep and wash in order to leave no dust and debris, for kitchen counter make sure to remove water spots, stains and any moisture in general.

Even before cleaning the grout need to be completely cured. Check and product manual to see the exact time you need to wait for it to dry (normally few hours) 

Apply sealer in an even coat

Don’t save on the sealing material, put on plenty and made sure it stayed wet for 10 – 15 minutes. The key for a successful application is to keep the surface wet during the 15 minutes of saturation time, don’t be afraid to add more of the sealer it is completely valid for the surface to absorb it in

TIP : If you are doing it indoor try to vent the room. Sealer has a strong odor

Allow sealer to dwell for 5 – 15 minutes

How would you know exactly how much time to wait? read the instructions. There are some variations between the vendors

Leave it on but do not let dry. You wipe it off when it is still wet. If it dries, add more. It will liquefy the tiles/grout again before it dries

Wipe remains until the surface is completely dry

Best to use a lint-free cloth but an old towel will do as well. Just wipe off all the remains.

TIP : use two cloths, one to take most of the extras and the second to close the deal and leave it all dry

Wait for 30 minutes to 24 hours and apply a second coat (steps 4-6)

This is step is a matter of personal preference, it is not mandatory to apply a second coat but in my view, it is highly desirable and will give you some piece of mind. In case of stone that is very porous (slate etc..) you should really consider a second coat

Wait 24-72 hours and test

Leave it to cure, don’t let it get wet and try not to step on the treated area

. Once cured just drop some water on the surface and you’ll see it bead up

If failed apply the second/third coat

Congratulations! You have taken care of the important sealing task. Now what? Now you need to maintain it all year round.

Grout sealing maintenance

In a perfect world, you would repeat this operation every year or every second year.

While I didn’t recommend the spray for the initial sealing I truly believe that on the ongoing maintenance a clean and seal spray () together with a grout scrubber () will surely do the work. Weekly run with those will keep your grout look as new and maintain its sealing abilities

Top three sealers you might want to use

Picture Miracle Sealants PLUSPT6 511 Porous Plus Penetrating Sealers () – Great stuff! Very easy to apply. No way to avoid the smell but it disappears after a few hours. No major changes to the grout color (though I heard a different view on this subject) and water keep on beading after a few months.

Picture StoneTech BulletProof Sealer, 1-Quart() – The best product that I have found for sealing stone.Tried it following a recommendation from the local stone dealer and I’m happy I did follow. One concern I have it the lifespan of one year where other vendors claim for more.

Picture GRANITE PLUS! 2 in 1 Cleaner & Sealer for Granite, Marble, Travertine, Limestone –  Using it to get the shine again and happy with the sealing benefits which is just there for me. Smell is not too bad for my nose.(not a chemical odor)

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