Monday, April 4, 2011

How to Seal Tile Grout

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Riveting title, huh?

But, its a very fitting explanation, as this post is a tutorial to help you seal your tile grout. (Note: This tutorial is for ceramic and porcelain tile. The process is a little different for stone tile.)

After demolishing the shower surround down to the studs, putting up new cement board, tiling, and grouting, we’re just two small steps away from completing our first home improvement project (The shower. Not the whole bathroom).

Matt and I have a friend coming to visit from Maryland. We have about 4 days to get our guest bathroom functional. It currently looks like this:


I know what you’re thinking. “You’re going to let a guest use that bathroom? There’s no mirror! Or plumbing fixtures in the shower!”

You’re right. But, we’re really looking forward to seeing one of our Maryland buds so we’ll make it work. We’re both working this week so there is no way we’ll finish the remodel. We’ll just turn the water back on and clean the toilet, clear off and clean the counter, find a temporary mirror, and find a large bath mat to cover the mortar on the floor. Wish us luck.

But back to the point of this post. Sealing grout helps prevents stains, mold, and mildew, and is especially important in the shower because of all the water. There are two types of grout: membrane forming and penetrating. Membrane forming stays on top of the grout and penetrating soaks in. We used a penetrating because the sanded grout we used is porous. The sealer is called 511 Impregnator, which made me (and my 5-year-old sense of humor) giggle a little.


For a shower its recommended that you do at least two coats of sealer. So, follow these steps, wait 24 hours, and then do it all again.

To seal tile grout you need:
Bowl or cup (if your brush doesn’t fit right in the sealer container)
Clean foam brush or paint brush
Cheese cloth (my new favorite thing)
Towel (not pictured)

1. Pour a very small amount of sealer into the bowl or cup. You only need to do this if your brush doesn’t fit directly into the container.

2. Spill expensive sealer all over yourself. Well, this was my first step anyway! I then stood in the bathroom shouting expletives (I never swore until I started working on our house and darn it, now I’m a sailor). I stayed in that exact spot grumbling until my husband came and brought me a clean shirt so I wouldn’t get sealer all over the house. So if your nervous about taking on any DIY project just declare one of your goals to be less clumsy than the author of this tutorial, and you’ll surely succeed :)

Wow – I’m getting off track. Back to sealing grout.

2. Once you’ve got your supplies in order you can just jump right in. For penetrating sealer, the basic steps are paint sealer on, wait a while (check the back of your sealer container for exact time), wipe sealer off.
For the 511 Impregnator sealer, the wait time to let the sealer soak into the grout is 5 minutes. Because of this short wait time, work in sections (don’t brush the sealer on the entire shower before wiping it off, just do one wall at a time).

Use your brush to paint the sealer on the grout lines only.


Its important to cover the grout entirely, but try not to get too much on the tiles (this will save you time in the next two steps).


3. After 5 minutes, start wiping off the sealer. This step is mostly to get any sealer off the tile so its still nice and shiny and doesn’t have a hazy look.
Start with the towel to get most of the sealer off the tiles, wiping in a circular motion.


4. Next, use the cheesecloth to remove the rest of the sealer from the tile. Using the cheesecloth will make your tiles nice and shiny again.


5. Once your tiles look clean and clear of sealer, you’re done! Wait at least 24 hours and then follow these steps again for a second coat. After the final coat is applied, wait at least 72 hours before you turn on the shower and expose the grout to water.

Once the grout has cured, we’ll caulk the joints, replace the plumbing fixtures, and once again have a functional shower (and a guest to use it)!

What DIY project did you work on this weekend?

Did you notice the new “Print Friendly” button at the bottom of each post? If you click on it, you’ll be able to print tutorials from Newcomb Home, with or without the images. Happy Home Improvement!

Update: If you'd like to see our budget breakdown for this project, click here. Pin It


  1. I used Impregnator to seal the grout on our bathroom floor and giggled the same way. I told Sally that I was going to Impregnate the bathroom floor a few times. She rolled her eyes, but I found it HILARIOUS.

  2. One day, I will come back to this post (or have you over for help.) I am amazed at the incredible job you and Matt did. Well done!

  3. How did you get it out of the shirt you spilled on? I sealed some travertine and the rags accidently got thrown in a load of laundry. The whole wash is contaminated. I don't know what to do. Suggestions?

  4. Jill, I don't remember! So sorry I'm not much help. I quickly googled the problem but that didn't turn up any good answers. Here's a marginally helpful website, but it doesn't specifically address grout sealer stains: Good luck!

  5. Just wondering if you noticed if this sealer yellowed the white grout at all....I ask because someone mentioned in a review of it online (at homedepot's website I think) that it yellowed their grout... Just curious :D

  6. My bathroom tiles were a sight for sore eyes, the grout was stained and looked a bit filthy. Sadly I couldn't afford to replace the grout for the entire bathroom. I found out about Nugrout products and decided to give it a try. I am amazed by how new my bathroom now looks with the new grout color, and how affordable the entire process was. Check out their website, I highly recommend them.

  7. Is it really difficult to clean up extra grout?
    Harlin |

  8. Some people don't have idea that grout should be sealed.

  9. Thanks for sharing this ideas, it helps a lot...

    | Pavé Tiles

  10. Thank you for sharing this article, it is very easy to understand and informative. You can also use water blaster to help you clean faster and easier!

  11. I love this kind of DIY projects. Thanks for sharing these useful tips for installing tiles and grouts. Recently, we needed help with our tile and grout cleaning and hired a company called Golden Line Green Care. We didn't know that they were the top-rated grout cleaning Toronto by the time. Our tiles and grouts look like brand new thanks to their friendly and polite technicians. Also, they have a very strict policy of using only natural products.

  12. I'm essentially satisfied together with your great work.You put truly extremely supportive data. Keep it up. Continue blogging. Hoping to perusing the next postPaver restoration


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