WHAT IS GROUT SEALER, HOW IS IT USED AND WHY IS IT NEEDED?
What Is Grout?
Grout is a mortar or paste for filling the spaces between wall or floor tiles.
What Are the Types of Grout? There Are Four Basic Types of Grout:
- SANDED lime-based cementitious:
- Sanded grout is usually used with harder surfaces.
- Sanded grout types consist of a cement-based mortar that has small sand grains added to it.
- Adding the sand to the grout, provide a stronger grout that is normally used in joints larger than 1/8-inch.
- You cannot hone and polish soft stones like marble and limestone if sanded grout has been used with soft stone. Some sand particles may come loose and scratch the surfaces!
- UNSANDED lime-based cementitious:
- Unsanded grout is a cement based grout normally used on smaller tile joints - grout joints spacing between 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch.
- When unsanded grout is used to fill wider joints, the grout could possibly crack due to the lack of bonding that the sands provide.
- Unsanded grout on floor tiles is typically paired with softer stones such as marble and limestone.
- POLYMER MODIFIED:
- Can be sanded or unsanded.;
- Acrylic impregnated grout produces hard, dense joints that resist shrinking, cracking and wear.
- Minimizes cracking.
- Gaps of less than an eighth of an inch (roughly a half centimeter) are suitable for acrylic grout.
- Polymer in grout reduces but does not prevent water absorption and staining.
- The ANSI specification for a polymer modified grout has a water absorption of 5-7%.
- EPOXY based:
- Epoxy grout does not need to be sealed because it will not absorb moisture.
- Epoxy grout is commonly used in restaurant chains and hospitals.
- Epoxy grout prevents the growth of bacteria and limits the amount of cracking.
- Epoxy grout's stain resistance, hardness and durability make epoxy grout the best choice for applications such as kitchen counters, backsplashes, floors and other heavy-traffic areas.
- Epoxy grout is fairly expensive compared to other types and is much more difficult to use.
- Epoxy grout it is available in both sanded and unsanded varieties.
What Are the Problems with Grout?
- Dirty Grout is the #1 complaint about ceramic tile.
- Tile bathrooms are the #1 problem in commercial buildings. Toilet bowl cleaner is usually used - with little success.
- Original grout color is very difficult to maintain with common tile cleaning products.
- All cementitious grouts are porous and subject to staining.
- Years of food and grease stains can penetrate surfaces, leaving grout a dingy mess.
What Products Are Used to Clean Grout?
- A heavy duty alkaline cleaner and degreaser, StoneTech Klenz All™, should be used to remove greasy soil from stone and tile floors, kitchen counters, bathroom shower stalls and other natural stone and ceramic tile surfaces.
- For extremely stained grout, you can add OSR to the StoneTech Klenz All solution to bleach the grout while cleaning it.
- In extreme cases, an acidic grout cleaner such as StoneTech Restore may be needed but can only be used if the tile is not sensitive to acid. Of course, acidic cleaners work by removing a layer of the grout.
What Is a Grout Sealer?
- Grout sealers are applied to cement-like, porous grout to resist spills and stains from water-based materials and oil-based materials.
- Penetrating grout sealer absorbs into the grout and helps protect it from stains and grease infiltration. They do not form a physical coating.
- Grout sealers can be silicone which repel water-based spills and stains, but do not repel oil-based materials.
- Most grout sealers are fluorochemicals which repel both water-based and oil-based materials, such as cooking oils.
Why Should Grout Be Sealed?
- Grout in countertops gets ugly and unhealthy and needs to be cleaned and sealed.
- Because non-epoxy grout readily absorbs liquids, they not only stain but are extremely difficult to clean unless sealed.
- Unsealed grouts can promote promotion bacterial and mold growth.
You can NOW maintain your customers’ tile and grout like new!
How to Clean Grout:
- Test in several inconspicuous area to determine the effectiveness and desired results in your grout cleaning. Especially test the integrity of the grout in several areas - some problems are hidden by soil - such as cracks, discolorations, bubbles in grout, dark spots, coatings etc. that don’t show up until after cleaning.
- Make sure all surfaces to be cleaned are swept or vacuumed to remove loose debris before cleaning grout.
- Apply Klenz-All degreaser solution with a clean mop, towel or sponge - or use the HP Hard Surface Hand Tool attached to a high-pressure portable extractor, such as the Bane-Clene Hi-Pressure Pump Assembly (not available on-line).
- Allow plenty of dwell time for the degreaser to work on the soil to clean the grout.
- Agitate the grout cleaning solution with a grout brush< or a floor machine equipped with a nylon grit brush as needed. NOTE: Nylon grit brushes are only for tiles that won’t scratch!
- Remove using a sponge, wet/dry vacuum, extractor equipped with a hard surface tool, or damp mop.
- Rinse area well with clean water.
- To protect the areas from future soiling and staining, after complete rinsing and drying, apply impregnator sealer, such as StoneTech Stone Sealer™ or Impregnator Pro™ or All Purpose Grout Sealer per label instructions. DO NOT use Bullet Proof on latex-modified grout!
- To restore grout haze and remove grout residue from porcelain and glass only, use an acid-based grout cleaner, such as StoneTech Restore™ Heavy Duty Acidic Grout Cleaner. Caution: Acid-based products will etch most polished marble and limestone surfaces! Apply mixed solution with a brush, sprayer, scrub brush, clean mop, towel or sponge. Agitate with a grout line scrub brush or floor machine as needed. Remove using a sponge, wet/dry vacuum or damp mop. Rinse area well with clean water.
How to Seal Grout:
- Epoxy grout, found in most but not all restaurants, does not need to be sealed.
- Test in a small inconspicuous area with a 24-hour dry time to determine the ease of application and desired results. Allow new grout installations to cure for a minimum of 72 hours prior to application. Make sure surface is clean, dry and free of waxes and coatings.
- Mask off and protect any baseboards or adjacent areas to avoid splashing and overspray onto surfaces not intended to be treated.
- Liberally apply sealer to grout lines with a paintbrush or narrow paint roller.
- Allow a minimum of 15-30 minutes for sealer to penetrate and soak into the surface.
- A second coat is recommended and should be applied 15-30 minutes after initial application as directed in steps 3 & 4.
- A minimum of 15-30 minutes after final application, wipe entire surface with a clean towel dampened with sealer or water to remove any residue and excess sealer.
- Full cure is achieved in 24-72 hours.
- Clean equipment with water.
Proper Care of Sealed Grout:
Clean ceramic tile & grout as needed with StoneTech Daily Use Revitalizer™ Tile and Stone Cleaner and Protector or All Purpose Stone & Tile Cleaner.
Related Stone Information:
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