How Long After Sealing Grout Can You Take A Shower?
Grout is an important part of taking care of your shower. It fills the gaps in your tiles, which prevents dirt, food, and other substances from falling between them.
However, most kinds of grout need to be protected by a grout sealer. This ensures that your grout doesn’t become damaged by the substances it’s designed to prevent from getting stuck between your tiles
After sealing grout, wait at least 48 hours before using your shower as some products may require a 2 day setting period, while others require just 24 hours. Always check the recommendations on any sealants for specific instructions. Each product has different guidelines that you will need to follow for the best results.
What is Grout?
Grout is a substance that’s used to fill the gaps between tiles and bricks. It’s made with a unique blend of cement, water, and colorant.
There are three main types of grout. The first is called unsanded grout, which is used when the joints it’s filling are 1/8-inch wide or less. Sanded grout is best for joints that are 1/8-inches wide or more.
There’s also something called epoxy grouts. These are usually only used in more challenging installation situations. For example, you might need to use an epoxy grout if you expect the grout to come into consistent contact with acids or oils.
What Kind of Grout Works Best in Showers?
Grout is very important in tile showers. Without it, you risk damaging your tiles and the subfloor underneath it with water, soaps, and debris.
Although grout is very commonly used in shower construction, there isn’t actually a kind that works best for this application. Instead, you need to choose which type of grout you want to use based on your preferences.
The first decision to make is between sanded and unsanded grout. This decision isn’t really a difficult one. You just need to measure the width between each of your tiles. If that measurement is greater than 1/8-inch, use sanded grout. If it’s not, use unsanded grout.
Homeowners have a bit more leeway on whether they use standard cement grout or epoxy grout in their showers. Cement grout is affordable and easy to use. However, it’s more prone to chips, stains, and molds. This means you need to seal cement grout after it’s been cured and dried.
Epoxy grout is a newer material that is made of epoxy resins and a filler powder. It’s ultra-durable and won’t require a staining or sealing process. However, you will pay more for it than you would for cement grout.
What is Grout Sealer?
Grout sealer is what you apply to cement grout after it’s been cured and has had an opportunity to dry. Sealer protects your grout from moisture, germs, and water. That’s why it’s very important to use in shower applications.
You should wait at least 48-72 hours after installing new tiles before applying grout sealer to it. This isn’t very difficult to do but may take a little while if your tiles are very small.
Penetrating Grout Sealers vs. Membrane-Forming Grout Sealers
There are two major kinds of grout sealers to choose from, penetrating and membrane-forming. Each has unique benefits that may appeal to you for different reasons.
For example, penetrating grout sealers use a water base that allows the formula’s particles to penetrate the grout. This is important since grout is generally very porous. Penetrating grout sealers are usually the best option for damp areas like your shower.
Membrane-forming grout sealers create a coat on top of the grout’s surface. This coating is resistant to penetration from water. Membrane-forming grout is a good fit for kitchen floors and backsplashes but isn’t great for showers.
This is because membrane-forming grout sealers don’t allow water that gets underneath the tiles to evaporate. Using one in your shower could lead to mildew and eventually mold.
How to Apply Grout Sealer
- Gather your great sealer, a clean rag, and a foam paintbrush or small roller to your shower.
- Take off any wood baseboards or cabinets that are in the area to prevent staining.
- Use a paintbrush or small roller pad to apply the sealer to the grout lines.
- Work in a systematic way, applying an even coat of sealer across every joint.
- Wait for 5 to 15 minutes for the first coat to dry.
- Apply a second coat of sealer following the same process described previously.
- Wipe off your tiles with a dry cloth to ensure they won’t be stained by the grout sealer.
- Wait for 24 to 48 hours before taking a shower so that the sealer has time to properly cure.
Testing Grout Sealer That’s Been Applied
After applying grout sealer and waiting for the prescribed amount of time, it’s a good idea to test that it’s actually working. Do this before you take a shower to ensure you’re not going to completely ruin the sealer you applied.
The testing process is pretty straightforward. Simply flick a few drops of water onto the grout line.
When you do, you should notice that the water puddles up on top of the grout. This lets you know that the sealer is functioning properly.
If you notice that the water is seeping into the grout, then your sealer isn’t working properly. This could be because you didn’t apply enough coats or because you missed some tiles when applying the sealer.
How Long After Sealing Grout Can You Take a Shower?
You need to wait for your grout sealant to cure and dry completely before taking a shower. You should also test different parts of the sealant to make sure it’s working properly before bombarding it with all of the water you’d use while showering.
With this in mind, experts recommend waiting at least 24 hours before taking a shower. However, depending on which product you use, that time could be increased up to 48 hours.
How Often Should Grout be Sealed?
It’s a good idea to get into the habit of sealing your grout semi-regularly. The process isn’t very complicated or expensive. However, it can save you from a lot of headaches.
Experts recommend resealing your rout annually. At the very least, you should do so once every other year.
Grout sealers are tough substances. However, they can be worn down by the cleaners that you use to take care of your shower. If your great sealer wears down, you could quickly have a mildew or mold infestation on your hands.
It’s important to remember that the idea is to seal the water and debris out of the grout, not keep it in. This means that grout sealing is preventative in nature. If you notice that your grout is starting to change color or chip, then chances are it’s already too late to save it.
How much does grout sealer cost?
If you want a professional to seal your grout for you, then you should expect to pay about $100 per coat. However, the work is easy enough for just about anyone to complete on their own. You can purchase a package of grout sealer for $20 to $40.
Do you always need grout sealer?
The only scenario where you wouldn’t have to use grout sealer is if you’ve chosen epoxy grout instead of traditional cement grout. Epoxy grout is naturally resistant to water and debris so applying sealer to it would be redundant.
Kellan is a content writer who specializes in everything DIY. When he's not behind the keyboard, he enjoys spending time with his pets, playing music, and geeking out about basketball. He hopes to make your home improvement projects a little bit easier to accomplish.
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