Sealing grout on a backsplash is an important maintenance task that helps protect the grout from stains and damage. Here is a detailed look at why sealing grout is recommended for backsplashes and how to properly seal the grout.
What is Grout Sealer?
Grout sealer is a protective coating that is applied to the porous surface of grout joints. It works by sealing the pores and creating a barrier that prevents stains from penetrating into the grout.
There are two main types of grout sealers:
- Penetrating sealers – These are absorbed below the surface and into the pores of the grout. They won’t change the appearance of the grout.
- Topical sealers – These form a layer on top of the grout joint. They will slightly alter the look of the grout, giving it a glossy, coated finish.
Why Seal Grout on a Backsplash?
There are a few key reasons why it’s highly recommended to seal the grout on backsplashes:
- Prevent stains – Grease, oil, and food splatters can easily stain grout on a backsplash. Sealer provides a protective barrier.
- Ease cleaning – Sealed grout is easier to clean as it resist staining and dirt buildup. You can simply wipe it clean.
- Extend life – Sealing fills pores and prevents moisture penetration that can erode and degrade grout over time.
- Enhance appearance – Sealer can make discolored or faded grout look refreshed.
When Should You Seal the Grout?
Sealing grout on a new backsplash should be done after installation and grout has fully cured, usually within 3-7 days. It’s best to seal grout on backsplashes:
- After new construction or remodeling when new grout is installed.
- If existing grout looks dirty or discolored.
- Prior to using the backsplash for food prep or cooking.
- Before exposing grout to potential stains from juices, oils, etc.
- Every 1-2 years for routine maintenance and re-sealing.
How to Seal Grout on a Backsplash
Sealing grout on a backsplash is a relatively simple process. Here are the key steps:
Clean the Grout Thoroughly
Make sure grout lines are clean and free of dirt, grease, and debris first. Use a homemade paste of baking soda and water and scrub with a grout brush. Rinse and allow to fully dry.
Apply Grout Sealer
Use a grout sealer brush or small paint brush. Apply a thin, even layer of sealer directly onto grout lines. Avoid getting sealer on the tile surface.
Allow Proper Cure Time
Let sealer soak in and cure fully before using backsplash. This can take 2-3 hours or up to 24-48 hours depending on product. Proper cure time is vital.
Apply Additional Coats
For optimal protection, 2-3 coats of grout sealer are recommended, with proper drying time between coats.
Clean Excess Residue
Once fully cured, use a clean cloth to wipe off any remaining sealer residue that got on the tile surface.
Re-apply grout sealer every 1-2 years for continued protection.
Tips for Sealing Grout
- Carefully read product instructions as drying time varies by brand.
- Make sure workspace is well-ventilated when applying sealer.
- Avoid applying too much sealer at once; thin, even layers are best.
- Be careful not to get sealer on the tile surface to avoid discoloration.
- Use an old toothbrush to gently remove residue from tile edges.
- Consider hiring a professional if uneasy about doing it yourself.
FAQs About Sealing Grout on Backsplash
Should all backsplash grout be sealed?
Yes, it’s recommended to seal grout on any backsplash, especially those behind stoves or sinks. Any grout with exposure to grease, moisture or potential staining should be sealed.
How long does sealed grout last?
Sealer can last 1-5 years on a backsplash depending on quality of product, application thickness, and exposure to moisture. Reapply every 1-2 years.
Can you use a grout sealer on sanded caulk?
Yes, sanded caulk used on backsplashes can be sealed just like standard grout. Be sure caulk is fully cured first.
What’s the difference between a sealer and grout protector?
Sealers penetrate below the surface while grout protectors sit on the surface. Both provide protection. Sealers are longer lasting.
Should I seal grout before or after cleaning?
Seal grout after deep cleaning and fully drying. Sealing dirty or damp grout can trap in stains and moisture below the surface.
How do I know if my backsplash grout needs resealing?
Signs grout needs resealing: staining easily, visible dirt in pores, moisture damage, dull or faded appearance. Every 1-2 years is a good timeframe for reapplying sealer.
Sealing grout on backsplashes is a smart way to protect it from stains, simplify cleaning, refresh the look, and extend the life of your backsplash. Be sure to use the proper sealing products and application techniques. Re-apply sealer every 1-2 years as part of routine backsplash maintenance. With proper sealing, your backsplash grout can stay looking fresh for many years.