Do You Need to Seal Grout on Kitchen Backsplash?

Sealing grout on a kitchen backsplash is an important maintenance task that can help protect the grout from stains and damage. Here’s a detailed look at whether sealing grout on a backsplash is necessary, the benefits of doing so, tips for sealing, and how often it should be done.

What is Grout Sealer?

Grout sealer is a protective liquid coating that is applied to the grout lines between tiles. It works by penetrating into the pores of the grout and forming a barrier that prevents stains from setting in.

There are two main types of grout sealer:

  • Penetrating sealers – These soak deep into the grout and don’t leave a surface film. They are designed to allow the grout to still “breathe” while protecting it.
  • Surface sealers – These coat the top of the grout lines to create a protective barrier. They form a thin plastic-like film on top.

Penetrating sealers are more commonly used and recommended for grout as they don’t change the natural look. Sealers made specifically for grout will say they are for sealing grout joints.

Why Seal Grout on a Backsplash?

There are a few key reasons why it’s important to seal the grout on a kitchen backsplash:

  • Prevent stains – Grout is porous, so it can easily soak up grease, dirt, and stains from cooking splatters and spills. Sealer provides a protective barrier.
  • Easier cleaning – Sealed grout resists staining, so it stays cleaner looking for longer. Daily cleaning is easier.
  • Inhibit mold & mildew – The sealer prevents moisture from penetrating into the grout joints, inhibiting mold and mildew growth.
  • Enhance appearance – Sealing gives grout a richer, consistent color and keeps it looking new. Unsealed grout can get dingy.
  • Extend life – By protecting grout from damage, sealing helps prevent erosion and cracking over time.

Basically, sealing grout on a backsplash helps it look better for longer with easier maintenance.

Tips for Sealing Grout

Sealing grout is a relatively easy DIY project. Here are some tips:

  • Carefully read the product instructions before starting. Proper application is key.
  • Make sure the grout is clean and dry first. Sealant won’t penetrate correctly on dirty or damp grout.
  • Apply sealer with a small paintbrush for backsplashes. Use smooth strokes.
  • Only apply a thin, even layer of sealer. Don’t overapply or leave pooling.
  • Wipe up any excess sealer with a cloth before it dries.
  • Allow the recommended drying time before using the area. Ventilate well.
  • Apply a second thin coat for maximum protection, waiting the recommended time between coats.
  • Avoid getting sealer on the tile surfaces, rinsing promptly if needed.
  • Reapply sealant as directed over time for continued protection.

When to Seal Grout?

The best time to seal grout is right after new installation. Sealing it early helps prevent stains from the start.

For existing backsplashes, aim to seal grout about once a year in the kitchen or whenever it starts looking dirty. Resealing annually will refresh that protective barrier.

Also reseal if you notice the grout getting stained easily or looking darker in spots. That’s a sign the sealant has worn off.

How Often to Seal Grout?

On a kitchen backsplash, sealing the grout once a year is typically recommended for maintenance. Annual sealing will renew the protective coating as it wears over time.

However, the frequency depends somewhat on the specific sealer used, traffic patterns, and your cleaning routine.

More porous grout or heavier use may need resealing every 6-9 months. Topical sealers also wear faster.

The product directions will suggest a timeframe, like “seal once a year.” But do the water test regularly: Sprinkle water on the grout and look if it penetrates or beads up. Penetration means it’s time to reseal.

In low-use areas or with granite tiles, sealing every 1-2 years may suffice.

Signs Grout Needs Resealing

Watch for these signs that indicate the grout sealer has worn off and needs reapplication:

  • Grout looking darker, dingy, or blotchy
  • Stains setting into the grout when spills occur
  • Grout feeling rough or porous rather than smooth
  • Dampness or moisture penetrating the grout joints
  • Grout seeming to attract dirt more easily
  • Water droplets sinking into the grout rather than beading up
  • Overall difficulty keeping the grout clean
  • Existing sealer wearing thin after the recommended timeframe

Grout Sealing Tips

  • Use grout sealer rated safe for kitchens and food areas.
  • Apply sealer only when grout is clean and completely dry.
  • Ensure good ventilation when applying sealers.
  • Allow the full drying time recommended on the product.
  • Apply thin coats of sealer, wiping up any excess.
  • Reseal grout as often as needed to keep it protected.
  • Watch for signs of wear and reseal as soon as possible when needed.

Grout Sealing FAQs

Should all grout be sealed?

It’s always a good idea to seal grout that may get wet or stained, including kitchen backsplashes. Bathroom grout also benefits. Sealing is optional on floor grout in low-moisture areas.

How long does grout sealer last?

Grout sealer can last 1-5 years typically. Factors like sealer type, usage levels, and cleaning affect longevity. Reapply annually in kitchens.

Can you seal grout that is already stained?

Yes, you can seal stained grout. But for best results, thoroughly clean stains first with a tile cleaner or baking soda paste before sealing.

What happens if you don’t seal grout?

Unsealed grout will get dirty faster, require more frequent cleaning, and be more prone to staining, discoloration, and moisture damage over time.

Should you seal natural stone grout?

Sealing is still recommended for natural stone tiles like marble or granite since the grout between them is still porous. Use a compatible sealer made for natural stone.

Can you seal grout too much?

Over-application of surface sealers can leave a plastic-like film that yellows. But with penetrating sealers that soak in, you can’t really over-seal as long as you wipe off any excess.


Sealing the grout on kitchen backsplashes and other wet areas helps protect it from stains, damage, and mold growth. This allows the grout to stay cleaner looking for longer with easier maintenance.

Aim to seal grout about once a year, or whenever it appears dirty, discolored, or is easily absorbing spills and moisture again. Resealing annually provides continuous protection by renewing the sealant barrier. With proper application of a quality grout sealer, you can keep your backsplash looking pristine for many years before needing regrouting.