Do You Seal Backsplash Grout?

Grout is an essential component of any tiled backsplash. It fills the joints between tiles, binding them together and providing a finished look. Though grout is designed to be waterproof and protect the substrate beneath tiles, it is still porous and can absorb moisture, dirt, grime and bacteria over time. Sealing your backsplash grout provides an extra layer of protection that helps keep it clean, hygienic and looking like new.

Should you seal backsplash grout? In most cases, yes. Sealing is a relatively simple process that provides major benefits. Below we’ll look at why you should seal backsplash grout, the best sealers to use, how to apply them properly and how often to reapply. With the right information, you can easily maintain backsplash grout that stays clean, resists stains and looks freshly installed for years to come.

Why Seal Backsplash Grout

There are several key reasons why properly sealing backsplash grout is recommended:

Prevent Dirt and Grime Buildup

Over time, grease, food particles and other dirt in the kitchen can work their way into porous grout. This causes staining and darkening that makes the grout appear dirtier. Sealant forms a protective barrier to prevent those contaminants from being absorbed into the grout.

Resist Stains

Grout is prone to staining from cooking ingredients like oils, spices, coffee, tea, wine and more. A quality sealer provides a stain-resistant layer that keeps these substances from penetrating and discoloring the grout. It allows time to wipe up spills before they soak in.

Easier Cleaning

Sealed grout repels dirt, grease and spills so they can be easily wiped away instead of sinking into the joints between tiles. Cleaning a sealed backsplash generally just requires a quick wipe down instead of heavy scrubbing. The grout will maintain its light, even appearance.

Inhibit Bacteria and Mold Growth

Food, grease and moisture that collects in porous grout can feed the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew. Sealant forms a protective barrier that prevents those contaminants from penetrating and keeps the grout drier. This deters the growth of unhealthy microbes.

Extend Grout Life

By protecting grout from moisture, stains, dirt buildup and microbe growth that can degrade its integrity, sealant helps keep grout looking fresher for longer. Periodic resealing can extend the lifespan of your grout significantly before repairs or regrouting are needed.

Enhance Appearance

Keeping grout free of stains, dirt and discoloration improves its appearance and maintains the as-new look of your whole backsplash. The uniform color and subtle shine provided by sealant enhance the beauty of the tile work.

Sealing backsplash grout has clear benefits in terms of appearance, protection, hygiene and maintenance. Except in cases where highly-stained grout requires re-grouting, applying a quality sealant is quick and easy insurance against a variety of issues.

Best Grout Sealers

Choosing the right sealer is essential to gain the full benefits. Consider these factors:

Penetrating vs. Film-Forming

Penetrating sealers soak into the grout for durable protection. Film-forming sealers leave a protective coating on the surface that requires more frequent reapplication. Both serve their purpose.

Solvent-Based vs. Water-Based

Solvent-based sealers often provide a bit more durability and water resistance. Water-based sealers offer lower odor and easier cleanup.


Ensure the sealer is formulated to work with your specific type of grout. Some are made for cementitious, epoxy or urethane grout.

Mold and Mildew Resistance

Look for a sealer labeled as mold/mildew resistant for extra protection in bathrooms and kitchens.

Ease of Application

Opt for a sealer that can be wiped, brushed or rolled on without any special tools or skill needed.

Safe for Food Areas

If sealing a backsplash around a food prep area, verify that the sealer is FDA compliant and safe for use in kitchens once fully cured.

With those factors in mind, here are some top grout sealers to consider:

Miracle Sealants 511 Impregnator

  • Penetrating sealer
  • Solvent-based
  • Works on multiple grout types
  • Easy wipe-on application
  • Provides durable protection

Aqua Mix Sealer’s Choice Gold

  • Penetrating formula
  • Water-based with lower odor
  • Formulated for cementitious and epoxy grout
  • Provides stain protection
  • Easy application with brush, roller or sponge

DuPont StoneTech Heavy Duty Sealer

  • Film-forming sealer
  • Solvent-based formula
  • Provides long-lasting moisture resistance
  • Ideal for kitchens and baths

TileLab SurfaceGard Penetrating Sealer

  • Penetrating protection
  • Lower odor water-based formula
  • Resists stains, mildew, and efflorescence
  • Simplified application

Miracle 511 Porous Plus Sealer

  • Extra durable water-based sealer
  • Ideal for natural stone, masonry, grout
  • Provides maximum stain protection
  • Great for busy kitchens

Black Diamond Nex-Gen Natural Stone Sealer

  • Advanced penetrating sealer
  • Made for natural stone but also works on grout
  • Ultra low odor and VOC formula
  • Repels water and oil-based stains

Always check specific grout sealer products for details on performance, appropriate uses, instructions and precautions to ensure it fits your needs. With a well-reviewed sealer made for your particular grout, you can protect your backsplash for maximum stain resistance and easiest cleaning.

How to Seal Grout

Sealing backsplash grout is a relatively quick and simple DIY project. Follow these key steps:

Clean the Grout

It’s important to thoroughly clean grout before sealing it to remove any dirt, grease, mold or old sealant. Use a grout brush and quality grout cleaner. Rinse well and allow to fully dry.

Prepare the Area

Clear your countertop and remove any items from the backsplash area. Cover or mask off nearby surfaces you don’t want product splatter or drips on. Have cleaning supplies ready in case of spills.

Read All Directions

Before starting, carefully read the sealer product information. Check what type of grout it’s formulated for and the best application method. Confirm it’s safe for kitchen use.

Shake or Stir the Sealer

Give the container a vigorous shake or stir to thoroughly mix up the product before pouring it into a tray or applicator.

Apply the Sealer

Use the sealer’s recommended method such as wiping, brushing or rolling on. Apply a thin, even layer over all grout lines. Avoid excessive application that could stain tiles.

Allow Proper Curing

Follow product directions for drying and curing times. Most sealers need 24 – 72 hours to fully cure. Avoid water exposure during this time.

Apply a Second Coat

For maximum protection, apply a second thin coat of sealer once first coat is fully cured. Allow a full cure again before use.

With the right supplies and careful application, sealing backsplash grout can be accomplished in less than an hour. Be sure to read all safety precautions and ventilate well. Proper sealing will protect your grout for years.

How Often to Reseal Grout

Grout sealer performance and durability can vary based on:

  • Type and quality of sealer used
  • Porosity and texture of the grout
  • Exposure to moisture, grease and other contaminants
  • Intensity of use, cleaning and wear

With those factors in mind, here are some general guidelines on resealing frequency:

Solvent-Based Sealers

Typically lasts 2-5 years before reapplying. Offer more durability than water-based.

Water-Based Sealers

Often requires resealing every 1-3 years for maximum performance. Lower durability but easier cleanup.

Penetrating Sealers

1-5 years. Penetrating formulas absorb deeper for longer protection than surface films.

Film-Forming Sealers

6 months – 1 year. Topical coating prevents absorption but wears off faster.

Kitchen Backsplashes

1-2 years. Heavy use and grease exposure accelerates sealer wear.

Bathroom Backsplashes

2-4 years. Less use helps sealer last longer than kitchens.

Highly Porous Grout

1 year. More absorption requires more frequent sealing.

Dense Epoxy Grout

3-5 years. Impervious material needs less frequent sealing.

Visibly Dirty or Stained Grout

Reseal immediately. Tough stains may require complete regrouting.

Be sure to inspect your grout every 6-12 months and reseal at the first signs of darkening, absorption or staining. Periodic resealing is essential to maintain protection. Considering the ease and low cost, it’s worth reapplying sealer more often than needed rather than allowing stains and damage to occur. Follow manufacturer specifications for ideal results.

Grout Sealing Tips and Precautions

Keep these important tips in mind for safe and effective grout sealing:

  • Only apply sealer to fully cured and dried grout, generally at least 28 days after installation.
  • Check compatibility with your specific grout type before applying any sealer.
  • Carefully read all manufacturer safety precautions and instructions before use.
  • Wear gloves and eye protection when applying sealer.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area and avoid breathing vapors.
  • Sealant can act as a slip hazard when wet. Use caution until fully cured.
  • Agitate container well before use to mix contents that may have separated.
  • Apply sealer carefully to avoid overlapping or puddling on tiles.
  • 2 thin coats of sealer provides better coverage than 1 thick coat.
  • Maintain ventilation during drying for proper curing.
  • Avoid walking on sealed grout or exposing it to water for the full curing time.
  • Use only clean, pH-neutral cleaners after sealing to avoid detergent film buildup.
  • Reseal at first signs of wear before damage occurs.

With proper precautions, the right sealer and regular reapplication, you can keep your backsplash grout looking pristine for many years. Take steps to fully protect this important finishing detail. Don’t allow stains and discoloration to compromise the beauty of your backsplash investment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best grout sealer?

Top options include Miracle Sealants 511 Impregnator, Aqua Mix Sealer’s Choice Gold, DuPont StoneTech Heavy Duty Sealer, TileLab SurfaceGard and Miracle Sealants 511 Porous Plus. Consider penetrating vs. film-forming formula, solvent or water-based, and compatibility with your grout type.

How long does grout sealer last?

Duration varies based on sealer quality and type, grout porosity, use and exposure. Solvent-based sealers often last 2-5 years. Film-forming types may last 6 months to 1 year. Ideal frequency is every 1-2 years for kitchen backsplashes and 2-4 years for bathroom backsplashes.

Should all grout be sealed?

Sealing is highly recommended for cementitious, urethane, latex and epoxy grout to prevent absorption, staining, mildew and simplify cleaning. More impervious grouts like pure epoxy have less need for sealing but can still benefit.

What is the easiest way to apply grout sealer?

Opt for a sealer that can be applied by wiping on with a clean cloth or sponge for quickest and easiest application. No special tools or skill required.

Can you use a grout sealer on sanded grout?

Yes, the same sealers recommended for unsanded grout can also be used on sanded grout. Just ensure the product is designed for cementitious or urethane grout.

How long after grouting can you seal the grout?

Grout should cure for a minimum of 28 days before applying any sealer. This allows complete drying and hardening to prevent sealant issues.

Can you use too much grout sealer?

Yes, excessive sealer can lead to greasy film buildup, residue on tiles, uneven darkening and other problems. Apply thin coats according to directions. Two light coats is better than one heavy coat.

Sealing backsplash grout helps prevent absorption, staining, discoloration, mildew growth and other damage while making cleaning and maintenance much easier. Periodic reapplication is necessary to maintain maximum protection. With the right sealing product and proper application, you can keep your grout looking like new for many years.


Properly sealing backsplash grout provides immense benefits for the appearance, protection, hygiene and maintenance of any tiled backsplash. Quality sealers create an effective moisture, stain and microbe barrier while allowing simple cleaning. Solvent-based impregnators offer the most durable protection, but water-based and film-forming sealers have advantages as well. Always check for compatibility with your specific grout type. Application is quick and easy using basic tools and safety precautions. Reapplication every 1-2 years for kitchen backsplashes keeps grout protected. Follow manufacturer instructions for ideal results. With a little time invested in sealing, your beautiful backsplash can stay looking brand new.