Does Backsplash Grout Need to Be Sealed?

Grout is an essential component of any tile backsplash, as it fills the spaces between the individual tiles. While grout allows you to have a seamless look, it is porous and susceptible to staining from water, oils, and dirt. This leads many homeowners to wonder — does backsplash grout need to be sealed?

What is Grout?

Grout is a cement-based material used to fill the joints between tiles. It creates a waterproof barrier and bonds the tiles together into a cohesive surface.

There are a few different types of grout available:

  • Sanded grout – This is best for joints of 1/8 inch or larger. It contains sand for added strength.
  • Unsanded grout – Finer and smoother, this is ideal for smaller grout lines less than 1/8 inch.
  • Epoxy grout – Extremely durable and water resistant, epoxy grout has an epoxy resin binder.
  • Silicone grout – Flexible and waterproof, silicone grout has 100% silicone binders.

Grout comes in different colors, allowing you to complement or match your tile.

The Importance of Sealing Grout

In short, yes – you should absolutely seal your backsplash grout.

Grout is naturally porous, meaning it readily absorbs liquids and stains. Sealing grout creates a protective barrier that prevents absorption. There are a few reasons why sealing grout is recommended:

Prevent Staining

The number one reason to seal grout is to prevent staining. Grout can easily absorb grease, oil, food, and dirt. A sealed surface repels these substances. This helps the grout stay cleaner longer.

Extend Grout Lifespan

Sealing minimizes the absorption of moisture and acids from spills and regular exposure to water. This protects the grout from erosion and damage over time, extending its lifespan.

Enhance Appearance

Sealing gives grout a rich, uniform color. It also creates a slight sheen for an attractive finish.

Easier Maintenance

Sealed grout won’t absorb stains, so it’s much easier to keep clean. You can simply wipe spills off the surface. Regular mopping and light scrubbing easily restores the grout’s original appearance.

When to Seal Grout

Ideally, you should seal grout shortly after it has been installed and has fully cured. Manufacturers generally recommend waiting a minimum of 72 hours after installation before sealing.

Sealing new grout will protect it right away and make your maintenance easier. It also allows you to achieve full, even grout color by preventing absorption of liquids after the initial cleaning.

Re-application depends on the type of sealer used and exposure levels. Typically, sealer lasts 1-5 years before needing renewal. If you notice grout looking dingy or absorbing stains again, it’s time to re-seal.

For heavy use areas like kitchens, sealing every 1-2 years is recommended. Light use bathrooms may only need sealing every 3-5 years.

How to Seal Grout

Sealing grout is a relatively simple DIY project. Here is the basic process:

  1. Clean the grout – Remove any dirt, grime, or old sealers using an alkaline grout cleaner and scrub brush. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry completely.
  2. Apply sealer – Use a grout sealing product designed for backsplashes. Apply a thin, even layer across all grout lines using a sealer applicator pad.
  3. Wipe off excess – Allow sealer to penetrate for 5-10 minutes. Use a clean cloth to wipe off any excess from tile surfaces.
  4. Cure – Avoid heavy cleaning for 24-48 hours as the sealer fully cures.
  5. Enjoy – Your sealed grout will now resist stains and be much easier to maintain!

Re-apply sealer every 1-5 years as needed to maintain protection.

Grout Sealing Tips

  • Only apply sealer to clean, dry grout – never saturated grout.
  • Use a grout sealant designated for backsplashes.
  • Carefully tape off any adjacent surfaces you don’t want to accidentally seal.
  • Apply a thin layer of sealer, wiping up any excess after 5-10 minutes.
  • Make sure the room is well-ventilated during application.
  • Allow the full curing time before washing or heavy use.
  • Consider hiring a professional if you have concerns about properly sealing your new backsplash.

Maintaining Sealed Grout

To keep sealed grout looking its best:

  • Sweep or vacuum to remove loose dirt.
  • Mix mild dish soap and warm water for regular mopping.
  • Spot clean stains as soon as possible using a soft-bristled scrub brush.
  • Re-seal grout every 1-5 years depending on traffic and exposure.
  • Avoid abrasive cleaners, bleach, ammonia, or acidic cleaners.

Benefits of Sealed Grout

Sealing your backsplash grout offers many benefits:

  • Prevents staining from everyday use
  • Allows quick and easy cleaning
  • Extends the lifespan of grout
  • Provides uniform color and attractive sheen
  • Helps reduce mold or mildew growth
  • Reduces need for expensive grout repairs or replacement

Keeping grout properly sealed is one of the best ways to protect your backsplash investment and keep it looking pristine for years to come. The minimal upkeep required is well worth the time and cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does sealant last on grout?

On average, grout sealant lasts 1-5 years depending on usage levels and sealer quality before needing reapplication. Higher traffic areas may need sealing yearly.

Can I use a sealant if my grout is already stained?

Yes, you can seal stained grout. But for best results, it is recommended to first clean off any remaining dirt, grime or sealing products with an alkaline grout cleaner before applying a fresh sealant.

Is sealing grout better than using a grout pen?

Yes, sealing is better as it protects the entire grout line, not just the surface. Grout pens quickly wear off and have to be reapplied often. Quality sealers offer longer-term protection.

What’s the easiest way to apply grout sealer?

Using a grout sealer applicator pad allows you to quickly and easily apply a thin, uniform layer of sealer directly to grout lines. Wipe off any excess after 5-10 minutes.

Should I wait to seal my new grout?

No, you should seal new grout once the installation is complete and the grout has cured per manufacturer specifications—usually 72 hours. Sealing right away provides immediate protection.


Regular sealing is essential for keeping backsplash grout looking clean, uniform, and stain-free. Allowing new or existing grout to remain unsealed leaves it vulnerable to damage. Sealing is an easy process that can extend the life of your grout and maintain the beauty of your backsplash. Be sure to re-seal grout every 1-5 years based on usage. With proper care, your stylish backsplash can stay vibrant for many years.