How Long to Wait Before Sealing Grout on Backsplash

Proper sealing is crucial for protecting the grout on your backsplash and maintaining its appearance over time. However, it’s important to wait for the right amount of time before applying a sealant. Here is a detailed guide on how long to wait before sealing grout on a backsplash.


Backsplashes made of tile and natural stone add visual interest and protect the walls behind sinks, stoves, and countertops from splatters, spills, and stains. The grout lines between the tiles are especially susceptible to absorbing liquids and acquiring buildup. Sealing the grout creates a protective barrier that prevents stains from setting in the porous grout material.

However, you don’t want to seal the grout too soon. The grout needs ample time to fully cure and dry before applying the sealant. If you rush the sealing process, you run the risk of trapping moisture underneath the sealant, which can lead to a number of problems, including discoloration, hazing, and growth of mold or mildew.

So how long should you wait? Here’s a look at the recommended timeframes for allowing grout to cure before sealing a backsplash based on the grout and tile types used.

How Long to Wait for Cement-Based Grout

Cement-based grouts, composed primarily of Portland cement, are the most commonly used type for backsplash installations. They include variations like sanded caulk grout and unsanded caulk grout. For cement-based grouts, it’s generally best to wait:

  • 24 to 48 hours before applying any kind of sealant when using sanded caulk grout. The sand within the grout helps it cure more quickly.
  • 3 to 5 days for unsanded caulk grout to fully cure and dry. Unsanded grout without sand aggregates takes longer to set and dry.

During this waiting period, avoid getting the grout lines wet as moisture can delay the curing. Once the recommended time has passed, do a visual inspection and moisture test by lightly pressing a paper towel into the grout lines to see if any dampness transfers. The grout should be dry to the touch before sealing.

How Long to Wait for Epoxy Grout

Epoxy-based grouts offer stain and water resistance. For these grouts, it’s suggested you wait:

  • 3 to 7 days before sealing epoxy grout. This allows the grout to fully cure and harden.

Epoxy grouts usually don’t require sealing. However, sealing will provide added protection especially for more porous tile like natural stone. Make sure the epoxy grout has had time to fully cure before applying any sealant.

The Drying Time for Other Grout Types

There are some other specialty grout options to consider:

  • Urethane grout – Wait 72 hours before sealing this waterproof grout.
  • Furan grout – Wait 5 to 7 days for this chemical-resistant grout to cure.
  • Latex-modified sanded grout – Wait 72 hours before sealing this flexible grout.

Always check the manufacturer’s instructions as drying times can vary. For any grout, make sure no dampness remains before sealing.

Considerations Based on Tile Type

The drying time for grout also depends on the tile used. More porous tiles will pull moisture from the grout, slowing the curing. Wait longer if using:

  • Natural stone tiles – Wait 5 to 7 days before sealing grout with more absorbent stone like granite, marble, travertine, or limestone.
  • Saltillo tiles – Wait 10 to 14 days for grout used with these clay tiles to fully dry and cure.

Use a shorter waiting period of 1 to 3 days for non-porous tiles like ceramic, porcelain, or glass tiles which won’t draw out moisture from the grout.

Performing a Moisture Test

To confirm when the grout is ready for sealing, do a test to check for dryness:

  • Lightly press a paper towel or cloth into the grout lines. Dampness that transfers means it needs more time to dry.
  • Use a moisture meter to check for humidity in the grout if uncertain. Levels should be in an acceptable range per the meter’s instructions before applying sealer.
  • Consider leaving a small test area unsealed for several days and check for any darkening or discoloration that would indicate excess moisture was still present.

Only seal once you’ve confirmed dryness. Applying sealant too soon traps moisture and causes issues.

Applying the Grout Sealer

When ready to seal after the waiting period, make sure the grout is clean and dry. Carefully apply the sealant according to the product’s instructions for coverage and drying time between coats.

For enhanced water-repellency, consider using a penetrating silicone sealer which soaks in deeply and solidifies within the grout.

Reapply the grout sealer every 1 to 3 years for maintained protection. Proper sealing guards against stains, makes cleaning easier, and prevents erosion and cracking of the grout lines.

FAQ About Sealing Grout

How long should I wait to get water on grout after sealing it?

It’s best to wait 24-48 hours before exposing sealed grout to water. This allows the sealer to fully cure and activate its water-resistant properties.

Can I seal grout in high humidity?

No, sealers typically require low humidity levels below 85% to dry effectively. High humidity can prevent the sealer from setting up properly.

Is it OK to seal grout at night?

Yes, sealing grout during nighttime hours is fine as long as the temperature is within the manufacturer’s recommended range, usually 55° to 80° Fahrenheit. Away from sunlight is actually ideal.

What happens if you don’t seal grout?

Without a sealer, grout is vulnerable to staining, discoloration, and growth of bacteria and mold. Unsealed grout will also wear down faster and can begin eroding within a few years.

Can I use waterproof grout without sealing it?

Some epoxy-based waterproof grouts don’t require sealing. But applying a sealant will provide extra protection, especially for more porous tile surfaces. Check the grout manufacturer’s recommendations.

How soon can I get grout wet in the shower after sealing?

It’s best to avoid showering directly on recently sealed grout for at least 24 hours. Give the sealer time to fully set up and activate its water-resistant properties.


Allowing adequate dry time is crucial before sealing grout on a backsplash. While exact timeframes depend on the grout and tile type, you generally need to wait 24 hours to 7 days for cement-based grouts to fully cure. Always do a moisture test to confirm the grout is completely dry before applying sealer. With some care and patience, sealing the grout will help keep your backsplash looking pristine.