Sealing your newly installed backsplash is an important final step that helps protect it and give it a finished, complete look. Properly sealing the backsplash makes cleaning easier, prevents staining, and increases durability. Here’s our guide to sealing a kitchen or bathroom backsplash.
Selecting the Right Sealer
Choosing the appropriate sealer is the first key step for success. Consider the following factors when selecting a sealer:
- Backsplash material – The sealer must be compatible with your type of backsplash. Stone, tile, and grout sealers are formulated differently. Ensure you choose a sealer designed for your specific material.
- Desired finish – Some sealers leave a glossy finish while others are matte. Select the sheen you prefer.
- Protection level – Consider how frequently the area gets used and choose a sealer formulated for the appropriate level of protection needed. Kitchen backsplashes need maximum protection.
- Ease of application – Opt for a sealer that goes on easily without too many coats required. Spray sealers are the simplest to apply.
- Safety – Only use sealers designed for backsplash use that meet safety standards. Avoid options with harsh fumes.
Timing the Sealing
It’s best to seal your backsplash at the end of the installation process after it has been completely cleaned. Sealers adhere optimally to clean surfaces free of residue.
For grout, sealing is recommended as soon as possible before it fully cures, typically within 3 days of grouting. This allows maximum penetration into the grout.
If sealing an existing backsplash, thoroughly clean it first to remove any built-up grime or oils. Rinse and let dry completely before applying sealer.
Step-by-Step Sealing Process
Follow these steps for a flawless sealing process:
1. Clean the Surface
Use a specialized tile and grout cleaner to thoroughly clean the entire backsplash. Remove any lingering dust, dirt, or oils. Rinse any cleaner residue away with clean water and let dry fully.
2. Mask and Protect Surrounding Areas
Cover any nearby countertops, floors, walls or other surfaces with plastic sheeting and painter’s tape to prevent them from getting sealant drips.
3. Prepare and Test the Sealer
Before starting, read the sealer product directions fully. Prepare the sealer according to instructions. Shake or stir well before using. Test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure proper color results and penetration.
4. Apply Sealer Generously
Using a paintbrush, sponge, or spray bottle, apply a liberal, even coat across the entire backsplash surface. Get sealer into all grout lines and crevices. Let sealer penetrate for 5-10 minutes.
5. Wipe Away Excess
Thoroughly wipe away any sealer that doesn’t absorb using clean, dry cloths. Work in sections to prevent excess drying on the surface before you can wipe it away. Change cloths frequently.
6. Allow Proper Curing Time
Follow product instructions for dry times, typically 1-3 hours. The area can then be used as normal. A second coat may be recommended for maximum protection.
7. Clean Tools Promptly
Immediately clean brushes, sponges, and spray bottles thoroughly with soap and water before sealer dries. Properly discard rags and sheeting.
FAQs About Sealing Backsplash
How do I know if my existing backsplash needs resealing?
Signs like dark or dull spots, staining, etched marks, or a splattered look indicate a backsplash needs resealing. An easy water test can also assess penetration.
What’s the difference between sealing and resealing?
Sealing is done after new installation. Resealing restores protection on an existing backsplash that has worn away over time and needs renewal.
How often should I reseal my backsplash?
Frequency depends on usage levels and sealer quality. For kitchens, plan on resealing every 1 to 3 years. Bathroom backsplashes only need resealing every 3 to 5 years typically.
Can I use a sealer on natural stone backsplash?
Yes, stone sealers are made specifically for porous surfaces like granite, marble, slate, travertine, and limestone. They penetrate deeply to prevent staining.
What happens if I don’t seal my backsplash at all?
An unsealed backsplash will show dirt and stains more easily, be harder to keep clean, and deteriorate faster. Moisture can damage grout and cause discoloration without a protective seal.
How long should I stay off a newly sealed backsplash?
It’s best to avoid use for 24 hours after sealing. Prevent contact with water or liquids during this time. After 24 hours, the area can be used and cleaned normally.
Achieve a Flawless Finish
Sealing is the finishing touch that makes your backsplash look its best while protecting it. With the right sealer and proper application technique, you can create a look that will last for years to come. Be sure to reapply sealer periodically as needed to maintain the perfect finish. Let us know if you have any other backsplash sealing questions!