Sealing the grout in your kitchen backsplash is an important maintenance task that will help protect it from stains and damage. With just a few simple steps and supplies, you can easily seal your kitchen backsplash grout yourself.
Why Seal Grout?
Grout is porous and will absorb liquids, which can lead to staining and promote mold/mildew growth. Sealing creates a protective barrier that prevents this absorption.
Here are some key reasons to seal your grout:
- Prevent stains from grease, oils, food, and beverages
- Stop moisture from seeping into and discoloring the grout
- Provide resistance against bacteria and mold growth
- Keep the grout looking new for longer
- Reduce the need for frequent grout cleaning
Sealing is recommended for any tiled backsplash, but it is especially important for grout used on backsplashes in kitchens and bathrooms due to frequent exposure to water and potential staining agents.
What You’ll Need
Sealing grout is an easy DIY project. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Grout sealer – Look for a water-based sealer made for grout. Solvent-based sealers can stain tiles.
- Clean cloths – Old rags or paper towels work well.
- Small paintbrush – For applying sealer in tight spaces.
- Toothbrush – Helpful for scrubbing grout lines.
- Bucket of water – For cleaning and rinsing.
- Grout cleaning solution (optional) – Removes dirt and old sealant.
Make sure to check the application instructions on your specific grout sealant brand. Some may also require protective gear like gloves/goggles.
How to Seal Grout
Follow these step-by-step instructions for sealing your kitchen backsplash grout:
1. Clean the Grout
It’s important to thoroughly clean the grout lines before sealing. This removes any dirt, grease, or old sealant that can prevent the new sealant from bonding properly.
Use a stiff-bristled brush or toothbrush to scrub the grout with a grout cleaner or solution of warm water and dish soap. Rinse well with clean water and allow to fully dry.
2. Apply the Grout Sealer
Prepare the sealant according to the product instructions. Using a small paintbrush, apply a thin, even layer of the sealant carefully along the grout lines. Make sure there are no puddles or excess sealer on the tile or grout.
Let the first coat penetrate for 10-15 minutes, then wipe away any excess sealer with a clean cloth.
3. Apply a Second Coat
For best results, apply a second coat of grout sealer using the same technique as the first application. This helps ensure you get an even coat and comprehensive seal.
Allow the sealer to penetrate for 10-15 minutes again before wiping away any excess.
4. Allow Proper Curing Time
It’s important not to use the backsplash until the sealer has fully cured. This usually takes 24-72 hours. Consult the product instructions for exact cure times. Avoid washing the sealed grout or exposing it to water during this time.
5. Reapply Yearly
For ongoing protection, reapply grout sealer to your kitchen backsplash yearly. Resealing will replenish the protective barrier and prevent wear over time.
Tips for Successful Grout Sealing
- Only apply sealer to clean, dry grout – Sealant won’t bond if applied over dirt, grease, or moisture.
- Two thin coats are better than one thick coat – Thick sealant is more likely to puddle and won’t penetrate as well.
- Make sure the sealer doesn’t get on the tile surface – Immediately wipe off any excess that gets on the tiles before it dries.
- Seal the entire grout area, not just spots – Protect all grout lines from stains and moisture consistently.
- Allow for proper cure time before water exposure – Full waterproofing strength won’t occur until the recommended cure time has passed.
- Reapply yearly for maintained protection – Regular resealing will keep your grout looking fresh and clean.
FAQs About Sealing Grout
How long does grout sealer last?
On a backsplash with typical kitchen use, grout sealer lasts approximately 1 year before needing reapplication. Harsher conditions like frequent exposure to moisture may require resealing more often.
Does all grout need to be sealed?
Sealing is recommended for all types of grout to prevent stains and damage. However, some modern grout contains sealers already or has an epoxy coating, reducing absorption. Always check your grout manufacturer’s recommendations.
Can I seal over stained grout?
Yes, you can apply grout sealer over stained and discolored grout. However, it likely won’t change the appearance or get rid of staining that has already occurred. Thoroughly cleaning before sealing gives the best results.
Should I seal grout when it’s new?
It’s highly recommended to seal new grout as soon as possible once installation is complete. Sealing right away provides immediate protection against early stains during routine kitchen use.
Can I use grout sealer in wet areas?
Yes, sealers made for grout are safe for kitchen and bathroom backsplashes. Ensure the product you choose is formulated to be waterproof and mold/mildew resistant. These types of sealers protect grout in wet environments best.
Regularly sealing your kitchen backsplash grout is one of the best ways to protect it from damage while keeping it looking clean and attractive. The simple sealing process can easily be completed in less than an hour.
Be sure to thoroughly clean the grout, apply two coats of sealer, allow proper cure time, and reapply yearly. Following these key steps will maintain the integrity and appearance of your backsplash grout for years to come. Don’t wait until staining occurs to seal grout – preventative sealing is quick, easy and keeps your kitchen looking its best.