There are so many grout sealers on the market these days and to find the one that suits you can be a tricky affair.
For starters there are only two types of grout sealers you can use.
- Grout clear sealers also known as penetrating, impregnating or natural look grout sealers.
- Grout colourants also known as topical coatings.
Grout clear sealers
These types of grout sealers once applied sit just below the surface of your grout. They will not change the colour of your grout. They are designed to make porous grout non porous so deep staining does not occur. Clear sealers will not stop your grout from getting dirty but they will stop your grout from deep stains that are hard to remove.
If you clean your grout that has been clear sealed it will come up a lot cleaner then if unsealed. Unsealed grout can look patchy or discoloured after cleaning as the grout is 100% porous.
Grout clear sealers come in water based formula or solvent based formula. It does not really matter if water based or solvent based, after all they are just the carriers for the actual polymers (sealer).
I have had hundreds of customers tell me what a waste of money they spent on having there grout clear sealed due to the grout looking dirty all the time. Yes this is true but once cleaned with a high alkaline floor cleaner and scrub brush your grout will not show deep staining or look patchy and will clean up a lot better than if unsealed. Unsealed grout that has been deeply stained will never come out that is why grout colourants were invented as you would have to replace the grout which can be dangerous and costly messy procedure.
The only reason why home owners choose grout clear sealers is because it is easier and cheaper to apply then grout colourants but most people think it will solve these problems in keeping grout looking clean. . Businesses that offer a 15 year warranty on grout clear sealers are just telling lies. For starters grout clear sealers only last 2-3 years depending on what type of cleaner you use. The reason they can get away with their 15 year warranty is because you will never be able to really tell if the sealer is still there.
Ok now that we have discussed what clear grout sealers really do let’s look at grout colourants. There are so many grout colourants to choose from but they are not all the same. Firstly grout pens, well what I can say except they would have to be the biggest money wasters of all time. In fact they are not even a sealer just a solvent paint that colours grout. You can find these grout pens in all the hardware stores such as bunnings and masters.
They also sell their own version of grout colourants that again are a big waste of money. Ever seen a grout colourant in your local hardware store, it looks like the water or whatever it is has separated from the paint. These are penetrating sealers with paint added to them. They do not sit on top of grout so we cannot call them topical coatings. They do not repel water or soils and will stain just like unsealed grout. I guess this is why they are so much cheaper than a premium grade grout colourant.
Now let’s look at the professional versions of grout colourants. First we look at epoxy grout colourants. They are a grout sealer but they are thin watery type sealers that will require 2-3 coats and are very hard to apply. They discolour over time and can peel off depending on what type of foot traffic and cleaners are used.
After years of testing epoxy grout colourants vers acrylic titanium grout colourants we found that the acrylic grout colourants work the best. They are easier to apply and will not discolour or peel off. The best thing is it looks like grout as epoxy grout colourants can look like you just painted it on.