How to Tell If Shower Grout Is Sealed

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Shower grout is basically a mixture of sand, cement, and water, making it highly porous. It absorbs water quickly and should be sealed when used in showers to install tiles.

A sealed coating makes the grout water-resistant and it prevents water from damaging your shower. But how to tell if your shower grout is sealed?

Performing a water test will allow you to figure out if your shower grout is sealed and we’ll discuss how to achieve that in this article.

How to Tell If Shower Grout Is Sealed

The easiest and most effective way to determine whether or not your shower grout is sealed is to carry out a water test. You can use the following steps for this purpose.

  • Add one cup of water to a spray bottle.
  • Adjust the nozzle of the spray bottle and set it to mist.
  • Use a towel to clean and dry the shower grout properly. Make sure it doesn’t have any moisture on it.
  • Spray water mist on the shower grout to cover the entire area.
  • Let the water mist sit on the grouting for five to seven minutes. Keep the door and windows of your bathroom closed if there are any.

After that, inspect the shower grout. If the water is still there and the color of the grouting hasn’t changed, your grouting is sealed. But if the color of the grout has become darker, the grout isn’t sealed or the sealant’s coating has deteriorated.

Why Seal Shower Grout

As mentioned, grout is a porous material and it absorbs water and other non-viscous liquid pretty quickly. Unsealed shower grout allows the water to get underneath the tiles and sit there, which can lead to the buildup of mold and mildew.

It can also damage the grout over time and cause the tiles to lift up and pop off the shower floor. Sealing your shower grout makes it water-resistant and allows it to direct water to the drain. It prevents mold and mildew buildup and prolongs the longevity of your shower construction.

Types of Grout Sealers

Primarily, there are two different types of grout sealers that you can use to seal your shower grout.

Membrane Forming

A membrane-forming sealer creates a protective layer on top of the grout to make it water resistant. These sealers are commonly used for tiles made of natural stones as they don’t stick to glazed tiles.

Additionally, they don’t make the best option for bathroom floors and walls. That’s because they trap the water underneath the tiles and keep it from evaporating, which can lead to mold build-up.

Penetrating Sealers

As the name implies, penetrating sealers go inside the pores of the grout to make it water-resistant. They’re commonly used for bathroom and shower floors because they don’t trap moisture underneath tiles.

How to Seal Shower Grout

You don’t need to hire a professional to seal your shower grout. It’s not a difficult task and you can do it yourself using the method discussed below.

Supplies You’ll Need

  • A pair of gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Foam brush
  • Penetrating grout sealer
  • Dry towel or cloth
  • Masking tape

Instructions to Follow

  1. Clean the tiles using a towel and let them dry properly.
  2. Tape off the surfaces, such as fixtures and baseboards, to protect them from unintentional staining.
  3. Apply masking tape vertically on tiles on each side of the grout seams. Not only will it protect the tiles but it’ll also ensure that the sealant looks neat with straight edges once finished.
  4. Wear gloves and safety glasses to ensure your safety.
  5. Start applying the sealant along the grout between two stripes of masking tape by using the foam brush. Make sure that you shake the sealant’s bottle before opening it to distribute heavy particles homogeneously.
  6. Cover all the grouting by applying a thin coat of sealant. Then wait for 30 minutes to let it penetrate and apply another coat after that.
  7. Wait for about one hour and remove the masking tape from the tiles. Use a damp cloth to remove the sealant’s residue from the tiles. Make sure that you don’t touch the grout with the cloth.
  8. After that, apply masking tape horizontally and use the same technique to apply two coats of the sealant.

Once you have covered the entire surface, leave it for at least 72 hours to allow the sealant to dry and cure properly. After that, you can perform the water test again to make sure that your shower grout is sealed.

Do You Need to Reseal Your Shower Grout?

It’s important to note that the grout seal deteriorates with time and starts allowing the water to go underneath the tiles.

That’s why you need to reseal the shower grout after three to five years, depending on the level of ventilation in your bathroom. The better the ventilation the longer the lifespan of the sealant will be.

We recommend you perform the water test at least once a year to check the integrity of your sealed grout. It’ll allow you to determine the correct time to reapply the sealant and protect your shower from water damage.

Can You Use Unsealed Grout in Showers?

Cement-based grout and epoxy-grout are the two types of grouts that you can use for your showers. If you have cement-based grout in your shower, you’ll need to seal it to prevent water damage.

Whereas epoxy grout doesn’t need to be sealed because of its non-porous nature. It’s made of filler powder and epoxy resins, making it waterproof and resistant to harsh chemicals, and it doesn’t discolor, shrink, or crack. It’s extremely durable and makes for a perfect option for wet areas, such as showers.

Final Words

Sealing the shower grout is important to ensure your shower’s structural integrity. Performing a water test is the easiest way to check whether your shower grout is sealed or not.

Make sure that you perform this test at least once a year and use the method discussed above to reapply the grout sealant effectively.

Allen Michael is the Founder and Editor of Home Viable, a website that he started to provide readers with tips on home efficiency and automation. He draws on his engineering background combined with his family-of-four experiences for his articles.