Shower tiling can be one of the more complicated DIY projects that you can do. Because they are exposed to so much water, shower tiles need to be sealed and waterproofed. After you do that, though, you should not use your shower right away.
You must wait at least 24 hours before taking a shower after sealing grout. This will ensure that your grout remains waterproof and water doesn’t get underneath the tiles. It will also help keep your tiles from getting moldy and deteriorating.
In this article, we will cover every aspect of aftercare for your grout sealing job. By following these guidelines, you can stay sure that your shower is properly protected. Nothing contributes to wear and tear as much as water does, so it’s important to do it right.
How Long Should You Wait to Seal Grout?
After you have done all of your grout work, it is imperative that you wait at least 72 hours before sealing it. This will give the grout enough time to completely cure. Completely curing the grout means that it both dries and hardens.
While you are waiting for your grout to completely cure, periodically check up on it. Make sure that no tiles are falling or coming out of place. Gravity can be your worst enemy with shower tiles since they can often move on their own overnight.
To keep your tiles where they are supposed to be, you can secure them with painter’s tape. This is a delicate process. Make sure that you are not putting any painter’s tape over your uncured, wet grout.
Why Should You Seal Shower Grout?
Shower grout needs to be sealed because grout in and of itself is not as waterproof as it should be. It is inherently porous and will allow water to fall down under the tiles and the liner underneath. Sometimes, this moisture can get stuck under the tile and start to cause damage.
By sealing your shower grout, you are adding an extra layer of protection and helping prevent that water damage. An improperly sealed shower is a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. These can be both dangerous for your shower and unhealthy for you.
Even though curing your grout will help it become more resistant to water, it will still need to be sealed. Even tiny droplets can soften the material under the shower and create structural issues.
How Often Should You Seal Shower Tile Grout?
As a general rule of thumb, you should reseal the grout in your shower at least once a year. This annual maintenance will help you keep the water out from under the tiles. The sealant can crack and wear with time and become less resistant to water.
One of the biggest issues with old shower grout sealant is that it will let water in but not back out. Even unsealed grout will provide an escape route for moisture that gets let in. Broken sealant will just trap it in.
If you want to be sure that your grout sealant is not coming apart and letting in water, you can replace it once every six months. Doing this is one of the best ways you can keep your shower tile and grout in good shape.
Can I Use My Shower Before Sealing the Grout?
If you need to, you can use your shower after grouting the tile but before you seal it. Oftentimes, people can’t wait the full amount of time needed to let the sealant dry. In this case, you can use the shower but need to take some special precautions.
Before using the shower, make sure that the grout has cured completely. This should be left for at least 72 hours before any water touches it. The longer the better, but your shower will have to be out of commission for at least the curing time of the grout.
Once you have used the shower, make sure that it has completely dried before you start laying the sealant. Water gets down underneath the grout no matter how tight you seal it and you need to give it time to evaporate. Let it dry for at least 6 hours before you start sealing the grout.
How Many Coats of Grout Sealer Is Needed?
You should use at least two coats of grout sealer on your shower tiles. The first coat of sealer will fill in any holes in the grout itself. The second coat will cover up any holes in the top layer of the sealant.
Let the first coat of sealer dry for the full 24 hours before you add the second coat. The sealer needs time to settle in order to fill in all the cracks in the grout. It will seep into the pores as it dries and allow a tight seal for the second coat to complete.
Can I Put New Sealer Over Old?
You are encouraged to reapply sealer every 6 to 12 months. This process helps touch up any of the sealer that has worn away since it has last been applied. This is a natural thing that happens in any shower that sees regular use.
Before putting new sealer over old, try to get as much of the second layer off as you can. Using a putty knife, scrape away the sealer that has started to break away. Make sure you leave enough room for the new coat.
Apply the new sealer sparingly. You are just trying to fill in any holes that have been leftover from the first coat. You do not want to have excess sealer seeping over the edge of the tile. This will allow for moisture to get under and not escape.
Surface Sealer Vs. Impregnator Sealer
When you are looking for a sealer to use for your grouted tile shower, you have choices to make. There are two types of grout sealer: surface sealer and impregnator sealer. Depending on the type of use your shower gifts, you’ll have to choose one.
Surface sealer stays on the top layer of the grout and protects it from any external moisture. Surface sealer can be thicker, it also can provide less-than-stellar protection. If your shower sees a lot of use, you are better off getting an impregnator sealer.
Impregnator sealer works by seeping into the holes that form naturally in grout. Impregnator sealer will infuse with the grout to make it as watertight as possible. This is the correct sealer for you if you use your shower consistently.
Can you do two coats of grout?
You can do as many coats of grout as you want. However, it should be noted that the more grout you have in between your tiles, the less room you will have for sealer.
Why is my grout cracking?
Grout on its own is incredibly brittle. If it is cracking, that means that you either need to apply another coat of sealer, or replace the grout. It could also mean that your sealer is not sufficiently protecting the grout from moisture.
Can I use caulk instead of grout?
Caulk can be used instead of grout if you don’t mind replacing it at least four times a year. Caulk is nowhere near as strong as grout and wears out much easier.