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The 7 Best Grout Sealers of 2021

Keep your tile grout clean, protected, and looking its best

Grout is a combination of cement, sand, and water that is frequently colored to fill the gaps between tiles. However, whether the tiles are on your floor, kitchen counters, or bathtub surround, one thing is certain: spills of water or other liquids can eventually cause discoloration, mold growth, and damage. However, there is a solution: grout sealer. Annually–or even every six months–applied

Applying grout sealer is a simple–albeit tedious–procedure, well within the abilities of even a beginning DIYer, and typically accomplished in just a few hours when the right products are used. We’ve made it even easier by researching the many types of grout sealer available and then whittling them down to those that do the best job for various applications around the home.

Here, the best grout sealers on the market.

Best Overall: Aqua Mix Sealer’s Choice Gold Quart

Sealer's Choice Gold Quart

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Application Method: Rag or sponge | Water/Solvent Base: Water | For Multiple Types of Surfaces: YesWhat we like

  • Safe for most types of stone, ceramic tile, and grout
  • No-sheen, non-slippery finish
  • Safe in food-prep areas

What we don’t like

  • Very few complaints of white haze

Grout serves as a decorative and defensive filler, filling in any gaps between tiles to create a sturdy surface. Since grout contains sand, it requires protection from a sealant in order to last. Sand is porous, with small holes that allow dirt and bacteria to collect. The best sealers obstruct these holes to the greatest extent possible.

The Sealer’s Choice in Aqua Mix For its natural appearance and extensive defense, Gold Quart takes the top spot. This is a water-based sealer that covers the entire surface, including grout and tiles, and offers adequate protection. It also has a no-sheen finish for a more natural appearance. This will offer extra cover for ceramic tiles which can be used with stones such as granite, marble, masonry and limestone. Use this as a pre-grout sealer on your tiles for extra protection in areas such as bathrooms or kitchens.The 7 Best Grout Cleaners of 2021

Best Budget: Black Diamond Stoneworks Ultimate Grout Sealer

Ultimate Grout Sealer

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Application Method: Rag or sponge | Water/Solvent Base: Water | For Multiple Types of Surfaces: NoWhat we like

  • Reasonable price
  • Fights mold and mildew growth

What we don’t like

  • Some complaints of bleaching of colored grout

Not all low-cost grout sealers are effective at keeping dirt and germs out of the grout. While a low-cost solution is a good choice for larger projects or those on a tight budget, you must ensure that the sealer does the job. Because it’s designed to combat mold and mildew growth, the Black Diamond UGS PT Ultimate is the best option.

The sealer is designed to repel oil and water, which over time can cause significant grout damage. This form of security will minimize the amount of maintenance your grout and tiles will need after prolonged use in areas where moisture is normal, such as the kitchen or bathroom. Meat, grease, mildew, and mold would all be repelled by the sealer, preventing harmful bacteria from forming.

Best Impregnator: Miracle Sealants 511 Impregnator Penetrating Sealer, 32 oz.

Miracle Sealants Impregnator

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Application Method: Rag or sponge | Water/Solvent Base: Solvent | For Multiple Types of Surfaces: YesWhat we like

  • Won’t alter the color or appearance of the treated surface
  • Suited for use on most types of stone, tile, and grout
  • Excellent protection against stains and water damage

What we don’t like

  • Some complaints about odor

The depth of grout sealers is an issue. Since sand is brittle, depending on the thickness of the grout, deeper holes must be tackled. To protect the outer layers, most sealers use a water-based solution that stops near the surface. An impregnator, such as the Miracle Sealants 32-ounce bottle, is needed to reach further in.

This sealer uses a solvent-based formula that penetrates deeper into the grout layer. The deeper penetration means extra, longer-lasting protection for the grout and surrounding tiles. The sealer dries into a slip-resistant finish, so it is safe to walk on treated tile floors without worry. The extra protection will also keep stains from forming, preserving the look of the tile surface.The 9 Best Tile Floor Cleaners of 2021

Best Spray-on: Miracle Sealants 511 Spray-on Grout Sealer, 15 oz.

Miracle Sealants 15 oz. 511 Spray-on Grout Sealer

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Application Method: Spray | Water/Solvent Base: Solvent | For Multiple Types of Surfaces: NoWhat we like

  • Easy to use
  • Dries quickly
  • Effectively repels stains and moisture

What we don’t like

  • Only for grout, not other surfaces
  • Can create haze on nearby stone or tile surfaces if not applied carefully

Depending on the method of application, applying grout sealant can be a difficult task. To build a solid layer on bottles, you’ll need more time and energy, as well as a tool, sponge, or rag. Spray-on sealers are a perfect alternative because they make getting a level and full finish over grout and other surfaces much easier.

The Miracle Sealants 15-ounce spray bottle uses a consistent pressure spray for equal coverage on the surface. The formula can be applied to grout, concrete, brick and other natural stones (should you want to have a single protective layer over the surface as well). For floors, you can use the spray inside and out since it will resist the common moisture levels found in outdoor environments.

Best Tube: Custom Building Products TileLab

Custom Building Products TileLab 6 oz. Grout Sealer

Buy on Home Depot

Application Method: Tube with attached brush | Water/Solvent Base: Water | For Multiple Types of Surfaces: NoWhat we like

  • Easy to apply
  • Dries quickly

What we don’t like

  • Only for small areas
  • Some complaints about difficulty squeezing sealer out of the tube

Tube grout sealers give you more control over the sealant when you’re working. Tubes are best used for small tasks or to touch up residual spots because their availability is often minimal compared to bottles and spray-on alternatives. Keep a tube like the Custom Building Products TileLab on hand for spot fixes over time to keep the sealer intact.

The tube contains 6 ounces of sealant, which should be enough for a few touch-ups or repairs. The sealer can resist mildew and bacterial build-up until completely dry, making bathroom and kitchen cleaning simpler and safer. The sealant also protects the tiles from stains.The 7 Best Shower Tile Cleaners of 2021

Best for Large Jobs: Tuff Duck Natural Stone & Grout Sealer

Granite, Grout and Marble Sealer

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Application Method: Rag or sponge | Water/Solvent Base: Water | For Multiple Types of Surfaces: YesWhat we like

  • Suitable for use on most types of stone and grout
  • Effectively resists oils, stains, and moisture

What we don’t like

  • Strong odor
  • Few complaints about bleaching of dark grout

For a quality coat and deep penetration on larger projects, more sealer is needed. For this size, gallon sealer bottles are the most cost-effective. You’ll be able to complete larger projects up to 800 square feet with a gallon bottle (and still have some often leftover). The extra sealer can then be saved for touch-ups in the future.

Tuff Duck’s Natural Stone & Grout Sealer gallon bottle is a multipurpose sealant formula designed for both grout and tile surfaces alike. Being non-acidic, the formula is safe to use on natural stones and concrete to protect the appearance of the surface. For grout, the sealer will penetrate to the bottom so all of the natural pores are covered up for better moisture and bacteria protection.

Best Multipurpose: Black Diamond Stoneworks Granite Sealer

Granite Sealer

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Application Method: Spray | Water/Solvent Base: Water | For Multiple Types of Surfaces: YesWhat we like

  • Easy application
  • Suited to most types of stone
  • Safe for use in food-prep areas

What we don’t like

  • Some complaints about haze on granite
  • Few complaints that directions are not clearly written

Sealant formulas vary depending on the brand and manufacturer. Some formulas are specifically for grout and nothing else. If you have a project where other hard surfaces need protection, a multipurpose sealant like the Black Diamond Granite Sealer may be a good alternative.

This sealer comes in a 16-fluid-ounce spray bottle designed for small projects or light touch-ups. The formula is non-toxic and non-corrosive, making it safe for granite, concrete, as well as other stones in addition to grout. As a water-based formula, it is also safe for food contact if you want to apply extra protection to things such as granite countertops in the kitchen. Application is easy: spray and wipe away any excess.The 8 Best Cleaners for Glass Shower Doors of 2021Final Verdict

Because of its no-sheen, natural look, suitability for use over many forms of natural stone and tile as well as grout, and superior protection against moisture and staining, Aqua Mix Sealer’s Choice Gold (view at Amazon) takes our top spot. If cost is a major consideration, Black Diamond Grout Sealer is a better option (view at Amazon). This product is only for sealing grout; it will not protect the surface your tile or stone surfaces—but it’s easy to use and does protect white or colored grout from moisture and oil.

What to Look for in a Grout Sealer

Application Type

Grout sealer is available in spray-on formulas, ready-to-apply tubes, or larger quart and gallon size containers that require rag or sponge application. Take your pick of how you’d like to apply a sealant to your grout, keeping in mind the square footage you need to cover. While a tube of grout sealer is convenient, it probably isn’t a practical choice for larger jobs. Spray-on formulas help achieve a consistent, even layer of sealant over the surface, but gallon-size containers will offer the most bang for your buck.

Water vs. Solvent Based

Some grout sealers are water-based formulas, while others are solvent-based. Water-based grout sealers offer more surface-level protection and won’t penetrate as deeply into porous grout, but they also don’t produce as many odors or VOC’s as some solvent-based formulas. For deep protection of your grout, however, a solvent-based impregnator-sealer is the best bet since it’ll fill spaces and protect your grout from deep within.

Treatable Surfaces

While some grout sealers are designed specifically for grout, others may be used on cement, granite, and other natural stone surfaces. To ensure that your treated surface is not damaged, look for a non-corrosive formula. Look for a product that is non-toxic and suitable for interaction with food if you intend to use it on a food prep or dining surface, such as kitchen counters or a bar top.

FAQs

How do you apply grout sealer?

Although applying grout sealer isn’t difficult, if you have a wide area to cover, it can be tedious. Even so, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours to complete the task. Still read the product application instructions before applying sealer, but this is how it’s done as a general rule.

  1. If the grout is new, wait at least 48 hours—72 is better—before applying grout sealer. This gives the fresh grout enough time to dry completely. Otherwise, you could get cloudy or bubbled results. 
  2. If sealing old grout, be sure it’s as clean as possible before resealing it. Otherwise, you’ll trap dirt and stains beneath the sealer.
  3. Apply painter’s tape to block off and protect any trim, such as baseboards, that you don’t want to wet with the grout sealer. 
  4. Choose your appropriate application tools. If applying the sealer to a large tiled floor, and using a product safe for use on tile as well as grout, it’s fastest to apply the sealer with a sponge mop. But for most jobs, you’ll do best with a small foam paint brush, sponge, or roller. Some products come in applicator bottles with a roller top built right in; this is especially handy for thin grout lines. Aerosol products spray on directly.
  5. Wet your applicator with the grout sealer, and begin wiping the liquid into the grout lines. If you are sealing both horizontal and vertical surfaces, start with the vertical tile. 
  6. Apply enough grout sealer to soak the grout. Work slowly and methodically to ensure you evenly coat all grout surfaces. 
  7. Wipe excess sealer off the tiles, unless you are using a product meant to seal both grout and tile. 
  8. Let the sealer dry for the time recommended by the manufacturer. This is typically anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.
  9. Apply a second coat of grout sealer, following the same general guidelines. 
  10. If the sealer leaves any hazy or white splotches on the tile, dampen a clean cloth with a bit of the grout sealer, and wipe the area until the blotch is gone. Now wipe the tile with a clean, dry cloth to remove any lingering residue. 
  11. Once the grout sealer is completely dry, flick a couple of drops of water onto the sealed surface. If it’s properly sealed, the water should ball into droplets. If the water soaks in, however, the grout isn’t completely sealed and you’ll need to apply another coat of sealer.

Do all types of grout require sealing?

Grout does not have to be sealed in all cases. Standard sealing is not needed for synthetic-based grouts such as epoxy or urethane grouts. However, you’ll need to apply a grout sealer on a regular basis if you want to keep your cement-based grout—the most popular type—reasonably clear of dirt, stains, and mold spots.

How often does grout need to be sealed?

Sealing grout isn’t a one-and-done task. As a general rule, you should reseal grout that isn’t often wet—such as walls, floors, and fireplace surrounds—once per year. But for best results, you should plan on resealing grout twice per year in areas that often get wet, such as inside a shower or tub, on a kitchen counter, or behind a kitchen or bathroom sink.

How long does it take for grout sealer to dry?

Although individual circumstances can vary, in general, grout sealer is dry enough to walk on within 2 to 3 hours of application. However, since the sealer will take up to 48 hours to cure fully, wait a few days before allowing heavy traffic on your newly sealed tile floor, taking a shower or bath in a freshly sealed tub, or using your newly sealed countertops.

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