We review the most popular consumer and professional grade sealers to help you choose the best grout sealer.
|Stonetech Impregnator Pro||Stonetech Bulletproof|
|Dupont Grout Sealer||TileLab SurfaceGard|
|Miracle 511 Impregnator||Drytreat Stain-Proof|
|TileLab Grout & Tile Sealer||Tile Guard Silicone Grout Sealer|
|AquaMix Sealers Choice Gold||Best Grout Sealer|
There are many different brands of grout sealers to choose from.
There are water based and solvent based grout sealers.
There are Low VOC and high VOC type grout sealers.
Grout Sealers have many sealer formulations. Many manufactures do not list their sealer formulation and will only tell you that this is a trade secret.
There are grout sealers that are also made for sealing stone tiles as well as grout.
Grout sealers come in many different packages and prices with varying coverage details for the different sealers.
With so many different types of grout sealers to choose from it is no wonder there is so much confusion when trying to choose the best grout sealer for protecting your grout. At the North American Tile Cleaning Organization we explain the various pros and cons of the many types of grout sealers on the market today. We also test the various grout sealers to see how well they perform in real world grout sealing tests. After reading the information and viewing the test results you will all be able to make an informed decision on what is the correct grout sealer to protect your grout and keep your tile installation looking new for years to come.
Water based vs. Solvent based.
Grout and stone sealers come in two basic forms; water based and solvent based. The water and solvents in grout sealers are just the carriers for the sealant material. After the sealer dries the water or solvents that carried the sealant material will evaporate and only the sealant will be left in the grout to protect it. Solvent based sealers are able to penetrate deeper into the grout because the solvents can carry a smaller sealant molecule deeper into the grout than water based sealers. The sealant technology today has improved so that water based sealers are able to penetrate almost as far into the grout as solvent based sealers.
Since grout is an extremely porous material the grout is able to absorb solvent based and water based sealers deep into the pores of the grout so the absorption issue is not really relevant when evaluating grout sealers. When sealing stone tiles it is generally recommended to use a solvent based sealer. Stone tiles are more dense and the better penetration ability of solvent based sealers will make a difference in how well a stone tile is sealed. When choosing a grout sealer for a ceramic and porcelain tile installation there is no need to also seal the tiles when sealing the grout and therefore it is not beneficial to use a solvent based grout sealer due to the porous nature of grout.
Low VOC and high VOC sealers.
VOC stands for Volatile organic compounds. VOC is a broad based term used to analyze a wide range of industrial and consumer compounds. Generally speaking the VOC's are the human and environmental toxic byproducts that go into the environment from using certain products. Solvent based sealers will always have much higher VOC's then water based sealers due to the inherent nature of the solvent products. When the water based and solvent based sealers dry all the VOC's will leave the grout or tile and only sealant material will remain. There is no lingering effect from VOC's after the sealer has dried (typically 4-6 hours). Some of the sealers will display the VOC on the package and this can be important in today's world of increased environmental awareness. Water based grout sealers will also have lower odors and harmful human effects when applying them. People sensitive to chemicals should consider using a water based low VOC sealer. Some solvent based sealers have extremely high VOC levels and can be toxic and require using a respirator when sealing grout in an enclosed areas.
Grout sealer formulations.
There are many different grout sealer formulations used. Some grout sealant manufacturers will tell you the formulations and some just state that their sealant formulation is a trade secret. Grout sealant manufacturers are generally not required to list the sealant formulation on the MSDS due to the fact that the actuals sealant material is a non toxic compound. Fluoropolymer based sealers have been very popular in the past but recently new trade secret sealant formulas are coming to the market. Our testing will determine if these new sealant technologies work better then the older fluoropolymer based grout sealers.
Grout Sealers that are also made to seal stone.
It takes a higher quality type of sealer to seal stone tiles then it does to seal grout. Many stone tiles are extremely dense and it takes a small sealant molecule to penetrate deep into the stone tiles to seal them. A sealer that is made for stone and grout will typically work as good or better than a sealer that is made for just sealing grout. Again our testing will determine what types of tile, grout and stone sealers work best for sealing and protecting grout.
Packaging and pricing.
Grout sealers come in all types of packages at various prices. When choosing a grout sealer the higher price a quality grout sealer is money well spent. Good sealers separate themselves from bad sealers is in the quality of sealant material. Typically you will need about 16 oz or 473 ml of grout sealer for every 200 sq-ft of 12 inch tiles with 1/8 inch grout joints. For smaller 4-6 inch tiles you will need 24 oz of sealer to cover the same square footage. Also if you have 1/4 inch or larger grout joints you will also need 25% more sealer to cover the same square footage.
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