Why Protecting Your Grout Is Important To Your Home Floor Tiles
IMPORTANCE OF GROUTGrout is an important part of the flooring. It is the materials used to fill the area between individual tiles on a floor. It is quite often found in kitchens, bathrooms and common area of your home. It is also often found in lobbies and walkways of commercial properties.
Most of the time, nobody pays much attention to the grout. But when grout gets stained, cracked or falling out, people will take notice.
Grout helps to maintain your beautiful floor tiles through:
- Bonding the floor tile together, keeping them in place
- Allowing the tiles for natural expansion and contraction due to environmental factors like temperature
- Prevents the tiles from chipping and cracking
TYPES OF GROUTThere are two types of grout commonly being used:
- Cement based (CG) grout – Sanded and unsanded
- Epoxy based (EG) grout
|Types of Grout
|Cement grout - sanded
|Consists of fine graded aggregates, Portland cement, synthetic resins and coloured pigments added with water retentive additive. The water retentive additive allows the grout to stay moist until the cement is cured.
|- Used for larger grout joint – 3mm or larger- Excellent alternatives for natural stone and heavier tiles.
|Cement grout - unsanded
|Consists of very fine filler, synthetic resins, coloured pigment and water retentive additive. The water retentive additive allows the grout to stay moist until the cement is cured.
|- Used for smaller grout joint – 3mm or smaller- Easy to apply on dry or vertical surfaces.
|Epoxy grout (EG)
|Consists of epoxy resin, silica fillers, pigments and a hardener. Epoxy grout is waterless mix formed by mixing a base material (part A) and a hardener (part B).
|- Ideal for porous and moisture sensitive stones.- Have a very low water absorption, higher compressive strength, are resistant to staining and easy to maintain.
WHY PROTECTING THE GROUT IS IMPORTANTMost homes floor tiling grout are Cement Based grout. This type of grout is porous, which means moisture will get into it. When the fluid evaporates, the dirt and stains will stay in that way no matter how many times you mop and clean your tiles. When the stains continue to accumulate, it will redistribute itself all over the flooring grout, causing your grout to be unsightly.
PROTECTING YOUR GROUT FOR HEALTH REASONSMoisture within the grout is a conducive environment for mildew and mould growth. And it is very difficult to clear it off. Prolong exposure to environment with mildew and mould is likely to cause health issues, especially with children and old folks. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), a considerable proportion of the world’s 300 million cases of childhood asthma is attributable to exposure to indoor dampness and mould.
SEALING YOUR GROUTSealing your grout is an effective way to protect your newly laid grout from stains, dirt and mildew breeding. Grout Sealer is a substance that is applied to the grout to give it a layer of water proof protection. Essentially, Grout Sealer helps:
- Withstand stains
- Resist water absorption
- Prevents mildew and mould to grow
- Prolong the looks, texture and consistency of your grout
Most Grout Sealer are water proof. As such, it prevents water and moisture from getting into the grout. Some Grout Sealer will also have anti-fungus ingredient which prevents the mildew and mould to grow should there be any moisture trapped after it was applied.
Grout Sealer is an excellent way to prolong the lifespan of your grout, which in turns protects your tiles from chipping off.
WHEN DO YOU SEAL YOUR GROUT
The ideal time to seal your grout is when you have just laid your floor tiles. This can be done after your newly laid tiles and grout have dried and cured. You can approach your flooring contractor for advise on the curing duration for your newly laid flooring.
For existing tiles, it is recommended that you clear away any visible mildew and mould before applying the Grout Sealer. Choose one that has anti-mildew properties to eliminate any mildew that is not visible to the naked eyes.
Prior to applying the Grout Sealer, it is important to ensure the area is free from grease and dirt. Cleaning the area using some dishwashing soap and a soft sponge should do the work. Then allow the area to dry completely.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU RESEAL THE GROUT?
It is a good practice to reapply the Grout Sealer every 1 to 2 years. You can also prolong the lifespan of the Grout Sealer (and your tiles) by adopting a proper method of washing the floor.
These factors contribute to the lifespan of the Grout Sealer:
Water proofing properties of the Grout Sealer – This can be tested by dropping some water onto the grout and see if it seeps in.
Frequency of washing your floor
Types of cleaning equipment used – Scrubbing the floor using coarse scrubs will thin out the Grout Sealer faster.
Strong or harsh chemicals – Using strong or harsh chemicals to wash your floor will weaken both your floor tiles and Grout Sealers over time.
Grout Sealer helps to protect your floor tiles and prevents health issues due to prolong exposure to mildew and moulds especially in the bathroom and kitchens. Coloured Grout Sealers can even compliment your floor tiles as part of the flooring design. A good Grout Sealer coupled with proper cleaning method will ensure your floor tiles free of stains and mildew for many years.