Sealing Grout is About as Much Fun as It Sounds

The new bathroom is practically finished now. All that’s left is to put up the mirror, some hooks, the toilet paper holder, and . . . seal the grout?

There are some things required in construction that I had no idea were required. Grout sealing is one of those things. To the best of my knowledge, you do it so you don’t stain the grout with wine or food or something. I wasn’t really planning on drinking in my shower, or eating for that matter, but last night I found myself standing in the shower, grout sealer in hand, trying to figure out how best to get the blasted stuff onto the grout.

I had bought a specialty tool for the job. A squirt bottle with a little roller attached that’s supposed to make it easy for you to get everything just right. It made sense in theory, but in practice it left much to be desired. For one thing, you’re not supposed to get the sealer on the tile, or else you risk discoloring your tile for life.

(So riddle me this: why in the world was I standing there risking staining my tile accidentally by putting stuff on the grout to make sure the grout didn’t stain? Why not just embrace the fact that my grout might stain at some point, but my tile would be fine? Best not to ask crazy questions like that. Best just to stick to the prescribed technique of grout finishing.)

The roller was too wide for some areas and too thin for others. Worse yet, the grout sealer didn’t want to go on most of the grout at all. I tried different angles. No dice. (And don’t get me started on how long it took me staring at different grout sealers at Home Depot to decide which one I really needed.)

In the end, I gave up on the specialty bottle. Instead I went and borrowed a water color brush from DC. One of the basic little cheap brushes that comes with pretty much every water color set. I put the sealer into a plastic container and stood there getting my Michelangelo on for the next while, painting the grout by hand.

It doesn’t look like it should take that long. There’s not that much grout, after all. The tiles we got are two feet wide by a foot tall, so it should have been a piece of cake. Except when you’re using a little water color brush to get the job done . . . things take longer.

I got the first coat done for the shower. I was sick of doing it by then, so I haven’t started the floor yet at all. Tonight I’ll try to take care of both coats on the floor and the second coat on the shower. And then I’m going to do my best to forget that grout needs to be sealed ever again.

Yes, it’s supposed to be redone once a year or something. I think I might just live dangerously and put it to the test. After all, the odds of me drinking wine in my shower are pretty low . . .


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