To seal or not to seal

Mama Fen

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Sealing grout extends the time between cleanings and keeps the grout looking cleaner in the interim by preventing soil from getting into its matrix. Most tiles are fairly non-porous and easy to clean; sanded grout, on the other hand, is a brittle little sponge that you can't wring out; it's full of tiny air pockets and as such it can get pretty dirty pretty quickly.

Water-based sealers add a glossy look by 'floating' on the surface of the grout. They are less expensive to apply and less durable, but still help to protect the grout. Solvent-based sealers are absorbed into the grout and don't change its appearance much (if at all) and are more durable. They are also more expensive.

Many wet areas like bathrooms have an epoxy or rubberized grout, which is a bit different but can also benefit from treatment.
 
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Scott W

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Cement based grout is very porous. That makes it easy to stain. In wet areas, water can penetrate grout and gradually get through walls.

I think grout should be sealed, especially in wet areas or where stains are likely. Sealed grout won't stay clean but will respond better to cleaning. Think of polish or wax on a car. The car still gets dirty, but, having that layer of protection makes it clean up easier.

Sealing can also add significantly to your bottom line.
 

floorclean

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Dale MacDonald
I’ve personally never been a fan of sealing. We have jobs we’ve done for years where it’s never been sealed and looks like the day it was installed. HOWEVER a lot of them are in low traffic areas. So perhaps with more experience having floors with more traffic on them I’d change my mind.
 

PistolPete

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Peter Dymond
I do T&G only. I always seal unless it's a home seller move out.
Here in Florida it's not uncommon for the entire house to be tile.

I have repeat customers that I sealed 7 years ago with premium solvent sealer and all I do now is clean it up annually.

In fact when I quote the price it's always cleaned and sealed.
 

Timothyscarpet

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Chris Westerman
I do T&G only. I always seal unless it's a home seller move out.
Here in Florida it's not uncommon for the entire house to be tile.

I have repeat customers that I sealed 7 years ago with premium solvent sealer and all I do now is clean it up annually.

In fact when I quote the price it's always cleaned and sealed.
How much of your pricing is cleaning/sealing
 

Scott W

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So how much in percentage to the cleaning do you charge for sealing? What's the best method for application are we taking hands and knees rolling grout lines?

You can do the grout lines by hand. I have used this method for smaller jobs. Another option that saves time is to use a moss rubber squeegee to spread the sealer. Try to get most of it in the grout lines. What is on the tile itself can usually be buffed off with-in 5 or 10 minutes. Don't wait too long to buff or it will dry and be more difficult to remove. However if you buff to soon and it has not penetrated into the grout, yet, you can pull up some of the sealer out of the grout.

I use a white or beige pad.

On tile with a lot of texture, you may need to wipe by hand as the pad doesn't get down into the debossed areas.

Cost wise, sealing is about the same price as cleaning on new grout or grout that has not been sealed before. It should last through at least two and maybe three cleanings depending upon how the maintain the floor between professional restorative cleanings. I will cut the price of sealing on repeat jobs.
 

ACP

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So how much in percentage to the cleaning do you charge for sealing? What's the best method for application are we taking hands and knees rolling grout lines?
Were at $1 to clean and $1.50 for clean + seal.


Definitely no hands and knees, flat mop entire floor sealer flashes off the tiles. Can do a large room in 2-3 minutes
 

ACP

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This thread has been so helpful guys thanks so much! I'm really excited to start offering this service, the way I look at it like it's selling carpet protector why wouldn't you? What product are you using @ACP
Just depends. 1 I can't name here, which is the only product from that company I like, gundlach is also great, and modern stone is my favorite company for any specialty stone chems, they make the best color seal
 

Scott W

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What does this mean please? "Flashes off the tiles"?

Thank you
ACP may have a slightly different definition, but sealer contains a lot of water or solvent which will evaporate quickly (flash off). This leaves a very thin layer of polymer, the aqctual sealer component, on the tile. This does not stick to most tile and will wear off or can be buffed offed off pretty easily.

The process suggested may waste a little sealer, so be sure you have enough on hand, but it does save a lot of time.