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Grout & Mortar

Regular & with additives

How to:

Seal | Clean | Repair | Protect
Strip & Restore | Easy Care

Sealers and Sealing instructions
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kitchen white grout
Grout - color and natural - cleaning and sealing Grout - color and natural - cleaning and sealing

Advantages to this material:

The great variety of colors allow for a wide spectrum of design options.
Using smaller tile pieces (3"x3" or less) creates more grout joints and that increases traction where needed.
Grout repair:
Unless sealed with one of our acid resistant sealers, do not use cleaners containing any level of acid, even citric acid. Over time these will eat away the cement paste and change the texture and color. See Insta-Clean as a safe stain removing option.

Typically, the greatest potential problem area of any installation is not the surfacing. It is the grout. There are many problems that can occur. Some, like cracking, are usually caused by structural movement. Other common problems are batch color mismatches, food stains, acid damage, etc. All are preventable or fixable. All of these issues are covered in Problem Solving

You should review the other suggested pages referenced on this page, however, most stained grout can be repaired with Grout Restoration. One of the greatest sources of stain problems with grout is because an installer or supplier might claim that grout does not need to be sealed. Simple logic says otherwise. If a surface (grout, stone, tile, etc.) will darken under a water drop, it will absorb a staining liquid.

Modified Grouts (with additives, waterproofers, etc.):
These can cause some problems if you are not aware that additives can remain behind on the surface face. Look for names and descriptions that include the words: poly, modified, latex, acrylic, polymer. If this happens, you need two stages of cleaning.

First use Grout Residue Remover for removing the cement portion of the grout residue.


As the polymer additives do not react with that type of formula, the second step is using lacquer thinner. If something stronger is needed - then use "Premium Stripper".

Any additive residue on the surfaces must be removed completely prior to sealing to make sure it does not interfere with the new sealer. Test with water drops and compare to unsealed grout. If there is a noticeable difference, treat the situation along the guidelines found in the Problem Solving section on the page Redoing a Previously Sealed Surface! This is because any additive residue remaining in or on the surfacing is identical to the condition of some sealer left below the surface after stripping.

Note: the same condition can occur from polymer type setting materials also, if the installation of the tile got to be a messy process and setting material got on the tile face.

As mentioned above, some manufacturer's of these grouts market them as "waterproof" and therefore, not needing to be sealed. This is because of the additives used in the grout formulation. The problem is that the water repelling characteristics of these grouts may not last more than a few months. Unfortunately, these grouts can be tricky to seal because the "waterproofing" additives could repel a sealer until they break down a few months later, and uneven absorption characteristics can create uneven color enhancement. You have two options to deal with this:

Seal the grout as soon as dry with Aldon S-B-S Sealer. This particular sealer formulation is able to bond well to a surface like this.
Or test the grout every 2 months until the additives have broken down enough to allow a water drop to darken underneath. At that point the grout is able to absorb a sealer enough to get it protected properly, but test thoroughly. If absorption is uneven, it is best to choose a non-color enhancing sealer so the final color is uniform.

Installing Grout:
If the tile surface will trap grout: (all but the slickest finish will do this to some degree) Do not pre-seal (seal before grouting)!
Instead, prevent grout smears, surface scratching and keep grout residue out of any surface texture characteristics, prevent grout "additive" residue - by coating with Aldon Grout Easy before grouting. "Grout Easy" is a water soluble coating that comes off easily while grout is being cleaned up the normal way with water and a sponge.

Grout is a cement product. Overuse of acidic cleaners can remove the top layer of cement paste and change the look to a more grainy appearance with emphasized sand particles. If it is too late and there is grout residue to be removed - use "Grout Residue Remover".

To see what to do for many of the common problems with grout, see Problem Solving

Grout Protection:
The right sealer can disguise minor color problems.

How much sealer will it take:

Although you can do some laborious calculations to determine the total square feet of grout surface, it is still a guess. It will vary greatly with width and absorbency of grout joints. Therefore, the best way is to order only a small amount of sealer and let the actual job consumption determine how much sealer is needed in total. If any portion of the grout shows even slow absorption of a water drop, it is not sufficiently sealed.

With an absorbent surfacing you select the sealer according to the surfacing, not the grout. The grout will be sealed automatically in the process.

With a non-absorbent tile, no matter how careful you are, some sealer will get on the tile face where you do not want it. A petroleum based sealer will need to be cleaned off the tile face with lacquer thinner. Not difficult, but another step. Same Day Sealer is water based and non-glossy. Therefore, it will wipe off the tile face immediately and easily as you proceed with the sealing process. Also, it is available in quarts with an applicator tip for grout joints.


As you progress down this page you will see:

  • The products you may need for surface Preparation before sealing.
  • Pictures of each of the recommended sealers for this surface type. Click the sealer's picture for it's full description.
  • Handy tips to prevent issues that others have had before coming to Aldon.
  • Perhaps more information than you need now, but might be of interest later.

Surface Preparation before sealing
What you need for your Grout project


You have 1 of the 3 possible situations that follow. The products you need are listed in the sequence that you would use them. Click the picture to add a product to your list.

#1. If the Grout is not yet installed

Use 1st 2nd 3rd
Grout Release
Grout Easy

Grout Release
*Grout Residue
Remover

Remove white stains
*Efflorescence
Treatment

* Should not be needed after using Grout Easy.

#2. If the Grout is installed, but never sealed.

1st 2nd
Grout Release
*Grout Residue
Remover

Remove white stains
**Efflorescence
Treatment
Remove white stains
***Grout
Restoration
* If you have old grout smears.
** If you have white powder (efflorescence) stains.
*** If your grout is badly stained.

#3. If the Grout has had a sealer applied in the past.

Use 1st 2nd
Remove all sealers
Premium
Stripper

Grout Release
*Grout Residue
Remover

Remove white stains
**Grout
Restoration
* If, after stripping, you find old grout smears or crystal efflorescence from years ago.
** If your grout is badly stained. Regular stains are usually removed by the stripping process.

Your Choices for Sealing


"S-B-S Sealer" . This sealer is | Solvent Base | Penetrating Type. Provides: color enhancement | low gloss | strengthening | efflorescence barrier. Coverage guidelines (depending on absorption) 150 to 500 sq.ft./gal.

clean, protect, seal tile - stone - pavers - brick
Add to Project List
Gallons

Case (4 gal)

Aerosols

Case Aeros

Sample

When sealing only the grout and not the tile, this is relatively easy to clean off the tile face (the inevitable slop over) with lacquer thinner.

"Same Day Sealer" on grout. This sealer is Water Base | Penetrating Type. Provides: No color enhancement or gloss. Coverage guidelines (depending on absorption) 250 to 600 sq.ft./gal.

clean, protect, seal tile - stone - pavers - brick
Add to Project List
Gallons

Case (4 gal)

Quarts

Case 12 qt

Sample

Because Same Day Sealer does not create a gloss film and is water based, it is the easiest to wipe off the tile face when sealing only the grout joints. Also, the quart size with grout joint applicator tip makes the process easier and faster.

Easy Care Products: for a Grout floor.


Mexican tile - clean, protect, seal tile
_____________________
Quarts

Case 12 qts

Gallons

Case 4 gal
Sample n/a

Mexican tile - wet mop cleaning without streaks

_____________________

Quarts

Case 12 qts

Sample n/a
"Insta-Clean" removes food, grease, oil, etc. stain causing materials - from floors, patio furniture, machinery.
"Maintain" - for no streak wet mopping of Grout and all other types of flooring.

Mexican tile - clean, protect, seal tile
_____________________
Gallons

Case 4 gal

Mexican tile - dusting the easy way

_____________________

Pints

Case 16 pts

Sample n/a

"Lifeguard" prevents traffic wear to a sealer. Adds gloss.
"Dust Whiz" - easy dry mop dust pickup at 1,000 sq. ft. in 3 minutes.


Items of Interest

You may have heard of concerns about Grouts. All of them would be prevented with the information we provide here. Therefore, you can have the floor you want!

How to select a sealer
To select a sealer it is good to have some idea of the absorption rate so you achieve the gloss level (none to high) and all the other benefits available without using more sealer than necessary. Also, you can test for (and protect against) acidic liquid sensitivity.

An Aldon sealer does far more than just bead water and look pretty! To see what that is click here.

Your results may vary somewhat from these pictures due to variations in computer display and the surface materials themselves. Nevertheless, you will be able to see the differences well enough to make good choices.

Important: If your project has had any sealer applied in the past, it must be evaluated differently. To see why, Click here!

Sealer "solids" levels?
This discussion applies only to the petroleum solvent based sealers. With the water based sealers, solids level is not a consideration.

Here are the relative solids level of our petroleum solvent based sealers:
  Lowest: SBS Sealer
  Next level Higher: Penetrating Paver Sealer
  Another level higher: Porous Stone Sealer
  Highest level: Mexiglaze

A porous surface will require more gallons (more money) of a lower solids sealer than using a higher solids level sealer. That, plus different surfaces have different requirements, is why we make the different solids levels. They all work as described, so it is only a matter of which is best for your needs.
The more porous the surface, the more solids will be required to achieve the desired effects of gloss, strengthening, stopping efflorescence, etc.

The more porous the surface, generally the greater the need for the sealer to create a stronger surface.

An old sealer below the surface, even after stripping, will lower the absorption and porosity to some degree. Sometimes it is uneven below the surface and can create an uneven coloring effect with a color enhancing sealer applied later. Another reason to test first.

Do not make decisions based only upon the price per gallon.
Unlike other sealers, Aldon's sealers typically require fewer applications (fewer gallons), less cure time, and longer life. And that is only a few of many considerations.
To see more of why the price per gallon has little to do with what will be your total project cost, click here. For other questions about sealers, see the FAQ Sealers link on the slide out menu.

Do not believe yet that you have the type of surfacing you were told:
There is no need for confusion or problems brought about by misidentification of a surface type, yet it happens all too often. Sellers use fancy marketing names that can be misleading about the true nature of a surfacing. For instance, a customer was told they bought "Petite Grout" for a bar surface. But, unlike Grout it was etching circles from wine drips. After simple testing, it proved to be a limestone which is treated very differently than Grout. It was easily restored and protected after a 60 second test. Please review our "Surface Types" page to compare pictures, descriptions, and testing if needed, to confirm you have what you were told.

Do not "pre-seal" - apply a sealer BEFORE grouting.
Do not use any sealer as a grout release barrier (pre-sealing). This technique creates many risk factors to be avoided. Prevent grout smears, surface scratching and keep grout residue out of surface texture by coating with Aldon Grout Easy before grouting. Grout Easy is a water soluble coating that comes off easily while grout is being cleaned off in the normal process with water and a sponge.

Colors fading?
The iron oxide pigments used in concrete products, and the colored clays in clay products, do not fade . The appearance of fading is actually from tiny efflorescence particles (white powder) in the pores. It can be removed and color restored (with Aldon Efflorescence Treatment) and then stopped from returning, and color restored, by sealing with the appropriate Aldon penetrating type sealer.

You can stop efflorescence (white powdery stains)
Efflorescence (subsurface originating white powdery stains) is common with many surfaces. This can even occur before installation. However, it is easily made to disappear without scrubbing by using Aldon Efflorescence Treatment. If the white powder is old and is now "crystalline" that is bonded to the surface - it can be eaten away with Aldon Grout Residue Remover.

Renew a glossy finish
Aldon Sealer applications can be made hours or years later, but do not apply thin layer upon thin layer. Apply a sufficient quantity to insure below surface penetration & bonding. Or, for the solvent based penetrating sealers, test spraying lacquer thinner as an alternative to slightly melt and reform the surface and not build too much gloss or create sealer "layering". A layer of sealer on top of another layer of sealer can result in poor bonding between layers and that can cause separation peeling that looks grayish.

Concerned about Doing It Yourself or what your contractor says?
If you are concerned about doing it yourself - consider that the satisfaction of a project is directly related to YOUR knowledge of what needs to be done and how. Who actually does the work is less important. We estimate that 50% of the usage of Aldon products is by "do it yourself" homeowners and we know they are happy because we hear from them.

Our goal for our contractor customers - NO CALL BACKS. A good contractor will understand the logic of Aldon application instructions on the labels and will not take shortcuts. If a contractor does not agree, feel free to let us find out what is so unusual about this particular project so the contractor does not have to return.


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