How to remove grout sealer from tiles
If you are sealing grout on your tile flooring, it is very possible for drops of sealant to fall onto the tile. The following question can come “how to remove grout sealer from tiles?”. This article should help you with this problem.
Even relatively experienced craftsmen have such an unpleasant problem – after laying the tiles, excess sealant crawls out of the grout, that have to be removed. Worst of all, this happens at the final stage of the work, when all the finishing is carried out. Therefore, it is not good that the appearance of a room, on which it took so many hours, can be spoiled so quickly.
The grout sealer is used after installing the tiles to fill the space between and fix them. Once an unwanted drop of the sealant is noticed, you should remove grout sealer immediately.
Soak a sponge or rag in warm water and rub the surface. For best results, you can use white vinegar. Mix the white vinegar and warm water in equal proportions and wipe off the grout sealer from tile. However, what if grout sealer remains for more than an hour and is no longer rubbed off with water and vinegar? Do not worry, there is a solution.
First, you need to understand a little about this issue. There are two types of sealers.
Penetrating Sealer or Surface Sealer
- Before making a decision to remove a grout sealer you should find out what type has been used on your flooring
- There are mainly two types of sealers used: penetrating sealer or surface sealer
- A function of both two types of these sealants is to protect the tile from stains, scratches and maintain their original appearance for as long as possible
- A penetrating sealer is applied for a relatively long time.
- It usually takes 15-20 minutes to dry out completely
- As the name suggests, it is necessary in order for the chemical to penetrate deeply into the tile
- As soon as the right time passes, you need to quickly remove unwanted residues
- Otherwise after drying it would be hard to get rid of it, and a staining effect will appear
- As for surface sealer, this product is commonly applied to coat the tiles and grout, to get a non-porous and stain-resistant layer
- This type gives a brighter appearance to the original color of tiles and a slight sheen of the surface
- As you already know, any unglazed (for example porcelain or ceramic) tile should be sealed
- In this case, be sure to remove the grout sealer from the tile first to prevent them from staining
- Afterall, you can pour the extra grout
How do I know what type of sealer has been applied?
It might be difficult to find out what type of sealer has been used, so you should be very attentive.
- One of the ways to know is to apply a small amount of a stripper to the needed area
- Be patient and wait until some changes appear, because using the wrong stripper for removing the sealer can make it even worse
- If you have noticed that the grout sealer was eroded, it is most likely a surface sealer
- If you have remains of the original tiles without any sealer on them it can help you a lot
- Compare the original tile with the installed one
- The installed tile can look a bit darker if a penetrating sealer was used
- It happens because of chemicals, which can cause color changes
How to remove the sealer?
The most common and efficient way to remove the sealer is to use sealer strippers. Pro strip tile is known as one of the best oh them. You can buy them at your local store or by ordering from any shopping website. Typically, these solvents come in the form of a paste or aerosol. Under their influence, the sealant turns into a soft substance, which can then be easily washed off, or softened to such an extent that it is quite easy to remove it. This is a very simple method for removing the sealant from tiles.
- It is necessary to cover with tape those areas where there is a risk of removing something that does not need to be removed. Plain stationery tape is extremely sufficient.
- If you prefer the aerosol option, then you thoroughly shake the can several times, then apply a thick layer of the stripper to the place where the unwanted contamination has appeared. It is worth waiting about half an hour before removing the sealant from the tile. Then carefully go through with a spatula, gently wipe the surface with a burlap, removing the remnants
- An excellent approach is used when a gel-type stripper is used. First you need to thoroughly dry the surface intended for applying the substance. If there is water there, the gel will not be as effective, then you will not be able to wipe the sealant off the tile just enough. After that, with a brush, it is evenly applied to the place of pollution. Now you wait for the silicone to soften well. This is checked by simply trying to pry it. Next, collect the remaining silicone with a spatula and thoroughly rinse the surface with water so that there are no traces left.
For a surface sealer
- Use a special product with composition which can provide you complete removal
- Follow the instruction to be sure you are doing everything right. Be sure to have new gloves and mask. Do not inhale the strong chemicals, it might be dangerous
- Ventilate your space before applying the stripper. As we already mentioned, it can contain the strong chemicals
- It is extremely important to test the stripper before using it. Put a small amount of it and wait if it softens
- One of the steps of removing a surface sealer is scrubbing until removal. You can use a scrub pad
- Plastic / wooden, kitchen and a glass scraper will do
- A suitable option is a wire dish sponge.
For a penetrating sealer
- It is definitely harder to remove a penetrating sealer from a tile’s surface
- Again, use a product with composition which can provide you complete removal
- Follow the instruction to be sure you are doing everything right. Be sure to have new gloves and mask. Do not inhale without any kind of the respiratory protection, because the strong chemicals can be dangerous for your health
- Ventilate your space before apllying the stripper. As we already mentioned, it can contain the strong chemicals
- You may have to apply the stripper for a several times to reach the best result and finish your work completely
- You also need to use chemicals to remove the grout sealer
- Leave the stripper until the bubbles appear
- Clean out the stripper with brush
- Be careful with the tiles, it would be better to use the soft brush
- A wire-bristle brush can be gently used to dispose of stains
- After finishing this proccess completely, be sure to vacuum up remnants of the sealer by using a wet or dry vacuum
- Once vacuuming is complete, clean the floor with warm water, then dry it up with a soft rag or cotton towel
Why should I remove the tile sealer?
It is greatly depends on the type of tiles installed. For example, sometimes the sealant is applied too thickly, which greatly spoils the beautiful original appearance of the tile.
For such cases, there are sealants that are absorbed into surface of the tile, rather than being applied directly on it. It eliminates the possibility of thick application.
Although there may be several reasons for removing sealant from the tile, the most common of them is poor-quality application. The sealer takes a certain amount of time and any touch would cause an unaesthetic appearance. For this reason, wipe off any unnecessary residue before the product is completely dry.
Inform all tenants that they cannot walk in the area until the end of the work. Otherwise you will have to remove the sealant from other rooms.
Another obvious thing: of you see sealer remains or bald spots on the tile surface, then it is better to redo the work completely. Clean up the sealant and reapply for the best results. Otherwise, the surface may become sticky and dusty. A dirty look of the tiles would not be pleasant, isn’t it?
Should you seal the grout?
When you achieve the desired results and the grout looks fine, you may wonder if there is a need to reseal it properly. The answer is yes. After a long and hard work that you have done with the tiles and grout, we advice you approach responsibly while resealing. Everything must be sealed in the right way, unless the epoxy grout is installed. You may think that it is nit neccesary to seal it again, because the grout looks nice and as a new one. But that would be a mistake. In that case, the grout and tiles will not last you long.
If the stone tiles were your choice, be prepared to reseal them every couple of year. Try not to use a sealer stripper until the sealer has properly set into the grout. All grout that does not already contain sealer should be sealed, especially natural stone tiles. If you have porcelain or glazed ceramic tiles installed, it is not neccesary to seal them.
We imperatively recommend you not to use a razor, knife and other sharp tools, because it is very easy to leave the scratches while using them on the tiles. You can find the better instructions above to remove the sealer.
Would it be a problem if I apply grout sealer on the tiles?
One way or another be careful and try not to apply grout sealer on the tiles. Spray sealer fluids can mostly penetrate porous materials, not smooth surfaces.
Does vinegar help to remove grout sealer?
Vinegar can only help if you have noticed a drop of sealer during the process and removed it immediately. Wipe the surface with a sponge soaked in warm water. Then prepare a vinegar solution: mix it with water in equal proportions and rub the tiles again.
Is it possible to remove old grout sealer?
If more than an hour has passed after applying the sealant, the task become complicated. Only a floor finish stripper would remove the sealer.
Is it possible to remove sealer from porcelain or ceramic tile?
Yes, it is possible and you can read about the solution above.
The aesthetic appearance of house is incredibly important to many of us, so clean and tidy appearance of the tiles (especially porcelain and ceramic) is a significant factor.
After reading this article you may understand that there is no need to panic. By following these simple instructions, you will be able to find a solution to the problem with tiles quickly and efficiently.