What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Starting Kitchen Remodel - Sealing Ceramic Tile Floor Grout

At one time ceramic tile was viewed as being expensive finishing for flooring and counters. It's popularity and durability continues today and while not as expensive as some materials it is still perceived as being expensive. Ceramic tile has a lot of benefits over other flooring materials. It is low maintenance and carefree. We installed ceramic tile flooring in the kitchen of our third house. We were told to use only vinegar and water to wash the floor with. Sure enough the ceramic tile kept its beautiful shine.

Onto our current house, our fifth and likely final house. The kitchen had been remodeled including the floor that is shiny ceramic tile. From our previous house we quickly realized a shiny tile surface is not the best for a kitchen as it becomes slippery when wet. The kitchen here opens onto a brick patio leading to the waterfront. The kitchen has to be high functioning because of the amount of cooking and canning I do so safety is always a concern.

Kitchen Floor

The first photo is looking into the kitchen from the family room while the second picture shows the breakfast bar on the family room side. We discovered a few problems with the kitchen floor as gorgeous as it looks. The real problem is the floor is shiny so therefore slippery when wet. There are three broken tiles (2) but only one is noticeable. The previous owner left five tiles and we have not been able to find any matching tiles. We suspected the grout had not been sealed either. The final problem is the floor is cold as it is below grade. We are considering replacing this floor during the upcoming remodel with a heated ceramic tile floor. However, we are waiting to see about the cabinets.

The kitchen cabinets are quite nice with the exception of signs of wear (1, 3) on some of the doors while others look brand new. The upper cabinets were installed from what we can see over the wood ceiling then trimmed around the tops of the cabinets for a very finished built in look, replacing would be a royal pain. That would likely mean refinishing the kitchen ceiling but because it opens into the family room that also has a wood ceiling with beams it would end up being a huge project. We thought the doors were solid wood doors given their weight but upon closer inspection they are very thick particle core with thick vaneer in a recessed centre panel style. From what I can see our only two options are to either refinish or replace the doors. It seems like an unnecessary expense to replace when less than half of the doors are in excellent condition. However, I found a product called Restore-A-Finish that hopefully will work. I will report back on how well this product works.

At the same time we finally decided on the ceramic tile for the countertop so will be installing that within the next couple of weeks. Finally the green swirl laminate will be history. The countertop and walls are going to be my DIYproject so I'll be reporting on that as things progress. In the meantime, I had to make a decision to protect the existing floor in case we decide not to replace it right now. The primary concern was the possibility that the grout was not sealed. Grout is porous so will allow liquid to get to the sub floor as well as letting liquids stain it. The remedy for this it to apply a penetrating grout sealer.


You will need:
1:1 vinegar/water solution
wash cloths/rags (a lot)
scrub brush
grout sealer brush bottle
TILELab SurfaceGard Penetrating sealer

TILELab SurfaceGard Penetrating sealer offers maximum protection with a 20 year guarantee so that's my kind of product! I use a 1:1 water to vinegar solution for cleaning my ceramic tile flooring. A spray bottle makes for easy application. A Swiffer wand loaded with white wash cloths makes quick work of washing the floor. Once a month I use a steam mop (not shown) to get the floor squeaky clean. For this purpose the Swiffer wand is sufficient. Sweep or vacuum the floor to remove any large particles. Attach a cloth to the Swiffer wand. Spray the floor then clean in sections changing the cloth as needed. Allow to dry. You are now ready to move onto cleaning the grout.

Cleaning Grout

This is a sitting or kneeling job. Sorry but I couldn't figure out a better way to get the grout clean. I found it easier to work from the far corner to the family room side. If the grout was previously sealed, the grout should clean up nicely. If it was not previously sealed you may see small bits, more of a discolouration in solution when cleaning the grout. The important thing is you want to get the grout clean without damaging it. Spray the vinegar solution along the grout line. Turn the brush on an angle so the the bristles go into the grout line. Scrub with light pressure along the grout line. Wipe the grout line with a dry cloth . Continue in this manner for all grout lines. Allow the floor to dry for about 2 hours before applying the sealer.


There are two styles of grout sealer applicators. I used a 4 oz bottle with brush. After filling the bottle and opening the nozzle it was as simple as following along the grout line with the sealer. The sealer does darker the grout until dried which makes it easier to see when you have applied it. Any excess sealer that gets onto the tiles or pools in grout lines should be wiped up after 5 to 10 minutes. I found the application quite easy with the only real problem being excess sealer coming out when I tilted the bottle down to start a new section. The sealer takes 2 to 3 hours to fully dry but the floor is still walkable if avoiding grout lines. A second coat is required if the first coat is absorbed as per bottle instructions. The salesman said to wait 3 days then apply a second coat.

Our remodeling plans call for: ceramic tile counter tops (kitchen); ceramic tile floor, walls, shower stall (sm. bath); ceramic tile floor (entrance) and ceramic tile floor (lg. bath) as well as the possible replacement of the kitchen floor. So protecting our investment is important. Sealing the grout is the primary maintenance for ceramic tile aside of regular cleaning. As preventative maintenance goes, sealing grout has to be one of the easiest DIY jobs there is.

Garden Gnome
© 2007


Kitchen Cabinet Refacing said...

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