The Importance of Sealing Tile Grout Lines
Sealing tile grout lines is one issue that has been debated by many tillers and home-builders for years. While some would say that this step is not necessary (given the quality of grouts used nowadays) and is only just another time-consuming process, experts still believe that the benefits and importance of sealing tile grout lines is well-worth the time and effort.
Many people tend to think that grout lines are simply used to define the borders of the tiles and serve to fill the gaps between them. But then grout, because of their high cement content, also serves as a sort of glue that helps to strengthen the bonds between one tile and another. The only problem is that since grout has high cement content, it is also porous and is prone to damage that cement is usually exposed to.
This is especially true in places where tiles are constantly exposed to water, like in the bathroom or the shower. As months and years of water exposure pounds on your tiles and grout, the grout will at some point start absorbing all the water falling onto it. Because showers are constantly used on a daily basis, there is very little chance for the water already absorbed by the grout to evaporate, so at the end the water will be trapped inside the grout and stay no matter how much you wipe your shower tiles dry. These wet grout lines are not only more susceptible to staining which makes your tile floors look undesirable, but also cause multitudes of other problems.
Trapped water in the grout lines can lead to the grout deteriorating. That being said, the grout weakens and starts cracking or chipping. In addition, as the grout continues to soak up more water, the excess water in the grout will soon pass under the tile and membrane beneath it, breaking the bonds and causing the tiles to move until they break away from the floor.
Also, the porosity of the grout and the wet environment it is in makes it a suitable place for bacterial colonies to thrive and grow. Bacterial colonies can be difficult to spot in the early stages of infestation, but you will soon start seeing them, as they reproduce and grow faster as the grout is further exposed to excessive moisture.
All these problems can be avoided by sealing the grout lines. Doing so will help to prevent the grout from absorbing water, and thus be able to keep its strength and clean look for years to come.