Grouted tile involves a series of wait times. First you pause while the grout sets -- typically for two or three days. Then you can apply sealer, which will be dry to the touch in certain number of hours and then ready for traffic after additional time. Following the manufacturer's instructions for both grout and sealer is crucial for this task, since wait times for each part of the process can range from two to three hours to a couple of weeks.
The Three Time Frames
At the most, your grout maker may want the grout to cure for a week or two. Look for this and two other time constraints in typical sealer instructions:
- how long to let the sealer dry before foot traffic
- and how long to wait after sealing before allowing any contact with water.
For example, a sealer manufacturer may direct you as follows:
- Let the grout cure for 48 to 72 hours
- Wait two hours after sealing before allowing foot traffic -- and apply two coats of sealer for light-colored grouts
- Wait 12 hours before contact with water. Full cure, when the sealant dries out completely, may take 24 hours.
A tile installation may require curing for seven days before full water immersion. Grout used for exterior installations may require curing for up to three days before sealing, depending on temperature and humidity. Periodically mist the grout during this time.
Mark your calendar after the completion of your tiling project to repeat the sealing process every two years.
Confirm that your particular brand of grout requires sealing; certain brands don't, but they still caution you to avoid foot traffic for and water for specified periods. You can consult the manufacturer's website for up-to-date instructions.
An award-winning writer and editor, Rogue Parrish has worked at the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun and at newspapers from England to Alaska. This world adventurer and travel book author, who graduates summa cum laude in journalism from the University of Maryland, specializes in travel and food -- as well as sports and fitness. She's also a property manager and writes on DIY projects.