I have often been asked “can color sealer protect the grout in my shower?” so I decided to test it in my own shower. Let me say first that I would not apply color sealer to unsanded grout in a shower/tub, no matter what the manufacturer says. Unsanded grout does not have the pores that sanded grout has and the color sealer will not hold up as good under the heavy water flow. Unsanded grout on a floor, that is not subject to water, is a different story and should hold up with color sealer.
Now, on to the color sealer in a shower test.
My tub surround walls have 3″ x 6″ tiles that are brick laid, a 3/16″ grout joint and sanded grout. I applied our color restoration sealer to all the grout lines and installed some matching caulk in the corners to finish it off. It looked brand new again and held up quite well for a couple years. Then I started to notice some small areas that appeared to be mold growing on the color sealer (see photo below). It is only happening on the back wall which happens to be an outside wall. Not sure if that is part of the problem or the fact that the wall gets hit with the most water. I am able to clean it off with a scrub brush and some neutral cleaner but over time, it came back and started to get spread. So what I did was strip off the color sealer in that area. Thoroughly clean the grout with our special mold killing chemicals and re-apply our color restoration sealer. It is holding up good for now but I expect to strip and re-apply every couple of years.
So, would I recommend applying color sealer in a shower/tub? Sure, as long as you have it properly maintained annually by Grout Kleen (same as you would a color sealed floor).
Bathing areas are breeding grounds for mold and bacteria. While most color sealers claim to have mildicides that provide a sanitary surface for years, there are many factors that go along with that. Such as, how many people are using that shower and how many times per day it gets used. For everyone it is different and so will be the length of time before the color sealer starts to shows signs of wear.
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