Having a combination of natural stone and glass on your backsplash would be a very good thing indeed. The final result should look really fabulous. That said, you still will have to take care to keep it looking good as new over the years. Without adequate care, cleaning becomes a real hassle. And pretty soon, you will start noticing cracks and stains on your once gorgeous backsplash.
No one really seems to pay much attention to sealing grout. Grout locks tiles in place and protects them from water. But if it’s not sealed right away, in time it will develop cracks and you will have chunks of it falling out.
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Applying the right kind of grout and sealing is essential to avoid these.
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Why would you need to seal?
Some kinds of materials – like tile, natural stone and more – are porus by nature. And so is the grout that is applied. And since they are porus, they are prone to get stained as they absorb the spills easily. You really cannot protect them against dirt, spills and erosion unless you seal them.
Sealing is the best protection you can give grout and materials like natural stone against spills, stains and erosion. If you are planning to use a natural stone like marble, granite, slate, travertine and the like, you will have to seal them.
That said, not every material needs to be sealed. Glass, metals like stainless steel, porcelain, ceramic and others do not need to be sealed as thy are not porus.
Choosing the right type of grout
It is very important to use the right kind of grout. Doing so will enhance the life of your backsplash and significantly reduce the amount of maintenance it will require.
There are 3 main types of grout:
How do you choose the right one for your application? As a rule of thumb, choose unsanded if the grout lines are less than 1/8 inch wide and sanded if the grout lines are 1/8 inch or more in width.
Sanded grout has sand added to it, keeping it from shrinking a lot as it cures. Unsanded grout, on the other hand, tends to shrink a lot more relatively. So you would want to use unsanded grout only when the grout lines are very narrow and the sanded variety when they are wider.
Your best choice, regardless of the application, would be epoxy grout. It is resistant to water and stains. While it is more expensive than sanded or unsanded varieties, you will be saving significantly on the maintenance.
If you are looking for a sealer, then you might want to try either Miracle 511 Impregnator / Tile lab penetrating sealer. Just make sure you seal after the grout has cured. And in case you choose to use a sanded grout, take care not to scratch the glass tiles.