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Question DetailsAsked on 4/11/2016

I just spent $16K on home renovations; Is it not standard to expect contractors to seal grouting on new tile?

1) New backsplash - had the grouting redone (by them) bc the quality of workmanship (and allegedly the grout) was poor.
2) New tile flooring in bathroom - had them redo it bc they put a LIGHT grout with dark tile, and placed it opposite the length of the room (and opposite of the grain of wood outside the bathroom).
3) New shower tiling - had the grouting redone here as well bc it was cracking EVERYWHERE after only 1-2 months.

Isn't it standard to SEAL new grout after it's placed? If so, isn't it reasonable to expect a QUALITY construction place to do this automatically? They've said they don't do that....the homeowner has to do it. HUH!?

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3 Answers


Here in our area of Florida, grout sealing would be extra, if they do it at all. Low skill , very time consuming, might be less to find a grout sealing specialist.


Answered 3 years ago by BayAreaAC


These days, with some contractors, if you don't spell out every thing in writing, you won't get it. I have seen roofing watershield and flashing, gutter downspouts, carpet and laminate flooring padding, door hardware, window trim/facing, siding finish (factory or painted/stained and sealed as appropriate), and yes - tile/stone grout sealer all left out because they were not specified - that is how some shady contractors get the job by low-bidding because not everything is included.

One exception to the above is asphalt drives/parking areas/tennis courts - there, because you should not seal for about 6-12 months depending on local climate, it is not reasonable to include the sealing with the base job scope because there is no telling exactly when it will be needed, what the materials cost will be then, how much cleaning it will need, and even if the contractor will still be around then.

Any reputable tilelayer will do sealant as part of the job - which also protect him against callbacks from the grout getting grundgy and granular in short order. Nationwide professional tile laying organizations stipulate that sealing is a necessary part of a tile (or smooth-faced stone) job, though the building codes do NOT address issue because it is not life-safety related. Tile is considered an architectural finish only.

Note - there are a few "waterproof" grouts and most epoxy grouts that are self-sealing and NOT supposed to be sealed - in fact, sealer will not stick well to those types because it cannot penetrate.

On the light grout with dark tile issue - they should have had you choose a tile AND a grout color when they bid the job or ordered the tile.

On the wrong-way lay - that is actually fairly common in narrow bathrooms because it makes it appear a bit wider and reduces the shoe-box appearance - but again, the direction of lay should have been specified or agreed to BEFORE the tile was ordered, as it affects the amount of tile needed to accomodate cuts.

And saying the homeowner has to do the sealing - I would have expected them to maybe say that is an extra cost item, but telling the homeowner to do it themselves - obviously they want the blow-and-go jobs, not those work items involving significant labor time. Course, with the redo on the backsplash grout (and if the grout was bad somehow they should have recognized that as soon as they started putting it in, so their fail either way) and shower grout cracking, sounds like the contractor did not know how to do his job - either wrong type grout, poorly mixed, sand/not sanded not properly used, or tile was dry when applied - but again, sounds like the contractor is not expert in that work, and probably just wanted to get away from the job and you after all the changes so did not offer to seal even at extra cost.

Sounds like time for an appropriate Angies List Review.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD


Hi, this is Ann from Angie's List. Here's Angie's answer found on our Solution Center:

Answered 3 years ago by AGregson

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