Grout plays a significant role in holding your bathroom tiles together and preventing entry of dirt and moisture. For grout to serve its purpose, you have to wait for it to dry before using your bathroom tiles. How long does bathroom grout take to dry?
Bathroom grout takes 24 to 72 hours to dry. A lot of factors affect the time grout takes to dry.
These factors include the type of grout used and the room’s humidity levels after you apply grout. I will highlight these factors and give recommendations on how to improve your bathroom grout drying time.
Recommended drying time varies with different types of grout. There are four common types of grout each, each with different instructions on drying time. They are cementitious grout, epoxy grout, and furan grout.
Cementitious grout takes 72 hours to dry on average. It is commonly used in residential homes. The two types of cementitious grout are sanded and unsanded. Sanded grout has a sand-like texture and is mixed with water to form a paste applied to the grout line.
Sanded grout is less likely to shrink or crack and is suitable for large tile surface areas. Unsanded grout is smoother and ideal for grout lines that are less than an eighth of an inch.
Cementitious grout has a water-retentive additive that slows down the drying process to ensure maximum sturdiness by keeping the grout moist.
Since it has to be sealed, it will need additional time to cure, so the waiting period before proper bathroom use is pretty long.
The average time for epoxy grout to dry is 24 hours. It contains a hardener and epoxy resin so it can withstand harsh materials like acid. It is durable and can resist stains, cracks, and chemical exposure.
Since it dries quickly, it is expensive; but it is worth it because it lasts long. You do not have to seal epoxy grout, so no cure time is needed, making bathroom use after grouting fast.
Furan grout takes 24 hours to dry. It is made from fortified alcohol and polymers and is similar to epoxy. As furan grout cures, it creates a thermosetting resin that can resist high temperatures and chemicals.
While it is a long-lasting grout, it is not popular in many residential bathrooms. Its qualities suit industrial sites like breweries and laboratories.
Bathroom grout will take longer to dry because the bathroom is the most humid room in the house. Homes in tropical climates will also experience a longer drying time for their bathroom grout because areas with tropical climates have moist air.
The more moist the air is, the longer your bathroom grout will take to dry.
Despite the manufacturer’s instructions on drying time, give your bathroom grout extra time to dry. If the instructions say 24 hours, wait for 48 hours instead. It is a foolproof way of ensuring the grout is dry.
Due to the chemicals found in the bathroom grout, curing has to occur because of the reactions, so, unfortunately, you cannot speed up the drying process.
All is not lost, as you can prevent your grout from slowing down its drying time.
You can turn on the air conditioner or dehumidifier if you have one in your bathroom to keep the air dry, and dry air means a faster drying time for grout. You can also run a fan to distribute dry air in your bathroom tiles to help the grout dry.
If you have any plants in your bathroom, you should remove them because some plants like lilies release moisture into the air, which will delay your bathroom grout’s drying process.
If your bathroom grout does not dry well, you will notice the mishap in various forms.
When you expose grout to moisture before it cures, it will crack and crumble. If you do not rectify it in time, the grout will continue to break and eventually ruin your bathroom’s look.
When you apply a sealer before the grout fully dries, it will peel and flake, changing its appearance and eventually weakening it.
If bathroom grout does not dry properly, it cannot provide a solid joint between tiles. As a result, holes, gaps, and cracks will form in the grout lines, and when this happens, moisture will seep into the tile causing damage to the overall structure.
Light-colored grout will appear discolored if it does not cure well. There will be uneven colors between the tiles, and the bathroom will look unattractive.
Cementitious grout is porous; it will crack, and moisture will seep in between the tiles if it does not dry. The water will allow mold and mildew to build up within the grout lines and tiles. If mold and mildew grow behind the tile, the only way to remove it is to break it or take out the entire tile.
Once your bathroom grout has cured and dried, you can apply a grout sealer. The sealer will increase your bathroom grout’s appearance, sturdiness, and longevity. It also makes your grout resistant to stains, dirt, and water.
Drying time varies from one sealer to another, but the standard drying time is 24 hours. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to know the best time your particular sealer will take to dry.
Grout color does not change after sealing. It may darken a bit, but just a shade higher on a one-to-one scale, nothing significant. If you are unsure about color change after applying a sealant, you can do a test patch.
A test patching is applying a small amount of sealant to a dried grout surface. The outcome will show you the exact color your grout will change to after you seal it, and this will put your mind at ease as you make an informed decision.
The type of sealer also affects color change. You can choose a topical sealer that is applied directly onto the tile. It is stain-resistant and does not change the color of your bathroom grout.
Topical sealants are not the best for bathrooms, however, because they are not water-resistant. They will need regular re-application.
You can also choose a penetrative sealant, which, as the name suggests, penetrates the grout. Penetrative sealers will change the color of your grout. The advantage here is that they also come in different colors.
Use colored penetrative sealer that matches your bathroom grout for uniformity. You can apply a test patch to ensure the colors blend before applying it all over the tiles. Penetrative sealers are also suitable for any section of the house, including bathrooms.
Penetrative sealers are best for long-term use and do not need regular re-application, unlike topical sealers.
The best way to go is to hire an expert to seal your bathroom grout. As easy a process as it is, you may be disappointed with the color outcomes even after doing a test patch.