Not all adhesives work the same for every job. Many newcomers make the mistake of using the wrong product to glue masonry. It’s not that they ruin their construction projects, but they don’t get the best results as if they were using the right glue. So before you ask yourself, “Can I use sealant instead of grout?” You should know what each connection is used for.
Although both were born with the aim of gluing in the constructions, the results are different. In this comparison between grout and sealant, let’s see what they offer and how you can get the best out of each one when decorating.
Can I seal instead of grout? Let’s find out
Sealing – The flexible option
Thanks to its polymer-based composition, the sealant is a flexible sealant. This is also the reason why it is water-resistant, as it takes on the properties of plastic when it dries. Because it is a material that retains some flexibility even after drying, it adapts to any crack found and is therefore the ideal sealant for houses that can move easily (either due to earthquakes or poorly compacted soil).
It is mainly used as a sealant in moisture-sensitive rooms such as floors, walls, taps, windows and practically all building materials.
When it comes to aesthetics, the sealing in surfaces is very attractive and creates curves with the connection in the corners.
The sealing ring can be found on the market in pipes that need to be applied immediately or not, as a refill for a sealing gun.
Mortar – The traditional mix
The mortar is a wall paste made of cement, water and sand. As a result, a hard seal such as concrete is obtained in the dry state, which has limited flexibility, making it fragile.
However, the mortar is hard and firm, which keeps the masonry parts in place. It is like a concrete form gripping the ceramic.
Like cement, mortar is mixed with water in powder form. After application, it takes some time to dry and stay firm. The drying time and durability of the material depend on the type of mortar used, as we can find it with epoxy, urethane and acrylic.
The sealing is excellent as a corner finish. When the acrylic dries, it also becomes impermeable, preventing the water from draining away. Because of this, it can be used to seal pipes, drains, or furniture that use water, e.g. B. showers, sinks.
The seal is also ideal to withstand the weather and to seal doors and windows perfectly. With stronger air currents, the window frames can move through sealing without separating, which prevents damage to the structure.
Sealing does not require prior preparation, so it is always available when we need to insert something. It doesn’t matter whether the presentation is in disposable tubes or refills for a cartridge gun. We just have to apply it and wait for it to dry.
Can I use sealant instead of grout in damp areas? Although both can be used as an adhesive, sealing when gluing is more versatile because it works with many materials. The big problem is that the sealing ring is prone to mold; Because of its plastic nature and its use as a moisture sealant, it is not advisable to use it in areas that we hope will be very durable.
Sealing is recommended as a quick solution for repairs or to repair decorations (carpets, wooden frames, etc.). However, we should not use it as a substitute for other more resistant adhesives when applying complete floors.
Among other things, there are holes and cracks because the material is adapted to its shapes. Before you start painting walls, it is advisable to apply a sealing layer to remove imperfections.
If you live in an area where insects do not stop entering the structure of your home, you can use a little of this sealant to prevent them from approaching.
Cases for using grout
Mortar is a more traditional choice than glue in construction. Although its use is limited to filling spaces between tiles, it not only performs an aesthetic function, but also seals the area where all types of dirt and moisture would otherwise accumulate, and leaving these free spaces creates vulnerable areas in which masonry can be broken.
Although the tiles adhere to the floor or walls with cement or paste, they are not firm without a joint layer on the sides. The material is applied with a trowel, removing excess as long as it does not dry, so that it is poured into the holes.
As with sealing, we can get different types of grout that can be tailored to our budget and needs.
The most common is cement. If the joints to be filled are smaller than ⅛, we have to use unsanded mortar as this does not require any additional resistance. If the openings are larger, you need to combine sand in the mix.
Currently, the cement-based mortar has been gradually replaced by an epoxy-based mortar. This type of “silicone mortar” is much more durable and resistant than cement, it also does not stain so easily and does not develop mold throughout its life.
It is also somewhat more flexible than cement mortar, which means it can withstand light structural movements.
In any case, it is important to read the instructions for grout to know if we are using the right one, as the additives they contain can change their effectiveness depending on the material in which we apply them.
The more we know about the products we are going to buy, the better our criteria will be to determine if we need grout or sealant.
- When it comes to customization, the mortar far outperforms the sealant because it can be colored, creating unique patterns between the tiles.
- The difficulty of the application and the necessary tools between the grout and the sealing compound are also very different. While the sealant can be applied immediately and without technical knowledge, the mortar, as it is prepared, requires a premix and a trowel to spread it between the tiles.
- The same thing happens when removing materials to be replaced. The seal is easy to replace; This does not adhere aggressively, so the surface where it was is not damaged. The mortar must be removed with greater care, otherwise we could damage our tiles.
- The sealant dries almost immediately after application. The mortar takes up to 24 hours to dry. Afterwards it is recommended to apply a further sealing layer on the surface.
Can I seal instead of grout? – The answer
It all depends on the situation, but in general it is not advisable to use sealant for the work of the mortar or vice versa.
Choosing the right sealant is especially important for areas with high humidity. A bathroom needs some protection against water.
Think about the benefits that each material has, and based on them, it’s easier to know which one to use on every occasion.
The sealant can adhere to flat surfaces, is flexible, dries quickly and can be used to glue two different materials (e.g. wood with plastic). Because it creates a kind of mass, we can connect parts at different angles without fear of separation.
The seal resembles silicone and is the ideal sealant for taps, sanitary parts and small projects. The best thing is that we don’t need a specialist for this job.
The mortar must be used for larger projects, e.g. B. for the installation of floors or walls. This does not work in angles as it is not an adhesive but a shape attached to the cracks between the frieze and the tiles.
It cannot be used on smooth surfaces or does not adhere. That is why it is usually applied between the joints of the tiles.
In its sanded version, the grout can fill the largest cracks perfectly. After drying, a rigid protective layer is created so that the masonry is not damaged.
In short, use the waterproofing for small projects (furniture, handicrafts, repairing small cracks, etc.), while the mortar should be the constant choice of large structures (complete rooms, floors, walls).
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