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I just recaulked my front bath and accidentally popped loose a tile in the process. I reinstalled the tile and allowed that to set before grouting. I just finished grouting the tile, and I read on the interwebs you should allow grout to cure for at least a week before sealing, but was wondering if it was okay to use the shower stall in the meantime.

If I allow the grout to set for a day, is it ok to use that shower while the grout cures? I know you're supposed to keep the grout from drying out...

The new grout only extends a few tiles from the corner and is on the side with the shower head, so it doesn't get very wet either. Hoping someone could relate their experience(s) - I am definitely a tiling noob.

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Admittedly, I'm a tiling n00b too but a few things come to mind. 1) What kind of ventilation do you have in the bathroom? In addition to potential splash, is there excess moisture that builds up when the shower/bath is used? 2) Which specific grout brand/type are you using? Different manufacturers have different specific guidelines so it's usually best to stick with their recommendations. 3) How much does the temperature fluctuate and is the grout subjected to strong heat or direct sunlight? – Mike B Oct 23 '10 at 5:44
To answer your questions: 1) Standard bathroom ventilation (50 cfm fart fan) 2) I read the instructions on the grout and it said to cure for a week prior to sealing - although the grout is dry within a day 3) Temperatures are very constant in there, the bathroom is free of any exterior wall exposure or outside heat loading. – kkeilman Oct 28 '10 at 23:55
up vote 6 down vote accepted

All you need to do is leave the grout to dry before getting it wet. The instructions should tell you for how long. As you and others have pointed out drying and curing are separate things.

While you can use the shower after the grout is dried you may need to leave it for a day or two after it's cured before sealing. You don't want to seal any moisture in.

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I think there's a semantic difference between "drying" and "curing" - I waited over 24 hours before I even touched the repair to ensure it was dry, but was more curious if it would have been ok to wet the grout prior to sealing (in the 7 day "cure time"). Thanks! – kkeilman Oct 28 '10 at 23:59
@chris - better? – ChrisF Jul 22 '11 at 17:46
Yes, Significantly better. Critical comment removed. – Chris Cudmore Jul 22 '11 at 18:17
Definitely let it dry out and then seal it. Makes cleaning the shower much easier in the future. – electricsauce Jul 25 '11 at 3:42

Yes. Use the shower, but give it 24 hours to dry/harden/set.

In fact, as with all portland cement products, it's a good idea to keep it moist while it cures, as the curing process is all about hydrating the cement molecules (i.e. binding with water.)

Avoid high pressure sprays, and any abrasion, but water running down the tile wall will be fine.

Let it dry thoroughly before sealing.

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What's all this about sealing water in with a sealant? Quality solvent based penetrating sealers are vapor permeable, which means water will evaporate out of the grout as it cures/drys/hardens. Sealing it after initial set (24 hours) will act like Gore-Tex; moisture evaporates out, but won't soak back in.

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Are you implying that the manufacturers' instructions are wrong? – Chris Cudmore Mar 21 '13 at 17:24

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