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Do i seal before or after grouting?

Asked by Lee Bestall from Sheffield: We have just had a smooth sawn sandstone patio laid and the slabs have been laid with a 5mm gap to give the illusion of tiles. I want to seal the stones and grout but they need cleaning first. I'm not sure whether to seal them before or after grouting. What would you suggest? I am worried that if i seal afterwards the grout will mark the paving, but some of your products say to do it afterwards and now i'm confused! Lee

gpslancaster says: Thanks for the e-mail, Personally if they are Outside I wouldn't Seal them at all, as all of the Sealers on the Market today struggle to cope with our extreme Weather, constant rain, -15 temperatures in winter, hot summers and all that's in between. We have been testing various products for several years and none of them cope well for long. The best advise we can give you is to use a pressure washer in the Spring and maybe again in late Summer on the Sandstone and Grout (that's if you used a professional exterior floor Grout, not a sand and cement dry mix). If you did use a dry mix then I wouldn't use the Pressure system on these as the grout will come out. Just clean with Brushes instead. Apply some Tile Doctor Pro-clean first (1 part Pro-clean to 20 parts water) apply with a soft brush and then Power wash. If you do seal then what will hapeen in about 3 to 4 months maybe 6 months is that the sealer will start to flake off or peel off, maybe even go to a white hue and leave your patio looking to dull and drab and hard to clean. Russell Taylor Tile Doctor Lancaster

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