Natural stone is one of the oldest building materials still used today. The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World all used natural stone, which inspired Roman and Italian architects to use limestone, travertine, marble, granite, and other metamorphic rocks to build the Colosseum. Imagine you visit Rome's Colosseum today. Few of the exterior travertine blocks from Tivoli's quarries have retained their original golden hue because sealant for natural stone wasn't invented until centuries later. Had ancient masons and stonemasons used sealant, their structures would be in better shape today. Outdoor stones should be sealed.
Natural stone is porous, so liquids and gases can move through it. Porous materials act as a hard sponge and absorb liquids, salts, minerals, and contaminants over time (stains). Sandstone absorbs liquids quickly because it's porous. Denser volcanic stones like basalt absorb oils and water-based liquids more slowly. Natural stone can be sealed with a penetrating or topical sealer to prevent subsurface stains, dirt, and spills.
Topical sealers can change the surface texture and finish and build up, making the stone less durable. Solvent or water penetrates sealers into stone. Carrier dissipates, bonding sealer resins to stone. This doesn't affect the stone's slip resistance or natural look. Resins create an oleophobic and hydrophobic barrier that prevents subsurface staining. These "breathable" products allow vapour transmission. Spirit Water-Based Premium Seal is a cutting-edge product for DIY and commercial use.
Because of its beauty and durability, natural stone is popular for fireplaces, countertops, and flooring. Each natural stone has its own qualities. Marble, limestone, travertine, slate, and granite are popular. Sealing porous natural stone prevents stains and bacteria growth.
Sealing natural stone floors or countertops is a cheap, once-a-year task (at most). Some products last for years, making it an easy way to extend the life of natural stone.
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Determining How Porous Stone Is
Stone type affects how often sealing is needed. A simple water test determines stone porosity. See how long it takes water droplets to absorb into a stone. Easily permeable stone is porous. Longer water contact makes stone less porous.
Marble, onyx, and limestone are porous stones. Stones stain easily without a sealant. Every six months, seal these stones to keep them looking new. Granite and quartz are great durable options. Stones can be cleaned with soap and water and sealed once a year.
Three Types of Sealants for Stone
The vast majority of newly installed countertops and backsplashes come pre-sealed, which eliminates the requirement for an initial coating. In the future, sealing the stone once more will help to maintain the natural appearance of the stone and protect it from becoming stained.
These days, certain stones come equipped with resins that perform the function of a built-in sealant, doing away with the requirement for an additional coating. If you have concluded that a coating is necessary for your natural stone, there are three primary categories of products that you should consider purchasing:
Since it is only put on the surface of something, a surface sealant is also known as a strippable coating. This is due to the fact that it is simple to take off if it ever becomes necessary. The typical composition of this sealant includes polymers like acrylic, and it has a base of water.
Because surface sealants are also sold for tile floors, it is essential to make certain that the product you choose is designed for use on natural stone. This is because tile floor surface sealants are also available. Sealants that are applied to the surface require less of a commitment, but they also have to be reapplied on a regular basis.
Because they are made of polymers that are dissolved in solvents, penetrating sealants are frequently referred to as permanent coatings. It is significantly more challenging to remove penetrating sealants than surface sealants.
An impregnating sealant is a formula that is based on a solvent and requires the application of a trained professional. Because they are not affected by UV light and do not alter the appearance of the stone, they have emerged as a popular choice for sealing outdoor stone in recent years. This sealant typically remains effective for a number of years before requiring a reapplication, despite the fact that its application requires the assistance of a professional.
When Should You Seal Natural Stone?
Because we want to make things as simple and stress-free as possible for you, we've devised this handy schedule to help you keep track of the answer to that nagging question: how frequently should I seal my natural stone?
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Sealing Your Concrete Driveway
When it comes to sealing, concrete driveways are frequently disregarded as an afterthought. Because the color of an asphalt driveway will gradually become lighter over time, it is simple to determine when it is time to seal it. It is not always easy to determine whether or not concrete needs to be sealed.
Concrete is extremely durable, so it doesn't require frequent sealing. The majority of specialists agree that sealing your concrete driveway once every five years or so is the best practice. It's possible that you could wait a little longer than five years, depending on the climate where you live. If you begin to see cracks developing, you should contact a professional who can determine whether or not it is necessary to reseal the area.
Sealing Your Granite Countertop
There is a simple test that you can do to determine whether or not your granite countertop requires a new layer of sealant. You can determine how much sealant you need to apply and how often you need to apply it by testing the rate of absorption of your granite.
Note the amount of time it takes for a quarter cup of water to absorb into your granite countertop after you pour it on.
If the water is absorbed right away, you should apply a few coats of sealant once a year and clean up any spills as soon as possible to prevent stains from setting in.
Even if it takes five to ten minutes for the water to be absorbed, you should still apply multiple coats of sealant, but you only need to do so once every three to five years.
If it takes thirty minutes or more, then your countertops are well-sealed, and you don't need to do anything else to maintain their condition!
Sealing Your Natural Stone Outdoors
A lot of people are curious about how frequently I should seal the natural stone that's outside. Natural stones are utilized in a wide variety of construction projects, both indoors and outdoors. Some examples of natural stones include slate, flagstone, and limestone. In most cases, these stones are exceptionally long-lasting; however, it is necessary to seal them at regular intervals of a few years to keep them looking their absolute best.
It is essential to apply a water-repellent to the grout that is between the stones when you are sealing the stone that will be used outside. In many cases, the damage caused by water and ice is more likely to be done to the stone's grout and mortar than to the stone itself. In the event that the grout is not sealed, it has the potential to crack, crumble, and in the most extreme cases, expand and push the stone apart.
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Sealing Your Shower Grout
It is critical to ensure that the grout in between your shower tiles is properly sealed. Grout that has not been properly sealed has a tendency to crumble, which can result in the growth of disgusting mold in your shower. The vast majority of specialists agree that new tile work should be resealed anywhere from once every six months to once every year, while older tile work should be cleaned and resealed on an annual basis.
Pre-sealing seals tile or stone before laying. Reduces tile/stone porosity and acts as a grout release. Mainly to prevent watermarking. Watermarking is reverse staining that occurs when stone is exposed to water and chemicals like high alkaline cement. This moisture adds minerals to dry stone and dissolves existing minerals. As the moisture dissolves and migrates through the stone, it dries on the surface, leaving behind minerals that change the stone's color.
The contaminates show a darker color than the rest of the stone, leaving a stain that is difficult to remove. This stain is often on the stone's grouting edge and can look like picture framing. Another type of staining is blotchy areas on the tile. Randomly scattered across the tile. Watermarking examples are below. The first picture has glue stains that could have been avoided by pre-sealing the tiles. No known method exists to remove this marking. Spirit Pre-Seal prevents this.
Maintenance is the key
Regular cleaning will keep a sealed natural stone floor looking new. Sweeping and vacuuming the floor often will remove loose debris and reduce soil in grout joints. The remaining soil should be removed with a wet mop and a ph-neutral detergent like Spirit Neutral Cleaner. Acidic and strong alkaline cleaners can damage the sealer and natural stone. Depending on the surface finish, scrub heavy traffic areas more often with a nylon scouring pad or bristled brush.
Newly Installed Tiles
Not removing excess grout smear from tiling can make maintaining your tiles difficult. When used incorrectly, acid cleaners can damage tile surfaces by removing stubborn grout residues. Spirit Marble & Tile Care are stone & tile experts who can recommend cleaners. Marble, Limestone, Travertine, and other calcium-based stones are acid-sensitive. Spirit Neutral Cleaner is a good alternative to acidic cleaners.
When cleaning acid-sensitive stones, remove all grout smears 3-5 days after grouting to allow grout to cure in the joints but be easily removed from the tiled surface. Too much grout can bond to the stone and require regrinding. When using acid cleaners, rinse and neutralize tiles to remove acid residues.
Clean between the lines
Recessed, porous, and textured grout joints can be problematic. Friction from the mop and wetting agents from the detergent loosen soil from the tiles and send it into the grout joints, which absorb the dirty water and become unsightly. Spirit makes it easy to use sealers to reduce absorption, which is important in wet areas where mould and mildew grow. Regularly using bleach is bad for your health, grout, and the environment. By sealing and maintaining the joints, you'll use fewer harsh, expensive cleaning products and ensure clean, uniform grout.
Spirit Marble & Tile Care
Our goal is to provide home users and professionals with high-quality products that protect tile and stone assets, reduce cleaning time, and reduce the use of harsh cleaning chemicals. Educate the industry to prevent damage to tiles and stone from improper laying and cleaning. Our website provides care & maintenance and cleaning instructions. The website also provides product information to ensure optimal application and performance.
Pros of Sealing Natural Stone
Sealing natural stone has many benefits. It prevents acid erosion, bacteria growth, and stains. This prevents frost and salt damage to outdoor stone. Some floor coatings are slip-resistant, ensuring safe footing. For more on patio flooring, see our article on sealing pavers.
Cons of Sealing Natural Stone
Sealing floors has benefits and drawbacks. Sealing natural stone is a chore. Depending on the stone, it may be needed every six months. If impregnating sealant is used, it may be needed every 1-3 years. Even with proper application, the sealant may not prevent stains. Wipe up spills or standing liquids promptly, especially on countertops. Some sealants dull in high-traffic areas, revealing wear patterns.
Natural stone is popular for floors, countertops, bathrooms, and outdoor living areas due to its beauty and durability. Seal the stone when needed to keep it looking great. Sealants prevent stains, erosion, and wear on porous materials while highlighting their beauty. Weighing the pros and cons of the process and the products will help you choose a stone sealant.
How often do you need to reseal your natural stone?
In the first place, you should inquire about the manufacturer of the sealer that your fabricator originally used because certain sealers come with warranties. Porosities vary widely from stone to stone, and different finishes can also affect a stone's ability to resist stains to varying degrees. Learn as much as you can about the porosity of the stone you're using, and then use your best judgment.
If you notice water spots or anything else that isn't normal, you should contact your fabricator so that they can refinish it. Maintenance might be required once a year or once every five years, depending on the kind of stone and the coating that was applied to it.
FAQs About Natural Stones
There are many different types of natural stones, but here is our list of the five most popular ones as well as their common uses in homes:
A natural gemstone is a mineral, stone, or organic matter that can be cut and polished or otherwise treated for use as jewelry or other ornament. A precious gemstone has beauty, durability, and rarity, whereas a semiprecious gemstone has only one or two of these qualities.
Natural gemstones are formed in nature with no human's interference. If a stone is identified as natural, this means that it has not been treated, enhanced, or altered. These gemstones are mined, cut, faceted and finally polished.
In simple words, natural rocks are a kind of solid lumps of various inorganic minerals and organic substances and exhibiting different properties. The formation of rocks began with the cooling process of the Earth and its surfaces.
Marble is a natural stone, so it is less resistant to scratching, staining, and cracking than other countertop surfaces. It is also softer than surfaces like granite, this makes it easier to produce a wide variety of edge profiles to make distinguished looking cuts and arches.