Stone Care Facts & Questions
Why Should Natural Stone Be Sealed? Simply put: to retain the beauty, preserve the life, and keep it maintainable. Staining, discoloration, erosion and odor absorption are all typical adversities that happen to stone if not sealed. As stone wears, abrasions damage the finish by opening up pores and exposing the stone to problems. All natural stone is porous and what it absorbs affects it. Even the chemicals found in “tap water” (chlorine, minerals, salts, etc.) can cause trouble to the stones’ substrate. Sealing and maintenance are critical for preserving these delicate installations as well as any natural stone where absorption of any kind is possible.
What Does The Sealer Do? Impregnating / Penetrating sealers retard the absorption of liquids that may cause staining, odor and erosion beneath the surface. The word “sealer” is really a misnomer. Proper sealers allow microscopic ventilation of temperature, air and moisture (known as vapor). For most installations impregnating sealer applied to the surface soaks in approximately 1/8″-1/4″. The water or solvent that carries the “sealing resins” evaporates. The remaining resins (silicone or Teflon like materials) coat the pores with a repelling layer. This impedes absorption of water, oil & dirt, but allows the stone to breathe. This “vapor transmission” is essential for the life of the stone. When vapor is not allowed to transfer, it creates its own escape path causing fractures (cracks), spalling (splitting within the substrate) and erosion. It is important to use a premium grade, impregnating “stone” sealer to insure proper protection and vapor transfer.
What The Sealer Does Not Do! 1 – Sealers do not prevent surface pitting, scratches, abrasion or etching. Foot traffic, sharp objects or acidic agents effect the stone surface. Sealers protect below the surface. Routine honing or polishing and hole filling are necessary for surface renewal. 2 – Impregnating sealer is not a water or stain proof barrier. It will allow time for cleanup of accidental mishaps. However, if liquids are left for long periods of time staining may occur. Most sealers do resist oil, however; hot cooking oils or grease may melt the sealing resins and stain. Oils should be removed immediately. 3 – Sealers do not keep dirt off stone or out of grout. But they do make them easier to clean. A simple scrub and then removal of dirty water will clean most soiled areas. 4 – Impregnating Sealers do not make the stone “shiny”. If they do, it’s the wrong kind of sealer. Topical sealers are for interior slate or other clefted stones and are not suitable for smooth stone applications.
How Often Should Resealing Be Done? Sealers do not last forever. Father Time, Mother Nature, cleaning, accidents and wear & tear all impact sealers. Resins in impregnators break down, and acrylics wear thin. Resealing is determined by traffic, stone porosity and sealer quality. For most active homes, sealed with a good sealer, every-other-year in high traffic and wet areas is sufficient. When re-surface maintenance is done, areas that absorb should be resealed. CONSULT OUR STONE CARE PROFESSIONALS.
How Do You Know Your Stone Was Cleaned and Sealed Properly? You can’t always tell by looking. Appearances can be deceiving. Many stones have rustic, old-world finishes, which appear ragged and worn by design. Cleaning and sealing does not change their appearance. If desired, re-honing or polishing upgrades can offer a more consistent finish to alter the appearance. However, improper procedures or using the wrong type of sealer can adversely effect the stone finish.
A visit from our stone care professionals is often needed to determine a diagnosis.
How Do You Know If The Surfaces Are Sealed? A good way to test sealer is to apply water to the stone and grout. Let the water stand for five minutes and see how the stone and grout react. Stone & grout darken deeply when moisture absorbs. If the water beads it is an indication the surface was recently sealed. The beading affect will not last over time. Resins near the surface wear and wash away with limited use. Just because water is not beading does not mean the surfaces are not well sealed. Remember that sealers protect the inside of the stone. Slight darkening may occur, but will dissipate in a short time.
My Stone Is Sealed But I’m Getting Dull Spots That Look Like Watermarks. What’s Wrong? Anything acidic etches the surface of marble, travertine and limestone. These dull, hazy, white looking marks are actually etches from foods, liquids, cleaners or other products containing acid. Etching can happen instantly. Like when lemon juice hits your eye and burns, the stone shows it just as quickly. Only routine polishing or honing can remove these spots.
Stone Care Tips
Natural stone floors and countertops require specific cleaning and maintenance processes and products to retain their original beauty. Be sure to use a neutral pH-balanced cleaner to avoid color changes, finish wear and tear, and surface disruption. Any spills or accidents should be cleaned up in a timely manner, and all Natural Stone should be sealed properly and yearly.
Keep these tips in mind when cleaning your natural stone.
- Don’t use vinegar, lemon juice, or any harsh cleaners on your stone.
- Don’t use harsh cleaners such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners, or tub and tile cleaners.
- Don’t use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers.
ROUTINE PREVENTIVE MEASURES
- Do Use coasters under drinking glasses, particularly those containing alcohol or citrus juices.
- Do not place hot items directly on the stone surface. Use trivets or mats under hot dishes.
- Do Use place mats under china, silver or other objects that can scratch the surface.
DON’T let any spills sit too long on the surface of your counter top. Clean spills up (by blotting only) as soon as you can.
Kenner, La. 70065
Phone: 800-438-5066 – Bob -Cell-504-382-1201 – Steve-Cell-504-481-5865 – Fax: 504-481-8873