One of the most common problems associated with the use of natural stone is that it stains very easily. The removal of a stain can be quite expensive and, sometimes, not even possible. To reduce the possibility of staining, it is essential that the stone be properly protected with a quality impregnating or topical sealer. An impregnating sealer is designed to penetrate into the stone and provide a barrier to prevent or repel water, pigment, dye, dirt, and other foreign substances from penetrating into the stone while still allowing vapor to transmit out of the stone. Topical sealers also provide a protective barrier; however, not all sealers allow the stone to breathe. Besides being water or solvent based, impregnating sealers are also classified as hydrophobic or oleophobic. Hydrophobic repels only water while oleophobic repels both water and oil. The oleophobic types are solvent based and usually more expensive, but they offer much better protection from a wider variety of stains. Solvent based impregnating sealers are preferred for hard stone, high traffic areas, and outdoors for its resistance to UV rays from the sun. Topical enhancing sealers bring out the color in flat stone such as slate, sandstone, limestone, etc.
How long will the sealer last? There is no absolute rule of thumb when it comes to the durability of any sealer. Generally speaking, most quality impregnating sealers will last 2-5 years on interior stone. The environment plays a big role, so stones exposed to lots of wear-and-tear or to intense heat or direct sunlight will likely need to be re-sealed more often.
When is it time to reseal? To find out if your stone is sealed, drip some water on it and wait for approximately half an hour, then wipe it dry. If the surface of the stone did not darken it means that the stone is still sealed. Be sure to test various areas, especially those areas that get more use as the sealer will wear faster in those areas.
For additional care tips for your marble, granite, travertine, terrazzo or other natural stone and grout, please visit our Care Tips page! If you have additional questions or would like to schedule a free estimate with one of our stone care experts, please contact us today!