There are so many different types of stone to use in our homes and businesses, it is important to know what protection strategies can be employed to make sure different stone surfaces are strong, beautiful and easy to maintain.
There are two main stone surface protections product classes, sealers and coatings. The main difference between them is that sealers penetrate the stone and coatings sit on the surface of the stone.
How do stone sealers and coatings work?
The most important thing to know about sealers is that they are absorbed into the the stone like the impregnating sealer that we use, most often Aquamix Gold. That being said most granite and many darker marbles are so dense they will not absorb sealer at all.
The other important thing to know about sealers is that they only protect against staining. Etching (water marks) and scratching, the most common problems with marble and natural stone, are not protected by sealers. Furthermore, some stones shouldn’t be sealed at all. Dark granite and marble such as Jet Mist and Black Absolute don’t need sealer, in fact in can make matters worse if you do seal. The sealer just sits on the surface and attracts dirt and food and creates a smudgy look.
That’s where coatings come in. Coatings like Microguard by Adsil, can provide a variety of cures on floors, they can offer anti-slip properties and ease of maintenance. Coatings like More Anti Etch and Clearstone do well on counters, vanities and bar tops as they can prevent etching and staining and come with a 10-year warranty from the manufacturer.
What stone should be sealed, vs coated?
Here is a good test to see if your stone is a candidate for sealers. Drop a bit of water on the surface and let it sit for 5 minutes, then wipe it up. If the area where the water was appears darker (it will evaporate with time) then it means some of the water absorbed and as such is a candidate for a good quality impregnating sealer. If not then call Boston Stone Restoration to see if a coating will better serve your purposes.
Do I need to seal grout?
There is one area where sealer is helpful and that is on grout lines. Once we have cleaned a floor or shower we will apply a sealer to the grout lines to keep dirt and bacteria out. New grout comes with a built in sealer, so if you have us re-grout something, you won’t need sealer there either.