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How to Choose Sealer for Natural Stone? Important Factors to Consider

Natural stone is the most ancient and popular material in housebuilding and renovation. The relevance of this material is driven by its durability and longevity, but one has to remember that almost all types of stone can absorb moistures that are able to deteriorate its’ structure. So when choosing natural stone, you have to know how and what to treat it with, to preserve its outstanding natural features for a long time.

What Sealer Is Needed For?

Various protective compositions are usually used in the following situations:

  • Stone is exposed to the impact of external factors, whether the material is used indoors or outdoors. Chemicals, washing agents, fats, salt and water damage coating a lot. In particular, such substances always come in contact with granite counters. As a result, spots appear on the stone that is pretty difficult to remove, granite counter fades, losing all its beauty.
  • Lining burns out. External finishing gets exposed to the impact of sunbeams most of all, losing its initial color.
  • Stone becomes overgrown with moss, mold, and fungi. If not preventing it, the stone will gradually get destroyed with time.
  • White spots show through the surface. Efflorescence negatively affects not only the product’s appearance but also leads to the damage of the material’s structure with time.

Types Of Protective Solutions

Sealer should be chosen by taking into account the negative effects that the stone will be exposed to during its usage. Modern chemicals manufacturers offer to use different types of sealers. The solution fills the grains and doesn’t allow moist to destroy natural material. Apart from that, the stone becomes resistant to the impact of benzene, salt, fat, chemical agents and other aggressive compositions and preserves nice appearance for many years.

Depending on the composition, protective sealers can be of the following types:

  • Latex-based — are used to prepare the stone for coloring
  • Containing chemicals — are used for removing spots and rust of different origin
  • Silicone — serve to protect stone surfaces from the impact of water, salt, washing agents. These substances are often used for granite counters treatment

Characteristics Of Different Compositions 

The main criteria for choosing sealer for stone is its functional use. Nowadays the market offers a whole range of products that serve very different purposes in natural stone protection. 

Sealer With a Wet Stone Effect

Solutions that create “wet stone” effect are pretty high-demanded among buyers. Such sealer is used as protection from moisture and dirty spots. Experts recommend applying the substance to improve the appearance of the object and emphasize the material’s natural structure. “Wet stone” sealer is also used to enhance stone’s color, eliminate micro-cracks and so on.

Such solutions run out pretty slow and are easy to use. Treatment with such sealer provides reliable protection from external factors, prevents aging and rapid destruction of natural material. The surface becomes bright and polished, much fresher and darker than the original color. Such sealers are used on external and internal surfaces — linings, counters, floor coatings, monuments, sculptures. It’s not recommended to use “wet stone” sealer with a sheen effect on a stone-block pavement.

Water-Resistant Sealers

Other popular means are hydrophobization. Their purpose is to protect surfaces from the absorption of different liquids. It can be water, tea, juices, coffee, etc., that penetrate into the stone’s structure, damage its appearance and provoke premature destruction of the material. 

Hydrophobizators are safe for human health and don’t harm the environment, quickly dry up and get deeply absorbed in the stone. The extremely thin film forms on the surface, preventing penetration of moisture and oils and mold attacks. Stone gets more resistant to the impact of freezing temperatures, while the appearance and air permeability of the material get preserved. 

Water-resistant sealers are widely used for granite treatment both indoors and outdoors. According to this site such products are some of the best granite sealers. In particular, they are often used for granite counters treatment. 

Facades lined with natural stone and treated with hydrophobizators are much easier to care for in the winter. But such sealers are better not to use on the surfaces prone to prolonged exposure of water, for example, roads and sidewalks. 

It’s important to remember that it will be impossible to paint stone that was treated with hydrophobization, so the solution should be applied in the last turn.

Stone Varnishes

People often choose glazed or matte varnishes as a protective treatment for stone. Glazed ones make the surface brighter, as if wet. Matte varnishes are usually used for heavy-duty floor and staircase surfaces. Protective varnishes get deeply «absorbed» into stone, making it resistant to external impacts and extreme weather. 

Such means can be of the following types:

  • Polymer — used for interior and exterior works
  • Polyurethane — is mostly used for the treatment of stone facades, tiles in swimming pools or pavements, as it makes the surface resistant to the impact of water
  • Silicone and acrylic — enhance decorative features of stone, are used for coating exterior elements and large interior spaces

Surface, coated with such composition, becomes more solid and doesn’t wear out. Such sealers have minimal flammability, are resistant to low and high temperatures, are designed for use in moist spaces (saunas, bathrooms, shower rooms), on the streets and in public places. Varnished have chemicals in their composition, so a certain precaution should be taken when working with them. 

Such means are not suitable for the treatment of surfaces that get in touch with food, for example, granite counters. 

Anti-Slippery Means

Special means are used not only to protect stone and enhance its appearance. Anti-slippery sealers allow to make the surface safe and prevent people from slipping on granite, marble, and ceramic floors. Such compositions are water-based and are very simple to use. When performing a primary coating, experts recommend making a test on an unnoticeable piece, as stone can lose brightness.

Anti-Graffiti Protection 

Nowadays manufacturers offer a wide range of novelties, among which are special compositions for protection the stone from graffiti. Such solutions evenly coat the surface and don’t allow spray can paint absorb into the stone’s structure, while removal of pigment becomes non-problematic – it’s enough to treat the painted piece with the steam flow.

Such sealer is used for natural and artificial stone, as well as for bricks, concrete and other materials that have a porous structure. The anti-graffiti solution contains water, silicone, and polymers. Apart from its main function, such composition makes stone resistant to the damaging impact of wind, water, temperature fluctuations; coated surface doesn’t get rusty or sticky and becomes a bit brighter. It is not recommended to use an anti-graffiti sealer on polished and glazed surfaces. It will lead to fading of shine and brightness. The anti-paint coating should be renewed from time to time, as it is pretty impermanent.

Effective Means For Natural Stone Protection

If you have to protect stone without runs or film formation, it’s better to use a solution that doesn’t create any effects. Sealer quickly penetrates deeply into the stone, so the protective layer is formed inside. After application of the composition, the material doesn’t change its color and texture, but dirt and water don’t penetrate into its structure. Dust, liquids, oils are accumulated on the surface and get removed with ordinary washing agents. 

Such sealers are irreplaceable for treatment of granite counters and floors in the kitchen, hallway, bathroom and other spaces where the stone gets regularly exposed to strong dirtying and requires constant cleaning.

Conclusion 

When choosing the composition, it is important to remember that sealers are not always able to protect the stone. Under the influence of external factors any composition slowly loses its features, claimed by the manufacturer. So to preserve the good state of a natural material, protective sealers should be applied regularly

Frequency of renewal depends on the base structure of the stone. For example, more porous rocks and surfaces that are prone to a strong mechanical exposure are better to be coated with the protective solution every two years, while for solid and less soft stone one treatment in five years will be enough.

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