Choosing the best natural stone for your home is a big decision which requires lots of research on the various stone options available, taking home relevant samples, and deciding on the colour to suit the area. But once this decision is made there is another big decision which needs to be made which is often forgotten about and sometimes left to the last minute. This decision will also affect how your stone will turn out in both the aesthetic sense and functional sense. So what does this all come down to? You’ve probably guessed it… It’s the sealer which you decide to use on your natural stone.
When it comes to sealing natural stone, there are various sealers available to you to choose from, so you should speak to your stone supplier to discuss which option is best for you. However before you make that call or visit the store, there are a few factors you need to consider. This is why we have written this article on sealing your natural stone to assist you in this decision making process.
Sealing natural stone helps keep water and other things from seeping into the stone and staining it. Using a sealer can act as a barrier to protect your stone, however you shouldn’t just rely on the sealer. You will still need to clean up any spills right away and clean the surface area every so often.
What type of sealer?
This varies depending on the following factors;
- the type of stone you are applying the sealer on,
- the area in which the stone is located and what it will be exposed to, i.e. outside can be effected by sunlight, rain, and outdoor pollution/dirt, whereas indoors can be affected by everyday use.
- The type of finish you apply and the look you want from that, i.e. natural look, wet look, matte, gloss etc.
Due to the varied circumstances listed above, there are many types of sealers to choose from for when you are sealing natural stone. Each will have a specific purpose, such as repelling water; others repel both water and oil. Some sealers have a type of stone they are best suited to based on the stone’s make-up; i.e. dense stones, and porous stones.
How much sealer?
The quantity of sealer to use will depend on the surface area of the stone, so calculate this area in m2. From this, there will be some variation depending on how absorbent your stone is, i.e. is the stone type dense or porous? Your supplier should have an understanding of how the stone reacts to sealer and can make recommendations to guide you on the amount required- If not, follow instructions on the back of the sealer.
Is a pre-seal required?
Pre sealing is strongly recommended for stone that is being applied outside, and especially around pool areas due to the high level of moisture. Stone being used in a bathroom setting should also be pre-sealed as although it’s indoors, it is subject to high levels of moisture.
The nature of the stone should also be considered, since porous stone tends to have higher absorption levels a pre-seal is highly recommended.
Pre-sealing gives your stone an extra layer of defence as the sealer is applied prior to grouting to reduce the chance of shadowing.
Pre seal not only can protect against moisture, but can also help prevent grout staining the area. The result of stained grout can create a cloudy effect also known as shadowing when the top sealer is applied to the stone when there has been no pre-seal to lock in the grout.
Using a sealer will help assist cleaning of grout lines as the sealer can prevent particles such as dirt and grime from seeping into the grout lining. Therefore with less absorption going into the lining, it can make it easier to clean as it can be restricted to surface level dirt and grime.