TO SEAL OR NOT TO SEAL!!!
This is an age old question with less frequency back in the day as compared to today with hundreds of products readily available in the market. Today you will find products ranging from cheap China made, to some Australian manufactured ones while finding premium imported products that namely comes from Europe & America being highly appealing yet not as comfortable to afford. But.. are all these sealers identical in quality and performance?
This tells us that the demand for sealing products have grown exponentially in the last few years by having that many products available today. Being in the industry for more than 20 years, I will confirm one major fact.. ALL PRODUCTS ARE CERTAINLY DIFFERENT!
It is important to understand well what is best for the substrate or for the type and finish of stone surface in question. Knowing what changes will take place when it gets sealed and understanding the general benefits from treating it, is absolutely essential.
Firstly, all natural stone surfaces are porous and to a much reduced extent for that of engineered stone types. A porous untreated surface will allow permeating liquids to penetrate and produce potential stains. Various natural stone family types have different levels of porosity and their surfaces contains microscopic capillaries which are both hydrophilic as well as oleophilic. The tendency to attract and draw liquids in typically behaves like porous chalk sticks which are notoriously famous for being absorptive. This alone will influence you that sealing stone surfaces are a bare essential.
In the midst of confusion on which sealer to seal with, the best steps to take is have the selected sealers applied over a test tile or an off-cut so you will be able to observe how this process has transformed the surface. Some stone penetrating sealer suppliers could do these test patches for you at no cost or alternatively we will be happy to do this for you for a fee.
The objective of these test is to test each sealer once fully cured for various absorptive liquids and to determine it they are still permeating or have been blocked out completely. A basic absorption test is to leave any potentially staining liquid over the sealed area for a minimal of 1 hour and then to observe for absorption. A well sealed surface will never absorb any form of water and oil based liquids from permeating and that is what we need to achieve.
The second but equally important is aesthetics.. would you go with a natural invisible or a colour enhanced wet look finish.. what are the differences? Plenty I would say. However leaving this statement unanswered as with many of your other queries at this stage, I would like to state how important it is to go with a right match stone penetrating sealer that will live up to your expectations. Be mindful that most stone penetrating sealers when applied cannot be reversed. The more premium a stone penetrating sealer is, it may mean the more permanent and deeper it adheres to the molecules of the stone surface being treated.
In order to avoid a painfully expensive exercise of removing a mistakenly applied sealer which in most instances cannot be undone which is due to the surface being permanently damaged from using the wrong sealer, it will be best to consult with us on what best options are available to you in your instance. Recommendations will be made based on the stone type, the surface finish, the area of use, the desired look, longevity, budget, etc.. Call and book in a appointment with us today at 03-9429 1223.
Note: The contents on this page was written with the view of using penetrating sealers on stone and not in anyway related to the usage of topical sealers. Topical sealers are no longer popular in the industry unless a floor is subject to high foot traffic typically in a commercial environment. Topical sealers have lost its popularity as they block the capillaries and pores of the stone surface permanently which gives rise to numerous stone surface and grout degradation issues.