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What to Consider Before Sealing Natural Stone

You may have already come to know that natural stone benefits from being sealed in many cases. You also may have read or been told that not all natural stone needs to be sealed. The reality is that both are correct in specific cases. This is because not all natural stone is the same. Additionally, some material gets treated during the manufacturing process. In this article we are going to talk about what to consider before sealing natural stone. As we do, we will also mention some reasons why particular surfaces do not necessarily need to be sealed. Finally, we will briefly touch on why you should give thought to whether your stone needs sealed or not.

Sealing Stone Surfaces

The fact of the matter is that some stone benefits from being sealed. Sealers applied to natural stone surfaces act as a barrier to keep stain-causing substances out of the pores of the slab. Keeping foreign substances from penetrating the pores of stone is good because even water can cause a host of issues in natural stone; depending on its use and the stone's type. Some of these issues include staining, cracking, and rust in certain cases.

What Kinds of Sealers Are Used

Not all sealer is the same. Some stone sealer is impregnating sealer that penetrates the pores of the material and forms a barrier. Other sealers are called topical sealers and these create a physical film over the surface of the stone. No matter which type of sealer you use, you will need to think about the factors we are going to mention in this article. As stated at the beginning, there are some cases where stone does not need to be sealed. Let's loo at the factors to consider prior to determining if a stone needs to be sealed.

Stone Sealer Factors for Consideration

Factors for consideration before sealing natural stone are important to consider. They give you insight into the results you may realize by investing in one of these surface treatments. So let's briefly look at some of these factors.

The Type and Grade of the Stone

As we have covered in other articles, there are a variety of stone types and it is beneficial to know the type of your stone because it helps you to consider this very factor. The type of stone has a bearing on whether it makes sense to seal the surface or not. Additionally, the stone's density and durability play a role in how much benefit there will be in sealing it.

The type of stone is not the only factor to consider. Natural stone is available in a variety of grades and the grade of the material you have selected also factors into the decision. This is because the grades vary in the traits we just talked about. higher grade stone often has better density, less porosity, and better durability. However, like we have said before, each stone is different.

The Stone's Absorption Coefficient

The rate at which a stone absorbs liquid is called the absorption coefficient. This rate varies from one stone to the next and plays a role in how fast a stone will receive a stain-causing liquid. This definitely must be considered before sealing a stone. Leaving a stone unsealed with a high absorption coefficient can make maintenance more difficult in the long run.

Susceptibility of the Stone Surface

Not all stone surfaces are installed in the same location. Some locations have higher rates of traffic than others. Additionally, some surfaces are exposed to more stain causing elements than other are. For these reasons, the location and susceptibility of a stone will no doubt be important during your consideration.

The Finish of the Stone

Each natural stone often receives different kinds of finishes. The finish of a material can transform its appearance dramatically. For example, there are polished finishes that make the material less porous than a raw slab would be. And there are honed finishes that leave the surface somewhat porous. The same is true of antiqued or leathered finishes. The finish a stone has is a factor to think about when pondering your sealing options.

Potential Visual Effect of the Sealer

Not all of the factors involve considering if the stone needs to be sealed. Some of the considerations hinge on whether the sealant will do something to the appearance of the stone. That is true in the case of the aesthetics of the material to which it is applied. Sealers could affect the color of the stone or alter its appearance in a way that is not desired. We always recommend testing any surface treatment in an inconspicuous area before applying to the whole stone.

Potential Reaction With Resin

The affect on the aesthetics is not the only way the sealer could interact with the stone. Some stone is treated with resin during processing to add strength. These resins are chemicals that could react with the sealer. So be sure to make yourself aware of the final look before treating.

Maintenance History of the Stone

Finally, some natural stone may not need to be sealed because it is already treated. If it is being maintained and cleaned using the appropriate products, it may be a significant period of time before it needs to be sealed again. Periodic sealing can vary in length of time between sealings due to factors we have already mentioned in this article.

As you can see from the factors briefly mentioned in the above paragraphs, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether natural stone requires sealing. Since not all stone sealers are the same and there are even sealers designed for different stone and applications of stone. We recommend contacting us to have a representative assist you with finding a solution that is appropriate for your situation.