Natural stone tile makes a unique statement. For a floor, wall, backsplash or countertop, sealing makes sense.
Natural stone tile represents an investment in a one-of-a-kind creation that deserves the protection of an appropriate stone sealant. The same elements that make natural stone in unique and distinctive can make it susceptible to outside influences that can cause discoloration or excess wear.
A quality sealant comes into play because all stone is porous to some extent. The type of stone and its use dictates the sealant best to prolong the life of the installation and enhance the character of the stone itself.
Once the right decorative tile is selected for a backsplash, fireplace surround floor or wall, the appropriate sealant and application technique can be selected.
Here are some questions to mull over in the process:
1 – How often will I have to seal my stone?
How often depends on how much traffic, wear and tear or cleaning (type of cleaner and how often) the area may get as well as the type sealant you use. Some natural stones will stand up well for many years without sealing – especially when used on walls away from spills and moisture. On floors in high traffic areas you could be resealing stone tile every year. A lower cost sealant can provide a 1-2 year window before you need to reseal. With a premium sealant, you might expect protection lasting as long as 10-15 years.
NOTE: You get what you pay for and premium products can cost upwards of $200, not including professional application costs – but worth it to protect a premium investment in one-of-a-kind installation.
2 – What does a stone sealant protect against?
There are basically two kinds of stains – oil-based and water-based. A soda drink or glass of orange juice represents a water-based stain, while cooking oil or peanut butter are samples of oil-based stains. Decide on what’s best for your application based upon the stone tile used and the most likely source of stain. When in doubt, consult with a tile and stone professional like Molony Tile.
3 – How do I know if a stone installation needs sealing?
If your stone appears darker than normal when wet – it probably needs sealing, or resealing. If you can put a drop of clean water on the stone and it beads up, it is sealed and needs nothing for now.
Natural Stone Tile has ‘Natural’ Enemies
You can enjoy stone’s unique look and character throughout the home – inside and out. It makes a long-lasting statement in kitchens, on floors, walls, in bathrooms, in the foyer and almost anywhere. It provides strength, durability and insulation. It can be cut, sculpted and shaped. But, all these unique and admirable features also leave it open to potential harm if left unsealed.
Consider the common natural enemies of natural stone installations:
Stains— When oils or other liquids are allowed to penetrate beneath a stone’s surface not only does the stone become discolored, it can erode and destroy the stone.
Invasive Salt— Just as road salt will corrode and damage a vehicle, salts attack decorative stone, especially if dissolved in water. Even basic kitchen salt can have damaging effects.
The first sign of salt is the white, gritty deposit on the surface. The minerals inside the stone are reacting with the salt and water mix. When the water evaporates, the white residue remains. This chemical reaction can impact the mortar holding stone in place. Washing the residue away will help, but a quality sealant is the only way to keep the reaction from happening.
Acid Erosion— Some stone products – marble, limestone, travertine for example – and some mortars will react to acid solutions. This can include acid-forming gases in the polluted air. Acid erodes the stone, leaving dull marks on polished surfaces and eventually pitting. Mild household acids that can have long-term impact include cola, wine, vinegar, lemon juice and milk. The milder the acid, the longer it takes to do serious damage, but repeated contact begins the etching process.
Keeping stone surfaces clean is an obvious remedy for short-term concerns, but the only sure way to extend the life and character of natural stone tile is to apply the right stone sealant at the right time.
Call our professionals today at 608-268-8453 today for professional products and sound advice. Since 1950, Molony tile has been the source for unique, durable and elegant tile and stone solutions in Madison WI and greater Dane county including Middleton, Waunakee, Verona, Fitchburg, McFarland, Stoughton, Cottage Grove and Sun Prairie.
Molony Tile is a natural source for a wide array of durable, elegant and versatile natural stone tile in Madison WI.