Sealing is strongly recommended for newly installed marble and other natural stone to provide maximum below surface stain protection. Consult your Professional Floor Covering Dealer or Home Center Store to ensure that you select a high quality sealer to protect your natural stone. Immediately after natural stone has been installed and grouted, the new installation should be covered with brown paper to protect it from debris during the remain construction process. The protective brown paper should remain in place until construction is completed and the area is opened to intended (post-construction) use.
A non-sanded grout is strongly recommended for natural stone installations due to the narrow grout joints customarily preferred. This type of grout has very fine particles of cement, polymers and color pigments that can penetrate the microscopic pores of the stone surface where they become trapped and appear as a stain in the stone. Therefore, all travertine, slate, tumbled stone and honed/flamed/unpolished granite should be sealed prior to the grouting process to protect them from staining. The application of a good quality sealer should be used as a grout sealer and applied again as the final sealing process once the installation is finished.
Types of Sealers
A premium natural look penetrating/impregnating sealer is the normal choice on polished or honed marble, limestone, granite, or where the natural color of a slate is desired. A stone enhancer sealer is often used on tumbled, antique stones or on slate where a darker, enriched or highlighted character is desired. When choosing either one of these types of sealers, make sure the brand you have chosen is formulated to provide maximum stain protection for stone products. Stone products should be tested periodically per manufacturer's instructions to insure that the sealer is working effectively.
Penetrating/impregnating stone sealers
is a no-sheen, natural look sealer that can be water-based or solvent-based, good for interior and exterior applications. Most quality sealers of this type are rated to protect the stone a minimum of 10 years.
Stone enhancer sealers
are also a no-sheen, penetrating/impregnating sealer that are formulated to darken, enrich and highlight the natural color and beauty of tumbled, antique or slate products. They will rejuvenate and improve the appearance of worn and weathered stone. Always test loose pieces of stone to ensure desired effect with enhancing sealers. However, they will also darken the color of grout joints. They are, generally, suitable for interior and exterior use, and rated to protect the stone a minimum of 3 years.
A stone floor finish should be applied to a polished natural stone floor only. This type of product will help enhance the shine and provide a protective coating for "soft" or polished marbles. Verify the finish is a wax-type finish designed to add luster and enhance the beauty of sealed and polished natural stone only. A topical finish may change the appearance and performance of your stone, so always test a small area first. Application of topical sealer or wax should never be done as an attempt to add a shine to a honed, scratched, or non-polished stone product. This will only create a maintenance and/or slip resistance problem. Consult the manufacturer of any surface-altering products for more detailed information about the impact of its specific product on safety, maintenance, or appearance of your stone.
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