Marble Sealer Types and How to use them?
What are Marble Sealers?
Marble, being a strong and elegant stone, is used as an important element in construction, floor designing, table tops, and other such purposes. It is the natural stone that has been a symbol of luxury throughout the history of mankind. But the beautiful stone is not everlasting as the installation of marble is usually done at locations which is more prone to heavy traffic, dust, wind and other pollutants. Exposure to these elements leads to the fading of the stone’s shine and beauty.
Marble sealers are the life hacking saviors or materials that not only clean the pollutants on the surface but also help the stone to retain its shine for a longer period of time. There are numerous kinds of marble sealers available in the market and depending on the type of marble, its usage and exposure to different types of pollutants the sealers to be used can vary from marble to marble. Marble sealers can be bifurcated into two major categories which are then further divided into other types depending upon the usage, exposure and type of marble.
Penetrators (penetrants or impregnators) are the sealers which penetrate into the marble stone and protect it for longer time period. Despite blocking dirt and other pollutants from entering into the stone, it also moisturize the inner side of the stone. These are either solvent based or water based. Solvent is the medium required for the activation of the chemical present in the sealer to reach to the bottom layer of the marble. The solvent evaporates with time leaving the chemical behind which protects the inner surface of the stone. It is almost impossible to remove these sealers once they dry and are very long lasting.
There are mainly two types of penetrating sealers:
- Oliophobic Sealers: These penetrants are those which repel oil as well as water based liquids. The keep the surface nice and clean from almost all things. Oiliphobic Sealers should be used in the kitchen as the marble stone in this location is exposed to different kinds of liquids and tough stain pollutants. It is also recommended in the bathrooms or showers where the usage body oils, shower gels and soaps is high.
- Hydrophobic Sealers: The impregnators that only repel water based liquids and solutions are referred as hydrophobic. The hydrophobic sealers who have “oil resistant” mentioned on their label usually mean that they will slow down the penetration of oily liquid into the marble stone’s surface.
Precaution: These sealers are dangerous if not used with proper care therefore it is recommended that they are not used in any commercial environment or in the presence of people.
Topical sealers are cheaper as they have their flaws and are either stripped or permanent coatings. These sealers were particularly made for acquiring a non-slip floor that would not worn out easily but it can also be used for natural stones. Topical Sealers are made from polymers and are softer than the stone due to which they need periodic reapplication after stripper of the previous layer. They are not hard on the budget and need to be UV resistant to avoid yellowish tinge’s appearance.
Following are the topical sealers present in the market:
- Fluoropolymer Sealers: Recently a new type of sealer have entered the industry. These sealers are made from fluorocarbon alphatic resin and come with long term guarantees. But it has been noted that the long lasting factor is dependent on the stone’s condition and how well it was maintained. Resealing done at fixed intervals provides longevity to the stone and its appearance.
- Polyurethane Sealers: These topical sealers are produced for wood sealing purposes but some manufacturers recommend it for sealing natural stone as well which can cause serious harm to the marbles’s natural shine and leave an artificial glaze on the surface. The result is a slippery surface that looks tacky at times.
General Tips for Marble sealers:
- Before sealing always sweep off or vacuum dust and any unwanted element. You have to make sure that the marble’s surface is clean.
- Use masking tape or boards to avoid excessive use or splashing off the sealers on places where it is not required.
- Allow 72 hour setting time to new installations before applying the sealers.
- Use chemical resistant paint / deck brushes or rollers for applying the sealers.
- Use cleaners which do not contain ammonia, vinegar or bleach as they can etch the sealer.
Marble sealers are very useful for increasing beauty and life of marble. However, it is important to select and apply right type of sealer in order to get the maximum out of these marble sealers. For application process, do a detailed study first or hire an expert for doing this job. Make sure that you keep on applying marble sealers after regular intervals of time in order to protect your marble completely.