We often hear, “I want granite because it’s stain resistant.” While granite is a strong material and holds up really well, it’s not your only option if you are worried about scratching, staining, or etching. Some natural stones, like quartzite, are naturally scratch and etch-resistant. There have also been recent technological advances in natural stone sealers that have exponentially expanded sealing options. There are many possibilities to keep natural stones such as marble, onyx, and even limestone to look as beautiful as the day they were installed. Read along to learn which sealer is best for your project and what you can do at home to protect your natural stone from scratches, stains, and etches.
There are two types of natural stone sealers: topical and impregnator.
- Topical. A topical sealer is a coating or a film designed to protect the surface of the stone against water, oil, and other contaminants. Oftentimes, you have to strip and re-apply topical sealers, making them a less appealing choice for homeowners.
- Impregnator. An impregnating sealer is typically a water-based solution that penetrates below the surface and repels oil and water. Impregnating sealers are “breathable”; meaning, they keep water and oil out but do not stop the interior moisture from escaping.
What type of natural stone sealer should I use?
At Aria Stone Gallery, we typically suggest that our clients use impregnating nano sealers. Nano sealers are a new breed of impregnating sealers that consist of tiny particles. The smaller particles are able to penetrate and fill in more pores in the stone, creating a stone that is more impenetrable to stains. However, speak with your fabricator and check all fine print and warranties before deciding which sealer is best for you.
Will using a sealer change the color of my natural stone?
Not all sealers will change the color of your stone. If you do not want to change the color of the stone, there are impregnating sealers available that will only block moisture from penetrating the stone.
However, there are certain color enhancing sealers that can protect your stone and also bring out all of the beautiful, vibrant hues. Many people chose to use color enhancing sealers on their marble or onyx to create more vibrant color. You can keep the color enhancing sealer at home for a quick fix against scratches and etches. For example, if you scratch the stone you can put the color enhancing sealer on the scratch – sometimes the scratch goes away completely – sometimes the scratch goes away mostly – it all depends on the material.
How do you seal limestone?
Limestone is different in that it needs to breathe more than other stones. It is important to seal limestone with a specific sealer that helps protect, but also allows for extra breathability.
How do you prevent scratching and etching in natural stone at home?
The best way to prevent scratching and etching is to use trivets for heavy pots and pans. Also, be sure to blot up any acidic liquids spills quickly with a clean cloth. Otherwise, a fabricator can come to your home with a machine that can buff the etch out of the stone. Looking for something you can do at home to prevent etching? Fabricator, Chris Wynn, from Statement Furniture, suggests using a high-grade car or furniture wax. The wax will also help to prevent the stone from etching in the future. Both options are very similar. It is just a matter of doing it yourself or paying a fabricator to do it for you.
Here are the steps you can take to prevent your natural stone from scratching and etching at home:
- Blot up any acidic liquid spills with a clean cloth
- Flush the area with plain water and mild soap and rinse several times
- Dry the area thoroughly with a soft cloth
- Use a high-grade car of furniture wax and spread over your natural stone
- Leave the wax on overnight
- Buff the wax off in the morning with a clean, soft cloth until it shines.
How often do you need to reseal your natural stone?
First, consult the brand of sealer that your fabricator initially used, as some sealers have warranties. All stones have different porosities and different finishes can lend to higher stain resistance as well. Learn more about the porosity of your stone and use your best judgment. If you see water spots or anything out of the ordinary, then call your fabricator to refinish. The maintenance could be every year or every 5 years, it depends on the stone and the type of finish.