To Seal or Not
|Q 2335: We have been
doing a total kitchen remodel and just had Giallo Napoleone granite
installed on our kitchen counters and island. The fabricator/installer
sealed the granite after installation and told us to seal it again
in about a week. I'm not sure what type of sealer they used, they
just said to get it from them. They also told us the standard advice:
to use a cutting board, not to spill oil or acid products on the counters,
etc. I'm feeling a bit nervous about spilling anything on them now.
I've been reading your advice about cleaning tips and poultices for
stains, so plan to have those tips handy in case I need them.
How long does it take for oil or acid products to penetrate, leave
marks or will they etch the granite? I'm usually good about wiping
up as I go when cooking, so hope this won't be a big problem. I'm
just hoping we made the right choice in countertops. We had tile before,
and I was sick of yucky grout after many years. I wanted something
that would require a little less maintenance.
Also, I always thought that granite was the "perfect" surface for
rolling out pie crusts. Now I'm hearing that the oil in the pie dough
isn't good for the granite. Am I being paranoid or is that true? Any
other things I need to know about this granite? Thanks for a very
informative site. Carolyn, July 29,
Dear Carolyn: I encourage you to read the answer I gave to Debbie
below (posting # 2318). It should fit your situation like a glove!
Debbie, if you read this, can you see once again what I mean by "borderline"?
For as long as we have "Michelangelos" like Carolyn's fabricator
on the loose, who don't know how to seal (or don't care to ... same
difference), "borderline" is quite an optimistic definition!
Sorry about your problem, Carolyn, but if you don't have enough leverage
to have your fabricator come back and do the job right like they are
supposed to do in my book, you're going to have to do it yourself.
Yes, you're better off using the same sealer that they started using.
You may need three or four applications (until you see that the stone
doesn't absorb the sealer anymore). Maurizio, USA
| 2174: I have just acquired
a large piece of Pennsylvania Bluestone that I want to use for
a dining room table top. I guess the material is a kind of sandstone,
they call it a slate down there. What should I seal it with, so that
it will be practical and will not show stains? Lauren, July 8.
Dear Lauren: If they call it slate they are right on the money. Bluestone
is quite a dense
stone and won't take any impregnator/sealer for stone. Even if it
did, that would not prevent surface staining. Penna Bluestone is a
very durable and enjoyable material, but it shows every type of surface
soiling. I would consider the application of a color enhancer. That
should minimize the problem. Maurizio, USA
Hello, My granite countertops (which I love, thank you!)
were sealed when installed 4+ years ago. They look great and remain
clean and shiny. Recently, someone told me that it is necessary
to re-seal them every 6 months to prevent them from drying and cracking.
Is this accurate? How do I do it?, David, June 10.
Dear David: Many people talk just because they have a piece of thong
in their mouth and feel that they need to use it.
First off you have to find out if your "granite" needed to be sealed
at all to begin with (see the "lemon juice test" on the left side
bar on this page). Second, assuming that it turns out that it does
need sealing, it all depends on the sealer that was originally applied.
Some need to be reapplied every year (never heard of every 6 months),
some every 3 to 5 years, and some others every 15 to 20 years. You
won't be able to know that unless you get hold of the bottle of the
sealer that was originally applied (besides, it's never a good idea
to change brand of sealer, unless you provide to strip all the existing
sealer.) Maurizio, USA
|A 1901: What
is the least complicated and relatively inexpensive way to keep
our new polished granite flooring both looking great, and staying
unharmed by cleaning materials? The tile has been sealed. Will it
need to be resealed, and if so; how often -- and with what products?
Bernie, May 15.
Dear Bernie: How often should you seal your "granite"? Who knows?
Maybe it didn't even need to be sealed in the first place! Furthermore,
assuming that it did need to be sealed, it all depends from the sealer
that has been originally applied. Read the recommendation of the manufacturer
on the back label. Maurizio, USA
have a 100+ year old white carrera marble bathroom sink top
with china basin insert ready for an historica home installation.
The marble is unpolished and appears to have always been so, which
is fine with me. I would like to know if the marble should be sealed
or left as is. I have heard that sealing might cause it to crack in
the future - apparently not allowing it to "breath", however we are
concerned about stains and mildew damage. Is sealing called for? Would
"not" sealing the bottom allow for proper "breathing" ? What is the
proper treatment called for here. I am not necessarily looking for
"gloss" -- just stain protection without harming this old treasure.
Sara, May 15.
Dear Sara: For starters,
your marble is some 100,000 years old, not 100.
Second, mankind have been having a love affair with stone since the
stone age, and counting.
Third, up until approximately 10 years ago the stone trade was run
by ... surprise, surprise, trades people! Now the salesmen have taken
over and, all of a sudden, everybody desperately seems to need
something, namely an impregnator for stone, that nobody ever felt
like needing for the past 65,000 years. (Keep in mind that I make
impregnators for stone). You draw now your own conclusions. Maurizio,
Marble is not an absorptive
surface. Most "stains" are really where the surface has been etched.
This happens when acidic substances remain on the surface. I believe,
if the sink has been around this long, you shouldn't do a thing. Clean
with neutral pH cleaners and do so after each use. Steven, USA
is the "natural" recipe for sealing a slate floor? I remember linseed
oil, but what is the other ingredient? Turpentine? Frieda, May 14.
Dear Frieda: Boiled linseed oil could be your man (raw linseed oil
will take forever to dry!). Turpentine is a solvent (not a sealer)
that you may want to consider using to thin the linseed oil, although
I personally prefer mineral spirit. In consideration that slate -
if it's the domestic type - is quite a dense stone, I'd dilute the
linseed oil with mineral spirit in a proportion of 1:3 (1 linseed
oil, 3 mineral spirit). You may have to apply it twice, but you'd
have a better guarantee of penetration. If the slate is from India
or China (they are typically extremely porous), then it's a totally
different ball-game. You will have to run a few test to
determine the rate of dilution, if any. Finally, remember that linseed
oil is a natural product and, as such, of an organic nature (opposed
to inorganic or synthetic); therefore some
"yellowing" over time is to be expected. Maurizio, USA
We use one part linseed oil to three parts turpentine. We then wait
until the stuff is completely dry before we wax the floor. Steven,
want to seal my manufactured stone that I placed around my fireplace
and remove extra motor on the surface of the stone. 1) How do I remove
the motor from the front surface of the stone 2) What sealer can I
use that has a low shine but be resistant to temperatures up to 350
degrees F and not degrade. I want to seal so that it brings out the
color of the stone, Like it was damp, Tramp, May 14.
Dear Tramp: For all I know, to remove a motor from whatever you have
to un-bolt it with a wrench or something! Why do you have a motor
on your fireplace to begin with?
Does it have moving parts? Second, I never heard of "Manufactured"
stone, so I don't quite understand what we're dealing with, here.
Third, color enhancer type sealer have no finish whatsoever, because
they are supposed to be absorbed by the stone, not to sit on top of
it. Maurizio, USA
No such animal. Sorry, Steven, USA
|A 1835: I
understand that marble and acid don't mix. I was wondering
about some of the new water based polyurethane coatings on the market.
I want to coat tumbled Italian marble tiles, and was wondering if
these clear polyurethane coatings will a) adhere to the rough tumbled
marble b) if they contain acids that will harm the marble, and c)
if a marble sealant is needed on top of the polyurethane, or whether
the polyurethane coating itself will act as a sealant. Rick, Nova
Scotia, Canada, May 14.
If I were you I would coat your tumbled marble with the polyhurethane
you have in mind (at least 4 coats), then I would find a way to coat
it with liquid glass (at least another 4 coats). After that I would
put an armor 1/2" thick of tempered steel over it. I would then
complete the job, by sealing the whole ting with an impregnator, at
least three times. I would then proceed to seal the room with a air
tight door (like those in the submarines) and windows; have them welded
at the seams, and apply at least three coats of stone impregnator
over it, which you will then reapply religiously every year or so.
I don't recommend using
urethanes on stone. Use the color enhancer, impregnators, and cleaners
formulated for stone. Read the labels and follow the directions. Steven,
|A 1806: Purchased
the granite flooring from a Home Depot about 100 miles away and tried
to ask THEM the care and cleaning of granite floor tile; but their
are useless for this type of thing. Appears to simply be a retail
site. Our floor installer; thus far, has no answer to my question.
He's inquiring also -- but still no answer. Can you help me PRONTO?
Thanx, M. Medley, May 14.
Here is an excerpt from Maurizio's advice. I liked his better than
what I handed out so I give people his information.
The means: A cleaning chore Ė any cleaning chore Ė is seldom a matter
of a cleaning product only. Other factors are involved, such as a
cleaning rag, a sheet of paper towel, a scrubbing pad, a squeegee,
and so on. Without this additional means, the cleaner alone wonít
do much good! Whatís more, many a time the type and quality of the
means is just as important as the quality of the cleaning product.
If one uses some sub-par means, the cleaning product will not work
at its best. This fact is never been truer than in the case of a glossy
floor. I often noticed households using what I define as pathetic
mops, many a time not so clean, either, teamed with tiny buckets on
which to prepare the solution! A good-quality mop and the proper mopping
bucket are key to obtaining the best results at mopping your highly
polished stone or porcelain floor. In all my experience I reached
the conclusion that sponge mops are not the best types of mop for
a highly polished floor. My very favorites are good sized, closed-loop
cotton string mops. Itís always best to buy at least a couple of mop-heads,
so that, when one is dirty, all you have to do is throw it into the
washing machine and use another one in the meantime. The mop bucket
is very important too. Small buckets only hold little water (which,
of course, will get dirty real quick), plus they donít have any provisional
means to wring the mop properly. Professional-type mop buckets with
a wringer, that hold a good 4 GL of cleaning solution are highly recommended.
Excellent mop handles and heads, as well as a terrific bucket with
wringer on wheels (by "Rubbermaid") are available in the
cleaning isle of The Home Depot. They are relatively inexpensive,
too. Itís a well worth investment if you have a lot of hard floors
in your house!
NEWLY INSTALLED FLOORS. The best thing to have done to a brand-new
polished stone floor is a detailing job by a properly trained janitor,
or a professional stone refinisher. Detailing means deep-cleaning
the floor virtually square inch by square inch, removing all possible
grout residue or film and adhesive, taking care of possible small
damages left behind by workers, or a possible few factory flaws, and
open the pores of the stone by using some special cleaning agent,
so that the stone can "breathe" and dry properly.
are considering replacing our formica countertops in the kitchen with
either granite or quartz. We are concerned with water sealing and
staining. The contractor who would do the granite mention impregnating
it with a fluorocarbon (new?) vs silicon sealing. Can you provide
information on the sealing/impregnation of granite? Also thoughts
on granite v/s quartz? (We have heard the quartz does not have the
water/staing issues associated with granite.) Thanks. Nickie, May
to call the generic category natural stone versus quartz based products.
With the light end of the spectrum the natural stone will need to
be impregnated or resined. The quartz won't. With the many dark stones
you don't need to impregnate them either.
The development of impregnators has been going on for 15 years or
so. It is true that flourocarbons have hit the market and they are
good. It is not established whether they will stay on the market or
not. Therefore use siloxane based products. When done properly they
will last 2-3 years between application. Steven, USA
Flurocarbon-based impregnator/sealers are better than silicon, but
you still do NOT want to seal a stone that doesn't need to be sealed
(read my answer to the posting below yours). Maurizio, USA
|A 1781: We
just had Black Impala countertops installed and the contractor put
HMK S34 sealant on them. I then installed a marble backsplash. While
I was in buying a sealant for the marble they asked me if the counter
tops had a grease inhibitor in the sealant. The sold me "Lithofin
SIM Silicon Impregnator w/ Color Enhancement" for a first coat on
the marble and "Lithofin PSI Premium Silicon Impregnator" as
a second coat/ grease inhibitor. My question is can I put the
Lithofin PSI over the HMK S34 as an add grease inhibitor? What
would be the results? Russ, May 11.
ask the fabricator to remove the impregnator from the Impala Black.
It does not need it. Steven, USA
Dear Russ: A big mess!!!
First off, your black impala is a "granite", not a marble. Second,
and most importantly, that particular stone needs to be sealed just
as much as you need a hole in your head! It's too darn dense (that's
why is such an excellent stone to be used as a kitchen countertop)
and no sealer will ever be able to go in (which is what a sealer is
supposed to do to work).
If this can be of any consolation, all the products you bought did
some good, however: They helped their makers and distributors to put
their kids through college! I'm sorry you didn't buy my own sealer.
It wouldn't have done your stone any good, but I could have made me
some little money!! Maurizio, USA
Maurizio, Thank you for your response Is there something that I should
do to remove the HMK S34 sealer that the contractor applied after
installation or should I just leave it alone at this point? If I need
to remove the sealer, could you please let me know the process and
where can I find proper care instructions for Black Impala Granite?
Also, do you sell a cleaner that is appropriate for use on my countertop?
Thanks for your help. Russ, June 2,
|A 1770: I have never
had a home with stone countertops. I am building a home in Texas and
will have relatively dark granite countertops. If you had the world
to choose from (they supposedly have not been sealed, although I suspect
the they might have some sort of basic protective coating) and fresh
new counters. What line of products would you use to protect them?
I have founds dozens of brands on the internet that all say they have
the best formula. I know know nothing and the Home Depot guys seem
to know less that me. Do I seal and then put some protecting chemical
on regularly? Water or solvent based? What is best for family kitchen
countertops? I have lots of kids so there will be lots of spills!
Blake. April 30.
|A 1733: I am building
a new house and will have travertine installed in the kitchen floor
and the master bathroom floor. The kitchen will be installed on concrete.
What should the product be sealed with and when during the installation
should it be sealed. What about sealing the grout? Chuck, April 20,
Chuck, Travertine should indeed be sealed no matter what room you
are using it in. Miracle sealant 511 or porous plus will not change
the color or surface appearance of your stone. One coat prior to grouting,
and one final coat after installation is complete. Follow the directions
carefully, and after the stone has been sealed remember to keep the
typical house hold cleaners off from it. They were not designed to
be compatible with your sealer. Try a little simple green and warm
water, it wont damage your Travertine, or your sealer.
The travertine in the bath does not require a sealer. In the kitchen
I would try a surface coating system. Try contacting Maurizio for
the correct product he manufactures. Steven, USA
|A 1730: I am an architect
in Alabama and we are using a Sandstone (a type known as crab orchard)
for an interior floor finish on a residence we are doing. I know that
there is a type of finish (often used for brick flooring) that uses
linseed oil as sealer and then a finish coat of wax. I am searching
for the proper procedure for doing this since the flooring installer
on the job is unfamiliar with the process. Kent, April 19.
The best thing to do is have a professional do it. Now that I have
said that, here is what I would do:
Buy turpentine or mineral spirits, boiled linseed oil, tinted or clear
favorite paste wax .
Thoroughly clean the crab orchard first. Mix the linseed oil to turpentine
1 linseed to 3 turpentine (don't smoke if this is your habit). Apply
the mixture with a clean rag or brush. Dispose of everything properly
once you are through. Make sure you ventilate the area well while
you work. Protect the area from everyone while it dries. After you
think it is dry tape plastic down over an area for 24 hrs.
If dry you are ready to wax. Vacuum floor and damp mop. Let this dry.
Apply a thin coat of wax. Follow instructions on the label. You may
want to buff it after it has dried with a white buffing pad and a
buffer. Repeat until you have the look you want. Within the first
year you may wax 2-3 times after that only when you want to. Steven,
|A 1638: Do you know
where I can learn more about the methods and equipment needed to polish
and seal marble and granite floors? Are there any training programs
that you know of? Norm, April 3.
Dear Norm: Get in touch directly with me and I'll be glad to assist
you. Maurizio, USA
|A 1637: Maurizio - Let
me begin by saying how much I appreciate the information you so
willingly share with the consumers. Education is never a bad thing.
I am currently looking for advice as to the best sealer to apply
to a honed calcite or statuary surface. What would
you recommend? Laura, April 3.
Dear Laura: Your question is vague. What do you mean by "sealer"?
Sealer for stone are penetrating, below surface sealers. They're referred
to as "Impregnators". If this is what you have in mind, such types
of product offer one protection and one protection only: they help
prevent staining by clogging the pores of the stone, period. Now,
how could you possibly actually stain a statue?
Other than that, the topical sealers that are available offer very
little protection (if any. Just as much as a good-quality car wax.
In fact most of them are nothing but, just re-labeled!) unless, of
course, we're talking about topical sealers for high-traffic stone
floors, which is not your case. No matter what, all topical sealers
must be buffed, and are shiny. So, their application to a dull surface
(hone finish), would end up altering the original look of the installation.
|A 1583: A customer came in and told
me that he had granite counter
tops installed into his home. The installer told him that he would
never have to seal his counter top. I have never heard of this, of
a type of polish that can be placed on the counter so that no sealing
would be needed. Was this guy telling the truth? Can you give
me any information concerning this "polish" surface. Corie, March
|R1: Dear Corie:
There are "granites" that need to be sealed, then there are other
"granites" that don't. There's no topical "polish" on polished stone
(granite or otherwise). It all depends on the natural density of the
stone. Maurizio, USA
|A 1523: I
am interested in info on sealants for honed Granite. David,
Dear David: What kind of info are you looking for? Good penetrating
sealers for stone are good on granite, no matter what the finish.
Usually, however, impregnators only won't effect the original color
of the installation. There are also sealers, called Color Enhancers
that will permanently darken the stone (without adding any shine)
up to the same shade of color as if it were polished. It's highly
recommended for honed black granite, to help reduce the nightmarish
maintenance requirements attached to the particular finish. Maurizio,
|A 1519: Is St. Cecilia
granite? Should I seal this? Also, I have a new tumbled marble
floor. What is the care for this? Kay, March 12.
Kay: A granite like St. Cecilia would benefit from being sealed because
it being "light" it will, over time, darken a bit from the oils in
your hands, etc. This can be a charming aspect of the ageing of the
granite though just as marble ages and acquires a certain patina.
Dear Kay: As far as whether you have to seal or not the "granite"
you mention, just rely on my little "lemon juice test" (see side bar.)
|A 1383: Hello,
Maurizio I saw some comments you made recently on findstone.com. I'm
interested in knowing if there is a way to seal or even varnish
a limestone floor to limit the chances of it being damaged by
careless neglect (I may have to rent out my house for a number of
years, and I'm terrified about renters screwing up my recently-installed
floor). Please let me know if your company can provide any assistance.
I'm located in West Hollywood. Paul. Jan 28.
All you can do is to have your
floor professionally sealed with a good-quality impregnator (I wouldn't
mind if you'd consider using mine! It does come with a 20 year limited
warranty). Other than that, I can't thing of anything else. Varnishing
is totally out of the question!!
And ongoing maintenance -- which is the most important issue -- would
only be in the hands of your tenants. Maurizio, USA
I am an architect with a project for a marble and granite mausoleum
and I would like some advice concerning stone sealers. The
building is 1000sf and has a reinforced concrete structure. The granite
(Sierra White) is 1 1/8" thick and the marble is in the
form of large solid non-structural columns. I need to seal all the
stone in this project but can't seem to find the right solution. Should
I be afraid of solvent based penetrating sealers? Should I be wary
of vendors that want to apply their product on the marble columns
by bathing them in their water-based product for 30 days? Can you
provide brand name recommendations or is that beyond the scope of
this web site? Thank you, Stu, Jan 23,
We would recommend a silicon
polyester blend of sealant. We manufacture
these. Regards Arun, India
Stu, The first concern I would have is what objective are you trying
to achieve by impregnating the stone. Please get a sample of the stone
and subject it to the trials you think will take place. If you are
looking for the stone to do something that by its nature it can't
do then impregnators are a waste of $$.
If you want the granite to repel oil and water for a while, then OK.
Now impregnators go in by either a solvent medium or a water medium
and bind to the stone. You need to wait 24 hours before applying another
coat so that the first coat of solvent or water dries and the impregnator
can bond to the stone. If you don't let the 1st coat cure long enough
then the second coat doesn't bond to stone but instead to the first
coat of impregnator. This is a weaker bond of impregnator to impregnator
rather than impregnator to stone. Therefore, I would want to set up
a periodic review composed of cleaning and resealing granite after
it had been installed and specify that it needs to continue for the
rest of its existence. Now for the marble columns I would ask the
same question. What is the goal
of the impregnator. The marble is not absorptive that oil and water
would penetrate. Marble being either metamorphic calcium carbonate
or dolomite is acid reactive and the shine can disappear. Impregnators
won't help that. Only due care and careful placement out of the elements
would help that. If the marble is going to be left outside then get
sample and subject it to the installed condition and judge whether
or not you approve how it will age. Regards Steven, USA
Dear Stuart: You will get, no doubt, a whole bunch of answers recommending
one sealer over another, etc.
I make a sealer (and very good at that), but I won't join the bunch.
Let me ask you a question: "what is the picture that you have
in your mind about what a sealer can do for your project?" In
other words, "What do you expect a sealer to do for the stone
If your answer is a generic: "protection", then I'm sorry
to be the one who's going to burst the bubble for you.
Unless there is a chance that somebody is going to spill coffee or
cooking oil in your mausoleum, and let it sit on the surface of the
stone for half an hour or so (especially on the marble columns!...),
the real need for a sealer is just about nil. An impregnator -- any
impregnator -- including the one you mentioned -- which, by the way,
could be good for the "granite" (yeah, right!) you've mentioned,
but no good for the marble (marble is not very absorbent, contrary
to popular believe, and that particular sealer would be too thick)
-- does one thing and one thing only: it clogs the pores of the stone
(which, if you ask me, it's a practice bad enough per se) so that
alien discoloring agents will not be absorbed by it. End of story.
All the rest is only noise, just plain marketing hype.
Sealers are around for no more than 15 years (if that long). Stone
has been around for ever, and had no problem, other than those deriving
from being specified for the wrong applications. All of a sudden,
since several idiotic specifications kept going on, and the stone
industry establishment wouldn't drive itself to get educated about
what they've been selling, it decided that the solution of all the
problems deriving from (specific) ignorance would reside inside a
bottle. And the salesmen were unleashed into the field to seal everything
under the sun that doesn't move, including the brains of specifiers
like yourself and stone operators (may the Gods forbid that some intelligence
has a chance to sink in!!).
Obviously, the problems were not solved by a long shot, because, no
matter how one can try to fight the concept, there's no substitute
for true professionalism, but a lot of money has been made by selling
what in my opinion is the most overrated, over promoted and over applied
product in the history of mankind.
If at this point you're wondering why I make a sealer myself, the
answer is very simple: 1. sealers do help if used for what they are
designed to do (prevent stains), always providing that the stone specification
was not the wrong one. 2. Everybody was making so much money by selling
sealers that I decided to jump into the bandwagon myself and claim
my slice of the pie. After all, if I don't provide to feed my retirement
fund myself, nobody else will! But when it's early in the morning
and my marketing guy is not around to hit me with a baseball bat,
I say it like it is.Maurizio, USA
We have a problem with the absorbency of a white sandstone from
Indonesia called Palimanan. This is typical in the Aman Resorts
in Indonesia. The issue we are faced with is our client use this on
bath room floor as well as pool deck. Despite our advice against the
use of this, they insisted as it is in fad in the Philippines at the
moment. Can you recommend a stone impregnator that can prevent staining
from, say: redwine, soya sauce or coffee with out changing the matt
surface finish? The sandstone is very soft sort of line Podini from
Bulgaria, softer than Indian Sandstone for sure. Could your recommend
a sealer for this and the advice on the application and possible brands
available? David, Jan 18.
Dear David, There was a similar problem at one of the best hotels
in the world, it is the Rajvilas, a Oberio group hotel . They have
extensively used sandstone in the bathrooms and shower stalls. The
bathroom were sealed using a special formulation sealer and today
after more then three years they are perfect. Arun, India
Every untreated sandstone in the world will absorb or stain with red
wine, or coffee etc. John, England,
I do not think so. For all the reasons you were against the product
are all the same reasons that an impregnator will not stay ahead of
the curve. I would start researching coatings for the material. Many
of them would require a steady and professional application. Maurizio
who contributes to this site has formulated a few. Steven, USA
|A 1317: When we purchased our house there
was "Italian Tile" already installed on all the floors, and had been
for several years. The grout has a beige/pinkish tint to it and began
to look dirty. I was successful in cleaning the grout/tile using "Zap
It". My question... Is there a sealant that I should use now after
the tile has been cleaned in order to help it stay cleaner longer?
Thank you. Mark, Jan 10,
|R1: Yes - a grout sealer will help in long term maintenance
and ease of clean-up. Try contacting a grout sealer manufacturer for
additional information on this topic. Art, USA
A 1277: I just bought a granite
countertop (referred to in some circles as Cappuccino or brown pearl-it
has gray, black and mauve in it). My question is similar to one you
got before. The granite installer told me there is NOTHING I must
do to the granite, that it was sealed at the shop. Just clean it and
forget it. Now my friend was saying that even though it was sealed
at the factory and has a nice shine, I still should put an additional
layer of sealer or even impregnator color enhancing sealer now and
every 6-12 months? Is he correct or is my stone guy correct. Any
help you can give would be appreciated. David, USA, DEC 21.
|R2: Your stone guy has got it bang on. Polish and the like
are only needed where there have been short cuts taken in the original
polishing. Massari, UK.
|R1: Dear David: They are both dead wrong.
1. Your stone guy has no clue on how to take care of your countertop,
and solved the problem (answered you question, that is) not by telling
you what you have to use to maintain it properly, mind you, but by
just reporting to you that "they have sealed it" at the shop. So what?!
First off, that particular type of stone (which is not a granite by
long shot) needed a sealing job like you need a hole in your head
(In fact, it's extremely dense). Second, the use of the proper intelligence
and cleaning products are of the utmost importance. Needless to say,
if the salesmen got to your "stone guy" to the point of sealing his
brains, too, then you'll never get any real valuable information out
2. Your friend talks just because he or she has a piece of tongue
in his or her mouth and has to show that off. On the other hand, very
possibly, he or she is reporting your what some other "stone guy"
told him or her. Maybe, if you'd like to get in touch with me directly,
you may get a chance to hear something more constructive than some
idiotic blanket rule. Sorry, I'm upset. Maurizio, USA
|A 1263: I have a Rosa
Gerona marble in the master bath of my home.
I have never had marble before and wonder as to what kind of upkeep
there is. It is a new home. Do I need to reseal it every so many years?
Must this be done professionally? Is just cleaning it with a marble
cleaner going to keep it nice? Thank you. Cindy. Dec 15,
|R2: To maintain the marble in your bath or
other wet areas, soap scum can be minimized by using a squeegee after
each use. To remove soap scum, use a non-acidic soap scum remover
or a solution of ammonia and water (about 1/2 cup ammonia to a gallon
of water). Be aware that frequent or overuse of an ammonia solution
may eventually dull the surface of the stone. Vanity tops may need
to have a penetrating sealer applied. Check with your local restoration
company for recommendations. A good quality marble wax can be applied
to minimize water spotting. Good luck in your project. Sincerely,
|R1: Dear Cindy: It's "Rosso Verona", I guess.
Now, let's try to take some sealer out of our brains, so that some
intelligence can sink in!
FACT: Contrary to popular (and greatly misinformed) believe, marble,
especially in its polished form, is not very porous.
FACT: Sealers for stone (which are BELOW surface, therefore invisible)
do one thing, and one thing only: CLOG THE PORES OF THE STONE, SO
THAT STAINING LIQUIDS WILL NOT BE ABSORBED BY IT. In other words,
sealers for stone (impregnators) prevent staining, and nothing else.
FACT: The likelihood of staining in a bathroom is only theoretic.
Ask to yourself: "What kind of chances do I have to spill, say, coffee,
or Coca Cola, or Ocean Spray, or cooking oil in my bathroom WITHOUT
(That is, that you let the staining liquid sit on your marble for
half an hour or so, before you blot it up). The answer to that, will
tell you how much you needed a sealing job to begin with, and how
much you need to have
FACT: Marble is a calcite-based stone, therefore is sensitive to pH
active substances, such as acids and salts (even alkaline, sometimes).
What that means in layman terms, is if you spill something acidic
on the surface of
your marble (a glass with a drink in it on your "Jacuzzi" platform),
perfume, after-shave, many a formulation of glass cleaner (when you
over-spray glass cleaner on your marble while cleaning your mirrors),
and other wrong
cleaning solutions (toilet bowl cleaners are murder!), you will damage
the surface of your stone on contact, virtually immediately, and permanently.
The visual results are "water stains", "water rings", etc. The problem
is that they are NOT stains at all (nor were they generated by water!),
no matter what they look like, and are strictly related to the chemistry
of the stone (it's makeup, that is), NOT its absorbency. NO SEALER
EVEN ADVERTISES TO DO ANYTHING TO PREVENT SUCH DAMAGES. In fact, all
cans of sealers for stone do disclaim that they are not meant to protect
marble from "etching". Maybe the wording is different, but the substance
is the same. HENCE: once more, it goes to prove that you need a sealer
in your bathroom marble just as much as you need a hole in your head!
(Keep in mind that I manufacture sealers and specialty cleaning products
for stone, therefore, in a way, I'm shooting myself in the foot!).
Now that I turned all the "education" imparted to you by the marble
dealer who sold the stone to you (and who typically is just as intelligent
about natural stone as you are), upside-down, and in the right direction
for the first time, why don't you ask him or her to give you a definition
of a "Marble Cleaner"? Do you really think that a so called "marble
cleaner" (whatever that means!) sold to you by someone who doesn't
have a clue about cleaning chores to begin with, and cleaning requirements
of natural stone IN RELATION TO WHERE the stone has been installed
is it going to solve your
bathroom problems? Dream on! If you want to know something intelligent
that's really going to help you,
contact me directly. Maurizio, USA
|A 1257: I just did
my whole downstairs (about 1500 sq ft) in Honed Light Travertine.
I am now in the process of sealing it. My question is "what
is the best way to protect your travertine from scratches,
stains, and dullness? I understand the sealing process and it purposes,
but need more info on Expert cleaning and maintaining travertine floors.
This is my first time experiencing a natural stone floors. I appreciate
any suggestions. Thanks in advance. Holly, Dec 12,
|R2: Well, sealing the floor with an impregnator
would not help against scratches, stains and dullness. In order to
do that you would need to put a coating on top of the surface. My
friend Maurizio has these types of products plus (this is most important)
the necessary expertise to tell you how to care for the floor. Generally
speaking you will need to invest in a professional stone restoration
company. Please have them provide references and other floors they
successfully maintain. Best Steven, USA
Dear Holly: Why don't you
ask your question to the people who sold the stone to you? I'm sure
they made good money out the deal, and I am also sure that they are
absolutely concerned that you're going to be a happy camper with the
stone they sold to you for years to come! I mean, if they sell it,
they've got to know how to properly maintain it, right! Well ... maybe
not. If that's the case, get my website address through the management
of this site. A visit there should give you some insight. Ciao and
good luck with the sealing (I'd call a pro to do it, if I were you),
|A 1231: I have
installed a new Travertine tile floor in my kitchen.
The seller says I should seal it, the installer says I shouldn't,
just wax it. What is the proper care for this stone? Thank
You, Richard, Nov 30.
|R4: Hello Richard, Is the stone polished or honed? In both
types of stone it's always good to seal. you should always seal.
|R3: Always watch the grout and caulk joints. You want them
to stay solid. Damp mopping with a neutral pH cleaner is necessary.
I prefer impregnators rather than topical sealers. The wax is a topical
sealer. If you have a problem with the floor due to traffic or heavy
duty stain problems then look into coatings. With wax I always feel
that I am getting into a cycle of wax maintenance. Best regards Steven,
|R2: Dear Richard: Do you want it sugar coated, or do you want
it straight in between your eyes? Well, I'll pick.
Sealing would help a tiny bit, but wouldn't do you any REAL good.
And so would waxing (whatever that means! That is, would you know
what kind of specialty wax you should use to begin with, and what
kind of equipment?
Who's gonna tell you, the same "genius" who went along with the choice
of your stone?! But relax, like I said, even if you'd know, it wouldn't
help you much). The bare truth is: POLISHED TRAVERTINE (LIKE ANY POLISHED
CALCITE-BASED STONE, SUCH AS MARBLE, LIMESTONE, ETC.) DOES NOT BELONG
IN A KITCHEN, PERIOD. No sealer or specialty wax can overcome that.
|R1: Hi! You should not wax it. Seal it. Pini, USA
|A 1199: I have just installed 2 colors
of granite in my kitchen. The countertops are
in Blue Carmel and the work island is made with Sapphire Black. We
also have a tumbled marble backsplash. Our fabricator recommends using
a penetrating sealer. She recommended the brand "Bullet Proof"
which I have been unable to find. Do you recommend this type
of a sealer for my stone? I also have travertine floors in the
living room, foyer, guest bath, and dining room. Should they be sealed
as well? I appreciate your advice. We will be moving into our new
home next week. Lynn, USA, Nov 21.
|R2: Lynn, Try Maurizio's lemon slice test for absorption.
Both stones are good but need a good impregnator.
Go ahead and have your travertine sealed also. Some of the areas you
describe may not need it but the vast majority do. Please check with
the people who installed the products to find out what they did. Best
|R1: Dear Lynn: "Bullet Proof", huh. Sounds impressive, don't
it! Never heard of it, although I think I can say have heard of them
all! Regardless, to determine whether your "granites" need sealing
or not, have a little fun and perform my "lemon juice test". That
will tell you. As far as the tumbled marble is concerned, yes, that
does need to be sealed. You have two options: 1. the use of a regular
good-quality penetrating sealer (Bullet Proof or not); it will seal
the stone, but will leave the color as is now. 2. The use a
good-quality sealer that's a color enhancer at the same time. Not
only will this seal the stone, but it will make it look -- permanently
-- darker. To see what I mean, try to wet the stone with some water.
Once it's soaked, that's the color that a color enhancer will give
you. Maurizio, USA
A 1081: I would like information on how to
clean and seal a slab of blue limestone which is to be
used as a hearth in front of my fireplace. Jennifer, USA, August 30,
1159: Just had a granite countertop installed in my kitchen. What
brand of sealer do you recommend? The granite
is Verdi Butterfly. Thanks. Dave, USA, Oct 29.
|R2: Dear Dave: I make a sealer (and a
very good one, indeed!), but I won't push it to you. I feel it would
be unethical to use this site to free-advertise products (unless they
represent a breakthrough and are one-of-a-kind. It's certainly not
the case with sealers for stone!!). What bugs me is: How come you
don't feel like relying on your fabricator on this very important
issue? Maurizio, USA
|R1: Hi Dave, Not to parse words but what
you want is an impregnator. Sealers are usually topically applied
i.e. waxes and other plastics. Impregnators should be oleophobic and
hydrophobic (repel oil & water). Our friend Maurizio has come
up with a lemon slice test for consumers to use & I expect you
to see his response on how often to check. (twice a year probably)
I rarely endorse specific brands as I know people from most of the
different companies that make them. I will say contact Maurizio because
he has formulated some dynamite products. Steven, USA
Dear Jennifer: There are specific products such as impregnator-type sealers
(below surface) that have the task to clog the pores of the stone to dramatically
reduce its absorbency. Once properly applied, it will not be visible, nor
will it change the color of the stone. If you want to make your stone look
darker (like when it's wet), then there are other types of impregnator-sealers
that are color enhancers, too. There are also topical finishes (Urethane-like)
that are applied to give the stone a shiny or satin look. Unless you plan
not to use your fireplace, my advice is against these latter types of product.
They scratch easily and can't be spot restored. Every time you have to strip
them completely, and that represents a nasty chemical chore that, in the
long run, could even have unwelcome side effects on the stone itself. For
routine cleaning there are products specifically designed to deal with the
delicate chemistry of natural stone. Maurizio, USA
A 1078: We are going
to be putting honed black granite in our remodeled
kitchen. On your site you advised using a penetrating sealer
that's a color enhancer. Is there a brand or product name we should
look for? Is this something that you reapply every year? Thanks for
your help! Marks, USA, August 28,
Marks: This site has an educational purpose and it's not meant to advertise
specific products. I'm sure that you can appreciate that. On the other hand,
I can understand the need of consumers for more precise answers. It doesn't
help much, does it, to read about a particular type of product without a
precise indication of a recommended brand, and where to get it! Do contact
me, and I will gladly help you. Maurizio, USA
A 1055: Care: I am renovating a 1930 log cabin
built on the pre-cambrian shield (Manitoba, Canada) It has a huge 10
foot fireplace constructed of local stone, much of which I believe
is granite. The stones look great when wet, and I
would like to enhance the colour of the stones...Any suggestions? Thank
you in advance. J Micheal, Canada, July 24.
There are lots
of colors enhancing sealers in the market. Check with your local tile
store or building supply to see what is available in your area. JVC,
A 1008: I was wondering what
your thoughts are on applying a protective clear coating to stone and brick
exterior walls. I've read a lot of conflicting information. What types
of preservative clear coatings are available and what are their pros
and cons? Finally, is applying a preservative something I can do myself
or do I need to hire someone? (What are the steps I should take in determining
if I need to apply the coating or not, who to hire, etc?) USA. June 14
R1: First of all
decide on why you want to coat the stone. Is it for stain resistance,
additional strength, graffiti resistance, increased durability. The product
you choose will depend on your reason. When applying a coating, stones
especially must be allowed to breathe, that is, allow the transmission of
water vapour. The application of a impermeable coating may result in irreparable
damage by spalling of the surface caused by build up of pressure form water
- especially in high frost areas. Most of the chemicals used are hazardous,
so if you do apply them protective equipment is essential. Jim Man, Australia