How to Seal Stone
Stone has been used as a building material by humans across the globe for millennia. Over time, the ways in which we use various types of stone has changed, what was once a necessity is now a luxury, which we use to achieve a natural aesthetic for our homes. Natural stone in all its forms possesses qualities few other materials possess. From its gorgeous appearance to longevity and durability.
Stone does need to be cared for and maintained if you want it to look and perform at its best. The amount of maintenance necessary depends upon the type of stone used, but regular cleaning is a must for all common types such as limestone, slate, granite, marble and sandstone. One of the best ways to care for your stonework is to apply an effective stone sealant, which will weatherproof its surface for years to come.
Why Should You Seal Stone?
Sealing stonework has a myriad of benefits, not only for preserving the beauty of your natural stone surfaces but also ensuring that they stay in top condition. Sealing stone is not a “one-and-done” job unfortunately, as many kinds of stone tiles will require a top-up every 5 years or so. Sealing stone surfaces such as tiles also makes them far easier to clean, as dirt will be kept above the surface and prevented from seeping into the pores. It will also make it far more difficult for mould, moss and algae to take root, which is why sealing stone in your garden is most important.
How Do I Know If My Stonework Needs Sealing?
It can be difficult to tell if you need to seal your stonework or not. An easy way to find out is to place a few drops of water onto the surface, then slowly wipe the stone using a cloth. If the water is absorbed into the stone and a dark mark forms, that means your stone surface is inadequately sealed. If your stonework has been correctly sealed recently, water droplets should form.
What Stone Sealant Is Right for Me?
If you’ve been doing some research into stone sealers, you’ll notice there are many different options. Not only does the right product for you depend on the type of stone you’re working with, but also the sort of finish you desire. Read on for a breakdown of the various factors you should consider:
There are many kinds of stone used in British homes today, each with their own unique qualities. This is perhaps the most important factor to consider, as the porosity and durability can vary massively between types of stone. Choosing a stone sealant that is right for your stonework’s level of absorption is vital to ensure proper performance. For example, limestone is an incredibly absorbent form of stone, which means it’s very difficult to seal properly.
Where is the stonework you want to seal? Is it indoors or outdoors, on the floor or walls? These factors all need to be considered, as the level of exposure your surface faces may mean you require a far more robust stone sealant. How much human or animal foot traffic does this surface receive? Is it outside and therefore exposed to the weather, or inside and frequently under attack by internal moisture, particularly if in a kitchen or bathroom? Stone flooring will need to be protected against dirt, water and oil for example, whereas the stone roof of a porch may only need to be water-resistant.
How to seal stone correctly can also depend on the current condition of your stonework, and how willing you are to perform regular cleaning and maintenance. If your stone surfaces have already experienced significant exposure to dirt and debris, significant cleaning will be required before sealing.
There are many stone sealants on the market today that will not only provide effective protection for stonework, they’ll also make it look beautiful too. Some of the most popular varieties of stone sealer include matt finishes, satin finishes and colour boosters to name a few.
Do I Need to Clean My Stonework First?
In almost all cases, we’d advise cleaning your stonework thoroughly before sealing it. Otherwise, you may find that you end up sealing dirt, oil and debris into the porous surface of your stone rather than keeping it out! If the stonework you’re sealing is an interior floor, be sure to give it a good hoover and clean the surrounding surfaces before undertaking any sealing.
The most effective way to clean natural stone is by using a dedicated cleaning agent, such as the Natural Stone Cleaner. This product has been designed to be compatible with a wide range of natural stones and is easy for a DIYer to apply. It can be used on stone surfaces that are both in- and outside, whether you’ve got stonework that is limestone, sandstone, marble or more!
How to Seal Stone
Once your stonework has been thoroughly cleaned, it’s time to seal the surface. It’s best to test your chosen product on a very small patch of stone first, ideally somewhere less visible. Two coats of sealant should be added for the full effect, not just in terms of protection but also visually for the aesthetics of your stonework. This test has a number of benefits, including practice in applying it and seeing how long it will take to dry. Once you’re satisfied that the sealant hasn’t caused any negative effects to your stone surface, you can move to the full task at hand.
Using a roller with your sealant in a paint tray, apply a coat to your surface. Be careful NOT to saturate the sealant unless specifically instructed to do so – as this can have negative results. Roll a coat evenly over the stone until the entirety has been covered, continuing to work it in until it has been fully absorbed. You likely won’t see much of a difference from a single coating, but that’s entirely normal.
Once the first coat has dried after an hour or so, you can apply a second coating. This should be done in the same fashion as the first but do note that you shouldn’t apply a third coat until at least a day has passed. This time will also give you a chance to reflect on the new appearance of your stone, which should be markedly different 24 hours after applying a second coat of stone sealer.
And there you have it. You should now be beaming with pride looking at your newly revitalised stonework. As you may know by now, applying the sealant is the easy bit compared to choosing the right one!
We stock a fantastic range of stone sealers designed to work with all common types of stone found in the home. These include specialised products such as the Colour Boost Limestone Sealer as well as all-purpose sealants such as the Satin Finish All Stone Sealer.