Almost all stone and tile installations will benefit from some type of sealer as a last step to help keep the install looking great and maintenance easy. There are many types of sealers on the market today including penetrating / impregnating, enhancing, and topical sealers. Each type of sealer works a little differently with varying degrees of performance. To achieve the finished look that you want, it’s important to choose the right sealer for your project
Penetrating and impregnating sealers are designed to repel stains by entering the open pores of the material and depositing a coating of polymers. These polymers work to keep liquids and dirt from penetrating below the surface of the material. The types of polymers used will vary not only by manufacturer but will also vary by product for each manufacturer. Flouro-polymers, siliconates, siloxanes, silanes, and other blends of polymers are commonly used.
Penetrating sealers do not sit on the surface and are designed to leave a completely natural finish. To deliver the polymers into the pores of the material, either a water-based or solvent-based carrier is used. Once the polymers are in the pores and cured, the material is ready to resist staining. Generally, the deeper the polymers are able to penetrate, the better the protection. Because solvent-based carriers have smaller molecules, they are not only able to penetrate deeper, they can also penetrate difficult to seal materials like dense granite and polished marble.
Penetrating sealers offer a variety of performance levels. Premium sealers will provide the maximum stain protection against water-based stains and in many cases, oil-based stains as well. While all penetrating sealers will protect against water-based stains, not all sealers will protect against both water-based and oil-based stains. Protection against water-based stains include repelling liquids such as coffee, tea, and soda while protection against oil-based stains includes repelling cooking oil, grease, and body oil. Penetrating sealers will also help prevent staining from mold, mildew, grime, and dirt.
When selecting a penetrating sealer, it is important to select the appropriate sealer for the project. For example, when sealing a bathroom, a premium penetrating sealer with maximum stain protection against both water-based and oil-based stains should be used to achieve best results. While economical penetrating sealers are less expensive, they will require more frequent application and offer less stain resistance than premium sealers. While premium sealers will offer the best stain protection, they are not designed to be a waterproofing agent. Any spills still need to be cleaned up in a timely manner because if left unattended, staining can still occur.
There’s definitely a lot to consider to make sure you’ve got the right product in your hand. If you’re a professional or a DIY’er looking for additional information or would like to purchase a sealer for your project, please visit our website to get in contact with us.