If you have decided to treat your stone, make sure you understand the differences between the types of sealers available on the market:
- Topical Sealers are coatings (film formers) designed to protect the surface of the stone against water, oil, and other contaminants. They are formulated from natural wax, acrylic, and other plastic compounds. When a topical sealer is applied, the maintenance program often shifts from a program focused on stone care to a program focused on the maintenance of the sealer (for example: stripping and reapplication).
- Impregnators are water- or solvent-based solutions that penetrate below the surface and become repellents. They are generally hydrophobic (water-repelling), but are also oliophobic (oil-repelling). Impregnators keep contaminants out, but do not stop the interior moisture from escaping. These products are considered “breathable,” meaning they have vapor transmission.
Vanity tops and food preparation areas may need to have an impregnator applied. Check with your installer for recommendations. If an impregnator is applied, be sure that it is safe for use on food preparation surfaces. If there are questions, check with the product manufacturer.
Before sealing, always:
• Read the Manufacturers Warranty and Instructions.
• Contact the manufacturer prior to application if you are unsure or need clarification. The woodworking analogy of ‘measure twice, cut once’ applies.
• Consider the life span of the application (1-year, 2-years, 5-years, etc.) – keep a log of each application.
• Don’t switch from one product to another without fully understanding any potential issues. Not all products are alike – again, consult with the manufacturers.
• Consult with your stone professional as necessary.
• Ask yourself, does the stone need to be treated in the first place?