All About Natural Stone Sealing

There are conflicting opinions about natural stone sealer. If you are a “do-it-yourselfer” or a homeowner going for a repair or renovation, you may well be confused about whether or not you should seal your natural stone structures.

Natural stone structures are indeed popular, because they lend a luxurious touch to the house.

From entire stone houses, to stone flooring, to bathtubs and counter tops, natural stone is a much preferred option in construction materials. They are expensive and require a lot of care, the reason why they are usually treated with a natural stone sealer.

Some people swear by natural stone sealing, while others are of the opinion that not all stones need to be sealed. While doing your homework, you will find that most experts recommend sealing all-natural stone, but many others will contradict by saying that sealing should be done according to stone types.

So how do you find out if your natural stone needs sealing?

Stone absorbency test

Performing an absorbency test on natural stone will give you a general idea if the stone is porous. To perform this test, simply put several drops of water on the surface of the stone and let it sit there. Keep track of how long it takes for the water to get completely absorbed.

If the water gets completely absorbed in under one minute, the stone is very porous. If it takes around three to four minutes for the water to disappear completely, the stone is porous.

If it takes more than five minutes, the stone is only slightly porous. This simple test will also give a good idea about how much stone sealer needs to be used for the entire area.

Things to know before sealing

To be on the safe side, all-natural stone surfaces should be sealed for extra protection. Even when a stone is not very porous, you will need little sealer, but you should never skip sealing altogether. Non porous stones will absorb very little sealer to get the maximum protection. The natural stone sealer isn’t an added expense.

It extends the life and durability of stone surfaces. If your stone is not very porous, you should buy only a small bottle of sealer.

Stone sealing is also dependent on the type of stone surface. If you have granite countertops, check if they are already pre-sealed. You can ask your fabricator about this or simply perform the absorbency test to find out. Presealed stone doesn’t need to be sealed again. The same applies for resined stones.

These days, all stones are resined in the factory. You may still want to use a natural stone sealer, but always perform the absorbency test to make sure how much sealer you need.


The Importance of Natural Stone Sealer

There is a huge demand for natural stone these days. Although expensive, natural stone look beautiful, are eco-friendly, and lend elegance and style to any structure they are used in.

But there is one big downside of natural stone, and that is it’s porous and prone to staining. This is why using a natural stone sealer is absolutely indispensable.

What is a natural stone sealer?

When natural stone is called porous, it means they have interconnected capillaries inside, which suck in all kinds of liquids. This is true for all porous substances, which are actually like a hard sponge, absorbing liquids, dissolved salts, minerals, and contaminants.

Some stones are more porous than others, such as sandstone. Denser stones like basalt are much less porous and slower to absorb liquids.

Since natural stone gets eroded by all these contaminants over time, they must be protected with a natural stone sealer. Sealers are of two kinds-penetrating and topical.

Penetrating sealers get absorbed into the stone, without altering the look or finish of the natural stone. The sealer bonds inside with the stone, creating an oil- and water-repelling barrier to prevent staining.

Topical sealers, on the other hand, are applied on the surface of the stone, and can alter the texture and finish. Topical natural stone sealers are less durable than penetrating sealers. Both topical and penetrating sealers are considered breathable, because they allow vapor transmission.

Importance of stone sealing

Natural stone is high maintenance, especially if they are highly porous. If the stone isn’t sealed, contaminants will not only alter the look and color of the stone but also cause damage. If your house is made of natural stone, you must take exceptional care of it, to avoid staining and erosion.

A natural stone sealer is usually applied by default when the stones are laid. If you have natural stone flooring, you must sweep or vacuum the floor as often as possible, to remove dust and dirt, and prevent the debris from settling in the joints.

When using a wet mop, always use a natural stone cleaner to preserve the pH balance of the stones. Make sure to pick a cleaner that doesn’t damage the natural stone sealer or make the stone more vulnerable to stains.

Solistone & Concrete Care is a leading natural stone and concrete restoration company based in California. Contact us for affordable and quality service for all your stone and concrete needs.


Problems Natural Stone Sealer Can Solve

Although natural stone is a luxury people choose to decorate their homes with, it comes with several problems as well as maintenance efforts.

Natural stone might be durable with a long lifespan, but only when proper care is taken. This is why natural stone sealer is so important in preserving the look and durability of stone surfaces.

There are several problems that sealing natural stones can solve. Some of the problems are caused by climatic conditions like humidity or by staining and regular wear and tear.

If the stones surfaces are in the outdoor areas, they must always be treated with a natural stone sealer (even if they are already resined). By forming this extra layer of protection, the natural stone surfaces can be kept looking like new for years.

Some of the common problems natural stone sealing helps combat are:

Problems caused by the climate: If stone surfaces are outdoors, they can be affected by all kinds of climatic conditions, from rain and snow to UV rays and weathering.

Although these problems will be caused even if the stone is sealed, the natural stone sealer will provide some amount of protection from the elements.

Besides the sealer, you also have to make sure you keep the stone surfaces protected as much as possible. There is no way to bring back the gloss once it’s lost, but you can take steps to protect the stones from the elements to keep their shine intact.

Problems caused by humidity: High humidity is often a problem for natural stone surfaces. When humidity is high, rust tends to occur very easily. Once rust stains the natural stone, it can be hard to remove completely.

Although the stone sealer provides a barrier, rust can still cause tough stains. Humidity also makes the stones absorb minerals or salts, leading to dark spots, which can change the mineral structure of the stones forever.

That is why stones in high humidity areas must be treated well before installation to prevent these problems as much as possible.

Problems caused by various substances: Stains can be caused every substance, from water to paint to oils. Coffee stains, oil and grease, wax from candles, cosmetics like nail polishes, food products, spices all cause stains on stone surfaces.

Many of these stains can be tough to remove. Even after a stone sealer has been applied, porous stones can absorb several substances, leading to stains. It is important to keep natural stone surfaces free from staining substances to the greatest extent, but often it isn’t possible. Besides regular cleaning, chemical stain removers can be tried.

5 Tips On How to Clean Natural Stone

Natural stone is used both for residential and commercial buildings because it is durable, visually attractive, and has a long lifespan.

Natural stone can be used for chimneys, countertops, roofs, bathtubs, basins, and flooring. Entire stone houses are luxurious and elegant. But just because its stone doesn’t mean it is everlasting.

Like every other material, natural stone also requires proper maintenance to preserve its shine and durability. When choosing a stone to decorate a building, most people wonder how to clean natural stone. This is a far more important question than the cost of the stone.

Natural stone is delicate and needs to be protected against stains and scratches. Keeping stone surfaces clean is absolutely necessary in order to prevent damage. Although cleaning stone can seem like a tough task, it needn’t be so. The following five steps should make it easier to care for your natural stone surfaces.

Know your natural stone

All cleaning processes don’t work with every kind of natural stone. Natural stones are divided into two groups: siliceous stone or calcareous stone. The former is made of silica, and the latter is made of calcium carbonate.

To be able to properly clean and maintain your natural stone surfaces, the first step is to be familiar with the type of stone. Calcareous stone is more delicate and should be protected from all kinds of harsh liquids and acids.

Know the current condition of the stone

There are a few questions you can ask to verify the current condition of the stone. Are the tiles flat? Are there dents and cracks? Is the stone sealed, enhanced, or coated with any substance? Are there stains? Depending upon each of these factors, a proper cleaning regimen should be chosen.

Natural stone sealer

Experts recommend that natural stones must always be sealed because it makes them easier to be cleaned and maintained. Porous stones require more sealer than less porous ones. Some stones come pre-sealed, but if yours aren’t, sealing them provides an additional layer of protection.

Proper cleaning

Almost all-natural stones can be cleaned with a stone soap mixed with water. When using a wet mop, make sure to completely dry the surface to prevent stains and moisture. Certain stones are more slippery than others and can get scratched easily. Placing carpets, rugs, or doormats is essential in such cases.

Preventing stains

When thinking how to clean natural stone, always keep in mind that the wrong stain remover can damage the stone. Buying a stone cleaner must always be done after consulting a natural stone professional.

Solistone & Concrete Care is a leading natural stone and concrete restoration company based in California. Contact us for affordable and quality service for all your stone and concrete needs.


Key Differences Between Natural Stone Sealer & Enhancer

A lot of people prefer natural stone for certain parts of their house if they can afford it. Natural stones occur freely in nature, like limestone, sandstone, and marble.

Stone houses, stone flooring, stone bathtubs, and stone kitchen counters are very common. Natural stone is durable and last for ages if maintained well.

Key factors

But there are various maintenance processes involved in preserving the look and durability of natural stones. Because they are in limited supply and require a lot of care, natural stone is more expensive than wood or any other construction material.

Nevertheless, they are in high demand all over the world. Natural stone is often considered a luxury.

Natural stone sealer is a substance applied to the stone in order to preserve its natural shine and look, and also to protect against erosion and contamination. Because natural stones are porous like a hard sponge, they absorb all kinds of liquids, from water to oils to chemicals like floor cleaners.

These liquids not only alter the color and look of the stones in the long run, but also cause cracks and damages. Natural stone sealers are used to prevent these changes from occurring and keep the stones looking like new.

Sealers vs. enhancers

There are two primary types of natural stone sealer. One is the topical sealer, and the other is an enhancer. Although both of them are sealers, they serve different purposes. Customers are often confused between regular sealers and enhancing sealers.

Not all customers want the same thing. Some want to protect the natural look while others want to enhance the look.

There are two different kinds of looks that a sealer helps to achieve. If you want to make the color of the stone deeper, then you need an enhancing sealer. This kind of sealer penetrates the stone, bonds with minerals, and both enhances and protects the stone from staining substances.

Topical sealers only protect the stone from external elements without changing the look or texture of the stone. Sealers can be either water based, or solvent based. Water based sealers don’t penetrate as much as solvent based sealers. The latter is more powerful.

A vital step

Enhancing sealers are more expensive and also more durable. If your stone surfaces already come pre-sealed, then you can choose a water-based sealer. In either case, a natural stone sealer must always be applied on stone surfaces for extra protection.


How to Clean Natural Stone

Natural stone surfaces are commonplace today, with many home owners choosing natural stone for their floors, counter tops, chimneys, or bathtubs.

Natural stone is often a luxury because of how expensive it is, and it also requires proper upkeep for durability and longevity. One question that always plagues homeowners is how to clean natural stone. The process for cleaning natural stone is different from other surfaces.

Although keeping stone surfaces clean might sound hard, but there are a number of home solutions available for efficient cleaning. Most of the times you won’t need to use any chemical cleaning agent.

But if there are tough stains, which is common because natural stone is porous, you might need to use a combination of several methods to achieve the best results.

Let’s classify natural stone cleaning agents according to the surface to clean:

Oils and fats: The kitchen counter, the barbecue counter, and also the bathtub can accumulate oils, wax, and fats, thanks to cooking, eating, and decorations like candles. Although wax from candles can be scraped away, they do not leave the surface clean.

For cleaning all kinds of oils and fats, talcum powder may be used. Simply apply some talcum powder on the spots to clean and leave them for a few days. Another solution is to mix sodium bicarbonate with a little water and leave it on the spots overnight.

Rust: When metal oxidizes in contact with the natural stone and leaves a mark, such spots can be cleaned at home with a mixture of lemon juice and salt. However, this is an acidic mixture that can rob porous stones like limestone of their shine, so it should be left only for a few hours.

Paint and ink: Paints and inks are particularly difficult to remove with home solutions, so methylene chloride or acetone is used. Methylene chloride is dangerous and can harm both the stone and others around it. Other paint removers may also be used.

Other substances: Coffee stains, lichens, and cosmetic stains can be removed with a few drops of ammonia mixed with water left overnight.

Generally tips on how to clean natural stone involves sweeping, mopping, scrubbing, and waxing. Never let water sit on the tiles because they will seep inside and create moisture.

Preventing stains is the best, but if they cannot be prevented, they must be cleaned with the appropriate cleaning solution that won’t damage the sealant.


5 Tips to Choose a Concrete Repair Service

Choosing a dependable, qualified, and honest concrete repair service is no easy task. Too often, homeowners end up hiring the first company they talk to without looking at other options.

Whether you need the service for a big repair work or to fix some minor cracks, choosing a concrete repair company must be done with the utmost care because the wrong choice can result in greater expenses.

Here are 5 professional tips for picking the right concrete repair service:

  • Portfolio

Your hunt should always begin with thoroughly researching companies. The portfolio of the concrete repair service should be one of the first things to check.

The best concrete repair contractors always have a gallery of their latest projects for potential customers to get a better idea of what to expect. If the company is any good, they will have a portfolio of their projects on their website for you to check.

  • Experience

As a rule of thumb, a concrete repair service should have a minimum of five years of experience in order to be considered consistent and reliable. Aside from expertise, contractors with true experience will also be able to provide advice, recommendations, and insight.

For instance, they will be able to advice you on the different types of concrete options and which one will be best for your project. If you want more experience, consider a repair service with 10 or more years of experience.

  • Insurance

You wouldn’t want to be held liable if a mishap occurred on the job. This is why you must ask the concrete contractor about their insurance policies, what they cover, and how they protect you from any mishaps or damages on the job.

Professional contractors will always need to be insured, with a general liability coverage in place. If you aren’t sure, you can always contact the insurance company itself to find out more about the coverage.

  • Pricing

This is one of the most important factors that customers consider. When discussing your project with the concrete repair service, request an estimate, including down payment, cost of the concrete, base material, reinforcements, coloring, and sealer. Compare the price with other contractors to find who offers the best deal.

  • Reputation

How is the professional image of the company? Are the friendly? Do they take the time to listen? Are they honest? The best place to check is online review sites.

Yelp, Houzz, Facebook, and Angie’s List are good places to start. When reading customer reviews, look out for the negative reviews, and check if the contractor handled the complaint professionally.

Solistone & Concrete Care is a leading natural stone and concrete restoration company based in California. Contact us for affordable and quality service for all your stone and concrete needs.


How to Choose a Stone Cleaner

If you are new to natural stones, the first surprise you are likely to get is the effort needed to keep them clean. Unlike wood, ceramics, or concrete, natural stone is more delicate and easily gets stained and scratched.

Natural stone is made of minerals, and they readily absorb all kinds of liquids and salts because they are highly porous.

A major issue

Even less porous stones are absorbent to some extent. When natural stone surfaces keep absorbing substances, they not only get stained, but their mineral composition gets altered forever. Once the mineral composition gets altered, natural stones don’t remain as attractive or durable anymore.

This is why when you choose a stone cleaner, you must do so after thorough research about the stone type and condition.

Picking up an ordinary cleaner for your stone surfaces is a dangerous mistake that will ruin your beautiful natural stones very soon. If you are in doubt about the kind of stone cleaner you should get, always ask your fabricator or ask at any natural stone shop.

There are various types of stone cleaners available, but not all of them are the best. What works for sandstone may not work for marble, and what works for limestone may not work for granite. Therefore, the first step in choosing a stone cleaner is to know what works for your stone surfaces.

Again, consulting an expert is always the best. Once you know what works for your natural stone, you will find it easier to choose a stone cleaner.

Is the stone sealed?

Natural stone sealer is a substance that is applied to the stone to protect it against staining and damage. Sealers are either applied topically or absorbed into the stone.

Enhancing sealers get penetrated into the stone, providing protection and changing the color of the stone. Topical sealers provide only protection without any enhancement.

Sealed stones are easier to maintain but the wrong cleaner can damage the stone nevertheless. Certain cleaners damage the sealer, penetrate the stone, and ultimately lead to cracks and dents. This makes them more vulnerable to stains. The more you use the cleaner, the more the sealer breaks down and damages the stone.

That is why it is important to pick a cleaner that leaves the protective coating unharmed. You should also regularly polish the stone with a polish fortified with a sealer.

Cheap isn’t the best

When choosing a stone cleaner, don’t run after the cheapest product. Look for quality instead of cost, because that is what will keep your natural stone surfaces new even after many years have passed.


4 Steps to Natural Stone Care

Natural stone surfaces can make any place magnificent. Stone is synonymous with luxury and elegance, but they also require a lot of care and high maintenance.

Whether you have marble floors, sandstone worktop, or a granite staircase, all kinds of natural stone must be properly installed looked after well. If you take care of the natural stone surfaces in your house, they will last a lifetime. Here are four important steps to natural stone care.

  1. Leave it to the experts

Many people like do-it-yourself around the house, but there are some things best left to the experts. Installing natural stone surfaces is one such area that is best done by experts.

From sourcing to preparing to installing the material, no one does it better than the professionals. When you have professionals installing the stone tiles at your house, you can rest assured because the experts know exactly how to do the job so as to ensure a terrific fit and finish.

  1. Seal the stones

Natural stone sealers are applied either during installation or after. This is an essential part of natural stone care. The sealant is a substance that’s applied to the surface of the stone to ensure protection against stains and damage.

Sealing makes stones more durable and resistant to damage. Since topical sealers will wear off after some time, it is recommended that natural stone is sealed every two years. Although sealing can be done by anyone, it is best left to the experts.

  1. Get the right aftercare kit

Installing natural stone at home isn’t enough. Without the right care and maintenance, natural stone will degrade easily. Once the stone tiles are installed, you must get the right aftercare products for proper maintenance.

If you are spending on quality stone, you must also pay for quality aftercare products. In this regard, always take the advice of installers because different stones require different products and maintenance routines. Wherever possible, get natural stone care products from the installers because they know the best.

  1. Avoid chemicals

All chemicals are enemies of natural stone. From acids like lemon juice, bleach, or harsh cleaning products, they all have the potential to damage natural stone. Always be gentle when cleaning natural stone, and if there are stains, they must be removed with the right products that will not damage the stone or sealant.

For natural stone care, contact Solistone & Concrete Care, a leading natural stone and concrete restoration company based in California, providing affordable and quality service for all your stone and concrete needs.

Selecting The Right Natural Stone Cleaner

Choosing the right natural stone cleaner can be quite a tedious task, given the vast array of cleaners available in the market. You have marble cleaners as also travertine or granite cleaners.

The selection, however, depends on the nature and porosity of the stone and how the natural stone cleaner will react with it.

It is, therefore, advisable to ask the advice of professionals and then doing it yourself. There are also a host of DIY natural stone cleaner solutions available on the Net, which yield good results.

Preparing to select the appropriate natural stone cleaner

The general tendency is to choose a natural stone cleaner which advertises itself as the strongest stone cleaning agent. It could claim to be real tough on stains but may not be.

However, what you wouldn’t know is that using this natural stone cleaner could lead to other problems later: it could alter your stone’s look and/or make it more susceptible to stains and dirt.

Your selection, therefore, should depend heavily upon the stone’s degree of porosity where the natural stone cleaner will act as a pore sealant to disallow dust and dirt from entering the stone’s pores to discolor it. If stone is not properly sealed, it absorbs such substances more easily than any stone that is sealed with a high quality and appropriate natural stone cleaner.

Tough cleaners tend to break down stone sealers and don’t generally work in tandem with your other stone maintenance and efforts. This is despite the fact that that they are the deepest cleaning or strongest for specific surfaces.

What if you select the right natural stone cleaner?

Selecting the right natural stone cleaner results in the following cycle. You seal the stone for its protection and subsequently, use a cleaner that doesn’t interfere with the protective seal.

You keep polishing the stone regularly to make it shine brilliantly with a sealer-fortified polish to enjoy a clean and glossy stone countertop. Remember, the best natural stone cleaner is one that works with you and not against you.

It is important to remember that all stones – granite, travertine, marble, limestone, onyx, and eve engineered stone – have their individual characteristics and need to be treated differently. The Net may cough up innumerable DIY recipes for stone cleaning but there’s simply no singular solution for all stones.