Sealing & treatment services
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Professional granite, marble, and travertine sealing and treatment services can give these natural stone surfaces a high level of protection while prolonging their natural splendour.
Natural stone – as opposed to engineered quartz – is porous and unless treated will absorb liquids, resulting in staining and discolouring. Sealants are used to make the stone resilient to spills that can damage it, to maintain the surface’s shine, and to make it resistant to minor damage from knocks.
Stone formed from igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks – such as granite, marble, and travertine, respectively – are riddled with capillary channels that act like a sponge, drawing in liquids and dissolved salts.
Compared with granite, marble and travertine are softer and more porous. Therefore, they’ll absorb greater volumes more quickly, particularly viscous substances such as cooking oil and some detergents.
Marble floors can also be particularly susceptible to slipperiness. Treatments that can be applied to floors to increase their friction are:
- An anti-slip chemical agent that reacts with the minerals in the flooring, thereby partly releasing them to roughen the surface by forming tiny depressions.
- A water-based varnish which will improve the friction of the surface.
In the bathroom, sealing a marble backsplash and sealing a marble tile shower will ensure the water resistance of these surfaces and protect them from damage by products such as cosmetics and soap.
Why natural stone is prone to staining
The biggest issue caused by the absorbency of natural stone surfaces is staining that results from the penetration of oils and other liquids deep into the stone’s capillary channels, depositing materials that can be impossible to remove without destroying the stone itself.
2 common forms of staining are:
- Efflorescence. It occurs when dissolved minerals within the stone are drawn to the surface, forming a gritty deposit, typically white.
- Spalling. This happens when salts expand on crystallisation in capillary gaps and cause surface stains.
Further, the calcite that’s naturally present in marble can react with acidic substances, such as wine, vinegar, lemon juice and citric fruit drinks, leaving dull marks on polished surfaces over time, and eventually deep pitting. Stronger acids will cause irreparable damage within seconds.
Sealing marble benchtops in the kitchen will guard against these problems.
Does my stone surface need resealing?
If you hired a reputable company to install your stone surfaces, they’ll have been sealed during fabrication and/or installation.
However, sealants don’t last forever, and need replacing on a regular basis to ensure ongoing protection of your countertops or flooring.
Considerations for frequency of resealing
Usage is a key factor. For worktops, like kitchen countertops, that are subject to heavy-duty use, sealant tend to wear off more quickly, so the interval between resealing will be shorter. As a gauge, resealing for these surfaces have to be done every 3 – 6 months.
How about stone surfaces, such as dining or coffee table tops and vanity tops, where tasks performed on them are much lighter than kitchen tops? The resealing interval would be 6 – 12 months.
The colour of the stone has a role to play too. Dark-coloured granite is denser than light shades, and stains are usually hardly noticeable, so resealing of predominately black and brown stones by a professional granite cleaning and sealing service can be less frequent than white or cream counters.
Other factors that need to be considered in how often a stone surface needs a sealant replacement or other treatment such as professional cleaning and stain removal include:
- Whether proper cleaning products and methods have been used. Harsh cleaning agents will degrade stone sealant.
- The porosity, absorbency, and density levels of the stone.
- The type and quality of the previous sealant, and how well it’s applied.
How to determine the need for resealing
You can carry out a simple test yourself to ascertain whether your stone surface needs resealing:
- Drip a few droplets of water onto the surface in a high-use area and see what happens over the next 10 – 15 minutes. If the water remains as beaded droplets on the surface, the sealant is still doing its job. However, if you find that the drops of water have been absorbed into the stone, it’s time for a new sealant.
- Alternatively, pour a little cooking oil on the surface and observe it for 10 – 15 minutes. If the stone darkens, it needs resealing to protect it from oil-based stains.
You can also use these tests after your stone surface has been resealed to satisfy yourself that the job has been done properly.
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The stone surface resealing process
The resealing process for stone surfaces begins with a thorough cleaning to get rid of any residues or other deposits. Old layers of sealant may also need to be removed, depending on the type of new sealer.
2 types of sealant are in general use:
- Topical sealants coat the surface with natural wax or an acrylic or other plastic substance. They’ll protect the surface against water and oil and other contaminants.
- Impregnating sealants are generally water- or resin-based solutions that afford the same protection as topical sealers but penetrate beneath the surface. While keeping contaminants out, impregnators also allow the stone to “breathe” by letting moisture escape from inside the stone. Penetrating sealants are often applied to kitchen worktops and bathroom vanity tops.
Stone surface sealants used by professionals are generally solvent or resin based and penetrate deep into the pores of the stone, closing them up. Penetrating sealers typically have a matte finish, so they don’t alter the appearance of the stone. Other sealants can be used to enhance the look of the stone by emphasising its natural characteristics.
Regular resealing of stone surfaces to keep them in good condition can work out less costly than having to re-polish and even replace them.
If your stone surface has sustained heavy staining, it may need extensive cleaning before resealing.
Because natural stone surfaces represent a significant investment, many home-owners and businesses turn to professionals to carry out this work to ensure the best possible finish.
One stain-removal method used by marble, granite, and travertine cleaning and sealing specialists is to apply a poultice to the affected area. This comprises a liquid cleaning agent or chemical mixed with an absorbent substance to form a dense stain-removing paste.
Specialists in granite, marble, and travertine sealing and treatment services
Singapore Stone Industry are experts in stone surfaces sealing and other treatments including cleaning, stain removal, polishing, and restoration. Our skilled technicians have combined experience of more than 50 years, and have carried out many resealing procedures in Singaporean homes and small businesses.
Our range of experience includes sealing travertine floors, granite countertop treatments, sealing marble countertops, and sealing marble tile floors. If you think your granite, marble, or travertine flooring, kitchen worktop, bathroom vanity top, or table top may need a new sealant, we’ll be happy to advise you on your best course of action to safeguard your stone surface by giving it full protection from destructive forces.
Whether you’re looking for a professional stone resealing treatment or other quality services provided by stone surfaces specialists, you can trust Singapore Stone Industry’s reputation for reliability, which has been built on total commitment to customer satisfaction.
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