The purpose of using a penetrating sealer is to allow the substrate to be stain free and to remain looking as new as possible through correct maintenance procedures; they can also assist in reducing freeze thaw issues and salt damage. To achieve this we believe that it is important that the sealer is working at its highest level possible.
The life span of the sealer can be greatly altered based on a number of variables such as;
- Type of sealer used
- UV exposure and intensity
- Frequency of cleaning
- Levels of Salt and Chlorine exposure
- Type of substrate, finish, porosity
- Substrates hardness, surface friction and wear
- Cleaning chemicals, frequency and type of cleaning method used
- Surface preparation prior to sealer application
- Amount of sealer used and application method
- Surface and air temperatures etc
It is not ideal to allow a sealer to break down to a level that it cannot give the assistance needed. All sealers break down gradually; and as such they do not have a definable overall life span. Unless they remain in the substrate at a high level of say 80% they will cease to perform satisfactorily for the situation. We believe that maintaining the surface through regular cleaning with a ph neutral detergent and occasionally using an alkaline detergent for heavy built up areas, the sealer will achieve what is required to keep the surface maintainable for up to 5 years without reapplication and should then be reviewed to determine whether another coat is required. A top up coat is easily done by cleaning the surface thoroughly and applying another coat, there is no stripping required.
No sealer is “bullet proof” or completely “stain proof”, when considering the wide range of substrates and variables. Sealers are designed to give you a reaction time; all sealers perform differently against a wide variety of staining materials. Some penetrate very deep to help assist in protection against salt damage however they usually give less surface protection against oil & food staining, this is because the resins with extremely small molecules (nano) are generally modified silicones (silanes/siloxanes) that do not have a high resistance to oils, also the resin is spread deeper throughout the substrate so the is less to protect in the first 1-2mm where needed for stain resistance. Others give excellent protection against oil & food staining but fail to give true protection against salt damage.
Selecting the right sealer for your situation
It is very important to choose the correct sealer for your situation, in most cases deep penetration (silane / siloxane based) sealers are not necessary and may be the wrong choice as maximum stain resistance is a much more needed option. Fluoro based sealers give the highest level of stain resistance with a much larger reaction time for a greater range of stains. However they generally do not penetrate deep enough to give a true level of salt resistance. Spirit is able to combine these resins to allow good penetration and durability as well as excellent stain resistance. Most of the sealer will bond and become a permanent part of the stone, however it is important to understand to achieve long term stain resistance reapplication is in most cases necessary because the sealer in the first 1mm will be attacked by a number of elements and may not give the full protection against oils based stains. The most important thing to understand without sealers it can be nearly impossible to protect your investment.
When using Spirit Sealers you not only get an excellent product, you also have access to our Stone Care Support Network and our highly trained professionals can help with creating the ideal maintenance system for your specific situation. At Spirit we believe that natural stone is a beautiful thing and it is important to understand your stone and maintaining it correctly is just as important as sealing it, they must work together to allow an easily livable floor. So when purchasing a sealer you should always use a trusted well known company that can give you real customer support.