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Sealing in the Good Looks of Stone

 

Learning how to correctly care for and shield natural stone is important to keeping the beauty of the natural surface. The best way to start is to have some under standing of the science of natural stone.

There are a lot of different types of natural stone, just as there are many different types of timber. Each type has its only specifications’ that determine its rigidity, resilience, chemical resistance, its type of finish and even the translucency. By understanding these specifications, we can make better decisions in the use, maintenance and care of the natural stone.

Why is there so much variation even in one specific type of natural stone? Natural stone is not man made. Stone is created in the earth as a produce of natural forces. Its origin and design depends on continually altering factors like were and how long the heat, pressure and chemistry. This is what makes natural stone a matchless and unique mineral.

Consumers often take for granted that natural stone cannot be stained, however all natural stone is susceptible to some degree of staining. For example White Granites — can stain very easily most of these stain are from red wine or oils being spilt on the surface can stain an unsealed countertop / worktop in minutes, this will ruin the worktop and have a disgruntled customer complaining to their supplier shortly after the event.

So it is paramount to stop staining at all costs on natural stone. How to stop staining? You treat the worktop surface with an appropriate protective sealer. This will put a protective barrier that repels spills on the surface, allowing time to wipe them away.

All untreated natural stone worktops in construction are porous to some degree and need to be sealed in some way. 

The hardness of a stone is by means a sign of how porous the stone is to liquids. The best away in determining how porous a stone is has much more to do with the stone’s composition calcium or silicate carbonate and were it is from its it igneous, metamorphic or sedimentary.

Granite, gneiss, sandstone, slate, quartzite and schist are made up of silicate minerals. Silicates will have similar chemical resistance characteristics as glass. They are usually not acid sensitive and are moderately hard and durable. Limestone, travertine, onyx and marble are all based around calcium carbonate minerals. They are all acid susceptible and are usually softer than the silicates.

Igneous stone/rock is any stone/rock that is by the cooling and crystallization of magma (molten rock) or by the collection of volcanic ash. Granite is a good example of an igneous rock. Metamorphic means changed in structure and would include any rock that has been altered by temperature or pressure. Slate, quartzite and marble are metamorphic forms of rock/stone. Sedimentary means the cementing of grains, and would consist of any rock that is made up of an aggregate of solids derived from pre-existing rocks, the precipitation of mineral matter from solution or extracted from solution by organisms. Stone open to the elements is broken down over time into smaller particles and can travel by wind, water or ice and ultimately deposited as sediment. Sandstone, limestone, travertine and onyx are examples of sedimentary.

Many of the greatly patterned or veined natural stone known as granite are extremely porous as they are made up of tiny crystals. Between these crystals are microscopic places that form a capillary structure, which allows deep penetration of liquids. The smaller the crystals, the more porous the stone and the more deeply a stain may penetrate into stone. Homogeneous granites with larger crystals have fewer places and are less porous to liquids. Calcite- and calcium carbonate-based stones may stain simply but usually stain more widely than deep into the stone.

Choosing a sealer, most natural stone professionals should know what sealant to choose and base it on how porous the natural stone is, knowledge of this is essential to delivering the good results.

Testing of sealers on the actual stone surface to be installed will show which sealer gives the best results. Testing sealers will help to decide on the number of coats needed to get a good result. Dense granite worktops can need only one coat of sealer where natural stone like tumbled limestone may need more coats so you get a good seal. Testing small area can help to decide on the best method to apply the sealer.

Remember it’s vital to use a sealer that bonds with the stone, retaining its attractiveness and protecting the substantial outlay that homeowners make when they choose natural stone. Using a high-quality impregnating sealer is relatively a low-cost insurance that customers neither will nor be faced with a potentially permanent discoloration of a relatively costly and unique work of nature.

Once the natural stone is sealed and fitted, it’s imperative to inform consumers on how to clean it correctly. Most consumers are ignorant to the science of the natural stone they have purchased and do not know how to correctly care for the surface. Particularly important is that most do not understand using an acid- or alkaline- based cleaner could spoil the surface and negatively impact the sealer.

Specifically formulated cleaners that are pH neutral have been made to remove spills and other messes from natural stone. These give kind yet efficient cleaning.

Most multi-purpose cleaners, acidic and alkaline solutions, abrasives, ammonia and bleach can break down sealers and spoil stone surfaces. When cleaning up spills on natural stone, it’s vital to use specifically formulated cleaners.

That’s why you should advise your customers that they seal natural stone worktops and use cleaners that are technically formulated for kind yet efficient cleaning. That way, you can sure you’re contribution to your customers the finest care for their outlay by doing this you are building a good reputation for excellence, and long-lasting attractiveness in the worktop surface you install.

 
 
 
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