To seal or not to seal, that is Not the question! When it comes to natural stone it is an absolute must that you have it sealed. From outdoor pavers to indoor tiles to granite counter tops. If it’s stone, it must be sealed. Travertine and marble are both, calcium based porous stones that are susceptible to staining and additional wear if not sealed properly. This is one of the reasons that travertine and marble tile has gotten a bad reputation. In some cases with new construction or even remodels, the installer is unaware of the need to seal the stone. In these cases, the home-owner is not education on how to maintain the stone and it quickly gets stained or loses its luster, leaving the owner with a bad experience with natural stone. This is a very costly mistake and happens more often than you would think. However, don’t let this scare you away from using natural stone. Sealing stone tile is easy to do and the area only needs to be done every 2-5 years depending upon the traffic in the given area.
There are two types of stone sealers; topical and penetrating. Natural Stone Sealer A topical sealer will protect your stone by creating a protective layer on the top. This type of sealer is not as effective as a penetrating sealer that will actually seep down and penetrate into the stone itself to prevent stains and moisture from seeping into the stone. So, make sure when choosing your sealer that it is penetrating and not topical. Of course, that is only the first step. There are many types of penetrating sealers. For instance, there are water based sealers and silicone based sealers. Water based sealers are perfect for places where the stone may get wet during sealing, like a pool deck or bathroom. If you are using a silicon based sealer and it gets wet before it dries it could leave the stone with a cloudy unattractive look. You can still use a silicon based sealer anywhere just as long as it gets the chance to fully dry before being subjected to liquids.
Last, but certainly not least, you have one more thing to decide. Sealers can change the way your stone looks once applied, so it’s important that you know the look you are going for and get the correct sealer that will help to accomplish that goal. If you like the way your stone looks in the store you can purchase a natural stone sealer that will leave your stone looking natural or unsealed. This is a good option if you like the stone as is and don’t want it to darken in appearance after installation. If you like your stone but want some of the colors in the stone to come out and be more pronounced, you can use a semi-gloss/gloss sealer that will give your stone a slightly wet look and bring out some of the colors. Be careful here; some gloss sealers are topical. Make sure the one you use is a penetrating/impregnator. Finally, the best way to go if you want your stone to really stand out is a sealer with an enhancer included. Enhancers will really bring out all the beautiful colors of your stone leaving a brilliant, stunning stone every day, wet or dry.