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A guide to sealing natural stone tiles, benchtops & pavers



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The decision to use natural stone in your home is always an excellent one. But as the saying goes, anything worth doing is worth doing right. So, after the stone has been installed, your next step as a homeowner should be to seal it.

Sealing natural stone is a relatively simple process that offers enormous benefits. Today, we’ll explore what they are and the types of natural stone sealants available. Plus, a quick look at the methods used to seal pavers, tiles, and benchtops shows how easy it is.


Sealing natural stone: how important is it?


As one of the most popular choices in flooring, splashbacks, and benchtops, natural stone is a timeless material that pairs beautifully with all home designs. But although durable and beautiful, it sometimes needs a little boost.

Due to the naturally porous nature of most types of natural stone, it can pick up a lot of liquid, oil, and dirt over the years. And as a result, your once beautiful benchtop might start looking grimy or discoloured sooner than you hoped. The solution? Sealing the stone and giving it an added layer of protection.

Sealing natural stone is a short process that takes only minutes but offers years of benefits. And if you’ve committed to premium flooring or benchtop materials — like natural stone —it’s worth going the extra distance.

But with many types of sealants and natural stones, choosing the best match is a must.


Which type of natural stone sealant is best?


In Australia, there are three types of natural stone sealants you’ll commonly find. Depending on the level of protection you’d like to offer your benchtops and tiles, these are the ones worth considering.

  1. Surface (or topical) sealers can be found at hardware retail stores. They work only on the surface of the natural stone but don’t absorb into the pores. As they’re surface level, they also can’t offer the highest level of protection and should be reapplied every six months.

  2. Penetrating sealers absorb somewhat, but only into the surrounding area of the stone’s pores. Eventually, these fade away and need to be applied every few years.

  3. Impregnating sealers are considered the premium choice, as their ingredients chemically bond with the pores in the stone. These high-quality sealers only need to be applied once every 20 years to continue protecting the stone.

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Still trying to decide which sealer to use? These questions can help steer you in the right direction.

  • How is the stone used, and where is it?

Consider where the natural stone is being used. Most importantly, how much water and debris it encounters. For example, a stone vanity in your bathroom will likely get wet more often than a wall tile in the kitchen, requiring the most thorough approach.

  • What type of stone is it?

Features like density and porosity can impact a natural stone’s suitability for sealants. And as some products are made specifically for certain types of natural stone, it’s best to choose accordingly.

  • What type of finish does it have?

Choosing a sealant that matches the finish of the natural stone is essential for keeping its look. For example, sealing stone tiles with a matte finish requires an impregnating sealer with a matte finish.


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How to seal natural stone

Even though stone types are more naturally porous than others, it’s still a good idea to treat them all with a sealant. But before you can start the job, these are the usual steps to sealing natural stone so you can see what’s involved.

    1. Clean the stone
      Deep cleaning the natural stone first will help remove stains and debris so they’re not locked in once it’s sealed. Depending on the type of natural stone, it likely has an appropriate cleaning product, so check this first.
    1. Protect yourself

      Many natural stone sealants contain harsh chemicals, so you must take safety precautions before beginning. At a minimum, ensure you’re working in a well-ventilated area with gloves on and anything else the sealant manufacturer recommends.

      At Attila, we recommend water based sealers that are safe and utilise the latest in sealer technology. Our choice of water based sealers emit low or no VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), and prevent a variety of stains – both oil and water-based.

    2. Test the sealant
      Do a small spot test in an inconspicuous area to be sure your chosen sealer is the right fit for the type of natural stone you’re treating. Give it a few hours and look for signs of discolouration or cloudiness. If you spot these, it’s probably incompatible.
    1. Seal the stone
      Apply the sealant directly to the stone using a soft cloth. Avoid touching other areas— like walls and appliances — as it can damage them. As always, follow the manufacturer’s directions, as each product requires something different.
    1. Remove excess sealant
      After it’s applied consistently, wipe the sealant away from the natural stone using a clean cloth. The goal is to allow the stone to absorb some sealant but not leave any excess on it.
  1. Recoat if needed
    Some sealants require more than one coat to get adequate coverage, so follow the product’s directions. Always let the previous coat dry before beginning the next, and remove excess sealant afterwards.

Once complete, the seal will last for years to come. But depending on the type you used, you may need to reapply it now and then. To test, sprinkle a tablespoon of water onto your stone benchtop or tiles and let it sit. If the water is absorbed into the stone within a few minutes, it should be sealed again shortly.  If not, the original sealant is working as it should.


Your natural stone specialists


Natural stone is one of the finest investments you can make for your home, so it’s worth doing it right. To discover the possibilities — and beauty — of natural stone, contact the team at Attila or book a visit at our conveniently located showroom.