Marble is a luxurious natural stone, beloved in architecture and arts throughout the centuries for a good reason. Incorporating even just a little bit of marble in your bedroom, kitchen or bathroom will make your house look like a million-dollar home. From a marble coffee table in your bedroom, to a complete marble bathroom and marble columns in the living room just about anything in your home can be made of this very lavish, trendy stone.
What is marble sealing?
Marble sealing is the process where sealing product is applied to the surface of the natural stone creation that being everything made of the stone, no matter what it is used for or where. Marble, as all natural stones, has joined channels that permit liquids and gases to penetrate. When special product is applied to the surface of the natural stone it protects it by not allowing these channels to get filled with anything that will damage the colour, strength, durability, and insulation properties of the rock.
Why should marble be sealed?
Marble can be used in the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living room, and even garden.
- The number one threat for your marble furnishing is staining. Unfortunately, staining does not happen only in the kitchen. When oils or other liquids penetrate the stone into the channels, they may cause irreversible damage.
- If there are marble columns or anything else marble outside, it needs to be protected from acid rains. Acid erodes the stone, leaving spots on polished surfaces. In time, it can entirely destroy the forms of statues, memorials and other sculptures. The marble goods inside the house also need to be protected from acid. In-house acid damage would come from household acids, such as cola, wine, vinegar, lemon juice and milk. The weaker the acid, the longer it takes to damage the stone; strong acids can cause permanent damage in seconds.
- Frost weathering. This is when water enters the surface and freezes. When water freezes it expands, which causes the stone to spall, crumble, or even crack through.
- Efflorescence is the formation of a gritty deposit, commonly white. It is mostly found on the surface of bathroom walls and floors. If the water evaporates, the minerals remain as the so-called efflorescence.
Honed and polished marble
Usually, marble is delivered either honed or polished. One can easily tell the difference between the two by the way they look and feel. They both have their vulnerabilities and sealing is always needed for better protection.
What is the difference between honed and polished marble?
- Honed finish is scratch resistant due to not having a glossy surface such as that of a polished marble. When liquids are spilled on honed marble it soaks them up faster and easier.
- A polish finish acts as a type of protection. It does withstand stains better. However, it makes it more vulnerable to scratches and even the smallest ones become obvious.
Some Threats to Marble
Despite the difference in looks and feel of honed and polished marble, there are things that are a threat to both. Those include: alcoholic beverages, fruit juices, vinegar, tomato products, mustard, tea, coffee, butter, carbonated beverages, salad dressings and cosmetics.
Types of marble sealants
There are three main types of sealers that can be used to protect marble products.
- Topical sealers. These sealers are made from polyurethanes, acrylics, or natural wax. They are effective at stopping stains but they wear out quickly because they are only being exposed on the surface of the material. These sealers will change the look of the surface and alters the slip characteristics of the surface. Furthermore, they do not allow the escape of water vapour and other gases, and are no good against efflorescence.
- Penetrating sealers. Unlike the previous type of sealer, the penetrating sealers are good liquid resisters. This type of sealers usually contains siliconates, fluoro-polymers and siloxanes. They penetrate the surface of the stone a bit deeper so they are longer lasting than topical sealers. Like the topical sealers the penetrating sealers can change the slip characteristics of the surface, but do not change the look of the stone. They also might not go deep enough to be effective against efflorescence.
- Impregnating sealers. These sealers usually contain silanes or modified silanes. This type of sealer penetrates deeply into the material, filling it with molecules which bond to the capillary pores and repels water and oils from within the material. Some sealers of this type fill the canals deeply enough to protect against efflorescence and frost weathering.
There are also some sealers of this type that are based on nanotechnology and claim to be resistant to UV light and higher pH levels. A good depth of penetration is also essential for protection from weathering and abrasion.
Sealers typically require the use of special cleaners which clean the repellent ingredient left on the stone surface. These cleaners are used before the application of the sealer itself.
No matter what marble you have and where you're going to use it, consider sealing it for further protection. This will ensure there will be less damage to the colour, strength, durability, and insulation properties of the rock, so that it lasts longer. It is important to seal regularly as the sealant wears off with time.