Is your marble floor stained from daily spills and foot traffic?

Marble, limestone, travertine, sandstone and slate floor tiles are often used in homes, office building and hotels as they create a stylish, high-end look.  Correct maintenance will ensure that these stones remain looking magnificent and retain their character and appeal, however they must be sealed after installation, polishing or professional cleaning, to ensure that they are resistant to staining.

Granite and basalt floors are not as porous as the softer stones however they can still stain with constant exposure to foot traffic, dirt and grime and will also benefit from sealing.

A sealer is a solution applied to the surface of natural, porous stone floor tiles to protect them from staining.  If not protected, natural stone floor tiles can stain from constant exposure to dirt on shoes, damp pot plant bases, food and drink spills and oils and over time can become permanently damaged.

The most effective type of sealer to use on marble, limestone, travertine and slate floor tiles to protect them from staining is a penetrating sealer rather than a surface coating.  Professional sealing is recommended to ensure even coverage as floor areas can be quite large, and that the best quality and most appropriate products are used to seal the floors.

The use of a natural or enhancing penetrating sealer is a personal preference as one will not change the look of the tile and the other will enhance the colour and characteristics.

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Which penetrating sealer is suitable for your stone floor tiles?

A penetrating sealer will soak deep into natural marble, limestone, travertine and slate floor tiles and provide long-lasting protection from staining. This type of natural stone sealer is recommended as opposed to a surface coating, which can over time flake, yellow and scratch and make the floor look dull.

A penetrating sealer works by filling gaps in the pores of the stone floor tiles. Molecules in the sealer also bond with the minerals in the stone to form a barrier.

The Marble Man uses high quality, professional grade penetrating sealers, that will not peel, flake or turn yellow as some surface coatings do.

Natural Look and Enhancing Penetrating Sealers
A natural look, penetrating stone floor sealer will provide effective protection from staining, and will not change the colour of the stone. It will not alter the surface finish in an way.

An enhancing, penetrating stone floor sealer will provide effective protection from staining and will deepen the colour of the stone.  It will highlight the unique characteristics of the stone floor and make lighter coloured tiles appear more rich.

To see examples of the colour enhancement caused by an enhancing penetrating sealer, visit the Marble and Stone Sealing Gallery.

Water Based and Solvent Based Sealers
Natural and enhancing penetrating sealers can be water based or solvent based. Both offer the same protection and warranties. The application is also the same.

A water based sealer will be absorbed easily by porous stone floor tiles, made from marble, travertine, onyx and limestone, that are honed or have a low sheen. A high gloss finish does not easily absorb water based liquids so a solvent based is more effective in this case.

A solvent based sealer works more effectively on high gloss, polished stone benchtops as it can penetrate the surface. A high gloss benchtop finish will always be somewhat more protective than a matt honed finish.

The Marble Man Technicians will assess your natural stone floor and discuss with you which is the most suitable sealer.

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How is a penetrating sealer applied to my stone floor tiles?

The Marble Man Technician will assess the type of stone, finish and location of the floor tiles to be sealed prior to application, to determine whether a water or solvent based sealer should be used. They will also determine whether the tiles need stain removal, polishing or honing to prepare the stone floor.

If the natural stone floor has a high gloss finish, it may require use of a solvent based sealer to enhance saturation.  If the finish is matt or satin a water based sealer may be used, as these surfaces do not repel water like a high gloss surface.

The decision must also be made whether to use a natural look penetrating sealer, which will not change the colour of the stone, or an enhancing penetrating sealer that will darken the stone slightly and enhance its features.

Step 1
The day prior to the stone floor tiles being sealed, the stone will be cleaned with special detergents to remove grease, oil, dirt and contaminants. If the stains are deep, the floor may require polishing or honing or a poultice.

Step 2
The day after cleaning, restoration or repair, two thick coats of penetrating sealer will be applied to the stone floor, with 10 minutes in between applications.  Before the first coat of sealer dries completely the second coat will be applied.

Step 3
Once the sealer has settled into the stone, the residue will be buffed off with a towel.

The stone floor can be used immediately, however water must not touch the sealed tiles for at least 6 hours for a water based sealer or 12 hours for a solvent based sealer

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Why do I need to have my stone floor tiles professionally sealed?

Whether your marble, limestone, travertine or slate floors are new or old, the benefits of having them sealed will far out way the cost.

Professional sealing by The Marble Man will ensure that the best quality and most appropriate sealers are used to suit your stone, and that the application is correct.

There are many reasons why a natural stone floor must be sealed

  • The pristine look of a new stone tile floor will be extended if it is sealed before first use
  • An older stone floor that has been cleaned, had stains removed or been repolished will maintain it’s fresh appearance for longer
  • Stone floors exposed to daily foot traffic, dirt from shoes, animals, pot plant ring marks, spills from food, dark coloured liquids and oils will be less likely to develop permanent stains
  • The stone floor surface will be easier to clean, as liquids will be less likely to penetrate the protective barrier of the sealer
  • The penetrating sealers used by The Marble Man carry a 15 year warranty, if the stone floors are maintained according to directions
  • An enhancing sealer can darken the colour of the floor, highlighting its natural features

Note that sealing does not prevent etching

Etching will still occur when natural stone floors, especially marble, limestone and travertine, are exposed to acidic liquids such as wine, lemon juice or some supermarket cleaners.

Engineered stone tiles are promoted as not requiring additional sealing as they come with a factory seal. If staining occurs contact the manufacturer for directions.  The Marble Man can then assist with stain removal and can assess whether sealing for future use will be beneficial.

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