- Remove all appliances and kitchen items from the counter areas.
- Ensure the counter is clean and free of stains, loose dirt, and debris.
- Mask off or protect all surrounding areas that are not to be treated, including cabinets, painted walls, etc. Make sure your floor is protected from sealer running off the edge of the counter.
- Starting at the top of the backsplash areas, apply sealer using a soft-bristle, solvent-resistant paintbrush or a Stone Essentials™ 16-ounce low-pressure sprayer. Do not spread sealer beyond a reasonable working area – usually a four to six foot area is considered manageable.
- Saturate the backsplash with a second application.
- Liberally apply the excess sealer runoff from the backsplash to the counter deck top. Allow sealer to dwell on the counter for 15 to 20 minutes to gain maximum absorption into the stone.
- More absorbent surfaces may require additional sealer applications. Apply additional sealer around sink and stove top areas.
- Using a window squeegee on the backsplash and counter deck top, move excess sealer to the next section on the deck. Wipe up all remaining sealer from the finished area.
- Repeat process until the entire counter is sealed.
- For polished granite counters, use Stone Essentials™ Countertop Polish to add brilliance and luster.
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Do I need to seal my stone and grout?
Yes. Natural stone is porous and vulnerable to stains and damage. It is a matter of absorbency as some stones are more absorbent than others. The good news is that Stone Essentials™ sealer technology takes the worry out of maintaining your stone and grout by minimizing or eliminating the following problems: water-based stains, oil-based stains, mold and mildew, bacteria growth, rust, cracks from freeze thaw, etc.
What exactly is a sealer?
There are two types of sealers for natural stone and tile surfaces: impregnators and film formers.
Stone Essentials™ impregnators are sub-surface sealers that protect the surface from within. They are vapor-permeable (breathable), protecting the stone’s surface from water- and oil-based stains while letting vapors out. They will not change the appearance.
Film formers are topical coatings that are usually visible and can have a gloss or matte finish, changing the appearance of the stone or tile. They create a barrier and are not vapor-permeable (breathable). They can be problematic for natural stone and grout since they lock in moisture, which can cause rust, mold, and efflorescence. They can also peel, yellow, chip, scuff, and wear away. On the upside, film formers may have excellent aesthetics and sometimes make a dull stone look glossy.
How can I tell if my stone has already been sealed?
You can do a test. Pour clean water about the diameter of a golf ball in several locations around your surface. On floors, be careful not to slip on the wet area. Allow the water to rest on the surface for four to six hours. Check every hour to determine if the surface is darkening where the water has been applied. If it is, this means the surface is letting water in and you probably need to reseal your surface. When in doubt, seal it again. With Stone Essentials™ Sealers, there is no risk in sealing your stone again since they are the most advanced sealers that the industry has to offer today.
How much time do I need to allow between coats of sealer?
Assuming that your surface needs a second application of sealer, the dwell time between your first and second application will vary. That’s because of the different absorbency characteristics of various natural stone surfaces. The more absorbent the surface, the less time is needed for the first application to penetrate. If the first application barely penetrates the surface, you may not need a second coat. Waiting 15 minutes is a good idea, but some stone will require you to wait up to 30 minutes. Do not allow the sealer to dry on the surface. Ceramic tile and porcelain are generally non-absorbent and do not need to be sealed. Grout – cement material between the tile joints – will take two coats of sealer, and needs approximately 15 minutes between coats. Less sealer will be needed for the second coat.
Is there anything wrong with using general use daily maintenance cleaners such as window cleaners and dishwashing liquids on natural stone?
Yes. Natural stone, ceramic tile, and grout are special surfaces that have unique characteristics and require specific care. We recommend using daily maintenance cleaners that are designed for use on these surfaces. Although window cleaners are streak-free, they are usually alkaline or acidic in nature. With prolonged use, they can break down the stain defense provided by your stone’s sealer. In addition, window cleaners often have mineral deposit removers that can damage your stone because it is made from minerals. Dishwashing liquid, although mild, contains surfactants – wetting agents – that do not evaporate. If they are not completely rinsed away, they can cause stains and attract water-based and oil-based stains, as well. We recommend Stone Essentials™ Daily Cleaner with Protector. This neutral pH balanced daily-use cleaner contains a small amount of sealer that actually reinforces your stone’s stain defense rather than degrading it, which is the case with most general use or janitorial cleaners. It is also a no-rinse cleaner, just spray and wipe. If you run out of Stone Essentials™ Daily Cleaner with Protector, use clean water until you can replace the cleaner. However, please note that water is not the best degreaser.
Can I seal the back of my stone tiles before installing them?
Sealing the back of tiles can minimize dampness in humid exterior environments. However, you should only do this if the tile is being mechanically installed. If you are using an adhesion mount, do not seal the back of your tiles as it will likely result in an adhesion failure.
After I sealed my floor, the grout and stone turned white in areas. What caused this?
This may be a case of efflorescence. Efflorescence is a white powdery substance that is produced when cement or masonry material such as grout, concrete substrates, and/or cement adhesives become wet. This can occur either in the installation process or after a heavy-duty cleaning and rinsing process. Sealing the surface prior to moisture evaporation may cause efflorescence to appear. Locked-in moisture will usually wick salts and alkali substances up through the stone’s capillaries to its surface. After the moisture evaporates, the white powdery substance presents itself. There are a couple of ways to remove the efflorescence. On surfaces that are not acid-sensitive such as granite, slate, ceramic tile, sandstone, clay tile, etc., use Stone Essentials™ Stone & Tile Restore to clean the efflorescence away. For acid-sensitive materials such as marble, limestone, travertine, onyx, or masonry, you can abrade the efflorescence away using Stone Essentials™ Heavy Duty Cleaner and an abrasive nylon pad. In each case, we recommend that you seal the surface again after the removal process is complete and the surface is completely dry.
After sealing my stone with Stone Essentials™ Stone Sealer (Solvent- or Water-based), I noticed a haze and footprints on the surface once the sealer had dried. What went wrong?
Chances are, there was residue left after the sealer was applied. Sub-surface sealers, including Stone Essentials™ Stone Sealer, are designed to penetrate the surface of stone and grout. They are not designed to be topical. All excess sealer should be completely removed from the surface. If you notice a haze or footprints after applying your sealer, apply more of the same sealer to the surface – usually it will dissolve the original sealer residue, which can then be wiped away.
How often do I need to seal my stone and/or grout?
The real question is, how long will the sealer last and keep your stone stain-free? Most people seal yearly to protect their investment. But with Stone Essentials™ Sealers, that may not be necessary. We manufacture the best quality sealers on the market today and recommend re-sealing every one to three years on interior areas, and every three to five years on exterior surfaces. This assumes you are using a maintenance cleaner that is not damaging the sealer. Most general-use cleaners, including window cleaners and dishwashing liquid, can break down the life of a sealer. For details, see Stone Essentials™ maintenance products.
I want to seal my granite kitchen counter – what are your recommendations?
After testing your sealer in an inconspicuous area to confirm that the desired results will be achieved, follow these guidelines:
- For routine maintenance cleaning, use Stone Essentials™ Daily Cleaner with Protector
Why do you have exterior sealers as well as interior sealers?
Stone Essentials™ makes sealers for both interior applications, Stone Sealer Water-based & Stone Sealer Solvent-based and exterior applications, Exterior Stone Sealer Water-based & Exterior Stone Sealer Solvent-based. We created our products for specific exterior applications and environments. Our exterior sealers have excellent water repellency while still maintaining oil repellency as well as having superior UV stability. They are great for harsher exterior applications on stone, brick and concrete walkways, patios, stone walls and for pool aprons. Our exterior sealers also have excellent salt water resistance.
If I use a sealer, does it make my stone, tile, and grout completely stain-proof?
Not always. Sealers are designed to resist stains. They buy you time to clean up. The better the product, the more time you buy. Stone Essentials™ offers you the best sealer protection on the market today.
If I use a enhancer, can I restore my stone and tile back to the original appearance?
Once you use Stone Essentials™ Enhance & Protect Solvent-based or Water-based, stone and tile can't be restored back to it's original appearance. It is always best to test in an inconspicuous area, or do a test piece, before applying enhancer to ensure product performance and satisfaction. When you use our Enhancers you get two products in one: premium color enhancement and sealer in one product.
What protection does a warranty offer me?
Always remember: warranties are not designed to keep your stone stain-free; good products are. A warranty may give you back some of the purchase price of the sealer, provided you still have your receipts and can decipher the legal fine print. But what about the stains on your counter? No warranty can make them go away. Your best defense is a good offense: start with the highest quality sealer product on the market today: Stone Essentials™ Stone Sealer Water- or Solvent-based.
How to clean your porcelain tile:
Maintaining porcelain tile as often as two times per week is the best way to keep it in great condition. Sweep with a soft-bristle broom before vacuuming (with the brush attachment). Mix 1/4 cup of white vinegar with two gallons of water, or for a maximum result, use Stone Essentials™ Heavy Duty Cleaner Concentrate. Apply the solution with a sponge mop. Rinse with plain water, then dry the surface completely with a clean towel or a microfiber cloth.