How to Seal natural stone floors and walls
One of the questions we’ve been asked since we have started supplying our own terracotta and stone floors is about sealing natural stone. Most natural stone floors and walls need sealing, including limestone and granite. Customers often want advice on the best sealing methods and ways to keep a natural look.
Below we go over how this can be achieved.
Feel free to check out our range of high-quality sealers for stone HERE
Why do I need to seal?
The first thing to note is that natural stone is usually very porous. Water and other liquids can easily pass through. Especially for the kitchen and utility area where spillage can occur regularly; the last thing you want is to stain your floor.
Using a sealer will stop any water or liquid impregnating the floor and can be easily wiped away. It also becomes much easier to clean.
There are a number of different ways you can seal your stone floor. Below we go through a few different options and the most popular.
15 years odd years ago, the advice was one of two. To either apply coatings of boiled linseed oil until the stone was saturated, this would have to be repeated every few years and is quite an arduous task. Or apply a wax that would sit on top of the tile. Both these methods would firstly darken the tile and apply a glossy finish, a style that is not as popular today.
Things have drastically changed drastically in the last few years and it is now possible to keep that natural stone feel and keep the same tone and patina.
below we go over the different ways you can seal your floor and the advantages and disadvanatges.
Stone Floor Wax
This is still one of the most popular and oldest ways to seal your floor. A wax is applied to the stone which creatres a protective layer. This will provide a traditional satin finish and deepend the colour of the stone. the wax will protect from any scratch, scuff and water marks. Liberon Stone Floor Wax would be our choice.
How to use
- Make sure the area dry and clean of any dust or dirt.
- Apply a thin lyaer of wax to the floor with a lint free cloth or soft brush. Allow the floor to dry for 1-2 hours then buff with a brush or cloth to leave a satin finish.
- Deepens the colour of the floor
- leaves a satin finish if that’ is what’s desired.
- Satin finish – this is often not wanted
- Has to be removed and re-applied every few years.
Today’s floor sealers have changed greatly, they are not as laborious and can last much longer. Below we go over them, how to use and the advantages and disadvantages.
Water-based sealers work by impregnating the tile a few mm, this stops water or liquid penetrating the tile by going into the pores at the surface of the stone and reducing them in size. However, the floor is still breathable and allows moisture and water vapour to pass through, this is not achievable with wax or boiled linseed oil. If you do have a damp substrate, a water based sealer would be essential.
GoProtect natural stone sealer is nigh-on invisible and does not change the appearance of the original stone floor or wall tile. We also supply a sealer that does darken the tile and provide a slight satin finish.
Both these sealers are water-based.
How to use
- Make sure the area is clean and free of any dust before applying
- Paint or spray on a layer of sealer. The more porous the material the more you’ll need per sqm. On average for a porous material we’d recommend using 1 Litre for every 5sqm.
- Leave to dry overnight
- Nigh-on invisible and leaves the floor looking natural
- Easy to apply and maintain after
- lasts a long time
- Initially can be expensive (in the long run, probably cheaper)
- Doesn;t change the look of the tile if that’s what is requested.
How to seal your natural stone floor
One must be aware that to effectively seal natural stone, they must be sealed prior to grouting. This means that not only will they become much easier to grout, but due to the porous nature of the stone, the grout will not penetrate the surface of the tile. Once grouted, a second application is recommended to seal any missed areas and grout.
One effective strategy used by tilers has been to mix the sealer into the grout mix – 1 part sealer to 10 parts water. This will effectively seal the grout.
In most cases, a limestone or sandstone tile is laid on a screed, but sometimes it may be necessary or desirable to lay the floor on limecrete. This type of floor continually breathes and so our sealants are effective and work really well with this. Again, any underfloor heating works well too.
Feel free to see our GoProtect natural floor sealer.
How to effectively clean and maintain your natural stone
This really depends on the sealer you use. If you use wax or boiled linseed oil. The best way to keep a clean floor is to sweep or vacuum the floor.
If you do go for a water-based sealer like GoProtect, there are a multitude of ways to keep your floor clean.
- Use a string mop and some mild detergent. This will keep the floor clean as you go
- A steam cleaner can be used every so often (1 or twice every few years). because of the breathability, this is an effective way of cleaning without effecting the sealant.
Whatever you choose, it’s important to understand what finish you’d like first. Whether you’d like to keep that natural look, or you’d like a sheen. Sealers have come along way in the last 20 years and their effectiveness has increased dramatically.
GoProtect we try to create the best products possible that have a 12-year guarantee on them. If you’d like to read more about our sealer CLICK HERE