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How to Seal Natural Stone

Natural stone is simply “made” for the outdoors. With its authentic beauty and inherent durability, it’s little wonder that so many homeowners choose natural stone for their outdoor living areas.

It may seem counter-intuitive to consider sealing natural stone, but remember that natural stone can be somewhat porous. When used in outdoor applications such as an eating area, an outdoor kitchen, or high traffic areas such as a walkway or a patio, natural stone becomes susceptible to staining and erosion.

Sealing makes the stone more resistant to stains and allows for easier cleaning. It can also help to prevent salt damage, acid erosion and algae growth, and to preserve the stone’s natural beauty.

How to choose a sealer

Because natural stone is somewhat porous, it needs to be able to both absorb moisture and allow moisture to evaporate. The sealer should be breathable and made to soak into the stone, so it repels water from more than just the surface layer.

Make sure you choose a sealer made especially for natural stone. Natural stone sealers shouldn’t leave any sheen, shine or surface coating behind. You want the stone surface to maintain its natural appearance.

Stone sealer or stone enhancer?

Natural stone sealers are designed to protect your stone from staining, while stone enhancers are designed to highlight and accentuate the stone’s natural color.

It is a personal preference, but many homeowners like the way the stone looks when it is wet. If you want to maintain that deeper color even when your stone is dry, a stone enhancer can give you this result.

How to apply natural stone sealer

When applying the sealer to your stone, carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Here are a few guidelines for success:

  • Due to the nature of different stone surfaces, it is recommended that you conduct several tests in inconspicuous areas to make sure you’re happy with the surface color and that the sealer gives you the desired results.
  • Sweep, vacuum or wipe the surface and allow it to dry fully.
  • Make sure the stone returns to its original color before applying the sealer.
  • Use a wide paintbrush for small areas, and a long-handled flat mop for larger areas. Apply the sealer in a uniform coat.
  • It’s important to keep the surface of the stone slightly wet for 5 to 15 minutes. If the first application soaks in after a few minutes, apply more sealer.
  • Particularly porous surfaces may require multiple applications. After 2 hours, add a few drops of water to the surface to determine if it is completely sealed. If the water penetrates, an additional application is required.
  • If 2 or more coats are required, apply another coat within 10 minutes of the first. For best results, apply another wet coat on the previous wet coat.
  • Your sealed stone should be kept dry for at least twelve hours – so keep an eye on the forecast. It will be fully cured after 24 hours.

For your stunning outdoor living space, natural stone is a fitting choice. Learn more about natural stone sealing products or consult with an authorized Unilock contractor to help you preserve their organic beauty for years to come.