Natural stones like granite, marble, and quartzite are used in various residential and commercial buildings – as they are beautiful, sturdy, durable, and an excellent thermal insulator. While natural stone can be cut and fabricated beautifully and comes in a variety of stone types, colors, patterns, and textures –the molecular makeup of natural stones is porous. This make it highly prone to absorbing moisture and accumulating bacteria, dirt, and gunk.
The ultimate solution to preventing water, moisture, bacteria, and dirt from affecting the strength and appeal of natural stone is to seal the surface with a suitable sealant. Sealing natural stone creates a barrier and protects it from the following hazards:
Dragging heavy or sharp-edged objects on the stone surface may leave scratches all over it, affecting the smooth, glossy finish that’s a characteristic property of natural stones. Sealing the stone regularly prevents the surface from scratch marks and bruises.
Stone surfaces installed in places like kitchen and bathrooms may get stained with oil and liquid spills. Since natural stones are porous, these fluid spills tend to penetrate deep into the stone and leave permanent stain marks. These stains do not just look unpleasant and dirty but are also impossible to remove.
Calcites make up a major constituent of natural stones, and upon coming in contact with an acid, their molecules tend to break and dissolve. Similarly, the cement-based grout (that’s filled in between the tiles or to bind the stone top to the surface) also contains calcium which is highly reactive to acidic fluids. The etching of the stone may be slow or fast, depending upon the intensity of the acid – however, the result is usually the same. The acid corrodes the stone and leaves it crumbled.
If exposed to open air without a sealant coating, the moisture or dirt present in the air accumulates on the edges, in crevices between tiles and the texture of the stone. This is a slow and steady process that takes place over time, and despite your best attempts at regular cleaning. The only solution to prevent dark framing is to protect the surface with a layer of sealant.
Indeed, sealing is very important in order to protect stone from weather stress and other hazards, and ensure its longevity, strength and preserves its natural luster and appeal. And the best part is, it doesn’t make a hole in your pocket. However, there are many types of sealants, specific to different stone types. Therefore, it is recommended to ask a professional about the type of sealant you should choose for your stone countertop.