Marble, limestone and travertine belongs to the family of calcite minerals and appears in its most stable form Calcium Carbonate.So this why these surfaces etch easily when it gets in contact with acidity. Look at the chemical reaction below.
When in contact with acidity, your stone surface gets reduced to water and carbon dioxide and you will find etch marks often feel rough as it has lost some parts of its composition to the reaction.
The golden question now arises, will sealing my stone kitchen benches and vanities with a stone penetrating sealer help prevent acid etching? We say NO
Stone penetrating sealers cannot prevent etch marks from happening. Kindly establish this as a fact. Then the next question is why do we need a good sealer to seal marble, limestone, granite and all stone types. Here are some of the reasons why it is crucial to seal. They are:
Nano sized molecules of the stone penetrating sealer penetrates and fill micropores and capillaries of the substrate being sealed. It remains there for a substantial amount of time leaving the surface impervious to absorption hence stain-proofing it.
2. Protects Against Absorbing Water And Oil Based Contaminants
In regards to making the surface impervious as described above, the choice of the penetrating sealer used is essential to ensure that a more complete protection is offered. Some products just protects against water based staining. A good penetrating sealer will protect from all staining liquids yet allows breathability keeping the substrate healthy at all times.
3. Eases Maintenance
When a surface is sealed well, dirt and grime will not get buried deep and will be hovering over the surface. This makes cleaning and caring for the surface so much easier as less laborious activity is required. This is also applicable to porous cementitious grout which is an integral part of stone floor and wall tiling.
Back to the topic at hand. This is what you will need to seal and protect beautiful carrara, calacatta, statuario, volakas, arabescato, turko argento, stella ivory and many many more natural stone surfaces. Below are the list of products you will need for either honed or polished surfaces.
- Always remove debris, dust particles gently using a dry vacuum with the appropriate accessories.
- Dilute Lithofin MN Power-Clean in a small bucket or container. The general required dilution will be 1 part product and 5 parts water. Cut the 3M White Doodlebug Non Abrasive Pad to palm size and apply diluted solution over the surface and let it stand for 3-5 minutes. Gently scrub for 5 to 10 minutes. Pick up dirty solution and then wipe the surface many times with clear water using a piece of the 3M Scotch Brite Microfibre Cloth. Let surface dry for a minimum of 24 hours.
- To the cleaned and dry surface, apply one liberal coat of Lithofin MN Stain-Stop and re-spread the sealer every 5-10 minutes. If penetration is plenty, apply another liberal coat and keep re-spreading every 5-10 minutes. This process should go on for just 30 minutes. So having a timer set in place is highly advisable. When it reaches 30 minutes, use a window cleaning squeegee to pick up the excess sealer followed by vigorously buffing the surface with dry and clean microfibre cloths until there are no traces of the sealer on the surface. The surface is then left to cure undisturbed for 24 hours.
- For new benches or vanities, the silicone caulking should be done after 24 hours of sealing using specialized Neutral Cure Silicones and we recommend the use of Konig from Germany. There are 13 colours to choose from. You should also take advantage to remove and replace all old hardened silicone if working on an existing surface.
- Assuming that a silicone joint was made up, you will then need a further 24 hours setting time before you can start using the benches. Lithofin MN Easy-Clean is the only care product you would need to keep the surfaces clean and pristine at all times. It is a spray and wipe cleaner that goes very well using the 3M Microfibre Cloths. Use daily or as often as required.
- Lithofin MN Polish-Cream is a water based soft wax that should be used only over polished surfaces. Apply minimal using a polish cloth and buff off after a few seconds. This process will help cover very mild imperfections over a polished surface which can be very contrasting when etched.
- Use the pH Test Strips to determine which liquids are acidic and which aren't. This way, all acidic liquids can be isolated and kept as far away as possible for these surfaces.
It is important to go through this whole process every 18 - 24 months. Resealing will ensure continuous stain protection against these highly delicate surfaces. Often the surface will need to professionally re-honed or re-polished as surface wear, etch marks and minor scratches does become visible after months of usage. It might be a great idea to resurface and have it sealed by a professional just about the suggested time of 18 - 24 months.
All mentioned products are available at our Richmond Trade Outlet or online. We accept all orders and deliver across Australia. Do make contact with us if need clarification. We provide free consultation and are happy to assist you at all times.Kindly call 03-9429 1223 if you wish to have your benches or vanities re-honed or re-polished along with having them resealed by one of our experienced field service technicians. We currently operate within 25kms of Melbourne CBD.