Sealing Marble Floors, Marble Counter Tops, or Marble Showers
Many do-it-yourselfers assume they can seal their own marble just as well as a professional stone restoration contractor can, but they may not know what type of marble sealer to use or how to apply it properly.
The purpose of marble sealers is to protect your marble surface from spills, soiling, and staining. A properly sealed marble floor, marble countertop, or marble shower last longer and is much easier to clean.
Marble needs to be sealed for its protection and to keep unwanted elements from settling into the surface, but some marbles will absorb very little sealer. For that reason, it is best to obtain a professional opinion as to what should be done with any marble surface.
Here are some of the main concerns when sealing marble.
Marble Surface Preparation
It is important for any coating material to bond completely with whatever surface it is covering. The only way that this can happen is if the material is cleaned of all foreign matter prior to application.
While it is possible to provide a coating of sealer that may appear acceptable on the marble without taking the time to clean it, the job will be inferior and lead to problem areas because of the foreign matter preventing complete bonding of the marble surface with the sealer.
Marble may seem to be smooth and impenetrable, but it is a porous material, which allows for microscopic materials to settle into it. If you are sealing a surface of any type, whether it is a floor or a kitchen counter, you do not want bacteria and other unwanted components left trapped under the sealer. Professional re-finishers will tell you that cleaning is one of the most important parts of any finishing process.
The type of materials used for cleaning is very important also. Some marble cleaning products leave a residue behind that is not compatible with the sealing materials used. An oily material left on the marble surface will not allow the sealer to bond with the marble. Cleaning must be done thoroughly and the surface must be rinsed completely to remove any residue if a proper finish is to be applied.
Marble should be cleaned with a neutral pH cleaner. This is necessary so the integrity of the marble is maintained while the impurities are removed.
It is necessary to understand the kind of sealer needed for marble because the wrong one will not only provide little protection, it will not adhere properly. It is also important to note that all marble does not absorb the same amount of sealant because the porosity is different from one marble surface to another. Some surfaces may take very little sealer and others may act like a sponge.
Before applying a sealer, it is best to level the surface of the marble. If it is installed as a floor or countertop, hopefully, it will be level enough that the sealant used will not run to a lower area before it has time to dry sufficiently. This brings up another factor in applying a sealant, which is allowing time for it to dry.
Be sure to read how long it takes the sealing materials to set, and then allow a little more time to be sure that variances in humidity, temperature, and viscosity can be taken into consideration. Using the marble too soon after sealing will limit the quality of the application and the length of time before resealing will be required.
Marble is a valuable investment in both homes and businesses, and its continued beauty and usefulness are the result of proper care. It is much better to seek someone qualified to care for your marble who knows when it needs sealing rather than experiment with it by performing the work yourself.