Spirit Marble and Tile Care
Sunshine Cleaning and Sealing
Tile Cleaning and Sealing
Natural stone is porous, which means it has interconnected capillaries through which liquids and gases can move. In fact, porous materials act like a hard sponge and actually suck in liquids over time, along with any dissolved salts and other minerals or contaminants (stains). More porous stone, such as sandstone will absorb liquids relatively quickly, while denser volcanic stones such as basalt are significantly less porous and may take longer to absorb oils and water-based liquids. Natural stone should be protected against sub-surface staining, everyday dirt and spills; this can be done by sealing the stone in 1 of 2 ways, a penetrating or topical sealer.
Topical sealers can alter the surface texture and finish, as well as build up on the surface creating a layer that is less durable than the stone. Penetrating (impregnating) sealers are carried into the stone by either solvent or water. The carrier then dissipates bonding the sealer resins with the stone. This process doesn’t alter the slip resistance or natural look of the stone. The deposited resins then creates an oleophobic (oil-repelling) and hydrophobic (water-repelling) barrier which prevents sub surface staining. These products are considered “breathable,” meaning they allow for vapor transmission. Spirit Water-Based Premium Seal is on the cutting edge of this type of technology and is the perfect product for both DIY applications & commercial.
Pre-sealing is a term used to describe sealing the tile or stone prior to laying. The benefit of this is that is reduces the porosity of the tile/stone and works as a grout release. However the main reason is to prevent the possibility of water marking. Water marking is reverse staining that occurs when a piece of stone is exposed to water and chemicals generally associated with high alkaline cements or other fixing materials. This moisture is absorbed into the dry stone which can add minerals and dissolves existing minerals in the stone. As this moisture dissolves and migrates through the stone then works its way to the surface to dry, the minerals are unevenly left behind and almost always alters the colour of the stone. The problem with that is that the contaminates show a much darker colour that the balance of the stone and a resulting stain remains and can be impossible to remove through cleaning efforts. This stain is often on the edge of the stone where the grouting occurs, and the mark can surround the tile and look like picture framing. Another form of this type of staining is where areas of the stone will have a blotchy effect at any location on the tile. The same effect but random through out the tile. The pictures below show a few examples of water marking. The first picture has staining from moisture form the glue, this could've been prevented by pre-sealing the back of the tiles. It would be fair to note that up to the present, there is no known method for removing this type of marking. It is also fair to note that the use of Spirit Pre-Seal will prevent this from occurring.
Tile Cleaning and Sealing