If you’re considering having natural stone tile installed in your home, you may have heard or read about both stone sealers and stone enhancers. You might be wondering what the difference is between the two. Simply put, a stone sealer provides a stain-resistant barrier, while a stone enhancer brings out the natural colors of some stones. Let’s take a deeper look at what it means to seal vs. enhance your stone surfaces.
What is stone sealer?
Sealing adds a barrier to the stone, which helps prevent staining by giving you extra time to clean up spills that would otherwise soak into the stone immediately. While no stone sealer is truly stain-proof, high-quality sealers provide stain resistance by extending the reaction time of the contaminant on the stone. In other words, stone that has not been properly sealed will stain much more quickly than a stone that has been sealed.
With most types of stone tile, sealer needs to be reapplied every 1-3 years for optimal effectiveness. Other factors that affect this timeframe include:
- The porosity of the particular type of stone
- The level of traffic on the area
- How often the area is cleaned
- The type of sealer used previously
Choosing a stone sealer?
For the best stain resistance results, choose a natural stone sealer that has a higher “time to react” and a more extensive list of contaminants that it can resist.
It’s important to know that there are two major types of natural stone sealers on the market. The first is impregnator sealer, which is penetrating, meaning that it’s designed to soak into the stone when applied. This type of sealer does not affect the appearance of the stone’s surface.
The second type of natural stone sealer is called surface sealer. As the name implies, this type of sealer adheres to the surface of the stone, so it requires a textured surface in order to properly bond. As a result, it’s not recommended for polished or dense stones such as granite and marble. Surface-type sealers usually add some level of sheen to the stone’s surface, too, so keep this in mind when choosing the best sealer for your needs.
What is stone enhancer?
Unlike stone sealer, stone enhancer does not provide a barrier against stains. However, there are many available combination products that contain both stone sealer and enhancer. Enhancer is designed to highlight the stone’s natural color. Many homeowners like the way their tile looks when wet—to achieve that deeper color and luster even when your tile isn’t wet, an enhancer is the key. Enhancers can also add various levels of shine to the surface of the stone.
Whether you’d like to use a stone color enhancer or not, it’s important not to skip the sealer. Properly sealing your natural stone surfaces is integral in maintaining their appearance and preventing wear. Even lower traffic areas should be sealed to ensure a long life and better stain resistance, so that you can continue to enjoy your surfaces for years to come.
To envision what your dream kitchen could look like with a shiny, protective surfaces have a look at the Just Imagine Visualizer from Arizona Tile.