If you are using a natural stone sealer for sealing granite, marble, limestone, or travertine, do you know which type of sealer to use? Compare the advantages and disadvantages of a penetrating sealer to a topical sealer for use on natural stone.

PENETRATING SEALERS

Advantages

  • The sealer penetrates into the stone and attaches it's protection to the stone walls within the pore structure. This allows the stone to breathe.
  • It does not alter the color or sheen of the stone.
  • It doesn't need to be reapplied after each cleaning.
  • The sealer is not on the surface so the coating won't scratch or scuff.
  • A penetrating sealer does not need to be reapplied as often as a topical sealer because there is no surface coating to wear off.

Disadvantages

· Penetrating sealers do not protect the surface of the stone from scratching or etching.

TOPICAL SEALERS

Advantages

  • Some topical sealers contain additives that produce non slip characteristics. This is great for natural stone flooring.
  • The sealer creates a protective barrier between water and oil contaminants, foot traffic, and the stone.
  • Topical sealers protect the stone from surface scratching and etching caused by acidic materials such as orange juice and coke.
  • If you like the shiny, glossy look, a topical natural stone sealer can produce a gloss that can be buffed. This allows for the maintenance of a high gloss surface.

Disadvantages

  • Topical sealers alter the appearance of the stone by adding a gloss sheen. They may also deepen the color of your stone. This is not so great for an honed natural stone surface.
  • Moisture is trapped within the stone. The protective barrier doesn't allow the stone to breathe.
  • Because topical sealers create a film on the surface of the stone, it tends to show scuffs, marks, and paths in heavy traffic areas. But, these marks are removed during the reapplication process.
  • This type of sealer requires continual reapplication as it wears in heavy traffic areas.

The old sealer needs to be removed before applying a new coat of sealer. The process of stripping the old topical sealer can harm the surface of some stones. This also adds higher costs of maintaining your natural stone.