How durable is your stone sealer?
If you want the very best in protection for your stone floors, counter tops, patios or shower stalls then look no further than Dry Treat brand sealers.
Building materials such as natural stone, tile, masonry, concrete and grout are all made up of countless invisible capillary pores. This makes them porous and allows the absorption of damaging liquids such as water, water-borne salts and oils. These liquids cause the building material to deteriorate prematurely and in so doing reduce their usefulness. Examples of deterioration include; weathering, loss of strength, efflorescence, salt attack, freeze-thaw spalling, sulphate attack, alkali aggregrate reaction, unsightly staining, biological attack, reinforcement rusting, chemical attack, swelling, thermal conductivity, embrittlement and picture framing. Sealing can eliminate or significantly reduce most of these problems.
What type of sealer should I use?
There are two main types of sealers, namely, surface sealers and impregnating sealers. A surface sealer will provide a physical barrier over the surface. The result is a darkening of the surface. These coatings usually wear and weather relatively quickly, make the surface more slippery when wet and must be completely stripped off when re-coating. Salts may also build-up under the surface, causing the coating to appear cloudy. Impregnating sealers can be classified as those that repel water and those that repel both water and oil based stains. Impregnating sealers usually have little effect on the frictional properties and appearance of the surface but will not completely stop dirt and rubber getting into the open pores of the surface. When comparing similar sounding impregnating sealers the two most important questions are: (a) is it permanent? and (b) how deep does it penetrate below the surface? A good depth of penetration is critical to provide protection against traffic wear and weathering.
How do I qualify for a written warranty and what does it mean?
If an area of porous building materials is prepared and sealed by a Dry-Treat Accredited Applicator who holds a current license you will qualify for a written warranty. The warranty is between Dry-Treat and the property owner, and states that if the sealed surface is properly maintained but fails then it will be re-sealed free of charge. The Applicator is able to log in through the Dry-Treat web site and generate and email a warranty that will include important details about the job.
Should the sealer be water-based or solvent-based?
Sealers need a carrier to take the active ingredients onto or into the surface. This carrier is either water or a non-water based solvent. There is no doubt that “water-based” sounds like a more desirable product but this can be a little misleading. Many water-based impregnator still contain a considerable amount of solvent such as n-butyl acetate. As a general rule, water-based sealers are less effective than non-water based sealers. The main reasons why non-water based sealers perform better include: they are able to penetrate into the surface – this gives the sealer protection from weathering, cleaning, traffic, freeze-thaw, picture framing (critical on kitchen counter tops where water may by-pass any surface treatment) and efflorescence. Non-water based sealers can also be used over previously sealed surface and are suitable to treat resin treated stone, which is the norm for granite kitchen counters. Fortunately, there are safe non-water based solvents available and Dry-Treat uses these where possible.
Do I need to pre-seal my tile?
Pre-sealing is the process of sealing a tile or stone before it is installed and helps protect the tile from installation water damage such as that caused by grouting between the tile joints. Pre-sealing also helps reduce the amount of impregnating sealer required once the tile is installed as it reduces the amount of sealer penetrating too deeply into the tile. One other important benefit of pre-sealing is to reduce the effects of grout migrating into the side of the tile causing an unsightly discoloration. Some tiles arrive on the job already pre-sealed, often with a relatively weak sealer in the factory. To check if a tile needs to be pre-sealed place a tablespoon of water on it’s surface for 30 seconds. Blot up the water with a tissue, pressing hard to soak up any water in the texture of the surface. If the water is absorbed or leaves a dark mark the tile should be pre-sealed prior to their laying. Pre-sealing the sides of a tile is not an issue since a strong bond between the grout and the tile is not essential. The main purpose of the grout is to fill the gap and provide lateral support. Both of these outcomes are achieved by pre-sealing the edge of the tile.
Why is it necessary to carry out a test trial with the sealer before doing the full job?
Every surface is subtlety different. Unless you have applied the sealer to the exact same surface with the same conditions before it is a must to carry out a small trial to ensure you get the result you are after. For example, a surface that has been treated with an artificial organic dye (unknown by the customer) may be removed when the sealer is applied.
I have carried out a pre-application trial on my stone with STAIN-PROOF Original™ and waited 24 hours for it to cure but olive oil still leaves a mark, why?
This sometimes happens on very porous stone and can be over come by varying the application method. The surface needs a pre-seal to hold the STAIN-PROOF Original™ closer to the surface. Apply the first coat, and after 10 minutes wipe off the excess. Allow the product to cure for a minimum of one hour (24 hours is even better!). Then apply a second coat of STAIN-PROOF Original™ and polish off the excess after it becomes touch dry or a minimum of 10 minutes. Please note that most Dry-Treat sealers are reactive and therefore take over two to three weeks to fully cure.
How do I maintain a sealed tile?
The long-term good looks of a sealed surface will depend on maintenance. Removing spills immediately, using diluted bleach to remove marks and routine cleaning and scrubbing of the surface will keep surfaces looking good for longer. Also, HANAFINN Rejuvenata™ is designed to help maintain a sealed surface by cleaning and prolonging the stain resistance of the treatment.
Is it normal to still get scuff marks on a surface that has been treated with an impregnating sealer?
Yes. Since impregnating sealers do not fill the surface pores, marks from the likes of rubber soled shoes or tanin from tree leaves can still discolor the surface. The good news is that the sealer holds the contaminating agent close to the surface. Usually, a diluted acid free bleach and light scrubbing will remove most marks caused by organic contaminating agents such as oil etc. Dry-Treat impregnating sealers are bleach tolerant.
How can I remove the excess product that has dried on the surface?
This can happen if the surface is too hot (if the surface is hot to touch then it is too hot to seal!) or excessive product has been applied for that type of material. Try removing the excess by wetting a dry white cloth in the sealer and removing the residue. If that doesn’t work a strong solvent such as xylene or acetone will remove most residues. Check if the cleaned surface still repels water. If not then you should re-seal those affected areas again.
How can I get a maintenance free surface?
Even an impregnating sealed surface will mark. To obtain a maintenance free surface you will need to use an epoxy or polyurethane surface coating or use a vitreous tile. However, surface coatings do have a number of draw backs including; they do not breathe and so trap unsightly water vapor under the surface, they have to be removed when recoating, very expensive to install and they significantly change the look of the surface.
What is ‘picture framing’?
This is a term used to describe a discoloration that may occur to the outer rim of the surface of the tile. The source is usually either the seepage of grout into the tile or, for cement based materials, an uneven curing of the cement in the tile or, water. Picture framing is usually irreversible and it is best to prevent it from occurring. Preventive measures include pre-sealing the upper-surface of the sides of the tile.
Will I still get some staining after sealing?
We believe Dry-Treat’s products are the best impregnating sealers money can buy. However, they do have their limits. For instance they will not stop surface etching, so to minimize absorption the spill should be cleaned up immediately. If you want your surface to be “bullet proof” you may have to use a polyurethane coating (which will need recoating every few years, change the look and cause water to build-up underneath) or use a glazed ceramic tile. We recommend regular cleaning of treated exterior surfaces with Hanafinn Oxy-Klenza™.
Why are some of your products so expensive?
The price reflects their high active content (i.e. the chemcials that do the work) – in some cases up to 100% is active – and the cost and high quality of the ingredients. When economics is the overriding factor of choice then we can offer HANAFINN Ole-Repella™. This sealer is less expensive than many of its competitors yet its performance is outstanding. We understand that our sealers may not suit everyone but whether you use our products or some other reputable business – please make sure you seal!
What do I do if there is already a sealer on the surface I want to treat?
Usually pre-existing surface sealers must be removed. The best method is to use a paint stripper that can be bought at any hardware store. Use plenty of dry white cloth when removing the old surface sealer. This is particularly important with polished porcelain tiles which often arrive with a factory applied wax coating. Make sure you do a test area first. The exception to this is that a Dry-Treat impregnating sealer will pass through virtually any other impregnating sealer.
I have sealed my surface with a impregnating sealer. Can I apply a surface sealer over the treated surface?
Yes, but you will need to wash the surface with solvent such as methylated spirits or better still acetone and use a solvent-based surface sealer. The reason for this is because only a solvent-based surface sealer will adhere to an impregnated surface.
Will sealing my sandstone or limestone make it “salt safe”?
Some customers believe that our treatments will make their sandstone or limestone ‘salt safe’. This is not accurate. There is no doubt that our sealers will provide a considerable long-term benefit in resisting the ingress of water and salt into the stone. However, the treated stone will not necessarily become ‘salt safe’. Rather, it becomes far more resistant to the ingress of salt. The amount of salt already in the stone prior to treatment, the proximity to salt water, the type and concentration of the salts in the water, the type and quality of the stone and sub-soil drainage will all affect the durability of the stone. Please note that although we believe our sealers are the best available on the market they must be applied correctly. With proper application sealers will significantly improve the durability of the stone in a salt water environment.
Sodium chloride salt (the main salt in sea water) is partially damaging as it readily forms a strong cubic crystal. Care must be taken not to trap the salts just below the surface of the stone. This condition is known as crytoflorescence. If the salts are stopped just below the surface, for instance because not enough sealer is applied, the water will still evaporate, depositing the salts behind the surface, which then crystallize. The expanding salt crystals can exceed the tensile strength of the stone causing spalling or disintegration of the stone. So, how much is enough sealer? This can be worked out by testing a piece of sample stone with the treatment at the proposed application rate. Onced the treated stone is cured (two weeks for DRY-TREAT 40SK™) the stone is broken and soaked in water. The depth of penetration of the treatment is that part from the surface that does not absorb the water. For very soft sandstone you would want about 12 mm (1/2 inch) penetration.
To ensure the maximum protection of stone in harsh saltwater environments you should ‘dip seal’ the stone. This is done by fully immersing the pavers in a bath filled with DRY-TREAT 40SK™. Please note that by sealing the underside of the pavers this will reduce the adhesion between a cement and sand mortar mix and the pavers. This problem is overcome by using a quality brand adhesive such as the Davco SE-7 and Davelastic or, Bostik Landscape Adhesive.
What is Efflorescence?
Efflorescence is a problem affecting all cement based building materials. This includes pavers, brickwork, blockwork, concrete, render, grout and tiles. In every kilogram of cement-based material there are also many grams of water-soluble salts. Most commonly, efflorescence begins when unused lime compounds from the cement are dissolved in mixing water, ground water or rain. Evaporation of the water brings these lime compounds to the surface where they can react with carbon dioxide in air to form insoluble crystalline calcium carbonate. This is the unsightly white powdery material we often see on pavers that detract from what should otherwise be an attractive and clean surface. In extreme cases the efflorescence can obscure the surface and the crystallization can cause erosion and pitting. Eventually, the calcium carbonate may react with more carbon dioxide to form calcium bicarbonate – a material that is water-soluble. The surface may become clean after a number of months or years in the outdoors. Understandably, not everyone wants to wait that long. And since first impressions are always lasting, it’s worth preventing efflorescence problems from the start. Just washing the efflorescence off the surface usually starts an almost endless cycle of more efflorescence rising to the surface. After only a few days the surface is as powdery as before. The answer is to seal the surface with a high performance sealer as soon as is practical after the building material is installed. The sealer must be deeply penetrating, able to withstand the highly alkaline environment found in cement based-materials and be completely breathable so moisture cannot be trapped below the surface. Once the surface is sealed a deep water-repelling layer is formed. This layer will prevent water and dissolved lime compounds from reaching the surface where efflorescence could occur. At the same time the sealer stops further water soaking into the surface and so breaks the cycle of efflorescence. The unused lime compounds are left harmlessly immobile in the core of the building material with little contact with carbon dioxide. Since the sealer can breathe, sub-surface moisture can escape as water vapor rather than in a liquid form. If efflorescence has already occurred the surface can be permanently restored. Simply seal the surface and once the sealer has cured (at least 24 hours after its application; 7 days is ideal) the efflorescence can be scrubbed off with the help of a suitable mild acid (always test the surface first), never to been seen again. Dry-Treat sealers can perform this task without changing the look, texture or frictional properties of the surface.
Can I somehow hide my efflorescence?
Unsightly white efflorescence salt residues can ruin the look of finished masonry. If washing off the residue with diluted acid is not practical then an alternative is to “hide” the efflorescence using two or more coats of ENHANCE-PLUS™. This product produces a thin coat in the pores of the masonry that has a refractive index that is such that it is able to the make the white efflorescence salts “invisible”.
Does a surface treated with your product affect food intended for human consumption?
Once cured, Dry-Treat products are inert and do not produce any emissions. A few years ago we asked a US Consultant to investigate this subject. They found no clear definition or guidelines for treated surfaces that have casual contact with food. Most data relates only to food additives. Since DRY-TREAT™ can withstand temperatures in excess of 212 ºF for sanitation purposes, it falls into the GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe). The Food Drug and Cosmetic Act permit companies to make their own GRAS determination. As you can see from Question 8 at the FDA web site, approval is not required. (Question – “Must FDA approve GRAS substances” Answer – No. If the use of a food substance is GRAS, it is not subject to the pre-market review and approval requirement by FDA.)
How should STAIN-PROOF Original™ be handled when used near glazed ceramic tile?
The STAIN-PROOF Original™ can be generously applied to both the glazed or porcelain tile and grout. The main thing to remember on polished tiles is to polish off any excess product about 10 minutes after the last coat has been applied. The treated surface can be walked on within 30 minutes but make sure the soles of your shoes are clean and not affected by the product. The product takes over 7 days to fully cure.
Sealing a surface with a Dry-Treat impregnating sealer will make the surface stain resistant, but not dirt resistant. The sealed surface should be cleaned as regularly as a non-sealed surface. If a problematic substance such as sticky tree gum falls on the surface, it will still be difficult to clean off, but should not permanently stain the surface.
Are your products environmentally responsible?
Yes, in three main ways. Firstly, our preferred carrier solvent is alcohol, a renewable and biologically responsible bio-liquid that is produced using sugar cane or corn. Secondly, our products are semi-permanent which means once treated the sealing procedure does not have to be redone, in some cases for thirty years. Making a surface easier to clean means that substantially less aggressive cleaning liquids and water are required for use in commercial, industrial and home cleaning. In these important ways we are making a small contribution to long-term sustainability.
What should I use first; STAIN-PROOF Original™ or ENHANCE-PLUS™?
Its a good idea to use the ENHANCE-PLUS™ first so you achieve the desired color of the surface. Once that is done, wait 24 hours for it to cure and apply STAIN-PROOF Original™ to obtain better resistance to oil stain.
How do I know which brand of sealer to buy?
The market offers the consumer many brands of sealer with similar claims. Dry-Treat sealers are different in two important ways. Firstly, they penetrate deeper giving protection against weathering, traffic wear, efflorescence, salt attack and freeze-thaw attack. Secondly, they are permanent or semi-permanent. When comparing brands its a good idea to look at any independent scientific evidence that backs up performance claims and also read the written warranty. Naturally, we would like you to use a Dry-Treat sealer but if not, please do seal and choose another professional supplier.
How is ENHANCE-PLUS™ different to some other similar treatments?
The ENHANCE-PLUS™ will enhance the color of the surface without changing its wet slip frictional properties. This is essential in keeping a safe trafficable surface in all weather conditions.
How old does cement based grout need to be before sealing?
The grout needs a minimum of 3 days to cure before sealing.
Should I buy a sealed natural stone or an engineered stone counter top?
It is difficult to give an unbiased opinion on this. Engineered stone is crushed stone mixed in epoxy resin. Like most fashion fads, at the start it looks great but it is certainly not maintenance free. Over time engineered stone will discolor and require a sanding and repolish to bring it back to life. In our opinion nothing beats the timeless good looks of natural stone. Sealed natural stone provides an excellent natural and durable work top that can take hot pans, sunlight and anything else life throws at it.