Like several other surfaces in your home or on your property, whether or not to seal a stone veneer is an important consideration. Sealing is a process that helps protect natural stone and other materials from various risks, but it won't necessarily always be needed -- the choice here depends on several different factors.
At Harristone, we're proud to not only supply a wide variety of stone veneer products to clients throughout Salt Lake City and surrounding areas but also important related materials like mortar dyes and our professional-grade Harristone Masonry Sealer product that will protect and preserve your stone materials for years into the future. What role does sealer play in your stone veneer, what are the pros and cons of using it, and which other factors should you be considering? We can help.
Stone Sealer Basics
Sealers will often be applied to stone veneer products for a few reasons. The primary one is to create a protective barrier to resist moisture penetration, which can lead to warping, cracking, and other problems. However, sealers are also quite useful for aesthetic purposes as well, helping to accentuate the colors of the stone itself while strengthening its surface.
There are several different stone veneer sealer products out there, so it's important before you invest to do some research first. Sealing is probably more important for natural stone materials like slate and flagstone than it is for veneers that use man-made compounds or artificial stones, but the process will still be useful in most cases.
Benefits of Stone Sealing
Beyond the barrier they provide, stone sealer products offer several other advantages as well, both in aesthetics and functionality. Here are several:
Sealant makes the stone easier to clean, reducing the risk of unsightly stains and streaks
It can make the stone more resistant to fading and discoloration from environmental factors like sunlight and moisture
Seals protect against some types of damage, such as chemical spills or impact from impacts like toys or hail
Sealing often makes it easier to retain a desired sheen on some surfaces, making them more resistant to damage
Adds an extra layer of protection for natural stone materials that are porous by nature, preventing water penetration and other risks
Generally simple as a do-it-yourself (DIY) project that requires no special tools or equipment
Can be used on both interior and exterior surfaces, further protecting against damage and other risks
Possible Downsides of Stone Sealant
Now, sealing a stone veneer won't always be the right move. There are some situations where it will actually be imprudent to go this route, depending on the stone you have, your time available, and a few other factors. Here are some possible downsides of sealing stone:
This process cannot be done within 30 days of the stone's installation, as doing so will interfere with the curing process for the mortar and may permanently seal in moisture -- which can lead to moisture damage and other problems down the line.
Sealer may also slightly darken the stone, which may not be a good fit for some types of stone veneering. The stone may suddenly appear as though it's constantly wet, or like it has a strange film on it that can't be removed.
For porous stone products, two or more coats of sealant will be required, and this can be quite a laborious process.
Sealing is not a permanent solution -- it will wear off over time and depending on exposure, so may need to be redone at some point.
Sealant cannot be applied during certain weather conditions, meaning that if it's rained within the last 48 hours, you may need to wait before sealing your stone.
Before proceeding with sealing your stone veneer, be sure to research what type of stones you have and make certain they will work well with sealant -- some types of rocks are more porous than others and won't always respond well to the process.
Before sealing, you will also need to clean the stone thoroughly with a commercial cleaner that contains no bleach or other additives, then allow it to dry completely before applying sealant -- these steps are crucial to ensuring the sealer sticks well and resists moisture penetration for years down the line. If you have any questions or need assistance here, our team of stone veneer specialists is happy to help.
Sealer + Enhancer
For some stone veneers or other stone settings, it might be ideal to apply not only a sealer but also an enhancer product. An enhancer takes the aesthetic aspect of this area a bit further, giving the stone an extra glow or bit of shine. This can be done on both interior and exterior surfaces, though it's best to go with a product that is specially designed for this purpose -- these are available in home improvement stores or online, often at fairly affordable prices depending on the quantity you choose to work with.
In most cases, sealers will be combined with enhancers into a single product you can purchase. Before doing so, you need to be completely sure that the product you're choosing is safe to use on your type of stone -- some will be designed for use with only certain types of stone, while others are universally safe to use on any surface.
As you can see, sealing a stone veneer is not always necessary -- in some cases, it may even do more harm than good if the right steps aren't taken. When used wisely and cautiously, however, sealer can protect natural stones from risks while also making them look more attractive.
For more on whether or not to seal your stone veneer, or to learn about any of our stone products or services in Salt Lake City or nearby areas, speak to the staff at Harristone today.