Solvent Based Sealers

Solvent based sealers, sometimes termed “impregnators”, allow the sealing agents to deeply penetrate the stone’s pores. Because solvent additives permit the sealing agents to impregnate the surface, they typ­ically protect the stone’s surface longer and they do not need to be re­applied as often as water based sealers.

Like water based sealers, many solvent based sealers also contain urethane or acrylic as the actual seal­ing agent. However, the solvent additive will carry the agents beneath -the surface of the stone, whereas water based sealers typically remain topical. The sealing agents can “dig” and “grab” the stone’s surface / better using a solvent base as the carrier instead of water. (It is / usually best to have a qualified contractor apply solvent based seal-as.) If the sealer needs to be removed, solvent based sealers are usually more difficult to strip than water based seal-era because the sealing agents bond to pores below the stone’s surface.

Avoid using solvent based sealers where, for example, food is present or people are unable to leave the area while the solvent base is dry­ing, such as a hospital. Solvent based sealers are available for different purposes. In general, this booklet discusses two solvent based formulas and applications where these particular sealers might be desired. Many other formulas exist, however, the following are widely used for natural stone and terrazzo. The first is mainly for protection. The second is for protection as well as adding luster or shine to the surface.

1. The first type of solvent based sealer is intended mainly for lasting protection without changing the natural finish of the stone. Primarily designed to retain or match the finish of whatever stone you are apply­ing the sealer over while protecting the stone from minor stains. This type of solvent based impregnator is not designed to leave a high-gloss or polished appearance. For example, application over polished marble will generally remain polished and application over honed limestone will generally remain honed. The sealer virtually disappears when it dries, rather than leaving a high-gloss or polished finish. The purpose of most solvent based sealers is to impregnate and seal the pores of the stone while maintaining the original finish desired by the end-user. Side effects can exist. Certain solvent based penetrating sealers may darken the stone. Although they may not affect the finish of the stone, they may affect the “tone” or color. Solvent based sealers commonly reject minor staining longer than water based sealers because the seal­ing agents are “sub-surface” and protected from foot traffic wear. Re­application will be necessary, however less often than water based seal-era. This type of solvent based sealer is effective on new kitchen and vanity tops where staining agents are readily available and need to be repelled. Check with the product’s manufacturer to obtain a better understanding of the sealer’s intended results. A Penetrating Seal is one of many solvent based impregnating sealers designed to protect natural stone against staining without changing the desired natural finish.

2. The second type of solvent based sealer is designed not only to pro­tect, but also to leave a high-luster finish. The solvent base allows the sealing agents to penetrate beneath the surface and dry to a shiny finish due to acrylic or urethane additives. An acrylic or urethane solvent based sealer is generally not intended for use over new natural stone installations.

New polished marble and granite appear shiny because the natural pores (or openings) on the surface are virtually closed. It is difficult for high-gloss solvent based sealers to penetrate the stone’s sur­face since the pores are very small. Thus, the sealer remains predomi­nantly topical and can even puddle if too much sealer is used. Improper use of this product can result in streaking which will be difficult to remove when dry. This type of solvent based sealer is better for natural stone or terrazzo that has been installed for many years and needs a good high-gloss “facelift”.

This type of solvent based sealer will provide a fresh looking polish to old stone or terrazzo in addition to a “hard-shell” protective coating. This sealer is suggested for qualified contrac­tor use only. One of several solvent based high-gloss sealers is an Acrylic Sealer.

Note: Apply solvent based sealers sparingly. Streaks are very difficult to remove once solvent based sealers are dry. it is best to consult product distributor or a qualified contractor before use.