Are you looking for a sealer for your natural stone surfaces? Faber, the world-renowned brand, having been in the industry since the 1980s, has got you covered. Products from the company are used across the scope, by builders and architects, cleaning and maintenance firms, home and business owners, all through to DIY enthusiasts. It has made a name for itself due to the high quality of the products that are released, and which have enabled it to grow a wide market base, from Italy where its headquarters are, across the EU- including England, France, Spain, Poland and Greece, the Asian markets of China, Russia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippines, all through to the Middle East- like in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. When it comes to sealing surfaces, the Faber P 147 is one of its key products. Here is a look at what it has in store for you.
Selecting A Stone Sealer
First off, should you seal your stone surface? To be safe, yes. Let’s expound on this:
Perform a porosity test on your installation. This is just to give you a rough idea of how absorbent the structure is. You can pour several drops of water on the surface, and then observe how long it will take for the water to disappear into it. If it happens under a minute, then the natural stone is very porous. If the water takes 3 – 4minutes to get completely absorbed, then you can view it as slightly porous. Generally, the longer it takes, the less porous it really is. There are also cases where the stone is presealed, like with new countertop installations.
In order to ensure that there is maximum protection, the sealing is required. Even for the structures that are not very porous, this should also be considered. After all, the worst that could happen is that the stone will simply absorb a little of the product while still achieving maximum protection. This has the welcome benefit of reducing the amounts you spend on the process. The purchase cost far outweighs the expenses that will be required to repair the damaged surfaces. Treating your installation with products like the Faber P 147 will give you peace of mind.
There are two broad types of stone sealers:
- Topical sealer
Here, the coating of the sealant that is applied simply sits on the surface of the stone tiles. It is developed to form a layer of protection, and typically results in a shiny surface. There are those units that can darken. With this type of sealer, the slip resistance of the surface is also reduced, hence an extra application of a non-slip attribute will be required. In addition, this type of application tends to get worn out far much faster, hence is not recommended for the high traffic areas. There is also the issue of the breathability of the stone getting blocked. Some of the coatings can trap moisture below the surface, which results in spalling.
These coatings can further be categorised into two:
- Permanent coatings – these are made using solvent-based polymers, such as epoxies and polyurethane. These are not usually used on natural stone.
- Strippable coatings – They are typically water-based, and are developed using polymers that consist of acrylics, styrene, and polyethylene. You can tell from their labels, where you will find terms like “high solids”, “metal cross-link”, “acrylic”, etc. They are mainly intended for the resilient tiles, and shouldn’t be used for the stone installations unless the product has been specifically been mentioned to be intended for the purpose.
Since the coatings are usually softer than the stone itself, traffic patterns will develop on the surface within a shorter time, hence the need for frequent burnishing, buffing, and re-application. Note that with frequent stripping and reapplication, the abrasives and chemicals used for the task could eventually damage the stone itself, especially for those with softer materials. Wax strippers are particularly a threat to the agglomerates, due to corroding away of the polyester binders. There is also that unnatural plastic look that is a common concern, which has a negative impact on the decor. Formulations that are of a low quality can additionally end up turning yellow, especially due to exposure to UV radiation.
- Penetrating sealer
These are the likes of the Faber P 147, where the sealer impregnates the stone itself, bonding with the structure. The product penetrates below the surface and deposits solid particles into the pores, and coats the materials below the surface. That way, dirt, water and oil are prevented from entering into the stone. The impregnators can be water-based or oil-based, containing silicone or its derivatives such as siloxane, silane and methyl silicate. The protection of the surface from staining, scratches and abrasion is enhanced, and the products typically do not alter the stone’s natural beauty. What’s more, the application lasts longer than when the top coat sealers are used. Surfaces that are treated with the penetrating sealers will require special cleaners for the routine maintenance.
There are impregnators that are specially developed to be oleophobic (they repel oil) or hydrophobic (they repel water). For instance, a hydrophobic impregnator is formulated to specifically repel water-based liquids, from fruit drinks and coffee, to soft drinks; while the oleophobic impregnator will work to repel cooking oil, body oils, grease, etc. Note that oleophobic impregnators will by default also be hydrophobic- however, the reverse is not always the case. A hydrophobic impregnator may not have the properties of repelling oil. As such, one should carefully read the product label to determine if the unit is limited to just being hydrophilic. The impregnators that are developed using fluoropolymers are both hydrophobic and oleophobic.
Factors to Consider When Selecting A Stone Sealer
First, there is the stone type. Not all materials are equal. The structure of the stone affects how porous it is, and its absorption coefficient determines how fast or slow it will absorb liquids. For instance, polished marble will have a lower absorption coefficient compared to granite. Speaking of the finish, generally speaking, the polished surfaces are less absorbed compared with those that have a honed or flamed finish. Limestone on the other hand is highly absorbent. As the absorption coefficient increases, so does the difficulty of sealing the stone effectively. As such, quality products that are particularly formulated for dealing with the particular types of stone will come in handy.
Next is the type of installation- basically where the stone has been set up. Is it on the floor, wall or countertop? Are you looking to seal a natural stone that is in the lobby, foyer, in your kitchen, or are you working on the bathroom tiles? Is the installation at a high risk of staining? Are spills common in the room? With the floors, there is the additional issue of foot traffic. Factors like exposure to oil and water also come into play. For instance, if you’re in the process of sealing kitchen floor that has marble tiles, then you will want a product that can hold up to daily use, and still come with oil and water repellent properties. Even for the foyer, you want a formulation that has enhanced water repellency. Are you looking to work on the office hallways, reception, or the lobby floor in your hotel? Coating the surface with wax can cause tracking and scuff marks, and will need far more frequent touch-ups. Applying a quality impregnator will enable you to ensure that the structure is protected and the shine gets to last for long. Do you have pets? You want a product that will be able to withstand the scratches from your furry friend.
The maintenance also comes into focus. How often is the cleaning carried out? For instance, in office buildings, the floors are mopped on a daily basis, while for the foyer at home it’s less frequent. What kind of solutions are used for the cleaning? Note that regardless of the treatment that is applied, neglecting the stone floor will cause it to get dull, its appearance ruined, and puts its structural integrity at risk. You want a product that will make the maintenance easier for you, reducing your workload and the costs incurred in the process. Units like the Faber P 147 fit right into this.
What You Get From The Faber P 147
- Enhanced protection from staining
With the Faber P 147, you won’t keep going into panic mode whenever there is a spill on the floor. Not that you should let it settle- it will still need to be cleaned up. What this formulation does is to prevent the liquids from seeping into the natural stone- which is particularly important to prevent those permanent and unsightly stains from forming. The Faber P 147 comes with oil-repellent and water-repellent properties. This provides protection from a wide assortment of stains- ranging from the oil-based ones like makeup and moisturisers which would have ended up being soaked up by the stone and forming a patch that contrasts with the rest of the surface, motor oil and gasoline be it in garages or out on the parking lot, mayonnaise and margarine smudges, canola oil, olive oil and other kinds of cooking oil that occasionally get spilled on the kitchen floors and countertops, ink, treatments from routine home renovation projects that result in varnishes, furniture dyes and polish getting spilled; all through to water-based stains be they from soft drinks, coffee and tea, blood spots from cuts and nicks, liquor, or tomato juice, wine and fruit juice. This makes the day-to-day maintenance of the surfaces easier. Speaking of which, the Faber P 147 is safe for use on areas where food is handled, and comes with the certification to prove it.
- Glamour galore
That beauty and charm of the natural stone is enhanced by the Faber P 147. This solvent-based formulation adds a wet look to the surface, and sets a matt finish. What’s more, it doesn’t form a surface film, which further sets it apart from the traditional sealers. This colour enhancing formulation also bring out the veining of your natural stone installation, making it more impressive. Thus, in addition to the protective properties, you also get to add to the aesthetic appeal of the area being worked on. What’s more, the effect obtained lasts for longer, and the Faber P 147 has been formulated to resist UV radiation. This takes away the frustration that is witnessed with other treatments which yellow over time.
With the hydrorepellency of the Faber P 147, it allows you to treat the natural stones which have been set up in wet environments. These are the likes of showers, saunas, fountains and also wash basins. It is also particularly ideal for the outdoor setups such as pavements and patios, where you want a product that retains its beauty and functionality even after a heavy downpour. It’s also versatile, and you can use it in on installations like granite, cotto, concrete and cementina, to marble and its marble-resin or cement-marble agglomerates, plus quartzite, molten basalt and sandstone surfaces. Usually, it is used on surfaces where the absorbency is medium or medium-high. However, you can also use it on those with a low absorbency, just ensuring that you have removed the residue.
The Natural Stone Sealer You Can Rely On
- Limestone sealer
The Faber P 147 is formulated to protect natural stone installations across the scope. Take limestone flooring for instance. This beautiful stone is made from sedimentary rocks, where shells and bones from corals, oysters and other marine animals were pressurised at the bottom of the sea. It is highly durable, allowing a properly cared for unit to last for years, while still remaining porous. Sealing with the Faber P 174 will enhance its durability and stain resistance, allowing it to retain its beauty for long, and making the routine maintenance easier. Attributes like the limestone’s resistance to moulding make it popular for use in bathrooms, and also outdoor areas like the pool and patio. The cleaning process itself is a breeze, since usually one just needs to carry out a light sweeping, and the occasional damp mopping with a limestone cleaner. The earthy characteristics of the limestone flooring brings a timeless appeal to the space, and you can select the colourations and patterns that give your home a modern look or a classic feel. The limestone blends with the different colour schemes, giving you more flexibility with your decor needs. What’s more, it adds value to the home, since it is a long lasting material.
- Marble sealer
One of the most popular flooring options is marble, due to its elegance and timeless appeal. It has been a top choice for architects, designers, and artists for centuries, with the demand being reflected in the diversity of the installation types, finishes, colourations and sizes of the marble tiles. While it is a strong and durable structure, it still requires special care and attention. It needs to be treated in order to protect it from moisture and spills, since it is highly susceptible to staining and water damage. For starters, marble, just as the other natural stones, has a porous surface. In order to prevent spills from penetrating into it, the new installation should be treated with a formulation such as the Faber P 147. This enables you to avoid the disastrous situations that result from the spills. Then there is the issue of acids. The composition of marble makes it an alkali. In an acid-base relationship, there will be a reaction. This is what happens when acidic products get spilled onto the marble floors and countertops- be they fruit punch, soft drinks, juices, vinegar and a wide assortment of everyday cleaning agents. In fact, acid-based cleaning products that are effective on other sections of the building will be a threat to your installation. The routine sealing of the installation with the Faber P 147 will add to the protection offered. Slip resistance also factors in, seeing that wet marble floors are slip hazards- especially in areas like kitchens, bathrooms and entryways. Processes like honing, tumbling, or brushing increase the grip of the surface. Using sealers that add to the slip resistance of the surface also aids in this.
- Travertine sealer
Travertine is technically a kind of limestone. It’s formed when minerals are dissolved in groundwater, with the process giving it that pitted look that it is known for. This popular stone is used in multiple applications, with one of its core attributes being its resistance to moisture. This makes it suitable for areas like kitchens and bathrooms, where you want to prevent mould and mildew growth. The ease with which travertine tiles can be cut and shaped enables it to be used in different setups, including areas that are small and uneven. There are those who install the tiles for countertops, sink basins, and wall facades. You can even have the worktops matching the travertine flooring. With a variety of finishes and colours, the final result largely depends on the aesthetic needs of the home or business owner. Just like a majority of the natural stone installations, travertine comes with enhanced durability, which enables it to withstand heavy foot traffic. It also has an extra advantage compared to other types of natural stone: it can withstand extreme changes in temperature. As such, travertine has been utilised in both interior and outdoor settings. When it comes to maintenance, more is needed for travertine when compared to alternatives like marble. This is especially due to the increased risk of staining that comes with spills. In addition, sweeping/vacuuming should be more frequent to prevent the installation from sustaining scratches. Sealers like the Faber P147 come in to ward off the stains, by preventing the spills from soaking into the structure.
- Cobble block sealer
Cobblestones, smoothened out by years of water flowing in rivers, enable one to install pavements with an undeniable charm. They easily impress the guests coming to your home, plus the customers and employees in your business premises. The cobble blocks come in a myriad of schemes, colours and sizes. This allows you to set a unique look which enhances your personal taste at home, and gives your business premises the image you desire. Sidewalks, walkways, driveways, parking lots and even roundabouts- the cobble blocks are installed in such areas where superior durability is needed, especially with all that vehicle traffic. The stones can withstand the pressures involved, making them popular. In fact, their history can be traced way back to the 1800s where they were used for paving roads and city streets. With this structure, residents could walk around without being soiled by mud. What’s more, the structure of cobblestone, where it allows the surface to be more adaptable to weather changes, prevents issues like cracking during those months when there are freezing temperatures. Are you looking to ensure that that your cobble blocks are properly sealed? Then the Faber P 147 is the product for you.
- Terracotta sealer
Materials like terracotta date back over 2 millennia ago. During that period, the stones were sundried, instead of being oven-fired. In today’s world, the material is manufactured by heating up refined mixtures of clay in kilns. Terracotta can be used glazed or unglazed, and it brings a rustic look into the space. Most of the flooring comes in shades of brown and red. That earthy appeal is popular, and the name itself- terracotta, actually means “cooked earth”. The biggest draw to the material is its toughness. Getting a quality product installed for your floor can see them last for ages. There are ancient sculptures that are still standing today, proof of the strength of the material. In fact, terracotta is also used on driveways and patios. Then there is the warmth of the structure, that makes it comfortable to walk on. While the material itself is outstandingly durable, treating it with a sealer like the Faber P 147 will ensure that it gets to last for long. This is especially when the terracotta is being installed in the kitchen. This is because it is very porous, and when unsealed it will absorb moisture at a faster rate, putting it at risk of issues like cracking and deteriorating. You already spent a lot on your installation, and you don’t want to fork out loads of funds in making repairs or getting replacements. Ensuring that your installation has been properly sealed with the Faber P 147 will go a long way in protecting it from this.
- Concrete paving sealer
Concrete pavers, pool decks, driveways and patios are durable and low maintenance. There’s nearly an unlimited variety of sizes and colours to work with. The pavers can last for a lifetime, if you take care of them properly. Lack of quality maintenance will result in stains, fading, and a reduction of the visual beauty of the setup. In order to extend the lifespan of the concrete pavers, regularly applying a sealer is required. This is key in protecting them from the weathering that is caused by UV radiation. The resultant effect is actually responsible for multiple outdoor structures degrading, after prolonged exposure to the sun. With concrete, the structure itself is highly durable. However, the coloured pigments of the pavers can end up slowly fading, which is mainly attributed to the UV rays. Using sealers like the Faber P 147 will enable you to ensure that your concrete pavers remain vibrant all through. What’s more, the formulation acts like a varnish, drawing out the colours and contrasts that are in the pavers, making them more visually appealing. The most important benefit of the sealing process is making the concrete pavers less porous, that way the rate of oils and dirt getting picked up by the concrete is greatly reduced. When sealing the pavers, ensure that you pull up any weeds that could be sprouting in between them. You can make the application using a low-pressure sprayer, which will speed up the process. A squeegee can also come in handy when directing the product into the joints, and also when removing the excess material from the surface.
Sealing Surfaces With The Faber P 147
First begin by removing the dirt and grime that is on the surface to be treated. These would simply come in the way of the Faber P 147 bonding properly with the substrate. The cleaning should be thorough, after which the surface should be allowed to dry. Speaking of which the sealant should not be applied onto wet or damp surfaces. In addition, for those installations which have recently been primed, such as with a high penetrating water repellent, first allow that treatment to dry before carrying on with the application of the Faber P 147. Remember to cover the adjacent sections that are not to be worked on.
For the application itself, you can work with a brush, a roller or a lambswool applicator. Your tool of choice is largely determined by the size of the area you’re treating with the Faber P 147, and what you find to be convenient for you. Apply the sealant abundantly on the surface, covering the area with an even layer. After ensuring that the entire section has been covered, give the sealant some time to penetrate into the structure. This can be anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes – just a short time before the product gets absorbed completely by the material. Proceed to redistribute the excess Faber P 147 that’s on the surface, aiming for a uniform result. In case the surface being treated is highly absorbent, then the product will have penetrated into it without leaving behind any residue. In this case, you can wait for 2-3 hours before adding a second coat.
There are those surfaces which have a low absorbency, especially the stone structures that are more compact, that even after the redistribution there will still be residue left behind. In this case, it is vital for the residue to be removed, otherwise a greasy mess will result. This can be accomplished by simply using floor polisher to brush the surface. The standard units, at 1.54 HP and 175 rpm will suffice. Attach a white or lambswool disc, or even a wool-cotton attachment to the unit. This is for when you’re dealing with floors. For the vertical surfaces, the brushing can be carried out with an orbital or manual wheel. Here, a white disc or pad is fixed to the unit. You can also work manually with a wool-cotton cloth.
After treating the surfaces with the Faber P 147, give it 1-2 hours to dry. For the floors, they can be opened up to foot traffic after 4 to 6 hours have elapsed after the application. Meanwhile, you can proceed to wash the tools that you have used with white spirit.
Tips For Working With The Faber P 147
- Observe the environmental conditions before application. Is it about to rain? Be it a slight drizzle or a heavy downpour, or even those cases when it is about to frost, or there is mist or fog, first allow it to pass before applying the Faber P 147. Increased humidity will affect the quality of the results.
- Temperature too should be factored in- especially that of the surface. It should not be overly heated. The optimal range is 5°C to 40°C.
- As is with all natural stone surfaces, you want to be sure that the product you use for the treatment measures is compatible with the material. For this, you can carry out a spot test on a small and inconspicuous area. This will also give you a look of how the final result will be.
- Giving the treatment longer dwelling time before removing the residue- such as extending it from half an hour to 60 minutes, will increase the amount of product that penetrates into the structure, and boost the protective attributes. It also has the welcome benefit of adding to the intensity of the colour enhancer, accentuating the aesthetic attributes. This is especially when you’re dealing with the more compact surfaces.
- Routine maintenance will be needed to get the most out of the stain-proofing treatment, and keep the treated surface looking elegant all through. For the cleaning, you can use the Faber 30 or Deterfug. Here, the product selected will be based on the type of surface. In case waxing is needed, you can use the Dec 21 or the Decera P, both of which are also products from Faber.