GUIDE TO SEALING CEMENT AND CONCRETE STONE, COUNTER TOPS, TILE, BRICKS, AND PAVERS
Concrete Sealing Techniques for Stone, Tile, Pavers and Bricks
Please wear safety glasses, rubber gloves, and a dust mask when making cement stone or tile, or handling additives, colorant, sealers, etc. If you get cement splashed into your eyes, even though it is not an acid, it is highly alkaline and can burn your eyes, so also keep eyewash around. The gloves you want to wear should be chemical resistant and 18" long, i.e. to the elbow. The glove fingers should fit snugly. The facemask is to help prevent breathing in concrete and colorant dust.
Sealing Stone and Tile:
There are a number of different kinds of concrete sealers, but the two most common types of sealers - water based and solvent based, are used most often. Four basic finishes of sealers are available, depending on the level of gloss or sheen you desire. The first three below are water-based, with the fourth, a glaze finish sealer being solvent based. For interior installations of floor tile and counter tops, we also recommend a wax coating to protect the finish.
Various Sealers Available
Flat Penetrating Sealer: (Olde World StoneKote)
Product Description: Olde World StoneKote Sealer is a one-part hydrophobic silicone (silane & siloxane) sealer that penetrates cementitious tiles, brick, block, stone and concrete. This sealer seals out water, but allows water vapor to evaporate through concrete (breathes). It helps protect and prolong the color and appearance of the substrate from oil, salt, sunlight, etc. Olde World StoneKote Sealing imparts no sheen at all, and it does not change the original color of the stone, brick, or tile. Most other sealers will darken or deepen the original color.
Matte Sealer: (Olde World MatteKote)
Product Description: Olde World MatteKote Sealer is a one-part modified acrylic polymer sealer that top coats and protects cementitious tiles and concrete. This is a topical that sealer seals out and beads water. Interior or Exterior, non-yellowing formula dust-proofs, helps protect from the sun, and offers a clear satin sheen. It helps protect and prolong the color and appearance of the substrate from oil, salt, sunlight, etc. This easy to apply, water-based, environmentally friendly formula cleans up with water. Do not apply if rain is imminent. Top coating with Super-Sealer Wax is recommended on interior applications. Imparts a slight sheen.
Gloss Sealer: (Olde World GlossKote)
Product Description: Olde World GlossKote Sealer is a water-based urethane/acrylic sealer designed for use on interior concrete floors and tile. It provides chemical and abrasion resistance and when cured, provides a sheen to the coated surfaces. It helps protect and prolong the color and appearance of the substrate. This sealer also provides resistance to UV and black rubber (heal) marks. This easy to apply, water-based, environmentally friendly formula cleans up with water. Top coating with Super-Sealer Wax is recommended. Not usually used on stone such as fieldstone, ledgestone, etc. Imparts a gloss sheen.
Glaze Sealer: (Olde World GlazeKote)
Product Description: GlazeKote is a clear non-yellowing, solvent-based concrete sealer formulated with acrylic copolymer resins and lightfast, permanent, and alkali proof pigments. It is designed to penetrate deeply, giving a long lasting, hard, decorative finish to concrete products. These products are resistant to salt spray, acids, alkali, water, ultraviolet rays, and wet or dry abrasions. The resin system, which combines silicone and acrylic resins, has a very high resistance to traffic. May be used on all colored concrete, to include: Stamped Concrete Coatings, Cool Decks, Pool Decks, Concrete Tennis Courts, Driveways, Shuffleboard Courts, and of course Olde World Concrete Tile and Stone products.
Super Sealer Wax: (Olde World SuperSeal Wax)
Product Description: Super Sealer Wax is a water- based acrylic & wax co-polymer which forms a tough abrasion resistant, clear, non-yellowing, top coat polish to protect existing sealers and finishes on concrete. This co-polymer offers excellent gloss and can be stripped with conventional wax polish removers. Its toughness protects the existing finish and acts as a sacrificial coating for the hard sealed substrate. Super Sealer Wax resists scuffs and mars, enhancing the gloss of the finish below, while increasing slip resistance. It is designed to be applied on top of existing acrylic, polyurethane, and epoxy sealers. It can be used on newly sealed floors and restores shine to previously sealed concrete floors.
Supplies Needed to Apply Sealers:
When using a water-based sealer with any sheen, the tools that you'll need are, one 12" wide lambs wool applicator or a fine textured, flat edged sponge, and a paint roller pan. You may use a brush for sealing rough stone applications, but we do not recommend using a brush on tile… especially a smooth textured tile. The brush has a tendency to leave streaks, especially when applying a water-based gloss or matte sealer. You can use a brush to apply penetrating sealer to tile since it is not a “topical” sealer… meaning it does not lay on the top of the stone or tile, the sealer penetrates into the stone or tile completely.
Applying Sealer to Stone, Brick, Pavers, and Tile:
Apply the sealer to the face of the stone or tile in one even stroke if possible, and in one direction. You must coat the face of the stone or tile uniformly with the first coat to avoid the possibility of streaking. Do not put too thin a coat on… flow the sealer onto the stone or tile. Too little sealer will allow it to dry too quickly and prevent proper adhesion of the sealer to the stone or tile face. Wait until the first coat dries thoroughly (about 30 minutes), before applying a second coat of sealer. When applying your second coat, do so with strokes in the opposite direction to the first coat, even though you may not see streaks from the first coat. We normally recommend at least two coats before installation. NOTE: Final coats of sealer will be applied after the stone or tile is installed, and will also seal and protect the grout.
Do not be overly concerned about the presence of air bubbles while applying sealer. Most will disappear and smooth out as long as a heavy enough coat of sealer was applied. If you find that the air bubbles are causing a problem, apply the sealer a little heavier and blow air very lightly over the face of the tile to help burst the bubbles. The carbondioxide from your breath helps burst the bubbles. Under no circumstances, allow the sealer to puddle on the stone or tile surface.
Applying Solvent Based Sealers:
When applying any solvent-based sealers, either do it outside, or ventilate the room or area you are working in. Also be sure to extinguish all open flames, gas heaters, water heaters, etc. Read the directions on the package thoroughly. Solvent-based sealers can be applied with a brush. The reason you don't use a brush with a water base is that it shows every streak. Many solvent-based sealers have “flatteners” in their formula, or just take longer to dry, so they have a longer time to smooth out. You can also spray either type of sealer, but it is a tremendous waste in over-spray as well as being extremely messy unless you are doing a driveway, patio, or large area outside.
Sealers and Other Sealing Methods NOT Recommended:
There are other techniques for sealing stone and tile that have been used in the past. We do not recommend them. Traditionally, for many years diesel oil or motor oil was used to seal Mexican Saltillo Tile. The tile would be flooded several times with either diesel or motor oil and then be left to dry. For many exterior applications this method was used quite often, with disregard for the run-off and contamination of the surrounding soil. Due to EPA regulations and our own personal environmental concerns, this method is not recommended by us under any circumstances. It also stains and darkens the stone and tiles.
Sealer Wear Characteristics:
As far as wear comparisons, the water-based sealers are not quite up to most of the solvent-based sealers. But you give up the safety and environmental benefits during application of solvent-based sealers. We do not recommend using polyurethane, varnish, shellac, etc., as they darken the stone or tile, or turn amber. They have a tendency to peel and chip after a period, especially in external applications because they don't let the stone or tile breathe. Be sure that any sealer you use is recommended for use on concrete. And be sure that you are using an Exterior type of sealer for exterior applications. Some sealers are not recommended for exterior use. Read all labels carefully, or better yet, read the product descriptions before you purchase them.
Where to Use Which Sealers:
Where a stone or flat finish is desired, we recommend a penetrating type silicone sealer like our Olde World StoneKote. We DO NOT recommend products like Thompson's, Behr's, etc., water sealers. Most of these are designed for wood products… not concrete. The use of a topical protective or “sacrificial” sealer or wax coating is highly recommended to prolong the life of your sealer and your stone or tile. In any case, we recommend a thorough testing of any product on a small area before committing to using it for your entire project.
IN ALL CASES, WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU ALWAYS TEST A PRODUCT YOURSELF!
SPECIFIC CONDITIONS MAY VARY FROM LOCATION TO LOCATION.
Remember… This is a hand-made, custom product. It is desirable to have a certain amount of what some might consider “defects”. These add character to your stone, bricks, pavers, or tile. Just be sure that the “character” you are getting, is within your guidelines. Don't be too anal. Look at other hand-made products… the unique nature of the individual pieces is what makes the product unique!
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to get ideas. If you are interested in starting a concrete stone and veneer, or concrete and cement paver, brick or tile business, visit our Olde World Stone & Tile Business Opportunity website at
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