Natural Stone Porous Materials Protection Cleaning D.I.Y.

Planning ahead for porosity

Porosity will affect how your stone reacts to liquids on its surface.

When it comes to surface protection for natural stone used in your home or business, chances are you'll hear the word "porous" tossed around quite often. Unless you're a stone maintenance expert or a geologist, you probably won't be too sure what this means or how it relates to keeping your stone well-maintained.

What is porosity?

When talking about porosity, what you're really referring to is the empty space in a material. It may not seem like it, but even a material as hardy as natural stone contains empty spaces. How porous a material is will determine how much liquid it can hold.

Determining how porous a material is comes down to developing a ratio of pores versus solid volume.

In general, igneous stones tend to have a lower porosity than other types of stone, but specific materials vary. For instance, while porcelain is not very porous, granite is, despite its density.

Slate, travertine, limestone, sandstone and marble are also quite porous, as well.

Permeability is often confused with porosity, and while the two are connected, they are not the same. Permeability refers to a material's ability to transmit liquid. However, this depends on pores being connected.

Therefore, even if a material is quite porous, unless its pores are not connected, it may still have low permeability.

Why does it matter?

Now that you have a better idea of what porosity is, you may still be wondering, "Why should I care?"

The answer is: Because it will affect how your stone reacts to liquids on its surface.

Going back to granite, due to its porosity, if you were to leave a tablespoon of water on it for around 30 minutes, it would result in a deep stain.

Meanwhile, due to sandstone being one of the most porous types of stone, liquids can absorb into it within seconds.

Not only can this result in stains, but water absorption may also lead to structural damage, such as efflorescence, freeze-thaw damage, spalling and picture framing.

It's for this reason that stone sealing has become such an important part of maintenance.

Going straight to the source

Topical sealers are used to coat the surface of stone to help prevent stains and structural damage. However, using topical sealers can come with its own issues.

"Since most topical sealers are typically softer than the stone itself, they will usually scratch, mar and scuff very easily, showing traffic patterns soon after application. This will require frequent buffing, burnishing, or reapplication," the Marble Institute of America states.

"Topical sealers can build up and cause an unsightly appearance, giving an unnatural, wavy, plastic look to the stone. Poor quality topical sealers can turn yellow. This is especially true if the stone is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light."

Meanwhile, the impregnating sealers offered by Dry-Treat are designed to penetrate the treated material and bond permanently inside its pores. This is meant to create a barrier that will repel oil and water, helping to prevent stains and problems like efflorescence.

Dry-Treat products like STAIN-PROOF Original are specially engineered to penetrate deeper into pores and bond with them without blocking them. And since the sealer is inside the treated material, it can stand up to cleaning chemicals, foot traffic, sunlight and even high-pressure hosing.

In short, Dry-Treat takes one of the natural weaknesses of stone – porosity – and turns it against itself to help home and business owners keep their stone looking great.

Forget about changing the appearance of your stone or spending time and energy on constant reapplications with topical sealers. No matter what material you're using, Dry-Treat has an impregnating sealer designed to suit its specific composition.

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