What type of sealer should I use?
With very few exceptions, every porous mineral building material, including stone, tile, masonry, concrete and grout, will benefit from being well sealed. To maximize these benfits the selection of the most suitable sealer is critical. There are two main types of sealers, namely, surface topical sealers and impregnating sealers. A surface topical sealer will provide a physical film or barrier over the surface. The result is a darkening of the surface. These coatings are less hard than the origianl surface and will wear and weather relatively quickly, often make the surface more slippery when wet and must be completely stripped off when re-coating. Salts and water may also build-up under the surface, causing the coating to appear cloudy and peel. Impregnating sealers can be classified as those that repel water and those that repel both water and oil based stains (the ones germs cling to). Impregnating sealers usually have little effect on the frictional properties and appearance of the surface but will not completely stop dirt and rubber getting into the open pores of the surface. When comparing similar sounding impregnating sealers the two most important questions are: (a) is it permanent? and (b) how deep does it penetrate below the surface? A good depth of penetration is critical to provide protection against traffic wear and weathering.
Should the sealer be water-based or solvent-based?
Sealers need a carrier to evenly spread and take the active ingredients onto or into the surface. This carrier is either water and/or a non-water based solvent. There is no doubt that "water-based" sounds like a more desirable product but this term can be misleading. Many water-based impregnators still contain a considerable amount of solvent such as n-butyl acetate. As a general rule, non-water based sealers are more effective than water-based sealers. The main reasons they perform better include: they are able to wet and penetrate into the surface - this gives the sealer protection from weathering, cleaning, traffic, freeze-thaw, picture framing (critical on kitchen counter tops where water may by-pass any surface treatment) and efflorescence. Non-water based sealers can also be used over a previously impregnated surface and are suitable to treat resin treated stone, which is the norm for granite kitchen counters. Fortunately, there are safe and environmentally responsible VOC compliant non-water based solvents available and Dry-Treat uses these where possible.
Will I still get some staining after sealing?
We believe Dry-Treat's products are the best impregnating sealers money can buy. However, they do have their limits. For instance they will not stop surface etching, so to minimize absorption the spill should be cleaned up immediately. If you want your surface to be "bullet proof" you may have to use a polyurethane coating (which will need recoating every few years, change the look and cause water to build-up underneath) or use a glazed ceramic tile. We recommend regular cleaning of treated exterior surfaces with Hanafinn Oxy-Klenza™.
What is the advantage of an impregnating sealer that consists of small reactive molecules?
Porous mineral building materials such as tile, stone, masonry, concrete and grout can be thought of as hard sponges. They are made up of countless interconnected microscopic pores and these pores will transport damaging liquids such as water, water-borne salts and stains into the surface. For example the typical diameter of a capillary pore in concrete is 1.3 microns compared to a water molecule which is 0.0001 microns. These liquids cause the building material to deteriorate prematurely and in so doing reduce its usefulness. An impregnator that is small enough to work its way in and permanently bond via a covalent reaction onto the sides of smallest pores deep into the surface offers a number of benefits including protection against traffic wear and weathering. Dry-Treat molecules are typically 10,000 smaller than capillary pore diameter of the building material. By comparison common fluoropolymer impregnators typically have colloidal particles larger than capillary pore diameter making the thin film it forms at or just below the surface vulnerable to sunlight radiation, cleaning and traffic wear.
Do I need to use both STAIN-PROOF Original™ and INTENSIFIA™?
No, best to use one product or the other. If you are after an enhanced look then just use the INTENSIFIA™ so you achieve the desired color of the surface and also have excellent resistance to oil stains. The product will darken the apparent color and also make the features of the surface readily visible. If you prefer to keep the original look then just use STAIN-PROOF Original™. Please note that we use to recommend going over the top of the now superseded product ENHANCE-PLUS™ with STAIN-PROOF Original™. This practice is no longer necessary when using INTENSIFIA™.
Can I paint over a surface already treated with STAIN-PROOF Original™?
It is possible to paint over a surface that has been treated with STAIN-PROOF Original™ but a solvent based primer must be used first. Otherwise the treated surface will repel the paint.
Can STAIN-PROOF Original™ or META CRÈME™ be used for graffiti protection?
Yes, if you require protection against graffiti and need to keep a natural look then these impregnators are about as good as you can get. Graffiti can then be removed by power washing and/or cleaning agents. If you do not mind changing the look of the surface then a barrier coating will give better protection against graffiti. This is because a coating will stop the graffiti from locking onto the surface texture.
Should I seal my concrete footpath and driveway?
Yes, this is highly recommended as apart from making the surface far easier to clean and stay looking good sealing has other benefits. Rain is acidic (pH 4.1 to 6.7) and concrete is very acid sensitive. Over time the surface loses its cement matrix to expose the stone aggregate. This not only looks unsightly but the surface gradually becomes more unserviceable including being more slippery, increase in tire noise, uneven and dangerous to walk or ride on. University research confirms that sealing with a water repellent will significantly delay concrete attack from acidic rain. Sealing reduces the dwell time the acidic rain has to sit on the concrete surface and so reduce the rate of weathering.
Will sealing my sandstone or limestone make it "salt safe"?
Some customers believe that our treatments will make their sandstone or limestone 'salt safe'. This is not accurate. There is no doubt that our sealers will provide a considerable long-term benefit in resisting the ingress of water and salt into the stone. However, the treated stone will not necessarily become 'salt safe'. Rather, it becomes far more resistant to the ingress of salt. The amount of salt already in the stone prior to treatment, the proximity to salt water, the type and concentration of the salts in the water, the type and quality of the stone and sub-soil drainage will all affect the durability of the stone. Please note that although we believe our sealers are the best available on the market they must be applied correctly. With proper application sealers will significantly improve the durability of the stone in a salt water environment.
Sodium chloride salt (the main salt in sea water) is partially damaging as it readily forms a strong cubic crystal that can rupture the stone matrix. Care must be taken not to trap the salts just below the surface of the stone. This condition is known as crytoflorescence. If the salts are stopped just below the surface, for instance because not enough sealer is applied, the water will still evaporate, depositing the salts behind the surface, which then crystallize. The expanding salt crystals can exceed the tensile strength of the stone and cause spalling or disintegration of the stone. So, how much is enough sealer? This can be worked out by testing a piece of sample stone with the treatment at the proposed application rate. Once the treated stone is cured (two weeks for DRY-TREAT 40SK™) the stone is broken and soaked in water. The depth of penetration of the treatment is that part from the surface that does not absorb the water. For soft sandstone you would need at least 12 mm (1/2 inch) depth of penetration.
To ensure the maximum protection of stone in harsh saltwater environments 'dip sealing' the stone is highly recommended. This is done by fully immersing the stone in a bath filled with DRY-TREAT 40SK™, typically for 30 seconds. Please note that by sealing the underside of the stone this will reduce the adhesion between a plain cement and sand mortar mix and the pavers. This problem is overcome by using a quality brand adhesive such as the Davco SE-7 and Davelastic or, Bostik Landscape Adhesive, which all have wetting agents. In this case the adhesion is actually improved as the treatment stops water loss of the adhesive to allow it to fully cure. Also make sure any parts of the stone latter exposed due to cutting are also treated. Otherwise this is will be a potential point of entry for the water-borne salts.
Will sealing stop my shower leaking?
The most common reasons why a shower will leak are (a) leaking pressure pipes in the wall (b) sheet membrane under the tiles has failed and (c) joint between the shower drain and tiles has failed. If the grout and flexible joint sealant in the shower are in a good condition then sealing with STAIN-PROOF Original™ is certainly an excellent relatively inexpensive first option in stopping the leak. Fixing a leaking pressure pipe is a job for a plumber.
Can I seal underwater?
Our products are not recommended for surfaces constantly underwater. The reason is that they work by stopping capillary suction and under constant water pressure the repellency is overcome and water penetrates via permeation and diffusion. The time it takes to overcome the repellency depends on the pore size of the stone and the water pressure. With a one metre pressure head it could take treated concrete 18 months but with 3 inches of water over porous bricks it could be days. Having said all that, if the stone is exposed to the air and allowed to dry regularly the repellency will be restored and the 'clock' starts again.
An alternative is a clear epoxy coating, although epoxies have a lot of other problems. If an architect or engineer insists on using an impregnator then make sure the entire stone is dipped sealed in DRY-TREAT 4OSK™ and then when the stone is fixed in place apply the STAIN-PROOF Original™. The DRY-TREAT 40SK™ is a particularly good water repellent for low silica based stone. Note that make sure they use a special adhesive such as the Davco SE-7 and Davelastic to stick the dipped sealed stone to the bedding.
How do I calculate the amount of sealer required
To determine how much sealer you'll need, measure the length and width of the area to be sealed. The amount of sealer used will depend on the particular material being sealed. For example, to seal a wet-poured cement-based paver you will need 1 litre per 7 sq.m. (1 quart per 70 sq.ft. per quart) and for sandstone you will need 1 litre per 4 sq.m. (1 quart per 40 sq.ft. per quart).
Why is it that some of your sealers appear to do the same thing?
Each sealer is slightly different and are designed for different purposes. For example DRY-TREAT 40SK™ will repel water, water-borne salts and bind a friable surface compared with STAIN-PROOF Original™, which will repel water, water-borne salts and oil-based stains.
What is the difference between your Dry-Treat and Hanafinn brands?
The Dry-Treat product range includes products that are technically cutting edge and relatively unique. When they are applied by an Accredited Applicator a written warranty can be issued. The Hanafinn range also consists of very special products often the best in their class that are more comparable to other professional brands.
Does a surface treated with your product affect food intended for human consumption?
Once cured, Dry-Treat products are inert and do not produce any emissions. A few years ago we asked a US Consultant to investigate this subject. They found no clear definition or guidelines for treated surfaces that have casual contact with food. Most data relates only to food additives. Since DRY-TREAT™ can withstand temperatures in excess of 212 ºF for sanitation purposes, it falls into the GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe). The Food Drug and Cosmetic Act permit companies to make their own GRAS determination. As you can see from Question 8 at the FDA web site, approval is not required. (Question - "Must FDA approve GRAS substances" Answer - No. If the use of a food substance is GRAS, it is not subject to the pre-market review and approval requirement by FDA.)
Are your products environmentally responsible?
Yes, in a number of ways. Firstly, our preferred carrier solvent is alcohol, a renewable and biologically responsible bio-liquid that is produced using sugar cane or corn. Dry-Treat also uses safe and environmentally responsible VOC compliant non-water based solvents were possible. Secondly, our products are semi-permanent which means once treated the sealing procedure does not have to be redone, in some cases for thirty years. Finally, making a surface easier to clean means that substantially less aggressive cleaning liquids and water are required for use in commercial, industrial and home cleaning. In these important ways we are making a small contribution to long-term sustainability.
How old does cement based grout need to be before sealing?
The grout needs a minimum of 3 days to cure before sealing.
How do I know if my surface is still adequately sealed?
Please carry out the following water test; place a tablespoon of water on the treated surface for 20 minutes, blot up the water with a tissue, pressing hard to soak up any water in the texture of the surface. If the water is absorbed or leaves a dark mark the surface needs more sealing.
After the 24 hour STAIN-PROOF Original™ trial on my stone olive oil till leaves a mark, why?
This sometimes happens on very porous stone and can be over come by varying the application method. The surface needs a pre-seal to hold the STAIN-PROOF Original™ closer to the surface. Apply the first coat, and after 10 minutes wipe off the excess. Allow the product to cure for a minimum of one hour (24 hours is even better!). Then apply a second coat of STAIN-PROOF Original™ and polish off the excess after it becomes touch dry or a minimum of 10 minutes. Please note that most Dry-Treat sealers are reactive and therefore take over two to three weeks to fully cure.
I have applied your sealer and now have a sticky residue on the surface. What can I do?
This sometimes occurs when excess sealer has been left on the surface. If the sealer is less than a few days old the residue can be removed by applying some of the sealer to a dry white cotton towel and polishing the residue until the surface is clean. This should dissolve the residue. If the residue has dried then applying some of paint stripper to a dry white towel and polish the residue until the surface is clean. A nylon-scouring pad may also help remove really stubborn residue.
Do I need to pre-seal my tile?
Pre-sealing is the process of sealing a tile or stone before it is installed and helps protect the tile from installation water damage such as that caused by grouting between the tile joints. Pre-sealing also helps reduce the amount of impregnating sealer required once the tile is installed as it reduces the amount of sealer penetrating too deeply into the tile. One other important benefit of pre-sealing is to reduce the effects of grout migrating into the side of the tile causing an unsightly discolouration. Some tiles arrive on the job already pre-sealed, often with a relatively weak sealer in the factory. To check if a tile needs to be pre-sealed place a tablespoon of water on it's surface for 30 seconds. Blot up the water with a tissue, pressing hard to soak up any water in the texture of the surface. If the water is absorbed or leaves a dark mark the tile should be pre-sealed prior to their laying. Pre-sealing the sides of a tile is not an issue since a strong bond between the grout and the tile is not essential. The main purpose of the grout is to fill the gap and provide lateral support. Both of these outcomes are achieved by pre-sealing the edge of the tile
How can I remove the excess product that has dried on the surface?
This can happen if the surface is too hot (if the surface is hot to touch then it is too hot to seal!) or excessive product has been applied for that type of material. Try removing the excess by wetting a dry white cloth in the sealer and removing the residue. If that doesn't work a strong solvent such as xylene or acetone will remove most residues. Check if the cleaned surface still repels water. If not then you should re-seal those affected areas again.
What do I do if there is already a sealer on the surface I want to treat?
Usually pre-existing surface sealers must be removed. The best method is to use a paint stripper that can be bought at any hardware store. Use plenty of dry white cloth when removing the old surface sealer. This is particularly important with unpolished porcelain tiles which often arrive with a factory applied wax coating. Make sure you do a test area first. The exception to this is that a Dry-Treat impregnating sealer will pass through virtually any other impregnating sealer.
My surface is sealed with an impregnating sealer. Can a surface sealer be applied over it?
Yes, but you will need to wash the surface with solvent such as methylated spirits or better still acetone and use a solvent-based surface sealer. The reason for this is because only a solvent-based surface sealer will adhere to an impregnated surface
I am about to seal but have discovered large "white" marks on my cement pavers.
After their installation cement pavers are often acid washed to remove grout marks. If the pavers have not been thoroughly neutralized and rinsed clean with fresh water after acid washing then the residue from the acid wash may show up as a large white mark on the surface. These marks may be removed using a mild acid such as phosphoric acid diluted in water and scrubbed on the mark. Always test the use of any acid first in an inconspicuous area.
How is INTENSIFIA™ different to some other similar treatments?
The INTENSIFIA™ will enhance the color and make the surface features readily visible without changing its wet slip frictional properties. This is essential in keeping a safe trafficable surface in all weather conditions. The treatment will also provide outstanding oil stain (Class 5, best possible result) and water resistance (>98% reduction in 24 hour water uptake).
Should I use INTENSIFIA™ or an acrylic coating on my concrete floor?
INTENSIFIA™ is an excellent finisher for dense polished concrete that will provide better stain and water protection and not trap underfloor moisture, will not alter the wet slip frictional properties or hardness, can be recoated at any time without the need to strip, will not flake, crack, blister or yellow. Acrylic, epoxy and urethane are film forming coatings that have none of these advantages (but they are shiny and sometimes cheaper). All film forming coatings eventually delaminate to become opaque and look unsightly due to a phenomena called preferential wetting. This wetting is because surfaces like stone and concrete attract water and film forming coatings repel water. Water accumulates and spreads at the interface of the surface and film to finally dislodge the coating.
Can I apply a topical coating to a surface already treated with INTENSIFIA™?
Dry-Treat does not recommend this due to possible bond and/or aesthetic issues. If you do go ahead please carry out a test patch to determine the result
What is 'picture framing'?
This is a term used to describe a discolouration that may occur to the outer rim of the surface of the tile. The source is usually either the seepage of grout into the tile or, for cement based materials, an uneven curing of the cement in the tile or, water. Picture framing is usually irreversible and it is best to prevent it from occurring. Preventive measures include pre-sealing the upper-surface of the sides of the tile.
Is it normal to get scuff marks on a surface that has been treated with an impregnating sealer?
Yes. Since impregnating sealers do not fill the surface pores, marks from the likes of rubber soled shoes or tannin from tree leaves can still discolour the surface. The good news is that the sealer holds the contaminating agent close to the surface. Usually, a diluted acid free bleach and light scrubbing will remove most marks caused by organic inanimate contaminating agents such as oil etc. Dry-Treat impregnating sealers are bleach tolerant.
My black granite has lost its polish in spots and has light-colored ring marks from cups?
Black granite is a misnomer and it is probably a gabbro (a type of coarse grained basalt). This stone is very durable but may contain traces of minerals sensitive to food acids such as vinegar. True granites consist of light colored minerals not sensitive to common acids. The spots may also be deposits from dishwashing chemicals (e.g. sodium, calcium) that enter unglazed ceramic on the underside of the cup and then leach out onto the stone. In both the cases the marks can be removed by abrading with super fine steel wool or grit paper. Carry out a small test first in an out of the way spot to check the resulting look.
Why is my outside limestone patio still fading even though I have sealed the surface?
Pure water has a pH of 7.0. However, normal rain is slightly acidic because carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur and nitric oxides dissolve into it forming weak carbonic, sulfuric and nitric acids, giving the resulting acidic mixture a pH 4.1 to 6.7 (pH 4 is one thousand more acidic than pH 7). Limestone and marble are alkaline stones (CaCO3) and are sensitive to acidic liquids. When used outside it will etch and scour causing surface roughness and giving the appearance of fading. Urban rain will dissolve exposed alkaline stone at least 50 times faster than unpolluted rain. University research has found that by minimising water contact with the surface an impregnating sealers can reduce but not stop this phenomena. A topical coating will make the situation worse as it will entrap rain water enhancing the acidic reaction.
I have rising damp!
Rising damp occurs when the damp course, usually made of lead, plastic or slate, in a masonry wall no longer stops ground water and salts travel up the wall, causing unsightly damage to the interior and exterior finishes. The best solution is the reinstatement of a physical damp course. If this is not practical then a "chemical" damp course can be made. The injection of DRY-TREAT 40SK™ below the floor level provides lasting protection against water and water-borne salt damage. How to use:
1. Determine the level of the existing damp course.
2. Drill below the old damp course 20 to 30-mm (3/4" to 1 1/4") diameter holes 120-mm (5") apart at a slight incline in a staggered pattern.
3. Ensure the holes to be treated are dry, clean and free of residues.
4. Apply when the surface temperature is below 35 C (95 F).
5. Generously saturate the holes with product using a reservoir, or similar. Avoid contact with surrounding areas (typical application rate is 1 litre per linear metres, depending on porosity and wall thickness).
6. Allow 30 minutes for product to soak in then repeat application until the wall is saturated.
7. Clean equipment in mineral turps.
8. After the successful completion of the damp coarse injection the walls will dry out, causing salts to appear at the surface.
The rate of drying out will depend on many things including the temperature and may take months before the moisture content of the wall is stable.
What is efflorescence?
Efflorescence is a problem affecting all cement based building materials. This includes pavers, brickwork, blockwork, concrete, render, grout and tiles. In every kilogram of cement-based material there are also many grams of water-soluble salts. Most commonly, efflorescence begins when unused lime compounds from the cement are dissolved in mixing water, ground water or rain. Evaporation of the water brings these lime compounds to the surface where they can react with carbon dioxide in air to form insoluble crystalline calcium carbonate. This is the unsightly white powdery material we often see on pavers that detracts from what should otherwise be an attractive and clean surface. In extreme cases the efflorescence can obscure the surface and the crystallisation can cause erosion and pitting. Eventually, the calcium carbonate may react with more carbon dioxide to form calcium bicarbonate - a material that is water-soluble. The surface may become clean after a number of months or years in the outdoors. Understandably, not everyone wants to wait that long. And since first impressions are always lasting, it's worth preventing efflorescence problems from the start. Just washing the efflorescence off the surface usually starts an almost endless cycle of more efflorescence rising to the surface. After only a few days the surface is as powdery as before. The answer is to seal the surface with a high performance sealer as soon as is practical after the building material is installed. The sealer must be deeply penetrating, able to withstand the highly alkaline environment found in cement based-materials and be completely breathable so moisture cannot be trapped below the surface. Once the surface is sealed a deep water-repelling layer is formed. This layer will prevent water and dissolved lime compounds from reaching the surface where efflorescence could occur. At the same time the sealer stops further water soaking into the surface and so breaks the cycle of efflorescence. The unused lime compounds are left harmlessly immobile in the core of the building material with little contact with carbon dioxide. Since the sealer can breathe, sub-surface moisture can escape as water vapour rather than in a liquid form. Most efflorescence can be removed using an acid such as Eff-Erazya™ diluted in water - although extreme caution and testing is required when the surface is acid sensitive.
Sealing a surface with a Dry-Treat impregnating sealer will make the surface water and stain resistant, but not dirt resistant. The sealed surface should be cleaned as regularly as a non-sealed surface. If a problematic substance such as sticky tree gum falls on the surface, it will still be difficult to clean off, but should not permanently stain the surface.
How do I maintain a sealed tile?
The long-term good looks of a sealed surface will depend on maintenance. Removing spills immediately, using diluted bleach to remove marks and routine cleaning and scrubbing of the surface will keep surfaces looking good for longer. Also, HANAFINN Rejuvenata™ is designed to help maintain a sealed surface by cleaning and prolonging the stain resistance of the treatment.
How to maintain a sealed stone countertop
The kitchen is dirtier than most bathrooms. A kitchen worktop has about 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat! Near the drain there are about 3,000 bacterial per sq.cm. Without nutrients and water, bacterial cannot grow. An impregnating sealer will make the countertop highly water and oil repellent. This doesn't mean that the surface won't get dirty, but it will impede water and oil based liquids from penetrating into the pores and causing a permanent stains (the ones germs cling onto), making the countertop easier to clean and more hygienic. Even once impregnated, natural stone still needs to be correctly cared for. Dry-Treat has created a new Countertop Care Sheet, a simple guide to caring for natural stone countertops which can be printed off and given to customers. HANAFINN Rejuvenata for countertops™ is a gentle daily cleaner designed for natural and engineered stone countertops, which contains a touch of sealer so an extra layer of protection is added over multiple cleanings.
Why use Eff-Erayza™?
Eff-Erayza™ is as effective as traditional strong acids in removing efflorescence, grout haze and rust marks, but is non-fuming and far safer if accidently spilt on skin.
Why not just use bleach to clean my surface?
Cleaners that have the strongest smell include sodium hypochlorite bleach based cleaners. Sodium hypochlorite, a liquid bleach with several uses such as chlorinating pools and purifying drinking water (depending on the dilution), is a corrosive chemical that can cause skin and eye irritation and burns upon contact. It can also produce corrosive gases if mixed with other household products such as toilet cleaners. According to a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, frequent use of common household cleaning sprays (at least once a week) may be an important risk factor for adult asthma. In addition, research published in the British Medical Journal's Occupational and Environmental Medicine found the process of cleaning with bleach could generate volatile or airborne compounds that could damage the lining of lung cells, sparking inflammation and making it easier for infections to take hold. They also suggested bleach could suppress the immune system. Fortunately, Dry-Treat offers three effective cleaners that do not contain any traces of chlorinated bleach.
Should I buy a sealed natural stone or an engineered stone counter top?
It is difficult to give an unbiased opinion on this. Engineered stone is crushed stone mixed in epoxy resin. Like most fashion fads, at the start it looks great but it is certainly not maintenance free. Over time engineered stone will discolor and require a sanding and repolish to bring it back to life. In our opinion nothing beats the timeless good looks of natural stone. Sealed natural stone provides an excellent natural and durable work top that can take hot pans, sunlight and anything else life throws at it.