Moisture Sensitive Stone – Classifications Explained
It is understandable that stone products expand, and sometimes warp, during installation due to the moisture present in the substrate and installation materials. Warping can occur with a moisture sensitive stone when the rate of expansion and contraction between the bonded, wet side of the stone, is significantly lower than that of the exposed top surface. This differential creates dimensional instability, manifesting itself as warping. Traditional concerns of warping are generally associated with certain types of green marble and slate, some Serpentines and some of the artificial stones that use, especially, polyester resin binders.
Why Seal Six Sides of Stone?
Six sided sealing has long been touted as an important part of a water management installation system for managing soluble mineral contamination in stone. However the problem has often been that using such products creates a potential compromise with the adhesive. Specialist contemporary sealer technology now offers sealers that can be applied to all six surfaces without compromising adhesive performance.
The Benefits of Sealing All Six Sides
Picture framing, soluble mineral staining, primary and secondary efflorescence are all relatively common problems associated with stone installation. Applying a specialist sealer to all six sides can help to alleviate and manage these issues and is certainly an important component in a complete water management system.
Sealers & Slip Resistance
Aqua Mix Penetrating Sealers do not change the natural slip resistance of the stone or tile surface. In contrast coating/surface sealers can alter the natural slip resistance. The following article discusses the relationship between sealers and slip resistance in more detail.
Anti-Microbial technology built into Aqua Mix® Premium Sealers
MicroBan® is the global leader in anti-microbial technology and is built into the manufacturing process. MicroBan® anti-microbial acts to inhibit micro-organisms, providing another level of protection against damaging microbes, such as bacteria, mould and mildew that can cause, stains, odours and product deterioration. Aqua Mix® Sealer’s Choice® Gold – Rapid Cure, Aqua Mix® Ultra-Solv®, Aqua Mix® SameDay™Grout Sealer & Aqua Mix® Grout Colorant are all formulated with Microban® protecton built in.
Phosphoric Acid: Why it should no longer be a “preferred” acid in our industry
For a number of years phosphoric acid has been marketed as a safer alternative to the historically “common” hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid is an extremely volatile acid that not only acts very aggressively with many building products but also emits a vapour that does almost the same damage as the liquid itself. The vapour is also very harmful to the user making the use of masks and filters compulsory. Phosphoric Acid on the other hand does not have the same problems regarding vapour emission hence being “safer” to use. Along with this it is also less aggressive in its interaction with many building materials especially natural stone where it is less likely (you need much stronger concentrations) to set off adverse reactions with soluble minerals such as pyrite and vanadium to name a few.
What are VOC’s?
VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) have a damaging and negative affect on the environment and are now heavily regulated around the world. Aqua Mix® products are formulated with as low VOC content as possible with a significant number having no VOC content at all. Understanding VOC’s, what damage they cause to the environment and which products have low to no VOC content are all important factors in deciding which stone and tile care products to use.
Aqua Mix® Sealers Expected Wear
The first thing to understand is there are no internationally recognized test methods or standards for stone and tile sealers. There are some common test methods such as shear bond and vapour transmission, but no performance standards or standard tests a sealer must pass. This includes the performance characteristic of expected wear (EW). Because of this there is no independent way of evaluating one manufacturers claim regarding EW with another. However Aqua Mix® has always taken a responsible and scientific approach to all of our testing including claims regarding EW.
Moisture Content for Sealing
Generally sealers require a stone and tile to be dry prior to application. However how can we tell if they are actually dry enough to apply a sealer? All things contain a certain percentage of moisture even when they look dry. Therefore knowing how to identify if a stone or tile is dry enough to apply a sealer is a very important factor in ensuring sealer performance. The following article discusses the best methods for determining the moisture content of stone and tile prior to sealer application.
Understanding Enhancing Sealers
Enhancers such as Aqua Mix® Enrich’N’Seal™ not only absorb light (actually scattering it more effectively than natural particles) but by doing so they help absorb it deeper in the stone. This means that the light is exposed to more of the stones particles that in turn scatter the light thus reducing the quantity of light that can be reflected and refracted within the stone, therefore less light is reflected back to the onlooker. Consequently one sees a darker stone. The bottom line is the more durable the coating and enhancing chemical the longer the light will be absorbed and the longer we will see the stone as enhanced.
Since the introduction of Aqua Mix® Eff-Ex® I have had numerous questions regarding the ability of this product to clean and inhibit efflorescence on cement mortars, grouts and renders. More importantly if it would be prudent to apply Aqua Mix® Eff-Ex® to a mortar bed or concrete slab prior to installing tile? The same question has been directed towards sealers and their effectiveness at preventing efflorescence. To answer this let’s have a quick revision regarding the mechanism of efflorescence and especially how it pertains to cement and mortar.
Does Natural Stone fade?
The simple answer is that some natural stone does fade especially varieties like the well documented water sensitive verde (or green marble – serpentine). The reasons for fading are varied however it is important to note that many of these processes can be managed by proper use of man made technologies such as sealers, good adhesives and waterproof membranes. So how and why do certain stones fade? To understand this phenomenon you must firstly understand how colour is created in stone. We see colour in stone in the main body and also in the veins that exist in marble and limestone. Colour is created by several different processes all working and modifying the minerals and chemistry of the stone.
What is an Etch?
An etch is not a stain; like a scratch it effectively changes the surface of the stone. It generally appears as a light, dull mark. Penetrating Sealers cannot stop etching as they are beneath the stones surface and not a physical barrier between the acidic liquid and the stone.