Concrete, stone and tiled surfaces have some significant benefits. They provide a robust, long-lasting solution as well as a sleek and stylish aesthetic that compliments every property design or aesthetic. Although these options offer a hardy and robust solution, their porous nature does mean some post-installation conditioning and regular maintenance is required to keep them in their best condition.
It is a topic of debate as to the necessity of concrete sealing, natural stone sealing and tile floor sealing, and how often maintenance and resealing should be performed. Below we will take an in-depth look at different types of cleaning and sealing methods, their purpose and application, and why you should consider using a cleaning and sealing service like Enviro Clean & Capture.
What is concrete, stone and tile sealing?
Concrete, stone and tiles are a robust flooring option that can last the lifetime of a property if well maintained. Like most products, maintenance and protection prolong life expectancy and keep your flooring looking its best. These products are porous, meaning moisture and dirt can be absorbed into its structure, which can lead to staining, degradation and damage over time.
Sealing is the application of a chemical to porous material like concrete, stone or tile to provide a protective barrier between the surface and any potential contaminants. It also prolongs the life of the product and material, making it more durable and easy to clean. Enviro Clean & Capture have a variety of sealant options that are both effective and environmentally friendly.
The benefits of regular, professional concrete cleaning and sealing
Your concrete and tile surfaces are subjected to a lot of punishment, not just by heavy foot traffic but also by pollutants, the elements and the harsh impact of the sun. Some of the main benefits of professional concrete and tile cleaning and sealing are:
Reduced cracking, flaking and spalling
Protection from contaminants like garden chemicals and oil
Reduces mould and mildew build-up
Adds value to the property
An inexpensive maintenance solution
Professional cleaning and sealing protects the flooring’s surface from oxidation caused by the sun. This can cause concrete, stone and tiles to break down prematurely, and in turn, cause them to shift, crack, heave or buckle, reducing the lifespan of your investment, and devaluing the resale value of your property.
The main reasons to use a professional Service over a DIY application
There was a time not so long ago that concrete floors were mostly relegated to the outdoor areas, sheds and industrial properties. Contemporary design in both residential and commercial property however, has seen the rise of sleek polished concrete. This is not only a cost-effective option but also a versatile, easy to clean and sustainable one.
Like all things, its sleek and stylish appearance can diminish if not correctly cleaned and maintained. This applies to both traditional outdoor concreting and modern indoor polished concrete, stonework and tiled surfaces.
Enviro Clean & Capture use advanced pressure cleaning machines that are quiet and effective on all surfaces, both indoors and outdoors.
It is also effective for addressing:
Car park and driveway degreasing
Chewing gum removal
Stained outdoor entertainment areas
This type of cleaning not only restores your surfaces to their original state, but also uses much less water than more traditional cleaning methods, making it more environmentally friendly.
Concrete, stone and tile sealing and coating
Sealing is the process of coating a porous surface such as concrete, stone or tiling in a chemical that reduces porosity and prevents the penetration of contaminants and pollutants that cause stains or degradation of the product. Below we will take a look at different kinds of sealants and their applications.
Penetration sealers are most commonly applied with rollers, but can also be applied by spray, which is more common when sealing large areas. They are made with specialty resins (silicones, siloxanes, and silanes) that impregnate the stone or concrete beneath the surface to limit the penetration of water and oil-based contaminants. Some of the benefits penetration sealants provide include:
Allowing natural stone to breath
Protecting the surface without affecting its finish
Making the surface easy to clean
Being environmentally friendly
Penetrative sealers also have a long life expectancy. They can sometimes provide up to 10 years protection, depending on the material and the surrounding conditions.
Topical sealers are usually applied directly to a porous product to create a film that coats and seals the top surface. They create a high gloss finish and the more coats applied, the more reflective and glossier the finish becomes. The benefits of Topical sealants include:
Strong barrier between porous surface and contaminants
Prevention of corrosion, surface damage and staining
The high gloss finish also provides a perfect aesthetic for sleek indoor designs or contemporary professional spaces.
Solvent sealants are usually applied with a sprayer, and have similar attributes to penetrative sealants; however, there are a few differences. Solvent sealants form a deeper bond with the surface than regular penetrative sealants and use stronger chemicals.
These types of sealants are suitable for low porosity surfaces such as granite, marble and porcelain, but do come with advantages and disadvantages.
Added advantages to solvent sealers include:
Penetration of up to 20mm into the product
Effective repellent for water-based contaminants
Unlike other penetrative sealants, they do have some disadvantages in certain circumstances. For example, solvent sealants:
Use powerful chemicals that emit strong odours
Are ineffective against oil-based stains
Are difficult to strip for reapplication
Have potential to damage natural stone during the stripping process
In some circumstances, solvent sealants may be the best option. Professional cleaning and sealing services like Enviro Clean & Capture can assess and provide you with advice on the best course of action for each unique circumstance.
Concrete, stone and tile sealant aftercare
Once your concrete, stone or tile surface is cleaned and sealed, the protective layer will stop pollutants and contaminants from permeating the product. However, some regular cleaning and maintenance will be necessary to guarantee that you get the most out of your new or restored surface.
Proper cleaning and maintenance should be performed by sweeping or vacuuming the surface to remove dirt and dust, tree leaves, animal droppings and other foreign matter, followed by mopping or wiping with a basic soap and water mix. You can provide extra care by using a specialised neutral pH cleaning solution. This can be purchased from most specialist flooring outlets or can be obtained from a professional concreteand tile sealing service like Enviro Clean & Capture.
Why use a professional service to clean and apply a sealant?
Successful application of a sealant is highly dependent on the quality of the cleaning and preparation of the surface. The area must be adequately cleaned, free of any contaminants and thoroughly dried before any sealant can be applied. This process is made much easier and is less time consuming with the right tools and machinery, like that which is used by professional cleaning and resealing professionals.
Another factor to consider is the sealant itself. Sealants are not products you want to come into contact with your skin or eyes. Different sealants can also have different safe handling instructions, as well as varied preparation requirements. It is best to leave the safe handling of industrial-grade chemicals to trade professionals whenever possible to guarantee the safety of yourself and other occupants.
It is imperative to seal your new concrete, stone or tiled surface as soon as possible after pouring, resurfacing or laying the material to avoid efflorescence and “picture framing”. This also guarantees the original aesthetic of your investment is maintained as best as possible.
Efflorescence is a crystalline deposit on the surface of concrete and paving. It is the migration of salt to the surface of a porous material where it forms a coating. It usually appears as a whitish, chalky substance that is sometimes referred to as “whiskers.”
This can be averted by applying a sealer immediately after resurfacing or installation to prevent water and other contaminants from entering the pores of the product.
Picture framing is an industry term for discolouration that occurs around the outer edge of a tile or paver. This most commonly occurs from the seepage of grout into the material or uneven curing of the concrete. This issue can best be prevented by prompt sealing or pre-sealing of the product. Picture framing is often irreversible, and it is best avoided by actioning early intervention.
How often do you need to get your surfaces cleaned and resealed?
For the best results in protecting and maintaining the appearance of your concrete, stone and tile surfaces, it is advised that annual professional cleaning and resealing is performed.
However, many experts agree to protect your investment effectively, resealing should occur every 2-3 years to mitigate the water ingress into the materials. Keep in mind; this estimate may vary depending on the material, use and the surrounding environment, so best to get specialised advice from a company like Enviro Clean and Capture.
How to know if your surface requires cleaning and resealing?
Although it is always best to get advice from a specialist concrete, stone and tile expert, there is a way to test if your surface may require you to seek professional assessment and treatment.
You can do this by placing 15-20mls or roughly a tablespoon of water on the previously treated surface, and leave it for approximately 20 minutes. Then, soak up the water with some paper towel or tissue, pressing hard to get all of the water in the pores of the surface. If the water has permeated the surface or left a dark mark, it is a good indication that it may be worth contacting a professional to clean and reseal the surface.
Requirements for sealing around swimming pools
If your surface is surrounding a swimming pool or spa area, some specific treatments may be required. Saltwater pools, in particular, can be quite corrosive to concrete, stone or tiled surfaces, especially when sandstone, travertine, limestone or related materials have been used.
It is best to use an impregnating sealer with hardening properties to help solidify the particles and reduce the chance of salt spalling and disintegration of the stone. If a mineral or chlorine pool is in place, it is still recommended that a standard impregnating sealer be used to protect against discolouration and staining.
Speak to the experts at Enviro Clean and Capture for the highest quality protection today
Enviro Clean and Capture have been providing expert concrete, stone and tile cleaning surfaces in the Sydney and Newcastle region since 1999. We are respected for our expert knowledge, fast response times, friendly service and competitive rates.
Our highly trained team of technicians provide after-hours services, use cutting edge technology, and pride themselves on their environmentally friendly process. Services provided by Enviro Clean and Capture include:
Natural stone cleaning
Natural stone sealing
Do you need a cleaning, restoration, and sealing service in the Sydney and Newcastle area? Don’t risk the damage and premature wear of your valuable asset with underprepared DIY treatments or general trade services. Contact Enviro Clean and Capture today as we draw on over 20 years of professional concrete, stone and tile cleaning and restoration experience in both commercial and residential properties.
To speak to Enviro Clean and Capture for expert advice and services for all your concrete, stone and tile cleaning and sealing solutions simply fill out a quick quote form on our website, or contact us directly. We’ll ensure that your flooring investment is protected and lasts for many years to come.