Using Faber Natural Stone Impregnators To Protect Your Installations
Using Faber Natural Stone Impregnators To Protect Your Installations
Different measures are required when protecting natural stone. While the structure itself is strong and durable, the longevity of the installation will depend on the steps you take to maximise its protection from the day-to-day barrage of abuse it receives, from foot traffic to dirt and the occasional spills. Sealing is key, and this is where natural stone impregnators come in.
The Absorbency Factor
Natural stone is porous. It soaks up the liquids that are spilled onto it. These liquids in turn leave behind unsightly stains. From beverages like coffee, tea and wine, to substances like ink and nail polish – they will form different kinds of spots on the surface, which can be problematic to remove.
The absorbency will vary depending on the particular type of stone. To test just how absorbent your particular installation is, simply place a couple of drops on the surface, and observe how long it takes for the water to disappear completely. If all the water is absorbed in under a minute, then you have a very porous stone. If it takes 3-4 minutes, then it has medium porosity, while longer shows that it has low porosity and absorbency. This will be key in determining the type of natural stone impregnators to use for the process. Let’s expound further on what they are.
Natural Stone Impregnators 101
These are products that have been formulated to penetrate into the stone. By going below the surface and coating the individual minerals of the material, they prevent water, dirt and oil from getting into the stone. The natural stone impregnators can be water- or solvent-based. They can be broadly categorised into oleophobic/lyophobic (these are oil-repellent) or hydrophobic (water-repellent). Note that an oleophobic impregnator will always repel water as well, while a hydrophobic impregnator may not always repel oil. As such, it is important to check the product label on the categorisation of the formulation.
What about coating formulations?
Coatings are sealers that add a protective layer on the stone surface. This is basically a sacrificial layer, since it will be taking on the wear and spills, preventing them from affecting the underlying stone. Some even come with additional slip resistance. This mode of approach makes the initial cost of application to be low.
However, there are some downsides. For starters, most coatings tend to be softer than the actual stone, meaning they will end up getting scratched and scuffed easier. Thus, wear patterns will be showing soon after the application. There will be more intensive maintenance required, from the buffing and burnishing, to reapplying the product. A build-up of the coatings results in the treated surface developing a plastic-like look. In addition, there are coatings that will lead to the breathability of the stone being blocked. Here, moisture ends up getting trapped under the surface, causing spalling.
With coatings, the stripping and reapplication will be carried out more often, racking up the coats. This also poses a risk to the stone itself, since the chemicals and abrasives that are typically used during the stripping processes can wear down the structure. There is also a greater risk of the stripping brushes and pads wearing down the soft stones. Agglomerates are particularly at risk of being harmed by wax strippers, since these will eat away at their polyester binds.
Impregnators vs Coatings
Many of the natural stone impregnators don’t change the stone’s appearance, and they also don’t need frequent applications as compared to the coatings – making them more budget-friendly in the long run. Since the impregnator actually gets below the surface of the stone, it can last for years before another round of reapplication is required.
Guide To Selecting The Right Natural Stone Impregnator
Different facts are considered when making the selection process. These include:
The type of stone
Stones are not equal. Aspects like the porosity of the stone should be a priority when making the selection. Here the focus is the absorption coefficient, which looks at how fast the liquids are absorbed. For instance, granite has a higher coefficient of absorption compared to a polished marble surface. Limestone is also highly absorbent. When looking through the different products check whether they are intended for high-absorbent, medium, or low-absorbent surfaces.
The stone finish
Whether or not a stone surface has been finished will affect the absorption as well. Polished surfaces are less absorbent compared to those with honed or flamed finishes. This can also be assessed with the quick test we’ve described above.
The location of the installation
Where has the natural stone been installed? Is it a countertop in the kitchen or a fountain out in the yard? Are you dealing with an installation in the bathroom or sauna – which typically witness higher levels of moisture, or it is the dining floor where spills and stains would be a problem? The level of exposure that the stone has to oil, water, traffic, and even pets needs to be considered when determining the kind of protection required for the installation. For instance, if you want to treat a natural stone installation at the front foyer, you may only need an impregnator that has water-repellent properties. On the other hand, for a marble kitchen floor, you want a product that will protect the installation from both water and oil spills.
Faber’s Range Of Natural Stone Impregnators
Established in Italy back in 1986, Faber has been around for decades. Over the years, it has become a world-renowned brand in surface care, providing products used in the treatment and maintenance of natural stone installations plus manmade materials like ceramics and agglomerates. The products are relied on by builders, architects, industrial personnel, all through to professional cleaning and maintenance companies. With a market spanning across Europe, emerging markets in the Middle East and Asia, all through to the Gulf nations, the popularity of their products is widespread. As such, when turning to Faber products you can rest assured that you’re getting value for your money. When it comes to natural stone impregnators, there are different products available. These include:
Faber Colour Enhancer Matt Finish
This is one of Faber’s solvent-based natural stone impregnators, so remember to apply it in a well-ventilated room.
What You Get From The Colour Enhancer Matt Finish
This impregnator comes with high water-repellent properties. In fact, it is so effective in this that it is recommended for use on surfaces that are bound to come into contact with copious amounts of water, from showers at home to fountains out in the open. Washbasins, kitchen countertops – it will impart the water repellency, to protect the integrity of the natural stone installation from water damage.
Stain proofing also comes into play. By increasing the resistance of the material to stains, wiping off spills can be done faster. You get to clean away those occasional spills without having permanent stains being left behind, maintaining the beauty of the installation.
It's right in the name, after all. If you’re looking for a matt wet-look finish after treating your natural stone surfaces, then this is the product for you. What’s more, you can use it both indoors and outdoors, and it is particularly suitable for medium-absorbent natural stone surfaces with a non-polished finish.
Enhance the aesthetics
That natural tone and colouration of the surface being treated is enhanced by this formulation. That way, you get to accentuate the look and feel of the space. The deeply penetrating treatment does not leave behind a surface film, thus preserving the breathability of the installation.
Resistance to the elements
Natural stone installations that are outdoors get to increase their protection against the different weather conditions due to the durability that comes with the Faber Colour Enhancer Matt Finish. It is also resistant to UV radiation, and it doesn’t yellow over time. This maintains that elegant look for longer, giving you more value for your purchase.
Since areas like kitchen countertops still need to be protected, you want to work with natural stone impregnators that will get the job done without posing a risk to the integrity of the meals prepared on these surfaces. You can get that with the Faber Colour Enhancer Matt Finish, which has been certified to be safe for these installations.
Maintenance is a breeze
By limiting the ability of the natural stone to trap dirt and grime, the everyday cleaning becomes much easier. The impregnating sealer prevents those stains and grime build-ups from penetrating into the material and attaching to the stone, meaning that those routine cleanup jobs won’t take up much effort or resources, translating in more value realised over time.
Faber Enhancer Plus
Here, you have a colour-enhancing formulation that penetrates deep into the natural stone material without leaving behind any film. Like its predecessor, it leaves behind a matt wet-look on the surface. In addition, it comes with water-repellent and stain proofing attributes, protecting the treated stone from the various kinds of water damage. What’s more, it comes with oil-repellent properties, further widening the scope of protection for your installation.
The Faber Enhancer Plus has been particularly developed for use on materials that have a low absorbency, and also surfaces with a polished finish. Common materials it’s used on include: marble, marble-resin and quartz resin agglomerates, slate, porphyry, quartzite, basaltina-lava rock, molten basalt, limestone, travertine and granite. It achieves the desired effect without altering the colour or tone of the stone.
Power Of The Faber Enhancer Plus
You can use the Faber Enhancer Plus to protect installations that are frequently wet, the likes of fountains, showers, washbasins all through to saunas. The UV-resistant nature of the adds to its list of features, and it can even be used to treat outdoor surfaces. Yellowing won’t occur, keeping that matt finish look for longer.
This formulation also aids in reducing the workload during the cleaning processes since it wards off the penetration of dirt and grime into the surface, resulting in a reduced ability of the stone to trap dirt. To clean surfaces that have been treated with this product, you should ensure that you use a product that is suitable for the particular floor being worked on. Common products used for the cleaning process include Faber Floor Cleaner or Neutral Cleaner.
Applying the Faber Enhancer Plus is a breeze. Start by cleaning the surface, since there shouldn’t be any dirt and grime on the area being worked on. Allow the surface to dry, and also cover the adjacent areas. Follow these steps for the application:
Spread a thick and even layer of the Faber Enhancer Plus onto the surface. Different tools can be used, such as a brush, airless spray, lambswool applicator, or even a cloth. Simply ensure that the applied layer is as uniform as possible.
Wait for around 10 minutes, and proceed to redistribute the residues or any excess product that is on the surface.
For natural stone materials that have higher absorbances, you can add a second coat of the product. However, this should be after allowing a 1-2 hour waiting period after the first layer has been applied.
Let the treatment dry, and this should take an hour or two. However, there are two key things to note:
When using the Faber Enhancer Plus on floors, you should allow 6 hours after application before opening the area to foot traffic.
The treated surface should not be washed for at least 24 hours. In fact, it is recommended that you wait an extra day as well, in order to give the treatment more time to form a firm and stronger attachment to the stone before carrying out any washing on the area.
In case a water-repellent primer has been applied onto the target area, first allow the treatment to fully cure before proceeding to apply the Faber Enhancer Plus on it.
Faber Marble & Granite Protector
In the range of natural stone impregnators that give the treated surface superior protection against stains, the Marble & Granite Protector stands out. Its specialised formulation makes it a powerful impregnating agent, getting deep into the natural stone and enhancing its protection to everyday staining. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect from it:
With the Marble & Granite Protector, you will be able to prevent those pesky permanent stains from forming on your surfaces. It increases the resistance of the natural stones to the liquids that cause troublesome stains, including wine and coffee, all through to reducing the ability of oily residue to cling to the material. Certainly, this does not mean that you allow those spills to go unattended to. What the product does is to buy you time to clean off the mess, and reduce the hassle that comes with the cleaning process.
Used in pre-grouting treatment
When natural stone tiles or slabs are to be grouted and taken through washing operations, water absorption is a key concern. Here, you want a water-repellent formulation which will cut down on how much moisture gets absorbed, and also protect the surface from being stained by the grout. That’s right up the alley of the Faber Marble & Granite Protector, and this has the welcome benefit of reducing the hassle that would have resulted during the cleaning process.
Speaking of reducing your cleaning workload, the Faber Marble & Granite Protector also increases the resistance of the treated surface to dirt absorption, by preventing the grime from penetrating into the surface.
Ideal for kitchen tops
When looking to stain-proof kitchen countertops, an additional key feature to look out for is the safety of the product for the food surfaces. After all, you don’t want your meals being contaminated and losing their integrity. With the Faber Marble & Granite Protector, you won’t have to worry about that. This is as it has been certified to be safe to use on the food surfaces.
Preserves the natural tone of the surface
This solvent-based impregnator will retain the look and feel of the surface being treated. It’s called an "invisible treatment” for a reason. It doesn’t alter the colour of the natural stone, allowing you to benefit from the protective attributes it brings without ruining the appeal of the installation. In addition, the formulation doesn't form that dreaded yellow hue that is typical of conventional natural stone impregnators out in the market, and it even comes with a high resistance to UV radiation and the elements, meaning that you can use it to protect outdoor installations. In addition to marble and granite, this formulation can also be used on limestone, basaltina, sandstone, quartzite, porphyry, slate and travertine installations.
This impregnating agent dries quickly – in just 1 hour after application. Note that if you have used it to treat floor surfaces, then you should allow at least 4-6 hours to pass before you open up the area to normal foot traffic.
Given that this is a solvent-based formulation, when you’re done working on the surfaces you should clean the equipment used with white spirit.
Faber Natural Look Protector
This formulation also offers “invisible protection”, in that it doesn’t affect the hue or tone of the treated installation. That way, the characteristics of the stone installation that make it accentuate the interior décor are not watered down, while still getting to benefit from the protective attributes of the product. The Faber Natural Look Protector has a high penetration capacity, getting deep into the material and bonding strongly with it.
The Faber Natural Look Protector is effective for all natural stone and highly absorbent materials – the likes of cotto and terracotta. Given that the formulation is completely absorbed by the material, it won’t affect the breathability of the stone. The product is resistant to both the elements and UV radiation – a feature that makes it suitable for application on indoor and outdoor surfaces.
By preventing staining agents like coffee or wine from penetrating into the pores of the material that has been treated, the staining action is avoided. This allows you to easily clean up the spill – even with simply a damp cloth. For the routine cleaning process, use products from the same brand that have been recommended for the task, such as Faber Neutral Cleaner. The choice of cleaning agent will depend on the surface characteristics of the installation being worked on.
The Natural Look Protector also comes in handy as a pre-grouting treatment. This is to protect the treated material during the grouting process and the washing that follows. Since it comes with water-repellent attributes, the amount of water that gets absorbed into the material during these processes is reduced, and it also prevents cases of the grout staining the surface of the natural stone. This means that you will have an easier time during the washing, and the surface will dry faster.
Faber Stone Colour Enhancer
With this formulation, you end up with a semi-polished wet look on the treated surface. It’s a versatile product, being applicable on all absorbent surfaces. Whether you want to use it on slate, limestone, granite or cotto, agglomerates like cement-marble installations, to terracotta, tuff and quartzite installations, the Faber Stone Colour Enhancer has got you covered. It is particularly effective for the materials that have a medium absorbency, and also non-polished surfaces.
What the Faber Stone Colour Enhancer Gives You
Resistance to both water and oil
This formulation gives the treated surface both water and oil-repellent attributes. By preventing the spills from bonding with the stone structure, you have an easier time cleaning them off. This also means that you won’t have to keep worrying about those troublesome permanent stains forming quickly.
The formulation also increases the ability of the surface to resist soiling. This is by limiting the ability of the structure to trap dirt, even preventing it from getting absorbed into the material. That way you can follow up with a quick clean, reducing the amount of resources that also go into the process. By making the routine maintenance a breeze, the Faber Stone Colour Enhancer ends up giving you more value for your purchase.
Powerful colour enhancing attributes
When it comes to aesthetics, the Faber Stone Colour Enhancer boosts the colour and tone of the material. The wet-look finish accentuates the surface, enhancing the ambience of the space. Since this is one of Faber’s “invisible” natural stone impregnators, there won’t be a change to the original colour and tone of the surface that has been worked on. As such, you get to maintain the appeal of the space while still providing the treated area with the desired levels of protection.
Resistance to UV radiation
You don’t want the treatment deteriorating quickly because of the action of UV rays on the material. With the Faber Stone Colour Enhancer, that won’t be a concern. Its formulation enables it to resist the harmful effects of the radiation, and it also stands up to bad weather. This means that you can use it to protect surfaces in outdoor environments.
Applicable on indoor and outdoor surfaces
You can use the Faber Stone Colour Enhancer on a wide range of surfaces, including surfaces with medium to high levels of absorbency. This makes it suitable for natural stone materials, plus cotto and terracotta, for both indoor and outdoor installations.
Faber Stone Top Protector
Here, you get a solvent-based impregnating formulation that provides protection to both natural and reconstituted stone. It comes with resistance to staining, be it from coffee, wine or even oil. An “invisible” impregnating agent, surfaces that are treated with the product retain their aesthetic attributes, from the colour to the tone of the material. Faber Stone Top Protector does not leave behind a film on the surface, thus the original breathability of the stone is not affected in the process. While it is popular for bathroom surfaces and kitchen worktops, the product can also be used on other surfaces that are natural stone or agglomerates.
The Faber Stone Top Protector makes spot and routine cleaning a breeze. Its stain-proofing attributes prevent the liquids from penetrating into the material, allowing you to easily wipe off the spills with just a damp cloth. This has the welcome benefit of reducing the workload that is witnessed during the day-to-day maintenance of natural stone surfaces, and also reduces the amount of resources required for the cleaning process.
This is also one of the popular natural stone impregnators that comes with dirt-repellent attributes. This is by preventing the soiling from penetrating and adhering to the material. As such, the all-round protection makes everyday maintenance processes a breeze.
Unlike conventional solvent-based natural stone impregnators out in the market, this formulation has a low dour, which is particularly beneficial during the treatment process. This is to enhance the safety standards of the formulation, and reduce the impact to the indoor air quality.
Certified for food surfaces
While protecting kitchen surfaces is one thing, you also want to ensure that the integrity of the meals prepared on the worktops will not be at risk. In this regard, the Faber Stone Top Protector has been certified to be safe for use on the food-contact surfaces. As such, you can use it without worrying about the formulation transferring onto the food items being diced and chopped up on the kitchen countertop.
Ready to use
There are no dilution ratios to concern yourself with here. The Faber Stone Top Protector comes ready to be applied onto the surface. From the kitchen countertops to the floors, you get to treat the installation quickly, minimising the disruption to the day-to-day activities.
Some key things to note when treating surfaces with the Faber Stone Top Protector include:
After spreading the first layer on the surface, give the product around 10 minutes of dwell time before proceeding to redistribute the excess product or residues that are on the natural stone. Do this until they are completely removed for you to end up with a surface without any residue.While the product will have dried in just 1 hour after application, you should wait for at least an additional 3 hours before people resume using the surface.
The equipment used to apply the Faber Stone Top Protector should be cleaned with white spirit after the task is done.
In case the product gets accidentally spilled, use an absorbent material to soak it up. This can be a paper towel, vermiculite or even sawdust. Ensure that this is disposed of appropriately. Remember that this is a highly flammable liquid, thus the importance to ensure that the waste is put in the appropriate container. This also means that you should store the product safely away from heat and sparks, and avoid smoking during the application process.
Importance Of Cleaning Before Applying The Natural Stone Impregnators
The surfaces being worked on should be thoroughly cleaned before the treatment is applied. If there is dirt and debris, then the results will be ruined. Remember that the impregnators have been developed to get into the pores of the material, coating the minerals of the stone. The last thing you want is dirt getting trapped within the stone in the process.
Note that the natural stone impregnators should not be applied onto wet surfaces. In addition, if the tiles or slabs have been recently grouted or laid, the grout or adhesive used should first be allowed to cure before proceeding with the task.
Should You Apply The Natural Stone Surfaces Yourself Or Call In A Pro?
While DIY has the promise of saving on labour costs, things can get problematic when one doesn’t have the required skill to complete the process appropriately. Rectifying damages meted out onto the floor can be costly, which then beats the purpose of saving on labour. The different sealers have their application methods, and their performance will vary based on the different stones and environments in which they are applied. A professional will know the right natural stone impregnator for the task, and have the equipment needed to carry it out efficiently – saving you from the frustrations that come with a DIY job.