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Tile and Stone Maintenance

How To Remove Sealer and Sealing Residues?

Most weeks I receive calls from people asking how to remove a sealer residue. Sealer residues occur when an impregnating sealer is incorrectly applied. Impregnating sealers (or penetrating sealers as they are sometimes known) are intended to be in or below the surface of the stone rather than ‘on’ it. So, the correct application involves applying the sealer to the surface, allowing a short time for penetration (this might be around 5 minutes, depending on both the sealer being used and the material being sealed) then any surplus sealer, remaining on the surface should be removed with something absorbent, ideally a white paper or cotton towel.All too often though, for various reasons this cleaning away of surplus, whilst still wet, does not take place. Reasons include not reading the instructions and my favourite: “I’ve been using sealers for years, always done it like this and never had a problem.”

A sealer residue can appear in a number of ways: as a dry, white powdery deposit; streaky marks or shiny spots; with some sealers, the residue can take the form of a wet or greasy coating. There are a number of ways in which the problem might be rectified, depending on the circumstances.

For example, if a solvent sealer was used, it is sometimes possible to use a little more of the actual sealer, the solvent carrier-fluid it contains can sometimes re-dissolve the residue allowing it to be wiped away with an absorbent cloth.

For other residues, we would recommend the use of a micro-abrasive cleaner like Microscrub. First apply a little water to the affected area, and then add a little Microscrub and scrub. Rinse well and dry down with paper towels. For really stubborn or thick residues that have been left for some time, a stripper may be required. In such situations we would recommend a solvent based sealer stripper or remover, applied neat and left on for a minimum of 30 minutes before scrubbing with a white nylon pad.

Apart from the last remedy (using a stripper) the others should not result in the need to re-apply more sealer afterwards. So, it need not be the end of the world if a sealer residue is left on the surface, but it is of course better to avoid the problem altogether, by applying the sealer correctly in the first place.

Copyright Ian Taylor and The Tile and Stone Blog.co.uk, 2013. See copyright notice above.

7 Comments

  1. Sorry Missed this, if you still need help try calling Fila for their advice, there should be some kind of solvent that will help to remove the surplus, as that is what is causing the sticky residue – it is over application Im afraid they should have told you to remove excess while it was still wet if an impregnating sealer, or not to put too much down if it was a coating.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  2. can you please recommend a tripper to take off sealer

  3. Mark macdonald

    May 1, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Hello there I have just sealed my Indian sand stone with resiblock colour enhancer and I regret it big time it looks horrible I liked it before and am gutted it does not look as nice I would really like it back to how it was do you have any ideas of a product or ways I can get it back to how it was

  4. Hi there are plenty of proprietary sealer removers in your part of the world – you could look at Aqua Mix Sealer and Coating Remover for one but there are lots of others

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  5. HI Mark,

    OK, it can be very difficult to remove products like this – they are, after all designed to be around for a long time and cope with all manor of elemental weather and traffic. My suspicion is that you will not, totally remove the product, you may be able to reduce it’s impact, significantly even, and should be able to get some of the sealer residue if there is any off the surface, but I doubt you will be able to pull 100% of it out of the stone.

    You may have to use either chemical or mechanical means, or most like a combination of both. My first action would be to contact the makers of Resiblock and seek their recommendation they should be able to suggest the best method/product/solvent etc to remove it.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  6. Hi

    I have recently had a new black limestone patio laid and was advised by my landscaper to treat the stone to avoid it marking / staining. Wish he’d have told me this before I purchased the slabs!

    He recommended Weiss FT Plus Colour Enhancer / Sealer so I went ahead and purchased the product at significant cost.

    I was reluctant to apply the product myself as it came with various warnings in relation to miss application causing issues however I have recently gone ahead with it and whilst the slabs look fantastic they appear slippy / greasy, is this normal?

    I was sure when i applied the product (with a roller) there was no excess left on the slabs.

    I have since used towels and wiped the slabs numerous times on hands and knees and they seem a little better. I am also conscious that the weather has been extremely hot which may also have something to do with the finish although I did the work late evening when temperature dropped.

    Will the slippery surface change in time? Is there anything I can apply to remove the layer causing this finish without needing to reapply the treatment?

    To be fair it says on the container that full treatment could take 2-4 days after application it’s been 2.

    Any advice appreciated.

    Thanks

    Nick

  7. Hi Nick,

    OK I don’t know that product but it sounds ‘similar’ to other products of that type. I have trained people (including experienced tilers and stone installers) how to use this type of product and I always catch them out. Basically when you think you have got all the residue off, you most likely have not. You really have to buff the living daylights out of it. WE generally use a combination of handfulls of tissue paper/paper towels which go in the bin followed immediately by an old terry towel, often paper in one hand, terry towel in the other – as soon as you take your towel off the surface, turn it over, or to expose a fresh face, once it is saturated, it will not take any more off, so get another towel etc. When you think you have it spotless – do it again, with fresh towels./paper towels.

    However that is when it is fresh – yours has now had some time to cure.

    If you product can stand moisture, try a white nylon scrubbing pad/emulsifying pad and a small amount of water, scrub, then buff absolutely dry straight away

    failing that you will have to call the Weiss tech services and ask their opinion

    hope that helps

    Ian

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