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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.

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  1. Yvonne Hicks | Nov 21, 2009 | Reply

    During recent bathroom renovation my tile guys failed to remove all of the grout and adhesive marks from my beautiful cream-colored limestone tile floor before applying two coats of sealer to the floor. For a few months I’ve been trying to get the guys who laid the tiles to come back to remove the sealer and the grout/adhesive. They have tried everything they could think of: acetone, paint & varnish stripper (“Rock Miracle”), cleaners like Pine Sol & Spic & Span, but nothing has succeeded in removing the sealer or the grout/adhesive residue. It seems that nothing has been able to penetrate the limestone! Do you have any suggestions for what can be done to remove what is trapped beneath the sealer? In daytime light you can really see the grout/adhesive residue on the stone. It is, needless to say, most unsightly!

    Desperately hoping you can help me with this!

    Thanks,
    Yvonne Hicks

  2. donna | Feb 20, 2010 | Reply

    omg…me too…i have tired everything to remove the grout sealer and nothing i mean nothing works if you find a solution please let me know

  3. Theresa | Jun 23, 2011 | Reply

    I have blue stone tile around my pool. After reading your blog I realize that the application of the sealer was wrong. I now can see leftover residue all around. How do I strip the sealer from my blue stone? Can I do it by pressure washing??

  4. Ian Taylor | Jun 24, 2011 | Reply

    Hi Theresa,

    As you are stateside, I think you are referring to a kind of sandstone (in the UK bluestone means something else) either way, I am not sure what type of sealer you used, but as coating sealers are intended to be left on the surface, I am assuming you have used some kind of impregnating sealer.

    Your success is going to depend on whit type of sealer, how much residue you have, and how long it has been down for). As with everything, I always try the least aggressive way first. I would try a dilute alkaline cleaner, left on to dwell for about 15 minutes, keeping it wet with fresh solution as you go. Then scrub with a scrubbing brush or a rotary machine, wet vac the solution then rinse with water. Let it dry and see how it looks.

    If no success, try adding a safe cream cleaner like Nanoscrub by Aqua Mix (you can still get that in the US) add this to the detergent on the floor just before you scrub. You will have more rinsing to do as a result.

    If none of this works you are going to have to resort to a solvent type stripper – there are plenty of sealant strippers available- follow the on bottle instructions. Yo will need to check the integrity of the sealer when you are done, and maybe reapply, or at least top it up.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  5. bethan pugh | Aug 6, 2011 | Reply

    hi hope you can give me some advice. we have a slate tiled floor in the bathroom which has been sealed but water marks have appeared on the floor by the basin. the water marks are very noticable and have a white rim to them, i have tried to clean them off but once the floor is dry they appear again. how can i get rid of these marks?
    do i need to strip the sealent and if so how?
    thanks

  6. Ian Taylor | Aug 8, 2011 | Reply

    Hi Bethan,

    I cannot be 100% sure but this sounds like surface deposits to me; the sealer has kept the water drops at the surface, the water then sits there, and slowly evaporates. The problem is that most water is not 100% pure, there are usually some trace minerals in it (water treatment chemicals and other impurities) if you hapen to live in a hard-water area then the water will be loaded with soluble caclium (limescale).

    So, somthing in the water that is splashed ontot he floor, is left behind as a residue once the water has gone. I would try a mild cream cleaner, something like nanoscrub woulbe be great if you can get it. It is my opinion that whatever it is, is on top of the sealer and sould come off with the right approach.. Try the cream cleaner, if you have no luck, try a slightly acidic cleaner, (not a strong brick acid) this should not damage most sealers. Rinse and then dry withg a towel.

    Best of luck

    Ian

  7. candace | Feb 1, 2012 | Reply

    I recently resealed mt slate tiles and applied it wrong. Now the floors are sticky, can I use a sealer remover and will this harm the slate?
    Thanks,
    Candace

  8. Ian Taylor | Feb 6, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Candace,

    A good sealer remove should not danage the slate, suggest you call whichever brand of sealer you used for their advice on the removal

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  9. Heather | Mar 25, 2012 | Reply

    Hi! We just had this beautiful white/ light grey natural stone backsplash installed in our kitchen. I put on a sealant(quite a few coats) and overtime it has left what looks like a cement residue on the tile plus it has actually left a yellowish cast on my tile. I am actually sick to my stomache over this considering the cost of this tile and the fact the stone runs the entire wall up to my ceiling. Please tell me if there is a solution other than tearing my once beautiful tile down.Thank you!

  10. Ian Taylor | Mar 28, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Heather,

    not 100% certain what yo have done as you do not gie details on the actual sealer, but, it sounds like you have over-applied an impregnating sealer, left residue on the tile surface. Most sealers of this type are intended to be applied by allowuing them to soak in, but have and surplus removed and rubbed dry within a few minutes of application – so they end up ‘inside’ the stone, not ‘on top’ of it. THis residue couls also cast a yellowish hue.

    OR, it is a coating sealer that is not so good, and again has been possibly over applied and yellowed in UV light.

    Either way you will need to get a proprietary sealer remover/stripper and take it off. This should be straight-forward and not damage the tile

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  11. Karen | Mar 28, 2012 | Reply

    My company had been asked to remove a sealer on a natural bluestone floor in a local bank that had been flooded recently. The product that was recomended was Sealer & Coating Remover. The fumes were very bad….. I was wondering what you would recommend. IS there any such thing as a Circular Mineral Disk.

    Thanks,
    Karen

  12. Ian Taylor | Mar 28, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Karen,

    I know that product quite well, and yes it does have a smell. However, I have to say that to my knowlege it is one of the least smelly strippers out there. If you need a good sealer removing stripper, then I think you will be hard pressed to find one that is not in fact even worse in terms of fumes and odour, plus many are not so nice to use as they contain methyl chloride and other harmful ingredients.
    As to whether you can mechanically remove the sealer, this may be possible it depends; of the sealer is thick it may just get chewed up and clogg any abrasive disc you use, or if the bluestone is soft then you might damage it through abrasion.

    You could try an abrasive cream cleaner like Microscrub, btu this will only help on very thin coatings

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  13. Kim Learn | Apr 29, 2012 | Reply

    Hello
    I just finished doing a stone fireplace wall with amazing oxford ledgestone and loved it . I was not sure if I should use an impregnator (colour enhancer) , tried a piece and thought it was okay. I loved the natural stone look, now with the colour enhancer it looks too uniform . I feel that the enhancer took away the subtlety of the different earthy tones. I am so upset about this. Can I get rid of this impregnating colour enhancer? Is there a stripper that will get rid of the colour enhancer? I read that Drano may work.

    Please help

  14. Ian Taylor | Apr 29, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Kim,

    OK, you don’t mention which brand of enhancer, but you should know that some are incredibly difficult to remove. There is one popular brand that needs an industrial stregnth solvent to stand any chance of removal, and in all honsety it is not always 100% successful

    My best advice is to contact the manufacturer of the particular enhancer you applied and ask their tech services, they may have a recommended stripper that they ahve found successful.

    Be prepared though you may not get it all out. It is possible that you could significantly reduce reduce it’s colour enhancing effect, and so greatly subdue the effect and this may be acceptable – good luck

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  15. Dan | May 22, 2012 | Reply

    Hi , I wonder if you could help me , I recently laid an Indian sandstone patio, and I sealed it with Thompson patio seal , after applying the seal it has left marks on the seal on the stone looks like “slug trails ” , any advice would be appreciated to remove the marks on the stone .
    Many thanks

  16. Ian Taylor | May 24, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Dan,

    This sounds like a simple case of over-application; leaving too much of the product on the surface and allowing it to dry. It is meant to go inside the stone, not lie on top of it, where it can collect in pools/concentrations and dry as a noticible streaky mark.

    First thing I would try is some more of the same product, (you may think that bizarre given that I just said you have applied too much, but it is that you ‘left’ too much that is the issue). So, apply some more product, you are aiming to make use of the solvent that the product is based on to break down the sealer on the top. Leave it for a couple of minutes but do not let it dry. Give it a bit of a scrub them wipe up the liquid – polish/rub it dry with a towel, leave no trace of moisture.

    Hopefully that will do it. If not you may need an abrasive cleaner like Microscrub or failing that, a solvent stripper. If you have to use a stripper you may want to top up the sealer afterwards.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  17. Gavin | May 27, 2012 | Reply

    hi I have recently used a penetrating sealer on some bluestone around a fireplace harth that i just installed. I applied it by brush and once it dried it left white streaks, does this need to be stripped back or should I just reapply a small amount and rub it back?

  18. Ian Taylor | May 30, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Gavin, clearly you have let it dry on the surface, it is designed to soak ‘into’ the stone and you must remove any remaining wet suprlus from the stone with an absorbent towel/cloth BEFORE it dries. What has happend is that you have left actual sealer on the top of the stone.

    You could try just rubbing it off with a whilte nylon scrub pad and a bit of water. If that does not work, and you used a solvent based sealer, then sure, try a bit more sealer on a cloth, rub it gently then polish dry – You are using the solvent to try to break it down, as there is also sealer in it, you will not be strippiong the selaer back from the stone.

    if it was a water based one, this may not work. Next I would try a safe abrasive cleaner nanoscrub.

    Failing that yes, woul will have to get a sealer estriper, strip back and start again.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  19. Illa Harvey | Jun 8, 2012 | Reply

    We had a floor to ceiling limestone tile installed in master bath including full tile shower. Installers used aqua mix stone enhancer but failed to wipe excess. Let it set for 4 weeks, applied one of the caustic sealers but didn’t let it work in for the 15-30 minutes recommended and this did nothing. Next they attempted to use aqua mix tile and grout cleaner. They attempted to buff it by hand and applied another coating of sealant. This has puddled and ran down side walls twice and is quite sticky. NOW they are going to bring in someone else and he purposes using Stone Tec tile and grout cleaner. I have been told this probably won’t work as well. HELP….do we have to remove all tile and start over? I certainly am not a fan of any of that methyl chloride as it almost drove us from our home for 3 days. HELP, HELP, HELP

    Thanks, Illa

  20. Ian Taylor | Jun 8, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Illa,

    Wow, sounds awful. OK, first thing I would say is that Aqua Mix make their own sealer and Coating remover but it needs to be left on for about an hour. Most of these products do need a long dwell time, less than 15 minutes is certainly not enough.

    However, given that it was left for 4 weeks to cure, that is going to make it much much harder to remove. I certainly do not think another regular tile and grout cleaner is going to do a thing. At this point, if I were you I would call the Tech Services department at Aqua Mix (Now part of Custom Building Products) and tell them the whole story, they will probably recommend a very powerful solvent, and yes it will most likely smell bad, but at this stage I think it will be your last chance before resorting to removal of the the stone.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  21. Anne | Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    Hi
    We had limestone tiles fitted in our bathroom about 20 months ago and there were streaky marks all over which I assume are badly applied sealant. I thought I could live with it but I’m just noticing more spots so I feel I need to do something. Is it too late or can I remove the sealant and start again?

  22. Dave Mietus | Sep 15, 2012 | Reply

    Ian,

    I recently applied a stone sealer to a customers bathroom floor… (even though it was a matt finished ceramic or porcelain tile). She’s now complaining about hairs or microfibers in certain areas. Is it necessary to use a sealant remover (because there’s very little ventilation) or is it possible to use a 200+ (maybe 300-400) grit sand paper in these small areas… then re-seal? I’m assuming the sealant didn’t penetrate the already finished tile.

  23. liam magee | Sep 22, 2012 | Reply

    hi
    i have concrete printing and its starting to go
    white in a lot of places

    i have bought bloom remover but has done nothing
    can you recommend anything

    regards

    liam magee

  24. Ian Taylor | Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Anne,

    Usually the streaks are just surplus sealer left on and allowed to dry. With most sealers it can often be removed with a white nylon pad and a cream cleaner – like Microscrub which you could obtain from Tilinglogistics on 0121 701 5333. Occasionally, streaks from some solvent based sealers can be removed by rubbing over with a bit more sealer (the solvent breaking down the streak) and then rubbing it dry with a towel or cloth. Neither of the above should necessitate re sealing.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  25. Ian Taylor | Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Dave,

    yes I would be surprised if the sealer penetrated. I would not recommend sand paper if the tiles are glazed or polished they will quite likely be scratched if you do. Instead get a white nylon emulsifying pad, some water and a cream cleaner (like aqua mix nanoscrub or similar). This should do it without the need for a solvent stripper, and without damaging the tile, given that the sealer is just on the top.

    Hope this helps
    Ian

  26. Ian Taylor | Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Liam,

    I am not a concrete expert but two things spring to mind, efflorescence and colour bleaching.

    Concrete can be subject to efflorescence – (soluble salts/minerals being brought to the surface) sometimes this can be cured by using a remove but most of these are acid based and whilst removing the bloom it would also damage the rest of the concrete and strip the colour anyway – maybe this happened with your bloom remover?

    Sometimes this problem can just go away of it’s own accord

    As hinted at above sometimes the colour can come out either by reaction with something acidic, or it it is not completely colorfast, by something alkaline and caustic. Or, i am afraid to say, perhaps just from UV light causing it to fade

    I think yours sounds more like Efflorescence though, can you send some pictures?

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  27. Julie Grove | Sep 25, 2012 | Reply

    We recently had polished marble tile installed on our bathroom floor. I do not believe that the marble was sealed before it was grouted therefore when unsanded grout was applied possibly it was scratched. Could be wrong, however, there is a haze which I don’t think was removed before it was sealed with Aqua Mix Ultra-Solv Premium solvent-based sealer. Used Superior Natural Stone Deep Clean according to stripper directions (leave on between 5 to 10 minutes)to remove haze, scrub and rinse. Didn’t work. Any ideas??

  28. Tammy B | Oct 4, 2012 | Reply

    I had travertine sealed two days ago with Aqua mix sealer and enhancer. The guy who applied it must have let the excess dry on the surface and now very streaky. I called the company and they suggested heavy duty stripper and cleaner. I tried using this product last night and it did not do the job. I have read online you can use paint thinner? Do you have any advice on this? I’m very upset and want to try and fix this asap. Please help.

  29. Ian Taylor | Oct 4, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Julie,

    It sounds like you are trying to use an alkaline cleaner to remove a grout haze – if so I am not surprised it did not work. Normally we would would use BUT NOT HERE an acidic cleaner to remove the grout haze but, obviously we cannot do that on a marble.

    My next test would be to try some Aqua Mix Nanoscrub or similar – it is an abrasive cleaner that is derived from calcite – so it will not scratch the marble. pre wet the surface, shake the bottle, apply some cleaner to the floor and use a WHITE nylon scrub pad/emulsifier to scrub the residue away – this may work equally well for both fine grout haze and any sealer residue that may be there.

    If the grout haze is very think then you ma have to resort to a re-polishing paste or diamonds – which could be much more involved

    Good luck

    Ian

  30. Ian Taylor | Oct 4, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Tammy,

    It is one of those products that the sooner you respond to it the easier it is to remove – if it had been next day you may have got it off with just a small amount of water.

    If it is a few days now and a stripper did not work – then I am a b it stuck – was it the aqua mix stripper you used? – because if it was, after only two days that should have sorted it with ease, provided you left it on long enough, (up to an hour) the scrubbed, and rinsed it really well – if it was just an alkaline cleaner then maybe not.

    If it is now completely set you may need a more industrial strength solvent stripper -call Aqua Mix’s technical helpline for a suggested product.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  31. Adriana | Oct 14, 2012 | Reply

    Ian,

    I recently applied a water based sealer on honed granite flooring inside my home. I now realize after reading your blog that I over applied the product failing to wipe the excess and now the product sits on top of the granite and looks wet,greasy and streaky. I gather that it will not be useful to spray the same product and try to wipe.

    I live in South America and unfortunately we do not have any of the products before mentioned. Could you recommend some type of stripper in a simpler form? I may be able to get one of the products that is part of the composition of a packaged stripper.

    Thank you!

  32. Ian Taylor | Oct 15, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Adriana,

    OK, yes using more water based sealer to remove it wont help as the sealer is now dry.

    Try one of these three things:

    1) an alkaline de-greaser – this may work well but it may mean to have to re apply the sealer properly afterwards
    2) a cream cleaner with some abrasive this my be just enough remove the residue without removing the sealer from the stone itself. This type of product is often sold for bath tubs and ceramic cooker hobs – just make sure that there is no acid in it or that your granite stone is not sensitive to acids (some will etch)
    3) a solvent – like a paint stripper – try a small amount on a cloth and rub it over the affected area – this should work, but again it will mean re sealing after.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  33. nan | Nov 10, 2012 | Reply

    Hi,
    I just had a polished white marble floor installed. When they applied the sealer, they did not remove all the grout dust/hase. I am sick about this. There are spots, streaks all over. Please help?

  34. Karen Woodall | Jan 21, 2013 | Reply

    Hi I have just sealed newly grouted tiles with crackle glaze protector it is an impregnating sealer , it stated to cover the grout with the sealer but now it had dried leaving like grease marks over the grout what should I do

  35. Ian Taylor | Jan 22, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Karen,

    it should not really leave greasy marks? – I am guessing it is a solvent based sealer and as such it could have a mild oily nature. Some sealers like this can darken the grout a touch, however it might be a residue. Impregnating sealers must be wiped off the surface before they dry otherwise they can leave residues.

    One thing you could try is to re apply some of the sealer, using it’s own solvent to break down the residue. wipe it on to the affected area then scrub it with a white nylon pad, then wipe it dry with an absorbant cotton cloth or paper towel. See if that disperses or removes the problem, and you will not have affected the sealer it self.

    Failing that try a microscrub clean. If this does not work then you may need a sealer stripper.

    Hope this helps
    Ian

  36. christine | Jan 24, 2013 | Reply

    Hi – I hope you can offer some advice.

    I have just moved into a rustic farmhouse in Spain. It is beautiful but the entire house has a porous stone floor which has been sealed but it has been sealed on top of dirt and paint splashes.

    I was told the tiles were sealed so I thought a good scrub would bring them clean but I now realise the dirt is below the surface which is a sort of glossy coating.

    If I remove the sealant I may discover that the dirt and paint splashes have already ingrained into the natural stone .

    Is a big rug the best bet?

    Thanks

  37. Ian Taylor | Jan 29, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Chris, a rug would be admitting defeat, or acknowledging that you don’t have the time or inclination to put any effort into the floor – nothing wrong with that of course, but, being a stone man, I would at least want to explore what is possible.

    So, yes you will most likely have to strip the sealer, there are proprietary sealer strippers for this, most are solvents of course so can be fun to use. However you will find that what strips sealers, invariably strips paint too – so it will quite likely remove you paint splashes in the same operation (plus any stain from any adjacent painted surfaces like skirting boards for example, so be careful and mask up).

    Other dirt could be ingrained, grime, or even cement type dirt (if any building work had been going on prior to sealing)

    You would have to asses this after the stripping, most likely need an alkaline clean after to remove ingrained dirt.

    After this, when the floor has been rinsed and allowed to dry, look at sealing it again

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  38. christine | Jan 29, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Ian

    Thanks for a great reply.

    The house we are in is rented and it seems the previous tenants did this to the stone. Unfortunately the owners don’t want to spend any money cleaning the tiles as they hope to sell the house and leave that to the new owners.

    Had i known the stone had been lacquered with the dirt underneath I don’t think I’d have taken the house on.

    I thought it would be a matter of a bit of elbow grease and a scrubbing brush.

    If i were buying this house I would put every energy into the stone floor.

    I’ve decided to try your solution on part of the stone that can’t be covered by a rug.

    If I get good result here i’ll persevere. We are here only for one year but if I can get the improvement I’m looking for at a reasonable cost we will probably extend our stay so it will be worth it.

    Thanks for your help.

    Regards

    Christine

  39. Sharon | Feb 18, 2013 | Reply

    Put up tile backsplash that had a very rough textured surface. When we grouted it alot of the grout went into the pores of the tile and looks like paint spots..is there anyway to remove the grout…Thanks

  40. Ian Taylor | Feb 18, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Sharon,

    OK, first you don’t say if it is a regular ceramic tile, a porcelain, or a stone> if it it not an acid-sensitive material, and has some porosity you may need to use a proprietary acid based cleaner – one based on a mild sulfamic or phosphoric type acid.

    If you cannot use an acid based cleaner then you may have to use an abrasive clream cleaner

    either way you are going to have to use a strong scrubbing brush and take several passes at it. IF the tile is hard enough maybe you gould use a tinex type brush on a hand machine

    it will all depend on how much of the this grout haze you have got to get through

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  41. Michelle | Mar 4, 2013 | Reply

    Hello Ian,

    I had my contractor install white polished porcelain floor tiles. We asked him how to best seal the grouts and said he had something that will not leave any marks on the tile. After he was done, the polished tiles were sticky and left haze all over my brand new floors. I tried to remove it by steam mopping it to no avail. How can we remove the sticky haze without removing the original gloss of the tile? Your recommendations would be appreciated.

    Michelle

  42. Ian Taylor | Mar 5, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Michelle,

    OK, without knowing what sealer was used I can only guess but, this should be ok.

    Most grout sealers will come off porcelain without too much fuss, and the polish or shine that your porcelain has is physical (it was ground by abrasives, it is not a chemically applied shine that can be stripped off)

    start with least aggressive method

    personally I would try to get hold of a mild abrasive cream cleaner designed for the job, in your part of the world you should be able to get a product called Nanoscrub by Aqua Mix (there are other brands too) – a bit of this with some water and a white emulsifying pad and it should rub off.

    If it is more stubborn, try an alkaline floor cleaner. If that does not work, then you may need to resort to a sealer stripper.

    The only issue is that an alkaline or stripper, whilst they won’t harm the tile, they could strip some wax (which may be there but is not supposed to be there, but if there is and you remove a bit of it, it can make the floor look patchy) or if there is any kind of factory applied sealer on the tile, it may strip that – so test a small area first to make sure it does not alter the look of the tile.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  43. Virginia | Mar 17, 2013 | Reply

    My husband applied two very thin coats of an acrylic-based sealing compound (glossy) to my travertine kitchen floor. It was a mistake. Upon application the sealer seemed to puddle, but his second coat looked better. Now the finish is flaking off. I’d like to take the sealer all off, but do not know what product and method to best use. What would you advise?

  44. Ian Taylor | Mar 18, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Virginia,

    OK, well most travertine is pretty dense,and usually honed to a fine smooth flat finish, some is even semi polished. All of which means that the acrylic coating sealer will not have got too much of a hold. Most acrylic coatings can be fairly easily removed just with a high alkaline cleaner and a little hot water.

    I suggest you go the the same place that sold the sealer as they are likely to have a high alkaline heavy duty tile cleaner . Mix this in accordance with the instructions on the bottle.

    In some cases the coating is resistant to alkalines and a sealer stripper may be required.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  45. Carl Jarvis | Mar 18, 2013 | Reply

    I recently did a DIY backsplash in my kitchen with polished marble. I was happy with the results except that I used a sanded grout which left some marks on the tile only noticeable by me. Overall it had turned out very well. Where I really got into problems is when I went into the local box home improvement store looking for advice on a proper sealer for marble. They provided me with a Dupont semi-gloss sealer and finish. The result was horrible. Streaks in the tile and just overall bad appearance. I was told to try some Dupont heavy duty coating stripper as the gel would help it adhere to the vertical surface. Problem is I cant find any close to where I live. What are your thoughts on using a gelled paint and varnish remover? I’m very nervous about ruining the stone and or grout. Any thoughts, comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  46. Ian Taylor | Mar 19, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Carl,

    OK, you have a coating sealer on a stone that is not really suited to it.

    I do not know the Du Pont product so I do not know if a solvent stripper is needed or not. Many coating sealers can be removed with a high alkaline cleaner so you could try that first – should be easy to get hold of. You can also try a micro abrasive cleaner – there are several now and they tend to be made from calcium based minerals so will not scratch the stone.

    If you have to go to a stripper (and again there are several on the market) then first check that it is ok on polished marble, some (not all) can dull the surface)

    You appear to be in Toronto, I have a couple of contacts who may be able to help – contact me via the contact us form if you would like me to pass on their details.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  47. Joe Rotherham | May 6, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Ian,

    I have just had a new red and charcoal stone patio installed, and sealed it myself with Thompson’s one coat sealer. I waited until slabs were all dry, but I think the red ones still had moisture below surface, and many if them are now all stained white. I have only used water and detergent so far to remove the staining with no joy. I was going to try a reseal, but not sure if this will work without fully removing the white. Also, as I used a one coat sealer, would I be over applying if re-sealed?

    Thanks in advance

    Joe

  48. Ian Taylor | May 7, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Joe,

    I am not completely familiar with this product but it would appear to be an acrylic coating sealer. This type of sealer can turn white when exposed to moisture, in fact it is quite common. So, it is not stains caused by water, rather water has permanently altered (you could say damaged) the sealer in those spots. It would be impractical to try to remove only those spots. So, I fear you will have to remove all of the sealer and start again.

    There are a number of products on the market that should remove this (I have been told that Wexa by Lithofin does a good job on this, you can get it here http://www.extensive.co.uk/product.php/114/wexa-1l).

    Once it is removed, rinse thoroughly, then let the stone dry completely before sealing again. Regarding the once coat, I suspect that the idea is that in most cases one coat is enough, however I would imagine that additional coats will be possible. It would be easy to test on an off-cut though, if the second coat beads up and wont lie flat (says in globules) then one coat has achieved 100% seal and it is pointless to try to add another, it sill only dry streaky and maybe even sticky. If however, the second coat seems to lie flat, and dries nicely then no problem – but the manufacturer should be able to advise on that. If you stone is a sandstone then i would be surprised if one coat of any sealer is going to be all that it will take.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  49. Mark | May 11, 2013 | Reply

    A company sealed the stone around our pool. It is a natural stone Tennessee stacking stone. Many stones have white spots on them. How do we get rid of them. The sealer used was Old Castle concrete paver sealer.
    They have tried reselling and that did not work. Any help you can give would be appreciated!

  50. Ian Taylor | May 13, 2013 | Reply

    Hi mark,

    I am in the UK so I am not familiar with this stone or the sealer but, from the very quick bit of research I did, it looks like a sandstone and the sealer looks like a solvent based coating sealer.

    Often, this type of sealer can be quite susceptible to moisture during application and curing. Some can have moisture related issues even after they have cured.

    If there was any excess of moisture while the product was trying to cure, then it may have cured with these white spots. Normally this means the the actual sealer has become opaque/white this is ‘damage’ to the sealer, it has become permanently altered, adding more sealer will do nothing, it will just sit on top of the damaged layer, if it sticks at all. I suspect that the only action you can take is to remove the damaged sealer – would suggest you contact the sealer manufacturer for their removal recommendations, and start again.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  51. Kim Vaux | May 15, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Ian
    I came across this blog and I hope you can help me. We had an indian sandstone patio laid last year. Our landscape gardener advised us to leave the patio a few months before sealing. Because of our lovely english weather last year we only just managed to seal it a couple of weeks ago. It was pressure cleaned a week or so before we sealed it. We went to B&Q and used product called crementone and followed instructions on the tin. Patio looked fab but then it rained a few days later and now its very patchy and has white streaks and looks like in places that it has greasy marks. Reading your comments from above I now wonder if we were over generous with the application. Can you suggest how we can rectify the the problem. Kim

  52. Ian Taylor | May 16, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Kim,

    You may have over applied a little, that may account for the streakiness. However the white marks are most likely to do with the sealer reacting with moisture. Some sealers can do this especially if the get moist whilst they are trying to cure. However some will turn white even after cured. best bet is to try to contact the manufacturer for advice but I suspect you will need to strip the sealer and start again

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  53. michelle | May 23, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Ian,

    I am so glad to come across this blog. you see we just installed natural copper stone bricks on a 6 meter high wall. It is in shades of light golden brown and green. It looks fine when done but then when we applied 1 coat of the acrylic sealer, the color changed! now it all looks muddy brown. I am so depressed just looking at it. We used the brand StoneRocks acrylic sealer. I dont know if your familiar with that brand. Is there anyway I can get the original color back? I am worried because the stones may be smooth but they are very porus.

  54. Ian Taylor | May 23, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Michelle,

    OK, I do not know the brand, but I just had a look at the literature they have (not very detailed) but, it is an acrylic coating, that has some resistance to alkaline cleaners.

    I suspect that the darkening is only as permanent as the sealer itself, so, if you can remove the sealer, you should be able to get the colour back.

    My gut feeling is that you will need something a little stronger than an alkaline cleaner. So most likely you will need some kind of solvent based stripper, designed for removing sealers and or paint finishes. I would contact the sealer supplier for their advice, they may even have a stripper of their own.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  55. Rebecca Olson | May 29, 2013 | Reply

    I had granite counter tops installed today and I am concerned about the sealing process that was done by my contractor. They used Dry Treat Original on two surfaces. Which was apparently a mistake as they were suppose to use an enhancer due to the lighter edges on the granite. They did the 3 remaining surfaces with Ager and also used Ager on the first two surfaces that were had already been done with Dry Treat. I didn’t see how the Dry Treat was applied. However, the Ager was applied by the first person spreading the product and the second person followed immediately wiping the product with a rag that had the consistency of a sheet. The Ager was not totally dry. Later this evening I noticed a smudgy look on the counter tops and then read online that the product should have been applied, allowed to sit for 5 minutes and the completely dried. My husband and I have spent the last 2 hours trying to get the sticky off the counter tops. They look okay but are still a little sticky. Especially the two counter tops that had multiple products applied. Any advice? Thanks, Rebecca

  56. Ian Taylor | May 30, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Rebecca,

    OK the sticky is clearly excess sealer residue.

    I am concerned that the ager (a colour intensifier) will have had little effect on the sections that were first impregnated with the sealer but not much you can do about that.

    OK, they have simply left too much product o the granite, and not wiped it sufficiently dry, whether they left it long enough to penetrate and become properly installed a s a sealer I cannot say, but if not, then you can just add more so no big problem.

    You need to remove the excess though, and you may have to use a stripper for this. However, first there is something you might try; the sealer is most likely a solvent based one from that company, the solvent is used to delivery the sealer into the stone, then it evaporates, allowing the sealer particles to form a chain/link system, this ‘curing’ or setting process takes a little time as the bonds become stronger, the longer you leave the residue, the harder it will become to remove – so act now.

    There is a chance that the same solvent might be very effective to remove the residue, so try a little test, if you have any of the sealer left, dab a little on a cloth-cotton flannel etc, and rub it on a small test area of residue – it may well break the sealer back down again and remove it. If it does, then it is also the same sealer, so you will be topping up the sealer at the same time, leave it to penetrate for a few minutes then with fresh absorbent towels/tissue, remove ALL of any trace of wetness – buff it completely dry – this is removing the surplus sealer from the top before it dries, but it wont pull any sealer out of the stone.

    If this does not work, you will need a proprietary sealer remover, there are several on the market, (you could contact Dry Treat and ask their recommendation) then you would need to re seal after.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  57. Tony | Jun 15, 2013 | Reply

    Had sealed flagstone with techniseal glossy sealer , after three days spots of water got on few stones and turned white , what can I do ??? It’s like a Dalmatian spots but white .

  58. Ian Taylor | Jun 17, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Tony,

    OK, I don’t know that range of products but; many coating sealers do this. Some coating sealers are fine and will not react with water like this. Others, will, if they are allowed to com into contact with water while they are curing, but once cured, they are ok. If your sealer was not subjected to water until 3 days after (and you appear to be in a warmer climate) then either, conditions at the time slowed the curing (for some reason) or, you have a coating sealer that can still react with moisture even after curing.

    Just occasionally these white spots will fade to clear again when they are dry, however in most case they won’t, as the water has irrecoverably ‘changed’ the sealer. IN this case the only answer is to strip off the affected sealer, rinse and allow the floor to dry, then re-apply.

    However, you may want to call the technical dept of the company to get their view as to why it went white, my feeling is that if it did not get wet until 3 days after application (by which time it should be set/cured properly) then it will always have the risk of whiting out.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  59. Steve | Jul 7, 2013 | Reply

    Help. Had a new black limestone patio laid and just had it sealed with resiblock Indian standstone enhancer. The finish is really very very streaky with what looks like over application all over the patio, it’s a large area. What’s best to do?

  60. Ian Taylor | Jul 8, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Steve,

    It does sound like over-application or not cleaning off the surplus. With most sealers of this type, getting that surplus off as soon as you can is important. The longer you leave it the more it will cure/set and the progressively harder it becomes to remove. I have not used this particular sealer but looking quickly at their web site, it is clearly a solvent based product, and it may be that you need a solvent cleaner/stripper to remove set/cured over application.

    Sometimes it is worth trying the same sealer ( as the solvent used to disperse it will sometimes re-emulsify the dried sealer – apply it, leave it a moment or two and rub with a cloth. then rub dry with cloth and or absorbent paper. If this works it also means you won’t have to reapply the sealer – which may not be the case if you have to strip. For more advice I would suggest you contact their tech support for their recommendations

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  61. Mary Kay Queen | Jul 12, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Ian! Thankful I found this blog with comments. Long story short – we attempted a DIY complete renovation of an old (1940s) bathroom. While sealing our honed carrera marble tile I was unable to keep it from drying on the surface. Some of the tiles are cloudy and streaky following the exact lines I applied the sealant. I used a water based DuPont 5-yr sealant, and contacted DuPont who recommended their heavy duty cleaner and it did not work. Is NanoScrub my best bet? How likely it is to be effective? Thanks you!

  62. Chris | Jul 14, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Ian. We had a patio sealed applying Adseal Stone and Slate Protector using an airless spray. The patio slabs used are Marshalls Yorkstone effect concrete riven flags. Due to the riven finish and the application method, some pooling occurred and although one coat is meant to give a Matt finish, it is also very shiny. Would widespread use of a re-emulsifier and use of a dry absorbent roller help to remove the excess and take off some of the shine? Or is it more likely to result in a patchier finish?

  63. Ian Taylor | Jul 15, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Mary,

    I am assuming that the cleaner was an alkaline one and that maybe you you did not allow it to dwell for long enough (not easy on vertical surface) – one way is to put it in a spray bottle and keep misting the surface for say 10 minutes then scrub.

    IT is well worth trying the microabrasive cleaner you mention, I have had great results with that, and it wont harm either the marble or the sealer.

    If this does not work then you may have to use a solvent based stripper.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  64. Ian Taylor | Jul 15, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Chris,

    I don’t know the product but it looks like a coating sealer. The pooling will mimic more coats, and simply leave a greater amount of solids on the surface, creating the glossier finish. If it is shiny all over then the application method has delivered too much product

    By re emulsifier do you mean a solvent stripper? if so it may well strip the excess but it may also strip some actual sealer too – but then you would just need to reseal, more carefully this time.

    I am not sure if this is water based or solvent based product? Some of these products do not take well to trying to trying to remove excess with a roller. In my experience applying with a sponge mop, lambs wool applicator or paint pads is best, ‘pulling’ excess to other areas whilst still wet, and avoiding pooling. I am not sure that re emulsifying and trying to do the same will work quite as well.

    I think this is one where you would be best advised to contact the manufacturer and seek their advice.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  65. Lisa | Aug 26, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Ian,

    My contractor just installed Chennai White Marble on my bathroom and shower walls. This is a natural stone that is very textured and porous. They used some type of non-glossy and non-water based sealer on it that changed the color a bit. I was wondering if there is anything I can do to remove this. I heard there are sealer products that do not change the color and I would prefer that. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Lisa

  66. Ian Taylor | Aug 27, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Lisa,

    OK, many solvent based sealers will darken stone, especially if it is a light-coloured stone. Generally speaking most premium water based sealers will not significantly darken the stone.

    You problem now is getting the solvent sealer out.

    You will need a good quality solvent stripper.

    You appear to be in Miami, I would suggest you contact Mapei USA, they are based in Deefield Beach FL, call their tech services department, they have just launched a range of cleaners and sealers etc. Called Ultra Care They have a good stripper (Heavy Duty Sealer and Coating Stripper) and a good water based sealer also called Penetrating Plus.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  67. Ash | Sep 22, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Ian,

    I installed ivory sandstone and black limestone pavers outdoors and used a water-based penetrating sealer (Crommelin). Used a garden spray to apply it (as recommended by the company). The sandstone is fine (perhaps due to its light colour and higher porosity) but the limestone has white patches all over. Reading through your comments, it appears that I over applied the sealer, and made the mistake of waiting instead of wiping off the excess. It has almost been 10 months since the sealer application. Do you have any suggestions as to how these white spots can be removed? Will a solvent-based stripper work on a water-based sealer? Thank you.

    Cheers,

    Ash

  68. Ian Taylor | Sep 26, 2013 | Reply

    Hi Ash,

    I think you have really answered your own question. You might not need a solvent, you could try an alkaline cleaner first, that and a scrub pad or brush might remove the spots. If not, then pretty much any solvent paint stripper, acetone, nail varnish remover, sealer stripper should do it quite easily. If you have just a few spots them deal with them locally, rather than stripping the whole floor. You may need to top up the sealer where you strip.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  69. Lisa | Sep 26, 2013 | Reply

    HI Ian, I just saw this response. Thank you.

  70. Jonesey | Jun 28, 2014 | Reply

    Hi Iain,

    I wonder if you can help. Our tiler applied a water-based sealant we bought after laying a black slate floor in our bathroom. It has left milky/chalky/salty looking stains and patches all over the tiles. I have tried washing with clean water, and removing with white spirit (a small test patch only) but no joy. The slate looks even and clean when wet, but the same marks reappear as it dries.

    Do you have any tips for how to remove these marks as they appear to be below the surface?

    Many thanks!

  71. Ian Taylor | Jun 30, 2014 | Reply

    Hi,

    OK, from what you have said, it sounds like sealer residue. You don’t say if it is a coating/topical sealer (one that sits on top that is supposed to leave a satin sheen) or an impregnator (one that is meant to sit below the surface as an invisible protection).

    If it is a coating, then the patchiness could be simply that not enough has been applied – and a second coat may even things up.

    HOWEVER, my feeling is that the issue you describe is more like the surplus sealer residue that is common with an impregnator. This is especially common with a water based sealer on black slate. the dense stone surface, is not easily penetrated by the the larger polymers found in many good quality water based sealers. This is not a problem and the sealer is fine, it is just that the normal rules of impregnating sealer application are critical here. This means that the sealer should be applied, left to soak in (penetrate) for a few minutes, no more, then it should be buffed off using absorbent paper/cotton towels and the surface should be left dry. The white residue is sealer that has dried ON the surface, where it is not intended to be, against the black background of the slate, it is of course, extremely noticeable (imagine the same thing on limestone – you would barely be aware of it).

    If you have tried a spirit already, I suggest you contact the supplier of the actual sealer nd ask their tech team what they recommend for its removal.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  72. Jonesey | Jul 1, 2014 | Reply

    Hi Ian,

    thanks so much for your advice! I contacted the manufacturer of the sealant, and they recommended a restorer that would remove the residue. It’s a labour intensive process but seems to be getting most of it off – phew!

    I guess the question now is whether the slate needs to be sealed (re-sealed!)once it has been stripped back. What are your thoughts on this? I am not bothered about having a particular finish on the stone, so would be happy to leave it in its natural state, but don’t want it to be vulnerable to water damage.

    If you do think it should be sealed, is there a product you can recommend? This experience has made me a bit wary of some of the products out there!

    Many thanks again :)

  73. Ian Taylor | Jul 1, 2014 | Reply

    Hi

    I am at a bit of a disadvantage in that I do not know a) precisely what slate you have, nor it’s finish, and b) I don’t know what sealer you used nor the product they recommended for its removal.

    However, I will assume it is an impregnator, that the remover is a solvent of some kind (but it could just be a cream abrasive) and that the slate is of good quality and low porosity.

    If you are using a chemical to remove the sealer, then it will remove some of the sealer from within the tile. Given that I think the slate to be dense, then the depth of penetration, and therefore the amount of sealer actually in the slate is going to be quite low so in theory you could remove most of it in the process. (If an abrasive cream cleaner then it will only remove what it can physically touch – from the surface, leaving whatever did manage to penetrate beneath the surface in tact).

    Either way, when you are finished, ie all residue removed and the floor rinsed and allowed to dry, then, and only then conduct a water drop test – drop some clean water onto the slate, let it sit for 5 minutes then wipe away. Has it left a dark spot that hangs a round for more than just a few moments, 20 to 30 seconds or more – or does it seem to visibly dry out before your eyes? If it stays moist for a while then a sealer will help reduce this [small] amount of porosity. If it dries out fast, leaving no mark or trace of the water, then there is arguably either some sealer left OR no need to seal.

    If you do think there is room for a sealer – but the slate is very dense and you used a water based sealer (I am not having a go at WB- I am a big fan of them, on porous surfaces) you might be better with a solvent based one (they simply penetrate the dense stone easier – they are not necessarily better sealers). However the one you had should be fine, it is most likely the application that was wrong.

    Try a test:

    when clean and dry, apply a little more sealer to one tile/slate with a paint pad or lambs wool applicator (or a cotton cloth, or sponge-cloth – but ideally NOT a roller or regular sponge).

    leave it for barely a few minutes, wait until you see it BEGIN to soak in but DO NOT wait for it to start to dry – at the edges, if you see the beginnings of white ‘tide-marks’ it is time to remove it – as it has now reached the point where the water or solvent on the surface has begun to evaporate, leaving behind sealer ON the surface, where it is NOT intended to be. So at or just before this point, use a fresh cotton towel (or paper towels) and rub and buff the ‘surplus’ sealer from the surface. the important thing is that you have to leave the surface DRY as a result of YOU removing the remaining moisture – not, as a lot of tilers will do, by simply allowing it to dry itself. If it seems counter productive (to wipe something off only moments after applying it) try this:

    Go outside, find a rough bit of concrete, a flagstone, patio slab or similar, or even a house brick. Pour some water on it, wait a minute or two for it to thoroughly wet out (saturate) then with a towel, wipe the surface dry (remove the surface water) – the slab is still dark right?- showing that you have removed unwanted water from the surface, but not pulled out any water that managed to soak in. This is what you are doing with a sealer: Using the liquid (water or solvent, it does not matter) to ‘deliver’ the sealer (that part that gets left behind when the liquid carrier evaporates) INTO the stone, you do NOT want it to sit ON TOP of the stone.

    So, do small areas at a time keeping it buffed as soon as you are happy it has saturated.

    In truth this type of dense stone may not take much sealer at all, you may end up wiping away 80% of what you apply (actually, you can wipe it across the next tile to be sealed etc, so you wont waste as much as you think) – but ‘the stone will take in what it needs’ in other words it will absorb it only where there are pores to fill – but that is fine, it is just there are less pores to try to fill than in a much more porous stone.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  74. Mark Naylor | Jul 4, 2014 | Reply

    I’ve had a black limestone fitted driveway laid couple of years ago I used a bloom remover to get all tyre marks and any deposits off it seems patchy but I did the full drive 2 days ago cleaning it up ready for it first ever seal how long does the bloom remover take to dry before I can seal these porous limestone Indian flags all marks have come off I d aprec some advice kind regards mark

  75. Ian Taylor | Jul 15, 2014 | Reply

    Hi Mark,
    Apologies, I missed this one. Sounds like you are happy that you have the stone clean enough and are only asking how long to leave them before you seal?

    I don’t know what sealer you are using but, most sealers are best applied with minimal moisture still in the stone. The issue here is that it is in the UK, and outdoors. if you have had a couple of dry days after cleaning, or subsequently after rain etc, esp in the kind of sunny weather we have been having recently, then you should be fine.

    if in doubt, you can hire a damp meter and check to see if you are below 5-10% moisture content

    hope this helps

    Ian

  76. Mark Naylor | Jul 31, 2014 | Reply

    Thanks Ian yes I used an Indian limestone sealer on stone it was ok for 5 days the tyres on car seems to mark the stone even when sealed and now I watered the plants in garden and the excess water has left white marks all over seal water seems to stain the seal on top of stone it looks a mess now with water marks all over it I thought seal would stop ( act as a barrier) any stains Ian have you any ideas why water would stain these flags and what can I do in the future and what will get these marks off seal appreciate any advice ian

  77. Ian Taylor | Aug 1, 2014 | Reply

    Hi Mark,

    OK, your sealer is likely to be an impregnator, I think maybe you have unrealistic expectations for what this type of sealer can do. Its job is to sit below the surface and act as a barrier to deep stains, that is to say it will help reduce the amount of liquids that can pass through the stone and help to strain contaminants out, and keep them near the surface. What it will not do is prevent material from lying on the surface. So for example, tyre marks, are not stains; most cars weigh a fair bit – maybe 1.5 tonnes on average? All that weight is spread over 4 relatively small tyres, turning under that weight, which is what happens on a drive, puts a lot of stress on the tyre and it deforms and tiny pieces get torn off.

    We see this all the time in car showrooms, even on glazed and porcelain tiles, with zero porosity and no discernible texture. A natural stone will have some texture and this will rip minute pieces of the rubber off the tyre. Also the pressure involved can almost fuse the tyre particles to the surface -so this is a deposit of solid particles on the surface, not a stain – your sealer will make no difference to this, as it is not a liquid contaminant.

    As for the white marks, well the sealer might actually be causing this; the sealer will be repelling some (not all) of the water, so more of the water will sit at and on the surface for longer than if it were not sealed. This means that as the water drains or evaporates away, any dissolved minerals in that water will then be left behind on the surface. So, if your water is on the hard side, it may have calcium in it, or what ever you feed your plants, or whatever is in the soil that the water washes out etc – gets left on the the stone.

    2 more things, 1, if it is calcium from the water, it will have a natural affinity with the limestone (which is also largely calcium) and so it may well bond to the surface. Lastly, it is a whitish grey in colour, this is going to stand out against the dark colour of your stone.

    This is still preferable to an unsealed stone, which could very quickly become deeply ingrained with all kinds of stains.

    You may need to adopt a more aggressive cleaning regime, occasional use of a pressure washer, or certainly a deck brush to help get into any fine texture and help to mechanically remove and determined rubber marks.

    Suggest you try to brush away any water that washes back onto the stone from the watering, use the hose and then brush – so that you don’t leave pools of water that have washed back onto the drive from the soil if you can.

    Hope that helps

    Ian

  78. sophia | Aug 18, 2014 | Reply

    I have applied limestone sealer to my new fireplace but very patchy and maybe residue on the brush. How can I remove? thanks

  79. Ian Taylor | Aug 20, 2014 | Reply

    Hi Sophia

    One quick thing you can try is, if you have a solvent based sealer, try dabbing a little more of the sealer over the patchy parts (i.e where you think there is residue, or too much applied) I know this sounds counter-intuitive but the solvent in the sealer may help remove the surplus sealer that you applied. Then rub dry with a towel.

    If this does not work you may need to try a sealer stripper, you could contact the company who made your sealer for their suggestion. Or you could try a microabsrasive cleaner like Microscrub.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  80. Vadim | Aug 29, 2014 | Reply

    Hi Ian,
    I hope you could help me to identify what is wrong in my project.
    We installed honed marble tiles on the drywall using MAPEI Ultraflex Tile Mortar with Polymer
    http://www.lowes.ca/mapei/mapei-ultraflex-2-227kg-tile-mortar-with-polymer_g1192651.html

    After installation I applied STAIN-PROOF Original™ sealer
    http://www.drytreat.com/Products/Protection/STAIN-PROOF-Original

    Now tiles have this “wet” look you could see on the picture below
    https://plus.google.com/105204300419352550091/posts/THt7xmcsxQ1

    I was wandering if it is possible to fix this problem, I don’t want to remove tiles and start from the beginning.
    Thank you,
    Vadim

  81. Ian Taylor | Sep 1, 2014 | Reply

    Hi Vadim,

    I see the issue, first observation is that there appears to be a concentration of the staining at the edges, (especially the short edges) this is giving a picture framing effect. This suggests that something is leaching in from the edges. This can be coming form the grout, the cut edges of this stone are effectively more porous than the honed surface, the grout has a lot of moisture so it could be that the tiles are drawing in this moisture from the grout – I think this more likely than any migration fro the adhesive. In theory, this could dry out over a short period of time and the tiles could return back to normal. However sometimes the moisture may contain some other impurities or maybe pigment or polymers from the grout, if it has managed to carry these into the stone then it may be permanent sadly.

    The other possibility is the sealer, which to my knowledge is solvent based and may be quite oily? – if the sealer was applied (or over applied) prior to grouting, and a lot was allowed to pour into the grout joints, then this could have leached into the stone form the edges. Again it is possible that this might dry out over the coming weeks.

    Suggest you let it continue to dry out for a few weeks and see if it lessens any. If not you might want to call mapei’s tech services and ask their opinion (assuming it was a Mapei Grout)

    Let me know how you get on

    Ian

  82. Kristy | Sep 2, 2014 | Reply

    We have just had new bluestone tiles laid in our apartment. The grinding guy was due to come in today but when he came in we realised that the painters have not properly protected the floors and there are paint spots all over the new unsealed bluestone tiles. My grinding guy has said it will now cost about $5k (instead of less than $1k) to do extra grinding to remove the paint spots. I feel like I am being taken for a ride. Are there any other ways to get paint off unsealed bluestone? Or am I dreaming. Thank you. I have read the whole blog here and can’t seem to see anything relating to new unsealed bluestone. And obviously I don’t want to potentially spot clean 30 out of 100 tiles so these tiles look completely different when sealed as a result of the scrubbing. Feeling frustrated. Thank you.

  83. Ian Taylor | Sep 2, 2014 | Reply

    Hi Kristy,

    OK, first of all I think they are trying to suggest that the paint may have penetrated deeply and the only way to remove it might be to grind below the stain. If that were true, then I understand the increase in price, as they would have to use more grits of diamond and make several more passes.

    However I am pretty sure there may be a way of removing the paint safely so that this would not be necessary – it is certainly worth trying a few things first.

    Secondly, I have to say, as people read this blog from all over, that ‘Bluestone’ means different things in different countries. Even in Australia it can be more than one thing – the point is if it is a very porous sandstone then the paint ,may have got deeper than if it was a slate or something less porous.

    So, I would try some tests, paint may be removed with a solvent paint stripper – so try a little, in an inconspicuous area. The worst that can happen is that some of the paint is removed but it leaves a shadow that can be driven a little deeper. If this happens, and you feel it is now worse, well you have not lost anything and can always change that one tile. If you have a few spots dotted here and there (so not whole areas of the surface covered in paint) it is well worth a try. Also conducting a test on one or two tiles will tell you if they end up discolored or altered in any way compared with the rest (they may just be cleaner, in the process of removing the paint, you will be removing other dirt/cement residue etc and the $1K grinding job you were planning any way should sort that out or make it all even.)

    One trick you ca try to help prevent driving a ‘solvent-thinned’ stain deeper into the stone is this:

    On your test tile, get some warm water, saturate the stone – the whole tile (if this works you can simply scale it up to the whole floor). The idea is to ‘fill up’ any pores in the unsealed stone. They want to be well wetted, but not flooded, you don’t want a film of water floating on the top. Then, while in this wet condition, apply your paint stripper to the paint, leave it for a few minutes before scrubbing with a nylon scrub pad or brush. As the paint starts to emulsify, wipe away with absorbent paper towels or terry towels etc. Then rinse with clean water. The solvent will not be able to dive into the tile as it will be repelled by the water that is already there.

    See how it looks when dry, repeat if necessary. You could also try adding a microabrasive cleaner that may help if you have any texture in the stone’s surface (just add this at the same time as the stripper for a little added abrasive boost).

    If this works you can scale the process up for the whole floor (then it will be even in appearance) you can hire a rotary scrubbing machine and a wet vac to make the job much easier.

    After this you should be able to proceed with the original $1K job, then sealing.

    I can recommend a good friend of mine for a range of good products including Strip-It (stripper), Microscrub (abrasive) and a range of high quality sealers; look up ‘aqua-seal.com.au’ (this is not a live link as I have found live links affect the site’s ranking with search engines).

    Hope this helps

    Ian

  84. Kristy | Sep 3, 2014 | Reply

    Hi Ian

    You are just about the kindest person I’ve known. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond and help me. I’ll do all as you suggest and will let you know the outcome. A brilliant idea using the water on the tile too. Thank you!! Best regards
    Kristy

  85. Ian Taylor | Sep 8, 2014 | Reply

    Glad I could help
    Ian

  86. Ishmael | Sep 24, 2014 | Reply

    Hi Ian,

    I hope you can help. I recently installed graphite colour Brazilian slate to my front garden and sealed it with Larsen impregnating sealer which initially looked great. I finished at 6.30pm and at 12.30am wiped all excess sealer from one or two places. It then rained overnight around 4am. At 11am the next day I mopped up the beaded water on the tiles, but they now looked mottled/spotty. See pics:

    http://tinypic.com/r/2usvsq8/8

    http://tinypic.com/r/2nl4sbd/8

    I am very upset after all the cost and attention I put into getting the tiles looking so good. Can you advise whether a) a second coat of the Larsen impregnating sealer might cover/get rid of the mottled look or b) any other method to get rid of the mottled look.

    Your feedback and advice is very much appreciated.

    Best Regards,

    Ishmael

  87. Ian Taylor | Sep 25, 2014 | Reply

    Hi Ishmael,

    Sorry to hear this. I have not used this product so I do not know how it responds to water before it has cured. I would say that leaving it as long as you did before removing the excess suggests that there was a film of residue left on top. This may have been removed by the rain in places leaving the dull blotches (it is less dull where the film remains).

    I would suggest you call Larsen’s tech department for their suggestions. However you may try dabbing a little more product over the spots – to see if it removes them, (adds back a bit more sealer) and evens out the look.

    Worst case you may have to strip back and re apply – but protect from rain until fully cured.

    Hope this helps

    Ian

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