All natural and manufactured stones are porous since they are made up of countless interconnected capillary pores through which liquids and gases can move (YES…Natural stone is porous too!). These porous materials act like a “hard sponge” and actually suck in liquids over time, along with any dissolved salts and other minerals.
What exactly is a sealer?
A sealer is a liquid applied to porous surfaces such as concrete, natural and manufactured stone, or tile, to prevent staining (efflorescence & spalling) from either water or oil-based materials. A sealer reduces the natural absorbency of a stone or material.
Modern stone sealers are divided into 2 types:
Sometimes a topical sealer is referred to as a coating because this is exactly what it does…. coats the surface of your stone with a protective barrier. It’s a layer or thin film sitting on the surface of your stone. Generally made from polyurethanes or acrylics. These sealers may be effective at stopping stains but, being exposed on the surface of the material, they tend to wear out relatively quickly, especially on high-traffic areas on driveways etc, and typically need to be removed before a new coat can be applied. These sealers are typically not breathable, and are not effective against salt attack such as efflorescence and spalling.
Impregnating sealers (Our Favorites!)
These are a type of penetrating sealer, which penetrate deeply into the material, impregnating it with molecules which bond to the capillary pores and repels water and / or oils from within the material. Most impregnating sealers impregnate deeply enough to protect against salt attack such as efflorescence and spalling. A good depth of sealer is also essential for protection from weathering and traffic.
Kodiak Mountain Stone initially will be offering two Acrylic Sealers to our customers for application on natural and manufactured stone applications.
Matte Look Finish VS Wet Look Finish
GEMKOTE 400 (Solvent-based Acrylic Sealer)
GemKote™ is an aromatic acrylic sealer that can be applied to almost any surface: concrete, tile, cementitious overlays, natural stone, manufactured stone, and much more. Use GemKote™ for a gloss finish as well as for its UV and stain protection (efflorescence protection).
– “Wet-look” finish
– Interior/exterior use (If applied inside….do it in a well-ventilated area)
– Can be applied with a brush or sprayed on.
– Enhances color
– Available in full matte finish that enhances color without “wet-look” finish.
– Packaging in 1-gallon, 5-gallon, and 55-gallon quantities.
– Coverage – 150-200 SF per gallon
DRI-LOOK (Water-based Acrylic Sealer)
Concrete Coatings, Inc. Dri-Look™ Masonry Sealer is designed specifically for brick and manufactured stone surfaces to provide an invisible barrier against water and the elements, yet leave the natural look of these surfaces with no visible sheen. Micronized polymers provide all the necessary protection to extend the life of these surfaces.
– Water resistant
– Invisible finish
– Interior/Exterior finish
– Can be applied with a brush or sprayed on.
– No odor or silicone
– Packaging in 1-gallon, 5-gallon, and 55-gallon quantities.
– Coverage – 600 SF per gallon (Sprayed)
Most people think that installing Manufactured Stone is something they could never do. Don’t dismiss your ability, because it can dramatically transform the look of your home both inside and out and increase your property value.
Improve the Look and Value of your home
While it may take some special tools, you probably already have the ability to do it yourself. Once you have your surface prepared and ready, installing the stone can actually be a lot of fun. Some smaller projects can be completed within a day or a weekend.
Installing stone can turn the ordinary into something extraordinary or even something that is unique and eye-catching to those around. A plain brick or stone wall might look boring and cold, but stone can transform it into a naturally beautiful, warm feature. With modern versions of manufactured stone, installation is easy and totally possible for the average home do-it-yourselfer(even me).
And if you’re concerned that the manufactured stuff might not look as good as real stone, think again we go to great lengths to make our product look authentic, even up close.
You may require some special tools. Most do-it-yourselfers have a pretty good selection of basic tools on hand. But you’ll need a few not-so-common tools for your manufactured stone installation.
Specifically, you will need a masonry blade for your saw. Most saws are capable of cutting manufactured stone as long as you attach a masonry blade. Depending on where you are installing, you may have to cut the pieces into different sizes or shapes. A chop/Miter or circular saw can be used with the proper blade. A lot of people use a wheelbarrow but I prefer to mix mortar in a bucket to get the mixture right and I don’t have as much waste.
You will also need a trowel to spread the mortar onto the back of the stone piece and for your scratch coat to apply mortar.
About the only part of the project that might seem like work is the surface preparation. The preparation to me is also the labour intensive part; I like to use a minimum of a 3/8″ plywood for support, but depending on the previous surface there are many options.
Before you start putting up the stone, you may need to add a thin “scratch” coat of mortar(just like a stucco Scratch) I prefer the surface to be level but not smooth. I like to use a grout notched trowel to create a better bonding surface. In exterior home areas, you may need to put up a moisture barrier(check local building codes) but definately a metal lathe in your scratch coat to support the weight of the surface. We should be able to help you make the decision of how to proceed.
Placing the stone on the wall is simple and a little like a go as you want jigsaw puzzle. I like to do 3 or 4 layers of corners then fill in between with flats. Mixing and matching the stone pieces is like playing with Lego as a kid. You don’t want vertical joints to line up and you want a nice flow to the pattern of the stone. Sometimes(mostly always) a woman’s eye can help pick out the right mix of colour and pattern. I like to put a nice healthy load of mortar on the back of the stone; just like buttering a piece of toast (I call it buttering the stone) but with more mortar… my doctor would kill me if I used that amount of butter! From there put the “buttered” stone onto the wall and give it a little twist and push to bond into the scratch.
Half the fun of working with manufactured stone is the picking the right profile and colour for your project. Some styles will require you to have a mortar bag to fill in joints and others will be simply a drystack that has no mortar to fill the gaps. Whatever your choice is; it can be a simple enjoyable process that allows you to express your taste while improving the look and price of your home.
Why did we decide to start a blog?
Blogs seem to be a “Buzz” word on the internet and it is an opportunity to share information and ideas. We are starting this blog to be both educational and informational to our Customers; our dealers and our staff. We are going to try to provide you with up to date Product knowledge and current products we are working on as well as events and promotions we are participating in.
We welcome your input as well as discussion and pictures and advice on any projects or products associated with Kodiak Mountain Stone. We are truly looking for your input and feel free to share as that is important to us.
Any information or pictures can be forwarded to:
Brick – Product Knowledge
A brick’s color has a lot to do with the region that the brick is made in and the color of the clay found in that region. The color of clay can be either left alone as seen in many commercial buildings looks, or the look of the front of the brick can be changed by adding a Portland cement mixture of an additional color. This face color is called a “slurry”.
Some common brick terminology:
- Bond: a pattern in which brick is laid. (a half bond, or a third bond)
- Stretcher: a brick laid horizontally, flat with the long side of the brick exposed on the outer face of a wall.
- Header: a brick laid flat with the short end of the brick exposed.
- Soldier: a brick laid vertically with the narrow (“stretcher”) side exposed.
- Sailor: a brick laid vertically with the broad side exposed.
- Rowlock or Bull Header: a brick laid on the long, narrow side with the small or “header” side exposed.
- Shiner: a brick laid on the long narrow side with the broad side exposed
A Dictionary Definition of “Efflorescence”
1. the state or a period of flowering.
2. an example or result of growth and development: “These works are the efflorescence of his genius.”
a. the act or process of efflorescing.
b. the resulting powdery substance or incrustation.
4. Pathology. a rash or eruption of the skin.
Note that this is a “process”, not the resulting stain.
In construction we tend to use the word “efflorescence” as the definition of the white residue and its chemical component. Sometimes we jump to the conclusion that any white residue is “that kind of efflorescence”. It is important to remember that, per the definition above, efflorescence is a process, not a thing. The typical efflorescence we encounter has the fizzing reaction to acid. However, the efflorescence process is actually any liquid (almost always water) transporting “any substance “ that can be carried to the surface. The substance can be a wide range of things, such as iron oxides, concrete additives ( latex, acrylic, epoxy, etc. ). Many of these substances are white, but some are not.
Therefore, the process of efflorescence could leave a residue of something other that the usual minerals. This is why it pays to do some testing first. If there is no fizzing, see the subject of “additives” as it is not uncommon to see that type of residue appear (especially from grout or concrete additives that are “bleeding out”).
This information applies to efflorescence on all surface types,
including brick, block, tile, grout, slate, stone, concrete work, pavers, limestone, marble, granite, etc
Where it comes from! — How to remove it! — How to stop it!
Where does it come from?
Two conditions must be present to create efflorescence:
- A source of water soluble salts.
- Water moving through the material to carry the salts to the surface. The water evaporates and leaves the white powder behind.
Some surfacing products are more prone to have efflorescence because:
- They might be more permeable and promote water travel.
- They might tend to have higher water soluble salts in some batches.
Despite the best efforts of surfacing manufacturers to minimize water soluble salts in their products, they use materials from the earth that can vary from batch to batch.
The causes and treatments of efflorescence are the same, regardless of the material on which it appears. Flooring, roofing, walls and their component materials only vary in the product application technique, as described on product labeling.
Water sources can be:
- IN/OUT – Entering at the surface (rain or sprinklers), penetrating in a fraction of an inch, then returning to the surface carrying the salts.
- THROUGH – Entering from behind (bad flashing, caulking, leaks) or underneath (water from the earth migrating up) and traveling through.
There are two kinds of efflorescence.
- Regular “powdery” efflorescence as described above and is still gone after “Efflorescence Treatment” dries.
- “Crystalline” efflorescence. When powdery efflorescence goes through cycles of being deposited on the surface – re dissolved when new water occurs – drying out – new water – etc. it can form crystals. The crystals become tightly bonded to the surface. The crystals do not have to be thick. A light haze that is still there after using “Efflorescence Treatment” will be light crystal formation and is treated as described below.
How can it be cleaned?
“Powdery” efflorescence only requires a simple application of Vinegar and water with a scrub brush
- “Efflorescence Treatment” is not a cleaner that must be rinsed or removed.
- “Efflorescence Treatment” carries the salts below the surface.
- “Efflorescence Treatment” enhances the surface color.
“Crystalline” efflorescence can not be moved by “Efflorescence Treatment” because of the crystal’s attachment to the surface. That is why you may treat a surface with “Efflorescence Treatment” and it looks great for a few hours. But then, when it dries you can see some efflorescence deposits remaining. They are not new deposits coming out. They were just temporarily disguised by the darkening effect of the initial treatment. The reappearing efflorescence is crystalline and is bonded to the surface. These deposits will “fizz” on contact with a strong acid (pool acid, muriatic acid), but do not use that acid for cleaning. There are products for cleaning.
How it can be stopped!
After treating the surface to restore its appearance, you can prevent future efflorescence by applying a penetrating sealer per directions. This is true even if the water is coming from behind or subsurface and cannot be stopped. The penetrating sealers create a barrier below any absorbent surface that allows water vapor to “breathe” out, but stops the water soluble salt molecules from migrating out.