The areas that encircle many pools are aggressive environments with ingress of water, salts, organic stains, body fats, beverages and foods all having contributory impact.
And the natural stone, masonry or concrete products installed are often chosen for their aesthetic appeal without due consideration for their resilience in this environment.
Sealing natural stone is done primarily to preserve the integrity of the stone. It is also often used to prevent or limit staining or soiling. Ideally, both are required for pool surrounds and in this order.
Water and its damaging dissolved salts must be kept out of the porous structure of the stone. The most common damage and disfigurement is caused by salt attack and efflorescence. Water provides ingress for dissolved salts into the porous stone structure which upon drying, either crystallises and breaks up the stone, or are deposited on the surface in the form of efflorescence.
Some areas, of course, are more vulnerable than others such as the coping/bullnosing of any stone overhanging the pool.
Silicone derived treatments provide the most robust and durable water types of repellence and are key to preserving the integrity of natural stone. Combine this with stone strengthening technology and users can have a fail-safe answer for stone preservation. This includes stone from igneous rock, calcite stone, sandstones, masonry and concrete. Fluorochemical treatments will provide a certain level of water repellence but typically do not provide for the level of water lock-out needed. Where fluorochemical sealers do perform their much-needed work is to preserve the surface from the unsightly consequences of food and beverage spills as well as body oils, typically found in pool surrounds.
So an exceptional protection treatment comprises of an application of a high-quality silicone derived water repellent (preferably with stone strengthening technology) followed by an application of a solvent based fluorochemical penetrating sealer. Another option is the application of an intensifying, enhancing sealing. These penetrating sealers are a powerful water repellent and provide a high level of protection against oily spills and stains. Whichever treatment is chosen, users should ensure the integrity of the stone is adequately cared for before considering protection from staining.
For more information contact Actichem (Applied Products Australia) www.actichem.com.au 1800 108 800