First let’s clarify the two types of sealer for stone:

  1. Penetrating or Impregnating SealersDesigned to penetrate the pores of the stone and prevent liquids from soaking into the stone. Helpful in keeping liquids out and lessen the severity of etching, but will not prevent etching. This type of sealer will not alter the appearance of the stone in any way if applied properly.: common in the industry, they are intended to SOAK INTO THE STONE and leave no trace. They have no visual impact on the stone unless over applied. Penetrating sealers will slow water absorption and minimize severity of etches. But they do not make your stone waterproof or etch proof.
  2. Topcoat SealersDesigned to lay on top of the stone and change appearance ranging from a low to high shine. Prevents liquids from soaking into the stone. This type of sealer is prone to scratching, dulling and peeling. Regular maintenance is required to keep the sealer intact and looking good. / CoatingAny sort of topcoat sealer, including enhancers that are over-applied, causing a buildup on the surface. Sealers: also common in the industry, this type is thicker and lays ON TOP OF THE STONE and does not penetrate. Useful for only certain type of stone (see below) they can be very problematic. Shiny and prone to scratching, fading, peeling they can be hard to maintain and once faded, obscure the true colors and beauty of natural stone.
One way to tell if you have a coating is to run your fingernails over the top. If they leave scuffs like the above coated travertine, you have a coating.

If you have... Travertine, Marble, Limestone, ALL Outdoor Stone Patios

Topcoat Sealers Are Bad!

These types of stones inside and all outdoor stone surfaces should never be coated with any type of acrylics, wax, or any topcoat sealer. The coatings will scratch, peel, bubble, fade and discolor. They lend to a very plastic look to what should be a beautiful stone floor. Outside, the Arizona heat will destroy topcoat sealers in no time and they will look grey or whitish. Coatings can be difficult to remove and we have found some floors to have multiple layers of different type of sealers. Each layer may need a different process and/or chemical stripper to remove it.

Topcoat Sealers | Services | Baker's Travertine Power Clean
Topcoat Sealers | Services | Baker's Travertine Power Clean
Topcoat sealers can be difficult to remove and we have found some floors to have multiple layers of different type of sealers.
Topcoat Sealers | Services | Baker's Travertine Power Clean
Topcoat Sealers | Services | Baker's Travertine Power Clean
Topcoat sealers can be difficult to remove and we have found some floors to have multiple layers of different type of sealers.

If you have... Flagstone, Slate, Saltillo, Cantera

Top Coat Sealers Inside Only, NEVER Outside!

These types of stone can have coatings inside only. These stones are very rough, hard to clean, and porous. Topcoat sealers are helpful in sealing the pores, making it easier to maintain, and will give shine because these stones cannot be buffed naturally to a shine as can travertine, marble or limestone. Of course, you don’t have to use a topcoat sealer but it is an option if you want some shine. Keep in mind that topcoat sealers need to be re-applied every couple of years before they wear thin and require stripping.

Exterior Patios | Topcoat Sealers | Services | Baker's Travertine Power Clean
An example of a flagstone patio that has a thick coating coming loose revealing a brighter cleaner flagstone underneath.
Exterior Patios | Topcoat Sealers | Services | Baker's Travertine Power Clean
Another example of the same flagstone coating. This is an extreme example, but we did strip it off and bring back to life.
Exterior Patios | Topcoat Sealers | Services | Baker's Travertine Power Clean
A very typical view of a faded and peeling coating. The whitish stuff is the coating, the darker is the flagstone underneath the coating.
Exterior Patios | Topcoat Sealers | Services | Baker's Travertine Power Clean
Above is another typical view of a coated flagstone patio. Coated Slate or Saltillo patios would have a similar appearance to the flagstone patios.