Is it necessary to seal basalt stone tiles?

What to know about sealing basalt stone tiles.

While basalt rock is one of the most robust natural stone options available, it's still necessary to seal it to protect against inevitable wear and tear. Basalt's hard-wearing nature means it's popular, alongside materials such as granite, for high-use areas like paving stones and kitchen surfaces. Make your basalt last even longer by ensuring it's properly protected with our tips below. 

The importance of sealing Basalt tiles

All natural stones are porous to some extent, which means they may absorb liquids and moisture if exposed. Basalt is one of the denser natural stones, as compared to a material like sandstone but can still absorb unwanted contaminants over time.

As a type of igneous rock, Basalt is formed as a result of lava cooling following a volcanic eruption. During cooling, gases may become trapped in the flow, resulting in natural holes and spaces that water can penetrate. One of the most common complaints for users of basalt is a white cloudy mark or a number of white spot blemishes. White discoloration occurs when water within the stone brings mineral salts to the surface. When the moisture evaporates, the salts remain and changes the appearance of the stone.

Applying a good sealant prior to installation prevents moisture getting into the stone, and thereby altering the appearance. Without a sealant that works to protect the stone from water penetration, basalt can be affected by discoloration which can be permanent.

Basalt natural stone having formed during cooling.Basalt forms naturally and is a dense natural stone.

What to consider when sealing basalt

Basalt can be protected with a topical or penetrating sealant. Deciding which product to use comes down to the type of protection desired. A topical sealant covers the surface of the stone, providing protection against everyday dirt and scratching or other types of damage. However, it can alter the look of the stone by changing the surface tone or finish, and creates a barrier for moisture evaporation. 

A penetrating sealant is absorbed into the stone and creates resin bonds below the surface. This type of sealant doesn't affect the surface appearance of the stone, and allows the stone to breathe so that moisture can escape. Penetrating sealants can be longer-lasting as they do not wear with general surface cleaning and usage. The downside is the lack of protection against surface damage. 

Whichever type of product is used, it's advisable to pre-seal basalt before laying to avoid any moisture absorption from grout or adhesive. Pre-sealing basalt tiles prevents moisture from getting into the tiles and keeps the stones is good condition for laying.

Basalt tiles benefiting from pre-sealing.Basalt tiles benefit from pre-sealing to prevent moisture contamination.

Ongoing maintenance requirements

Basalt applications do need to be re-sealed after time, and the frequency required varies according to the products and type of sealant used. How long a sealant lasts is also affected by the type of wear and tear experienced, such as the substances the rock is exposed to. In the kitchen, for example, the use of protective equipment like chopping boards to prevent acid wear and scratching may prolong the effect of the sealant and appearance of the stone.

Choosing the right cleaning materials avoids accidental damage to the stone or sealer. Strong cleaners should not be used as they may cause unnecessary abrasion. Warm water and a mild detergent can be used to remove light dirt. Removing tough marks is best done with nylon pad and approached gently.

For more information about purchasing Basalt for your next project, get in touch with the BauMart team now.