The ancient Romans tried to enhance and protect their stone floors by rubbing olive oil into the surface. Today, there are much more sophisticated options for sealing natural stone floors. In a retail environment, those options become vitally important in maintaining the original look of the floor.
Sealants that rest on the surface of the stone also trap residual moisture from adhesives and other sources, encapsulating that moisture and causing deterioration. Some refinishing methods will actually break down the calcium carbonate of marbles and limestones, combining it with other compounds to form an impervious finish. That sounds like a good idea, but the problem of moisture beneath the finish remains.
In retail installations, the trend is toward a matte or textured stone finish rather than the traditional highly polished floor. This solves two problems: noticeable wear from high traffic is reduced and slip resistance is increased. Penetrating sealers can improve the traditional wear and slip resistance issues, even in traditionally polished floors, if chosen correctly.
Silane, a silicone derivative, is able to penetrate deeply into stone pores. Water-based silane sealers are able to create durable protection from daily maintenance and abrasion. These sealants allow the water to evaporate and hold acidic spills like soda or juice for a reasonable time, allowing cleanup without damage. They will not prevent damage from contamination if the spill remains on the stone for long periods of time, but they increase the safety margin for maintenance.
If you are researching options for tiling your retail establishment, stone is an excellent option. Many of the problems encountered in the past have been resolved by the development of silane sealers. If you have questions about tile, the best place to get retail tile flooring in Montreal is at Éco Dépôt Céramique. We have tile experts, the experience of over four decades in supplying tile to the area, and an excellent selection of commercial tile to view. We also work with commercial bulk orders regularly and can accommodate your needs.