FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is CLEARSTONE?
A specially formulated resin based coating system that is clear and can be applied to many types of natural stones including marble, travertine, limestone, sandstone etc. as well as concrete surfaces. CLEARSTONE is a specially formulated coating that is applied using specifically developed techniques to afford the stones surface outstanding stain, etching and chemical resistance. CLEARSTONE is finished in such a manner that it does not look artificial or plastic coated and appears as a natural stone factory finish. CLEARSTONE is the ‘branded’ and registered name of the tried and tested stone coating system developed and manufactured in Australia by Clearstone Holdings Pty Ltd.
Why use a coating system on stone?
The standard way of protecting stone is to apply ‘sealers’. We have not found a sealer that can prevent etching and staining over an extended period of time, or for that matter, fill all the imperfections in the surface of the stone that can harbour bacteria. If you look closely at the natural stone’s surface it is full of open fissures, cavities, cracks, and faults that look, from a distance, like dull areas on the surface or a different colored vein that is a softer material than the main stone. These imperfections add to the stone’s aesthetic appearance and can be the reason for choosing the stone in the first place. CLEARSTONE puts a barrier over the entire surface like a layer of thin clear liquid glass filling the imperfections leaving a smooth surface that prevents any materials/chemicals from coming in contact with the natural stone’s surface.
What’s the difference between staining and etching?
Surface staining is where a chemical has left a coloured mark on the surface. This stain/mark may be sitting on the surface or have penetrated into the stone depending on how porous the stone is. Sealers will buy you some time to protect against the offending chemical before the surface is permanently stained. This will vary depending on the sealer, stone and chemical involved – some chemicals can stain in minutes. Etching is a totally different problem. A lot of problems that are associated with a majority of stone surfaces are that they are actually etched not stained. Marble and Limestone are composed of calcite, which is highly sensitive to acid spills which corrodes the surface (etching) thus damaging the polished or honed finish. Even acids in water can affect some stones leaving a white ring from a glass left on a bench top. Etching can appear as a blotch or dull spot, have a lighter coloured (white) bleached appearance, feel rougher, or feel and look as if the surface is pitted. Severe etching can lead to the surface crumbling and flaking. Some stones like marble and limestone can also be porous and are susceptible to both staining and etching at the same time. Some stones such as sandstone and basalts are not receptive to a high-honed or polished finish due to their open grains. This can make them more susceptible to staining and etching and bacterial infestation.
Once the surface is etched can it be restored?
The only way to fix etched stone is to mechanically grind the surface until you get to unaffected stone below the etching. The depth of the grinding will vary depending on the severity of the etching, and how long it has been allowed to continue as the pitted surface will continue to collect acids.
How do you repair damaged stone in general?
The stone’s surface needs to be chemically washed and/or ground deep enough to remove all visible signs of anything that was not part of the original stone. Our licensed applicator can advise you on this. The amount of surface grinding/honing will vary depending on the level of damage and the type of stone. The standard process used by others to rejuvenate the stone is to surface grind and hone using water and paste from course through to fine diamond disc, requiring several messy processes depending on the level of shine required. Once this is complete, you are still left without any protection from etching and staining. With the CLEARSTONE process the stone will be restored by a deep grinding process and using a stain remover if necessary, and then the coating is applied. Any fine scratches from the grinding process simply disappear. Once the coating is cured it is vacuum dry sanded to the finish desired.
Does CLEARSTONE look plastic?
One of the biggest challenges when developing the CLEARSTONE process was to maintain the natural appearance of the stone. We went to great lengths to ensure that the finishing process gave a natural stone look on all levels of finish from honed through to full gloss to the point where most stone manufacturers cannot tell the difference. If there is any concern it is always recommended to do a sample beforehand to ensure a perfect finish.
Does stone coated with CLEARSTONE feel different?
The stone no longer feels as cold to touch. The surface is smooth; you do not feel all the imperfections in the stone.
Does stone coated with CLEARSTONE look any different?
In most cases it does not look any different, but the coating does tend to enhance some stone and brings out its natural characteristics – especially seen in Travertine. We recommend you have a sample piece of your stone coated first. You will be amazed at the depth and clarity it can give to stone.
Can Clearstone be coloured?
Yes, the CLEARSTONE coating can be coloured, tinted, or filled with stone granules and used as filler for repairs before being applied. It also adds strength to brittle stones that have fault lines and cracks.
How is CLEARSTONE coating maintained?
The stone coating is a hardwearing durable surface that is easy to maintain using soapy water or standard cleaning materials – spills simply wipe off. Refer to our ‘Product Care’ details.
Is CLEARSTONE stain/chemical resistant?
Yes, the CLEARSTONE coating has been tested to Australian Standards 2924.2 -1998 and this report is available on request.
Who can apply CLEARSTONE?
CLEARSTONE should only be applied by an authorized applicator. It is important that we use these applicators to ensure you get a professional result. The CLEARSTONE coating comes with a warranty when applied by our applicators.
What are some of the pitfalls of putting a coating onto natural stone?
The coating has been tested against most natural stones and adheres well but where the stone has been in use or has been sealed with another product, we cannot guarantee that our product will fully adhere to the stone or that the appearance of our product would not be affected.
Moisture, silicon, oil, and wax etc., are not compatible with CLEARSTONE. In the case of bench tops there are a lot of chemicals that come into play such as cleaning materials, soaps, oils, shampoo, foods, and wines etc. Sealers often have oils, silicon, and other chemicals in them that can cause problems.
Grinding the surface and chemical washing usually solves these problems. But testing the surface is often needed prior to application, and even then cannot guarantee adhesion.
As some of the chemical may have penetrated deep into the surface in some cases, it is impossible to know the coating will work until we have applied it.
In extreme situations we may need to strip the coating to readdress the problem and then re-apply the CLEARSTONE.
Can CLEARSTONE be applied to granite?
The stone coating has been developed specifically for marble, travertine, limestone and sandstone, as well as concrete surfaces. However, it may be possible to coat some granites, but it is recommended that a sample be subjected for trial with our coating. Please contact us for further information. Granite can be coated but it requires a longer preparation process.
Can CLEARSTONE be used to highlight a stone?
Stones such as unfilled ‘Travertine’ have natural cavities which can be filled with clear composite to highlight the features in the stone.
Our applicators can, on request, also inlay other materials like timber veneer, art work, etc.
Why did we develop CLEARSTONE?
We firmly believe that coating the natural stone with a resin composite is the only way to fix the staining and etching problems commonly associated with stone. This gives the customer a long term solution, without compromising the appearance of the stone and the freedom to enjoy having a natural stone product.
Natural stone being a product of Mother Nature means that each piece has its own individual characteristics and is composed of different composites with varying performances, CLEARSTONE gives the stone a high performance even surface. As marble and most natural stones are opulent and bring value to a property they need to be easy maintained while still being liveable. CLEARSTONE is the complete commercial solution for stone.
Does CLEARSTONE smell?
CLEARSTONE’s odor is unpleasant during application, and we do acknowledge that the odour can cause discomfort to some individuals. While CLEARSTONE is toxic if consumed; the odour emitted from CLEARSTONE is non-toxic. However, we do recommend that customers vacate the premises while CLEARSTONE is being applied and during the curing process. While we take every precaution to minimize the odour, some odour is present during our process. Everyone’s sensitivity to CLEARSTONE’s odour is different. We also recommend that pets be removed from the premises during the CLEARSTONE process.