Tips & Troubleshooting for: "S-B-S Sealer","Penetrating Paver Sealer", "Porous Stone Sealer", "Mexiglaze" "S-B-S Sealer Aerosols", "4in1 Sealer Concentrate"
If you are here to review and learn before applying a sealer, congratulations! That is very smart.
If you are here because you see something you did not expect, this page should answer it for you. However, it is absolutely critical for you to understand this: There is nothing wrong with the product! If you will do the following easy tests, you will prove this immediately and you can then proceed to diagnose what is really happening from the list below.
Key concept: The purpose of doing the tests first is to get over your natural reaction that something might be wrong with the product and keep you from wasting time going down the wrong track. The first step is always to test the product in another application other than your project. This will aid in determining what is really happening and why.
If, after testing as described and reviewing the information on this page, you do not have an answer and do not know what to do - contact us for assistance as something is certainly different than you think. We have a form set up on the "Can We Help" page that will quickly gather the information we need to assist you.
Before emailing for assistance - do the following tests so you can give us the results in the your email or form. If you contact us before doing the testing and reviewing the information, there will be delays in assisting you because we must still ask you for these test results. We cannot be of assistance to you by guessing.
The 3 big tests: Do these tests to quickly understand what you are dealing with. It is important to do all 3 tests. Be patient and do these now and it will save you lots of time and frustration.
Note 1 : as you read below, you might find this information of benefit. This sealer is in the family of formulas that include: SBS Sealer - Penetrating Paver Sealer - Porous Stone Sealer - Mexiglaze.
Note 2: Our web pages show the sealers on various surface types. However, this is a guideline only. Surfaces can be different than you think and vary quite a bit in absorption. Always test samples.
Note 3: Any reference to testing with muriatic (hydrochloric) acid is to be done with that acid as purchased from a store, not another manufacturer's cleaning product that says it contains that or any other acid. Or, you can test with Aldon's Grout Residue Remover / Brick and Block Cleaner. This provides the strength for valid results.
Note 4: Any reference to testing or use of lacquer thinner refers to that purchased from a paint store or professional's source. It should contain primarily one or more of the following: "Xylene" (Xylol), "Toluene" (Toluol), "Methyl Ethyl Ketone". This provides the strength for valid results. Lacquer thinner from a "big box" store can be of lesser strength. "Mineral Spirits" and "Paint Thinner" are not as strong as good quality lacquer thinner and may not provide valid results.
Note 5: Always keep in mind that quite often there is more than one factor causing a problem. Many projects can have combinations of efflorescence, mineral deposits, old sealer present of which you were unaware, etc. There are even variations in natural stone sources that can play a part. Don't immediately assume it is just one thing. You will save time, work, and expense if you consider all possibilities and combinations.
Note 6: There are quite a few variables that can be involved in any project. The subjects discussed here are in almost random order because of that.
Note 7: Nothing is a disaster. We can help you get to your goals. Relax and proceed step by step.
Here is a list of issues: these can happen with any sealer from any manufacturer. Therefore, this page can help you diagnose an issue with any sealer.
(for issues specific to aerosol spray cans - in addition , also see the end of the listing)
Please note that everything mentioned below would not happen with an Aldon sealer if our program tools were used to test, select the correct product, and apply that product per the label. Applying per the label automatically corrects for almost every unknown condition of the project. As labels on cans can be not the current label, to see the most current label - see the product information list and select the product.
Renewal of a glossy finish:
Leaving streaks and/or uneven gloss?
Uneven gloss - Some areas glossy and others not?
Uneven gloss and uneven densifying are both from an uneven application with some areas not receiving enough liquid. There are two ways this can occur:
Instead of letting the product self level, it has been pulled from areas with the application tool that needed more sealer due to absorbency requirements.
The surface is highly absorbent, or uneven in absorbency. Some areas absorbed more sealer and have less gloss, other areas absorbed less sealer and have more gloss.
In both cases, the answer is the same. Any materials that take more sealer, need it for reinforcement of porous, softer areas. Add more sealer and allow to self level and blend together. If taking too much sealer, move up to one of a higher solids content as explained above.
Uneven color appearance? (see above for uneven gloss ). Note that this sealer is in the "color enhancing" category. The effect on most surfaces is to do the same thing as water on that surface on a permanent basis. This is perceived as darkening of the color, but is really just enhancing the natural colors.
An uneven color enhancement (dark and light areas) on the surfacing, but not on the grout (see below if surfacing is evenly colored, but grout is not):
An uneven color, blotchy, spotty (see below if uneven color on the grout and not uneven on the surfacing:
An uneven color enhancement (dark and light areas) on the grout, but not on the surfacing material (see above if grout is evenly colored, but the surfacing is not):
White stains noticed? White stains are not from the sealer nor does the sealer create efflorescence. When applied correctly the sealer prevents efflorescence. . You can use lacquer thinner (see notes above) to remove sealer at those spots, then "Grout Residue Remover / Brick and Block Cleaner" to remove efflorescence, mineral deposits, or grout residue cement stains. Then reapply sealer.
Possible causes of white looking areas:
White spots UNDER the sealer? This can show up after a length of time and might be after some stress to a sealer surface that is not well bonded, such as water (rain or mop), heavy traffic, high temperatures, etc. What this can be is small spots of sealer peeling from the surface. The air gap created looks white. A good way to test for this is with a piece of tape. If tape pulled up removes more sealer and the area looks worse, the sealer has not penetrated and bonded properly.
Gray (or other color the same as your grout) stains noticed? Gray or colored stains are not from the sealer. It is most likely residue from the grouting process that was not noticed prior to sealer application, not noticed when sealer was first applied due to sealer's color enhancing effect, then was noticed after sealer became dry and the surface color became lighter. You can use lacquer thinner (see notes above) to remove sealer at those spots, then "Grout Residue Remover / Brick and Block Cleaner" to remove the grout residue. Then reapply sealer. Another possibility with some stone is very dense sections (crystals?) that became more obvious (lighter or darker) after the sealer was applied than before it was applied.
Sealer has turned white after a few weeks or more?
Sealer is "tacky" to the touch after one day:
Using more sealer than you think it should? If you have extremely porous surfacing that seems to be absorbing too much sealer, see the label for the technique to decrease the gallonage of sealer needed. Also, you might have a surfacing that is more absorbent than you thought and you could instead be using one of the higher solids level sealers as described above. These are in the same family and you can change to another one to finish the job.
If sealing pavers with sand joints, most of the sealer is probably going into the more absorbent sand joints. That is good because it will stabilize the sand. If sand stabilization is not desired, you can try spraying the sealer and using that technique to control how much goes into the paver and how much into the sand. See for information about sprayers for petroleum solvent based sealers.
Build up of too much gloss?
Not penetrating down enough?
If you are only at the testing stage - congratulations! This is exactly why you test first. Simply test next one of the lower solids level sealers described above.
Bubbles trapped in the sealer?
Sealer has pooled in a low spot (grout joint, stone pocket, etc.) and is too thick and glossy in that area?
Haziness, spots, splotches noticed after a week or two? It is not from the sealer. A sealer is like a piece of glass in that any liquid landing on it will evaporate and dry without penetrating. Any minerals or chemicals in the water are left behind as spots. They are usually white or gray in color. The sealer has kept these minerals on the surface where they are much easier to clean off.
Sealer is peeling or surface is flaking? An Aldon penetrating sealer cannot peel and the surfacing should stop flaking - if the correct sealer is chosen for the application and applied per the label instructions. This can only happen if the sealer is a coating painted on top of the surface and not sufficiently penetrated. There are a few reasons this could happen:
When a large mass of concrete and surfacing is subject to heat (day) it expands. When cooled (night) it contracts. When a penetrating type sealer is too high in solids content for a low absorption surface type it builds a beautiful, shiny finish immediately instead of penetrating down into the stone. The goal with a penetrating sealer is to get penetration and bonding below the surface and not just bonding on top of the surface. As the surface mass moves (thermal expansion/contraction) that top layer bond can be broken and peeling results. If this is occurring, test a small area and not do the whole thing to prove the theory first. Remove any Lifeguard or Tile Cover with Aldon Insta-Clean per the product label to get it out of the way and deal only with the sealer. Then use lacquer thinner liberally to dissolve the sealer solids and thin it down enough to get penetration down into the surface. Use a paint brush to swirl and move the lacquer thinner puddle. Some will sink in, some will not. Let it dry without touching it with the brush so it self-levels and it might end up where you want it for gloss. Hopefully, you will save your investment in the sealer solids and have what would have originally been a better liquid/solids level in the range of SBS Sealer. SBS is the best choice for the denser and lower absorption range materials. Do not use any more Lifeguard or Tile Cover so as to keep them out of the equation. If an outdoor application, they are not really needed anyway and you can use SBS sealer easily from now on to restore any traffic wear that might occur.
More to consider : If the surface is not absorbent enough for the solids content level of the sealer. This could be because either the surfacing is naturally too dense for the sealer to absorb into, or there is still an old sealer below the surface that is interfering with the new sealer penetration. Not enough liquid on too hot a surface caused premature evaporation before it could penetrate. The liquid was poured on per label directions, but then "dragged out" by the applicator instead of pushing the puddle and allowing it to self level. The label directions were ignored. If there was good penetration, but the surfacing is still flaking, then the sealer was not able to penetrate deep enough to the weak areas of the surfacing for the reasons above.
If the old sealer is unknown or was a fluorochemical type: you can use lacquer thinner to remove the new sealer, then do some light rubbing with "0000" steel wool on the theory that the old sealer might be a fluorochemical type and the adhesion of the new sealer can be improved.
Surface was great a few months ago, but now:
Shows a water drop darkens underneath as it penetrates into the surface.
And/or Color has lightened (and it is not from deposits on top of the sealer)
And/or gloss was there but is now gone
This may mean the sealer was insufficiently applied for the surfaces absorption and is losing bond or is no longer there . Test a small section to add more sealer on top and it should renew the appearance (providing there is nothing on top of the sealer). But, read below to get a better application this time.
Why can this happen? We know that the sealer doesn't break down and disappear on its own, therefore, logically what has happened is that there was not enough sealer allowed for the surface requirements. The label directions automatically compensate for all variances in absorption characteristics. You may not have been aware that the surface required more liquid than was applied.
This applies to all surface types to some degree, but as an example take the most absorbent surfacing (sandstone, Mexican tile, etc.) and it can look like they will absorb a lot of dollars worth of sealer. This will tempt you to cut down on the sealer being used by applying it as more of a "paint job" on the surface. However, keep in mind the following: The more absorbent the flooring material, the more you need to "fill" it with sealer. This will make a softer material stronger and create a situation where you should not need to seal it again as described elsewhere. You may need a higher solids level than this sealer so that you do not need to use as many gallons. "SBS Sealer" is the lowest solids level. "Porous Stone Sealer" is considerably higher in solids content (note the name) and "Mexiglaze is higher yet. You can easily redo and/or continue from "SBS Sealer" to "Porous Stone Sealer" or "Mexiglaze" because the only difference is higher solids. However, you need to test for color enhancement differences. You can lower the consumption of liquid by allowing 3 hours or more between sealer applications. The theory is that the first application will harden and tend to "support" the next application. It may be even better if you can wait 24 hours.
Still smell the sealer after a couple of days? Once the sealer is cured in a day or two you should not be able to smell it anymore, especially if you followed the label recommendations for adequate ventilation during application. However, if you have built up a high gloss with lots of sealer it would take longer for the solvents to leave and the sealer to cure. Air movement is very important. Vapors are heavier than air, therefore, aim fans at the floor to move vapors outside. See if anyone else still smells it and consider you could be smelling something else used on the project with a more long lasting aroma. Consider it could be air moved to another room or there might be a rag or tool around somewhere.
Sealer not "densifying" (strengthening) or reinforcing the surface? That means you are not getting the sealer penetrated into the weak or soft areas. Perhaps you are not following the "puddle" method described on the label or perhaps the surfacing will not allow the penetration. Make a puddle on a small area in question and do not spread it out. Just let it penetrate in. Let it cure for 24 hours and test the difference. If still in doubt, pour the sealer on a handful of sand and see how it glues all the particles together. That should show you the difference and put you on the right track.
Applied sealer (1,2,3 or more) times and the surface below still shows darkening from water penetration or will allow a liquid to stain the surfacing.
It does not matter how many "times" you apply a sealer. What matters is the "quantity" of liquid applied and this is usually done in one application by following our label directions. If the surface darkens or stains underneath a sealer, there was not enough liquid applied in however many times it was done. The more absorbent portions of a project require more liquid than the less absorbent sections. For instance, the grout joints surrounding a dense stone would need more sealer than the stone.
Using a sprayer? First it must be solvent resistant, not a typical garden sprayer or plastic/rubber parts will melt from the solvent. Then, in addition to hose and seal deterioration, rubber and plastic residue can be sprayed on the surface. Important to understand is this - When people use a sprayer to apply a penetrating sealer they may forget that the sprayer is only another tool ( like a paint brush or roller ) and the goal is to apply liquid, not a spray of droplets. They may end up with only a spray coating paint job. That "paint job" is only a coating on the top and not enough liquid has penetrated down. It may look good and bead water, but without the designed penetration - it is not a good seal job. The same applies if this is not the first application. You want sufficient liquid to melt, penetrate with, and bond with the prior application(s). Do not just spray a coating on the top and build up a layer on top of a layer. Solar heating and cooling cycles create expansion/contraction cycles that can break the bond of one layer to another over time. This scenario is true of any penetrating type sealer from any company that has solids that can build up on the surface.
Cleaning - normal and disaster recovery. Usually all you need is Aldon Insta-Clean to remove dirt, grease, oil stains, bird droppings, tree leaves or berries, etc. "Insta-Clean" will not hurt the sealer. Pressure washing, with or without, Insta-Clean in the water will not hurt the sealer, except if the sealer was not applied properly and can be blasted off the surface.
If the sealer has been damaged in some way (irrevocably stained, burned, etc.) it is easy to fix. Lacquer thinner will remove the effected area. Then, just apply more sealer as needed.
Lighter and darker pieces of surfacing noticed only sometime after sealing.
This picture is of buff colored Arizona flagstone before it has been sealed. Notice the color and texture differences between stones. The dark blue/green diamond shaped stone in the center is a piece of slate and is not part of this discussion. Notice the large curved piece of flagstone on the left of the slate. its texture is very flat, smooth, and sandy. Compare to the other pieces that are creviced and lighter in color.
If you put a "color enhancing" sealer on this surface, all those differences will be magnified. If you do not want that to happen, select a sealer that does not have the color enhancing designation from Surface Type
If the whole job has been sealed and the color differences are now unacceptable, this is a difficult problem. Here are some thoughts (definitely not recommendations), but proceed cautiously because you can make the problem worse by trying to undo or mask color problems.
We do not know of any way to safely attempt going lighter on the dark stones. However, it might be possible to go darker on the light stones. To go darker, you need a solvent based tint from a paint store and a "carrier liquid" for the tint that will bond with the sealer used, because that sealer is below the surface and cannot be removed. The "carrier liquid" in this case can be Aldon S-B-S Sealer as it will melt and bond to the old sealer (itself or another) within this family of sealers. If the Aldon label directions on the sealer were not followed, the sealer might be only a painted on layer on the top and not penetrated. If so, it is not a good seal job and that works in your favor because that layer could be stripped and (hopefully) reveal raw stone below. If so, it might dry to an acceptable color and you can start over with one of the non-color enhancing sealers. Try lacquer thinner to strip, but you will probably find Aldon Premium Stripper works better and has a better chance to reverse the color enhancing effect.
The sealer has darkened, ( or colored) my surfacing ( or grout ) and I don't want that effect. The darker color must be the natural color of the grout or surfacing that in the past has been obscured by light efflorescence, light dirt, or cleaning residues. This is the color enhancing effect of the sealer, i.e. bring out and enhance the natural color. You could switch to one of the non-enhancing sealers if you really want to retain the lighter coloration. See Surface Type .
Used SBS Sealer or Porous Stone Sealer and want a higher level of color enhancement and/or gloss for a very absorbent surface. Note above that SBS Sealer, Porous Stone Sealer, and Mexiglaze are in the same formula family and the solids level increases with each. The higher the solids level the higher the level of color enhancement and gloss provided. This effect can vary depending on the surface type. If you have sealed with SBS Sealer or Porous Stone Sealer, you can seal on top with one of a higher solids level. However, test first because you don't want to end up with a higher than desired gloss level.
Sealer application has adversely effected an underlying colorant that had been applied to the surface before sealing? This is probably from agitation of an applicator tool. Try just pouring the sealer and letting it flow and self level without touching it. Another possibility is incompatibility because the colorant was a water based product and the sealer is a petroleum solvent. Try the same suggestion of not touching the sealer with any kind of tool first. If not successful, you might have to change to one of the water based sealers to be compatible with the colorant.
Dry sealer surface feels rough or "gritty". There are two possible causes:
Sealer has dried for a day and still feels tacky:
There are only two reasons we know about for the surface to feel "tacky" the following day: