All about CLEARSTONE™
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, limestone, sandstone etc.
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 Innovative Composites 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’, 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 coloured 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 is 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 remove 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 acids 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.
Once the surface is etched how 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 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 needs to be surface 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 for rejuvenating 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 with no protection for the stone from etching and staining.
With the CLEARSTONE process the stone can be wet ground and vacuum dry ground to 120grit, usually in only two stages. 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. Then either hand or machine buffed to a gloss if required.
Note: The cost of rejuvenating the stone is built into the CLEARSTONE process. And the stone is now fully protected.
Does the CLEARSTONE coating 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.
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 bring out the natural characteristics of the stone. We recommend you have a sample piece of your stone coated first. You will be amazed at the depth it can give to stone.
Where can CLEARSTONE be used?
The CLEARSTONE coating is ideal for both commercial and domestic application.
CLEARSTONE coating can be used for bar tops, kitchen tops, vanity tops, furniture, etc.
CLEARSTONE can be either applied prior to, or following, installation of a new surface or can be applied after rejuvenating existing stone tops in just about any application that natural stone is used. At the moment the CLEARSTONE coating is mainly used on bench tops.
What about joins in the stone?
The CLEARSTONE coating being around 1-2 mm thick and is put on as a ‘flow coat/s’ will cover any recesses and step in the onsite joins including grouted joins.
How impact resistance is CLEARSTONE?
As the CLEARSTONE coating is 1-2mm thick, and also having extra additives mixed in it to improve the coating performance, it gives protection from both impact and thermal shock. (The stone its self does not come contact at all.)
Is CLEARSTONE scratch resistant?
Following the initial curing of the stone coating, the surface attains a hardness of approximately 2 [similar to that of limestone] on a MOH scale [used for stone] of 1 to 10 with the maximum hardness of approximately 4-5 [similar to that of marble] being reached by three months, depending on the local temperatures. Scratches may occur prior to full surface hardening but these can be easily removed.
Can hot containers be placed on stone coated with CLEARSTONE?
It is not recommended to place hot pans or hot dishes directly on the surface – always use a protective mat.
Can CLEARSTONE be resurfaced?
Yes! The surface can be repolished at any time.
If you wish to change the level of gloss it is just a matter of re sanding the surface and polishing to the level required.
If in extraordinary circumstances the surface has become heavily scratched it can be recoated with the CLEARSTONE.
Note: If the CLEARSTONE coating is damaged in a small area it can be locally repaired without visible trace.
Can CLEARSTONE be repaired if chipped?
Yes! Chips can be repaired locally and when repaired you will not see the join in the resin clear coating.
Can CLEARSTONE be used to repair chips prior to coating?
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.
Note: Do not use sharp knives or blades directly on the bench top’s surface – always use a chopping board.
Is CLEARSTONE stain/chemical resistance?
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 authorised 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 pit falls with putting a coating on 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.
Note: The coating can be removed and the bench top brought back to its original condition, but so far we have been able to solve the most difficult of problems.
It is important to understand we have no control over, and no way to tell, what has been put on the stone during and after manufacture. This is the biggest challenge faced with applying any coating or sealer to stone - hence the need to use our experienced applicators and refer to our warranty.
Can CLEARSTONE be applied to granite?
The stone coating has been developed specifically for marble, limestone and sandstone. 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.
Can CLEARSTONE be used to high light 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 100 per cent the problems 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. See our ‘Chemistry and Stone’ document.
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 give 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.
CLEARSTONE™ has been developed to turn marble, limestone and sandstone into an elegant WORKING worry free surface.
CLEARSTONE™... the ultimate in stone protection.