Using Epoxy Coating On Limestone Countertops

by Rebecca
(Austin, Texas)


Are there any epoxies you would recommend for sealing/coating limestone counter tops?

And if so, do these epoxies protect against acidic food and beverage stains?


No, we do not recommend using a permanent topical coating on A limestone counter top or any stone and you cannot use them on floors.

I'll tell you why, but first let's clarify what we are talking about....

Impregnating stone sealers are used to help prevent staining. These type of sealers work below the surface. Impregnating sealers still allow the stone to breath as it should and do not impede repairs or maintenance in any way.

Impregnating sealers are perfectly fine to use when needed (which is not on every stone).

Topical "sealers" or coatings form a permanent barrier over the surface of the stone. These do not allow the stone to breath, which is not entirely detrimental on a countertop since the underside is exposed, but it can create problems.

And applying such topical coatings to floors is out since it will completely suffocate the stone, which can lead to significant damage and deterioration of the stone.

Topical coatings are getting better, but often they can look plastic and they can be a real nuisance if maintenance to the stone is ever required.

The topicals will prevent stains and acid etching though, which is the big selling point.

Stains and etching seem bad at first, however, they really aren't that big a deal and can be quickly and cheaply repaired by the homeowner in almost all cases.

Staining is adequately controlled by impregnating sealers where necessary, so just not an issue.

True, etching can be a maintenance hassle, especially when a marble or limestone countertop is installed in a kitchen (which is why we and most knowledgeable and reputable installers do not recommend it).

But, etching can be repaired to "like-new" condition in most cases rather easily using ETCH REMOVER / Marble Polishing Paste on polished (shiny) marble, limestone or travertine.

And on honed etching can be repaired cheaply and quickly in nearly every case following instructions in the Removing Etch Marks ebook.

So, when you are comparing the pros and cons it's a much better idea to try and prevent etching as much as possible (by using coaster, cutting boards and trivets) and then repair when it occurs than to apply a permanent coating that can have some very negative and costly consequences.

Of course, companies making and selling such topicals will tell you they are a revolution in stone maintenance... the best thing ever.

But if you talk to stone restoration pros (who do nothing but repair and restore vs. install).... they hate topicals.

The great thing about stone and limestone when compared to every other countertop surface is that it can almost always be repaired and restored.

But once you permanently change the characteristics of the stone by applying a topical coating you permanently change what can be done to the stone.

Of course, there are always exceptions and in a small percentage of cases using a topical may be a good option, but not just to prevent etching.

If etch marks where permanent, then I'd probably recommend a topical for limestone and marble kitchen countertops... but etching isn't permanent and can easily be repaired, so applying a topical to prevent etching doesn't make sense.

It is ALWAYS best to do as little as possible to stone and leave it in it's most natural state.

If you still want to explore this option, I'd suggest you contact KinlochUSA. Even though we don't recommend using a topical coating, this company appears to be making the biggest strides improving such products.

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Etching is not easy to repair on limestone
by: Anonymous

Yes the idiotic contractor that built our place installed Limestone countertops in the kitchen.

And yes if you are very diligent you may be able to keep from etching them (if you never use your kitchen).

Something as simple a splashing orange juice when pour a glass will almost immediately etch the surface. Unless you are Flash (the super hero) you aren't fast enough to wipe it up before it etches.

I did go through the etch removing and resealing process and it is a nightmare. It took power equipment to be able to rub the marks out using etch remover and then the sealer stinks and is a pain to apply, and it only last a month before everything except water would etch it again.

We love the look of the Limestone so we really want to find a way to keep them.

I recently de-etched again but this time used an epoxy coating afterward. All I can say is WOW! The countertops look better than ever and the are impervious to all etching and staining. The epoxy job totaled about $350 versus the $4-$5k it was going to cost to replace the countertops with a suitable replacement product.

I agree that with natural stone that can handle the daily kitchen use I would not think about a permanent coating, but for limestone, or any other soft stone, the epoxy is a viable solution.

===== Countertop Specialty comment:

Normally, etch repair is easily done by hand in a matter of minutes on most marble, travertine, etc. It is a pain that etching occurs, but typically not a big deal to restore etch marks.

However... limestone can be and exception sometimes. Limestone is often harder to polish out etch marks than marble. Some limestones can't even really be polished at all. So, your tale is not too surprising.

Note that stone sealers do not prevent etching. Sealers prevent absorption and staining. Etching is a chemical reaction that physically damages the stone surface. Impregnating stone sealers don't protect against this, so it wasn't a matter of the sealer wearing out or anything. It was never protecting against etching in the first place.

Agreed, that in some cases where the wrong stone was installed in the wrong place and is just a nightmare to maintain, then a permanent topical coating can be a solution.

In most cases, it is not the best solution as it creates it's own set of issues that can be as problematic or more so than without the coating.

But in this case the trade-off was probably worth it.

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