Frequently Asked Questions
1) What is the difference between mineral stains and film forming paints such as latex/acrylic?
The two main differences are with the way they work and their breathability. Due to its extreme low breathability, latex paints trap moisture in the wall and thus eventually the paint cracks and blisters, requiring scrapping and repainting on a regular basis. Mineral paints are 100% breathable and thus will never crack or peel as any moisture in the wall will pass right through them. Additionally, film forming paints adhere to the surface like a coating, while our stains are absorbed into the substrate and through a chemical action actually bond with and become a part of the substrate. They will thus last 30 years or more, requiring no ongoing maintenance.
2) When would I use an opaque stain as compared to a semi-transparent stain?
Our opaque stain will look like a flat paint after it has been applied. It is designed to cover up inconsistencies that may exist i.e. stains or miscoloured brick. Our semi-transparent stains will interact with the background and allow natural variations to show through depending on how much you dilute the stain. Our SiLazur 100 stain can be used as is, or can be diluted up to 90% to create a wash effect. Thus, if your brick has a variety of colours and you stain it a grey colour, it will continue to have a variety of colours, but now within a range of grey.
3) I am interested in staining my brick myself – what is the process to place an order?
It is best if you send us an email through the website or to email@example.com with pictures of your project, the square footage involved and a brief description of the look that you want. We will get back to you with our recommendation for the best application. You can order sample colours for $5.00/sample and we charge $20 for shipping – typically we would send you a PayPal invoice for the shipping charge. The final order can then be placed through email.
4) How can I tell if the masonry surface that I want to stain is suitable for your stains?
The most important thing is that the substrate that you want to stain needs to be absorbent. The simplest test is to put water onto the surface of the brick, concrete etc. that you want to stain to see if the water is absorbed. If it does, you should not have any difficulty in staining it. If the water pools on the surface this would indicate poor or no absorption and could be a problem. Sending a picture of the substrate would allow our consultants to advise you on this.
5) Are there temperature requirements when working with your products? What about rain?
As all of our products are water based, they must be used at temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, or 5 degrees Celsius. Attention should also be paid to low temperatures that may occur overnight. Even if the temperature is 5 degrees Celsius, if it was minus 10 degrees Celsius overnight, the brick may be too cold to stain. Care should be given to ensure that the temperature will stay above freezing for at least 3 hours after you have completed your work so as to not interfere with the curing process of the product. Work cannot be done if it is raining. Care must also be taken to make sure that the wall is not wet due to recent rain.
6) When do I need to use your primer, PrimaSil 1050?
The primer is used primarily for two purposes. The first is when the substate is highly porous and will absorb the stain too quickly. This can result in a chalky residue on the surface of the substrate after application. By sending us a picture of the substrate that you want to stain, our consultants can help you to determine if you need to apply our primer for your project. Second, PrimaSil 1050 is used to dilute our products to make them less opaque. This dilution cannot be done with just water, as this will change the balance of the binder in the formula and will most definitely affect the longevity of our products.
7) Can I stain over top of existing latex or oil-based paint or previously installed sealers?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. If the paint is 90% removed from the surface, then it would not be a problem. The same would apply to a sealer. If the sealer was applied years before, it might have broken down sufficiently to allow absorption or our product. Mineral stains, unlike latex/acrylic paints, are designed to be absorbed into and crystalize in the substrate. Latex paints and sealers will prevent this absorption and would make our products less effective.
8) How environmentally safe are your stains?
Our stains are about as environmentally friendly as a product could possibly be. They are made solely from readily available earthen raw materials and by German Industrial Standard are prevented form having any more than 5% acrylic. You are literally staining with liquid rock. They have Zero VOC’s and are completely non-hazardous.
9) How colourfast are your stains?
Unlike latex paints which use organic pigments, our stains only use inorganic pigments. Organic pigments fade over time, whereas inorganic pigments will never fade. This means that our stains will maintain their colour throughout their entire lifespan.
10) Why is breathability so important when applying products to masonry surfaces?
Moisture invariably will get behind every wall. When the temperature rises and the wall heats up, this moisture changes to vapour and migrates towards the surface. This applies continual pressure to a non-breathable coating and will over time cause it to form water blisters, crack and eventually peel. With a very high Perm rating of 79 (as compared to latex paint of 1 to 3 or at best 10 Perms), our products will not in any way inhibit this water vapour from escaping from the substrate. It is chemically impossible for our products to ever crack or peel, allowing for 30 plus years free from maintenance.
11) Can your products be used on metal, wood or vinyl/plastics?
Unfortunately, no. All of our products bond chemically to the natural minerals found in masonry substrates and depend on this process for their longevity. Metal, wood and vinyl/plastics do not contain these minerals, so are not suitable for our stains. In this instance, you are better to use a good acrylic designed for this type of surface. These paints can be colour matched to our stains, or vice versa for colour consistency on your project.
12) Why do you have to mix colours on site at times?
Because our stains can react with the background, the colour you mix is not the colour that you want the surface to be, but rather the colour that will react with the existing surface colour to become the colour that you want. It is similar with wood. If you take the same wood stain and apply it to oak, pine, walnut and cherry wood, you will get four different colours. We can though provide you with sample colours to try and most often get around this issue.
13) What is the lifetime of your products?
Our stains are guaranteed for 10 years and have a life expectancy of 30 years or more. There are buildings in Germany that were stained over 100 years ago that still look as good as the day they were done.
14) What coverage will I get from your stains?
Due to divergence in absorption in masonry substrates, it is difficult to predict exact coverage. The best solution is to do a test on a small area. Generally, though, we anticipate 300 ft2/ gallon of our opaque stain and 200 ft2 for our semi-transparent stain.
15) Can I use your products on pavers or other materials on the ground?
Our stains are designed for use on vertical surfaces. Horizontal surfaces have extreme water penetration, de-icing agents and abrasion issues, which will severely impact the survivability of any product applied to them. Having said that, we have had success in the past with staining concrete pavers that were later sealed on a regular basis. We cannot give a warranty though on such applications.
16) Can I get a custom colour made?
We can certainly match colour, but it can be tricky because our materials are a stain. Imagine testing a certain colour of wood stain on pine and then testing it on mahogany – you would get 2 completely different colours because of the difference in the background. In order to produce the best possible match, we need physical samples of the surface being stained (i.e. the original brick sent to us) and the new colour (or commercial paint chip code). We charge $450 for a custom colour match and cannot guarantee that it will be perfect. Our colour chart has a wide variety of options and it is far more economical to choose from it. Our colour chart can be viewed on our web site in the Products section.
17) How do I apply your stains?
Our stains can be applied by brush, roller, or airless sprayer
18) I am interested in becoming a professional applicator. How do I do this?
We are always interested in helping contractors in learning how to use our products. Most often there is no charge for this and can be done over the phone or on a Zoom call or equivalent.
19) What is the warranty if I hire you to install the products?
If our technicians install our stains, we will offer you a 30-year warranty.
20) What is the difference between RainSil 1055 and Silane 1090?
RainSil 1055 is a polysiloxane sealer that has a lifespan of 10 years or more and will cause water to bead on the masonry surface it is applied to and prevent water from entering. Silane 1090 is a 100% silane-based sealer that will prevent 80% of the water from entering, but will last for 30 years or more. Silane 1090 will also prevent the chloride ion (salt) from entering the substrate, which will prevent damage to any reinforcing metal that may be in the wall. They are both breathable sealers and will allow trapped moisture in the wall to pass freely through them.
21) What coverage will I get form your sealers?
As per 13) above, it is difficult to exactly predict this. RainSil 1055 would usually give 225ft2/gallon of coverage. It is more difficult to predict the coverage for Silane 1090 as it applied as a flood until the substrate will not absorb more. In this case, it is important to do a test application to better predict the final coverage.
22) How does Masonry Strengthener 1075 work? Where can I use it?
This product is designed to be used with any absorbent masonry surface. Its purpose is to help consolidate a crumbly substrate. If you run your finger over a mortar joint or a stone surface and small particles fall off, this product will make the surface hard again and add years of life to it. The same would apply to brick that has been sandblasted in the past, leaving the brick crumbly. It is safe and nontoxic to work with and will not affect the breathability of the substrate.