Understanding porosity: Porous vs. Non-porous stone

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When choosing between different stones for your residential or commercial project, it's important to know your options so you can make the most informed decision. There are many factors to consider as you research different stones. One of them being: porosity. Your stone’s porosity will have a direct impact on its appearance, cleanliness and whether it needs sealing to maintain its quality and durability. 

What is porosity, you may be asking? Stone porosity refers to the volume of pores in a stone and it is typically measured in percentages. Stones can vary from non-porous to low porosity to high porosity. Here’s what separates a non-porous and porous stone, according to our stone wholesalers

Porous stones

Porous stone is stone that has pores, whether it be few or many, that allow liquid and air to seep in through its surface. Here are some examples of porous stones:

  • Marble
  • Limestone 
  • Granite
  • Travertine
  • Quartzite
  • Onyx

Non-porous stones

On the contrary, non-porous stone has, you guessed it: no pores. Here are some types of non-porous stone carried by our stone wholesalers:

  • Quartz
  • Porcelain
  • Glass
  • Soapstone

Appearance

The pores in porous stone can absorb liquids, making it particularly vulnerable to staining. Stains are incredibly difficult or even impossible to remove in porous stone. That being said, if your surface is located in a place where it will frequently come in contact with water, food, or other liquid substances, you may want to consider a non-porous option to be safe. Otherwise, if you opt for porous stone, be sure to follow proper sealing procedures and clean up spills immediately to avoid permanent staining on your surface.

Hygiene

Non-porous stone is also ideal for hygiene and cleanliness. In addition to staining, porous stone is at risk of harboring mold, bacteria and viruses beneath its surface due to fluids collecting in its pores. Non-porous stones, however, are easy to clean and keep clean. You can rest assured that so long as your surface is sanitized - you're not at risk of bacterial growth on or in your surface. Hence why quartz, a non-porous stone, is the most ideal surface choice for bathrooms and kitchens - where exposure to liquids is most prevalent. 

Maintenance

The primary difference between porous and non-porous stone is the need for regular maintenance with a sealant. Because it is by nature smooth and sealed, non-porous stone does not need sealing while porous stone is typically treated with a sealant once a year. A quality sealant is critical to close the pores in porous stone to avoid staining or housing bacteria in its surface. 

When choosing between stone materials, consider the porosity of your stone as it will directly affect the appearance, hygiene and maintenance requirement of your surface. Our stone wholesalers have a variety of porous and non-porous stone options for you to choose from. Contact us today to learn more about our selection and get a quote.

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