Sealing Limestone

Sealing limestone surfaces, such as countertops, is sometimes somewhat of a controversial subject. While some say it is necessary, others disagree. We will attempt to clear up any doubts about sealing limestone that you may have. Also, limestone that is dense enough may be polished. However, even polished limestone will never be as shiny as some think it should be, like marble.

Using the Right Type of Sealer

While some say that sealing limestone is not needed at all, there are some logical reasons to use a sealant. The trick is, if you must use a sealer, to use the right type of sealer. There are many different types of sealers that are used for sealing stone. There are both topical and penetrating sealers.

Topical sealers are used to form a protective gloss sheen on the surface of the stone, whereas penetrating sealers penetrate the surface of the limestone and protects the walls of each individual pore in the stone’s structure. I strongly recommend using a penetrating sealer and not a topical one. There are too many faults involved with a topical sealer. Some of the topical sealer drawbacks include:

    • Requires constant reapplication
    • Has to be completely removed before reapplying
    • Stone can not breath. Moisture is trapped in the stone
    • Creates a shiny surface that is easily scratched or scuffed
    • Alters the color of the limestone

A common misconception about topical sealers is that they will help protect the limestone form etching. That simply is not true; there is nothing that can stop the natural etching that occurs from contact with acids or calcium carbonates.

While there are at least five disadvantages involved with using a topical sealer, I can only think of one disadvantage of using a penetrating sealer. That is that it does not give that high gloss shine, but that is not the natural look that most people who use limestone would desire anyway.

Penetrating sealers do not alter the color of the stone. They do not require reapplication after cleaning. Also, penetrating sealers allow the stone to breath and are much easier to maintain. So if you do decide to use a sealer on your limestone counters, be sure that you select a penetrating sealer and not a topical sealer.

More about Limestone

Limestone countertops may not be the perfect surface for everyone. For example, if your family is prone to accidents and spills in the kitchen, limestone will stain from soda spills and grease or oil splatters. If you have to have a perfectly shiny clean surface, you may want to look to other countertop solutions. However if you appreciate the natural beauty that limestone counters add to your kitchen and learn to appreciate the surface, limestone can be a beautiful addition to your kitchen or bathroom.

One thing about limestone is that it will develop it’s own natural sheen over time. It takes some patience to wait for your limestone counters to get that certain patina that only comes with years of use. Some homeowners will even argue that it is so naturally beautiful that you do not need any type of sealer at all on limestone counters.


So while a sealant is not absolutely necessary for your limestone countertops, there are certain advantages to using the correct type of sealer on them. You should only use a penetrating sealer on limestone countertops and never a topical sealer. Topical sealers do not allow the limestone to breath and will destroy its natural beauty. Using a penetrating sealer will make the limestone easier to clean while allowing the stone to breath naturally.