This is a post is about sealants for light-colored marble, light granites, limestone, and other light-colored cool-tone stones. The sealers are intended for food-contact areas like countertops, stone serving boards, and stone bowels, as well as areas like stone tile backsplashes.
My post on all-natural oil-based sealers for stones focuses on walnut oil (and other non-toxic oils) that work best on dark-colored, medium-tone (or beige-toned) stones since they do darken and yellow the stones slightly.
There is no 100% natural sealer for white and light-colored stones. This should be considered early on if it’s a new build for someone chemically sensitive.
Light-colored stones are also much more likely to be porous compared to some darker-colored stones that can be naturally dense enough to not require a sealant in food prep areas.
Manufacturers of natural stone countertops usually recommend a penetrating or impregnating sealant every few years (depending on the type of stone, the use, etc).
These sealants do not fully disclose their ingredients, but I have dug into the literature to see what is likely in them. Most of them use fluoropolymers as the main technology, a type of PFAS. If you are avoiding PFAS (“forever chemicals”), there is one sealant on the market that is zero-VOC and not based on PFAS.
These four sealers are ones I have researched, compared and actually tested myself. They are the safest, lowest offgassing options out there right now.
This post contains affiliate links. Upon purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
I’m going to get straight to my top choice.
SimpleCoat is a sealer that does not contain any PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) or petroleum products.
It is zero-VOC and close to odorless. This is the only sealant I know of that will work on light stones that is both PFAS-free and zero-VOC.
The only downside is that we don’t know what is actually in it. None of the ingredients are disclosed. I could not find any patents held by the company either.
The company says that it is made from synthetic non-reactive polymers with good health and safety track records that are heavily used in the cosmetics industry.
My guess based on what they have said, the other technologies that are out there, and the smell, is that it is silicone based. However that is a guess in this case.
The sealer can be used on your stone countertops if a different sealer type was used in the past, but you probably cannot transition back to other penetrating sealers after using this.
You can also use this in wet areas, even submerged areas, like on stone bathtubs and in showers, but it does leave it very slippery, so you would want to use a non-slip mat.
I would choose this sealer for anyone with chemical sensitivities who cannot use walnut oil (either due to allergies or because it will yellow their light stone), and for anyone avoiding “forever chemicals” (PFAS). All the other options on the list either have offgassing or are PFAS based.
Where to Buy:
Amazon (Americans and Canadians)
2. Sealer’s Choice Gold
Aqua Mix Sealer’s Choice Gold by Custom Building Products is a water-based sealant for natural stone. It’s low odor, low-VOC and has been a favorite among the chemically sensitive.
What are the Ingredients
These types of sealants contain proprietary fluoropolymers (a type of PFAS) as the main technology along with alcohols and ethylene glycol mono-n-butyl ether. More on those ingredients below.
Microban was Added…
This product hasn’t always had Microban – that was added more recently. The company would not disclose which chemical Microban refers to in this instance, but by looking through the Microban website it’s most likely nanosilver. It could possibly be zinc pyrithione.
I don’t think it’s a good idea, in the long run, to add nanosilver to so many products, but in terms of the actual exposure to the individual homeowner, I don’t consider nanosilver to be harmful in this application.
Testing a Sample
I tested this sealant on previously unsealed quartzite. It’s fairly low odor when wet (though not extremely low odor). I did find that by the next day I personally could not pick up any offgassing. I can see why it has been well liked among the chemically sensitive in the past.
All chemically sensitive folks should test out a sample before proceeding to seal a slab in their house.
Where to Use it
On light-colored, cool tone stones that would be discolored by natural sealers (like walnut oil), including white and grey marbles, light grey granite, travertine, and limestone. (Of course, it works well on porous dark-colored stones as well, I just prefer to use a natural oil-based sealer on most dark natural stones).
You can use it on unsealed and previously sealed countertops that are due for re-sealing. As well as light-colored stone tiles in the shower, bathroom, backsplash, and floors.
Where to Buy
- Amazon in the US
- Amazon in Canada
- Walmart.com in the US
3. Granite Gold Sealer
Granite Gold Sealer is another water-based sealer that is low odor and low VOC.
What’s in it
While this sealer probably use similar technology to Sealer’s Choice Gold, the two smell quite different.
Still, it likely has the same base of ingredients: proprietary fluoropolymers (a type of PFAS) as the main technology along with alcohols and ethylene glycol mono-n-butyl ether. More on those ingredients in their own section below.
It’s difficult to quantify which of these two PFAS-based sealer is better for folks with chemical sensitivities; it’s hard to compare these two objectively. You may want to test both options – sensitivities are very individual.
I personally found this one a little harsher than Sealer’s Choice Gold when wet, but as soon as it was dry (which was very fast) I found it to be great.
Where to Buy
- Amazon in the US
- Walmart.com in the US
- Amazon in Canada
4. Stain-Proof Waterborne Dense Stone Sealer (Formally META-CREME)
This product uses a different formula than the previous two. This is a water-based silanes and siloxanes impregnating sealer. It does contain PFAS.
It’s similar in odor and VOC levels to the previous two. It’s still low odor compared to solvent-based sealants and it could work for chemically sensitive folks after testing for individual tolerance. It’s not as low odor as SimpleCoat.
(If you have a really wet area like the base of the shower, the company recommends this product for porous tiles in that area).
What’s in it
The company provides a full (or almost full) ingredients list in their SDS: octyltriethoxysilane, triethoxytridecafluorooctylsilane, decamethylcyclopentasiloxane, alcohols C12-16 ethoxylated, alcohols C12-14 ethoxylated, dimethylsiloxane/[(2-aminoethyl)amino]propylsilsesquioxane, octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane.
I certainly did find the odor mild and fairly quick to offgas, but I did not test this at the same time as the three above to compare it to those.
When testing it for durability I wasn’t that happy with it. It didn’t hold up well to marring from vinegar and it wasn’t easy to touch up those areas. I have some photos of that testing in my natural stone sealer post. But that is not unique to this sealer, calcium-rich stones like marble, travertine, and limestone are very vulnerable to acid etching. It was interesting how well the natural walnut oil protected against vinegar since, as far as I know, no chemical sealers can protect against acids.
Where to Buy
- Organic Lifestyle in Canada
- Walmart in the US
- Amazon in the US
Composition of Fluoropolymer Based Stone Sealers
What’s Really in Them?
We don’t have a full disclosure of ingredients from any company making a fluoropolymer-based stone sealant as far as I know. The following is based on piecing together disclosures from various companies and from looking at patents.
Fluoropolymers are a type of PFAS.
A fluoropolymer in stone sealants could mean any of the following:
- polyvinylfluoride (PVF)
- polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF)
- polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)
- polychlorotrifluoroehtylene (PCTFE)
- perfluoroalkoxy polymer (PFA)
- fluorinated ethylene- propylene (FEP)
- polyethylenetetrafluoroethylene (ETFE)
- polyethylenechlorotrifluoroethylene (ECTFE)
- chlorotrifluoroethylenevinylidene fluoride
- perfluoropolyether (PFPE)
- perfluorosulfonic acid (PFSA)
- Based on Patent
The ingredients probably look something like this:
- Ethylene glycol mono-n-butyl ether
- Fluoropolymer aka mixed perfluoroalkylethyl phosphate salts
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Source Pharos
Do you Really Have to Seal your Countertops?
Countertop sealers last around 2-5 years. Sealers break down over time. The resin is degraded by cleaning products and by general use.
Porous stones are more susceptible to stains and will require sealing more often (1-3 years). Check the density and integrity of the past sealant with a simple “water drop test”. Each stone is different, and sealers and quality of application vary – you have to do a water drop test to determine if or when to seal your stone.
Water Drop Test:
- Stone must be clean and free of dust
- Place a single drop of water (quarter size) on the stone
- Length of time to absorb: <1 minute porous; >1 minute non-porous
- Perform three tests for the first 2,000 ft2 and at least one for each additional 3,000 ft2
Source MCM Natural Stone Inc and ASTM F-3191
Be sure that you are not using cleaning products that etch the stone and break down the sealants (no vinegar, no hydrogen peroxide, etc), here are non-toxic cleaning and disinfecting products for real stone.
Adding More Protection
You can also add a wax to polish your stone countertop. A brand like Rock Doctor makes a carnauba and mineral oil-based wax polish that works with their fluoropolymer water-based sealer. Unfortunately, their polish also has added fragrance to it though.
Alternatives to Using These Synthetic Sealants
- Use a dense stone that does not require any sealant. Look at Ubatuba, Black Galaxy, Absolute Black or Blue Pearl granite, Slate, some Quartzites, and other dark-colored dense stones. Dense stones normally shouldn’t be sealed or may only need one application of sealant.
- Use walnut oil to seal a medium to darker colored or warm-toned stone.
- Choose a countertop that doesn’t need a sealant at all like quartz, Dekton, and others in the main countertop post.
Related post: The most affordable non-toxic countertops
Corinne Segura is a Building Biologist Practitioner with 8 years of experience helping others create healthy homes.
I just spoke with someone from Mexaseal and they said that it can be used and had been used in showers, its not meant for submerged water. What are your thoughts?
Shower walls ok, shower floor no, says owner of AFM.
Ecos paint has a stone and tile sealer that looks to be free of the forever chemicals. just tried it on some white marble coasters I have and didn’t have any staining problems. might be another option. didn’t notice any smell.
I’d be interested to hear the opinion on it of someone more knowledgeable on the topic!
not for use on honed marble, granite or similar stone
I contacted the company that sells the Waterborne Dense Stone Sealer (Meta-Creme) via email. They stated that the product does in fact contain PFAS. They wouldn’t let me know exactly what specific fluoropolymer is used, but they stated that it contains a long chain fluoropolymer. I just wanted to let you know. I am not sure if this is a recent addition to the product.
Oh wow, thanks so much for the update, I have changed that until I can follow up with them.
No worries. In addition, I contacted the company that markets AFM Safecoat® MexeSeal and they stated via email that the product does not contain PFAS. Maybe it is something to look into?
The post really started out as sealer for stone countertops which is why Mexeseal is not on the list. I have used that and I should list it as it’s good for stone floors.
Hi there! I was curious if you have heard of or tried AFM Safecoat Mexeseal for sealing marble? I am buying the simple coat sealer, but before I used it wanted to see if you thought the AFM option was better or not. I have a small piece of marble for an antique vanity that needs some type of sealer and felt like going with simple coat was probably the best bet. Thank you so so much. Your research has been VERY helpful to me throughout our remodel work.
For a light coloured marble vanity, SimpleCoat is the only option I know of.
maria holden says
I am wondering something similar – I have white carrara marble tile lining my shower pan and walls, and my tub. What can I use in a water environment like that?
Mexeseal isn’t for inside shower floors. Simplecoat is the only PFAS free option forwhite stones but it’s slippery when wet.
Hello. Are there any non-toxic sealants for wood countertops?
Would resin off-gas after curing if used as a wood counter sealant?
She has a post on this if you just search for it, but I used the half and half tung oil based sealer from Real Milk Paint and it was incredibly easy to use and works well so far. Water beads up and stays on the surface. It goes a long way and is easy to tell when your surface reaches full saturation. There are many other options as well. Daddy Vans has some stuff I use on cutting boards that would probably work too.
Anne-marie Skolaude says
I have a floor of cement tiles sealed with several applications of aqua mix sealer gold. I am trying to limit my family’s exposure to pfas chemicals and products. Is there anything that I can do to cover over the sealer?
Thanks so much,