Coatings Information FAQ

Frequently asked questions


Coatings & Sealers

The Question -What is the difference between a Coating and a Sealer?

-While there may be some disagreements, there are two main factors that we use for determining what is a Sealer and what is a Coating.

The Answer- Coatings rely on "Adhesion"- Sealers utilize "Absorption" or "Penetration" of the material. Mystery solved and we can all go home right?...  (Not just yet) Read further.

Coatings for concrete require professional installation for best results in Salem oregon.

Coatings for concrete require professional installation for best results in Salem oregon.

Coating & Sealer Choices

Best Quality & Value


Question-What Coating or Sealer is best for my Application?

Now this is where experience and choosing the right professional company pays off. Choosing a coating when a sealer is a better can shorten the lifespan of the product or eventually not protect the surface as long as what was expected. 

Many homeowners choose based on their pocketbooks or often times based on what was done before or a suggestion by some sales staff at a box store or a buddy or friend who is a contractor. We have found that, even the most prominent and experienced contractors sub out this type of work to companies like ours who specialize in Sealers and Coatings. That means that the get the "jist" of what is going on but are not really up to speed on the whys and application of the project. Experience has taught us that they rely on the manufactures advisement (Sales pitch) of what to do and how to do it. This means that they tend to bow under to the best sales pitch by the manufactures rep. We understand this because "WE"(Fast Finish) were one of those successful manufactures representative for 25 plus years for several manufactures, before we became specialty contractors.

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You might have already guessed, that we feel that our 25 years of experience in this chemistry culture gives us a distinct advantage in application. We think that you are right to come to that conclusion. We have experienced a great deal of new technologies and advancements as they were just hitting the market and becoming mainstream. We also like to think that we helped some of them become more mainstream. But enough about the credentials of that...

Coating and Sealer choices are about you! The client. You are now a bit better informed and can make a better decision based on credible information. So what type of finish and look are you after? This will in most cases determine the route to take. YES! there are some choices that will be somewhat equal in the process and can save you money.$$$$  WE CAN HELP YOU WITH THAT.

You are only one phone call or email away from the best consultation in coatings and sealer choices.    


-Explain the "why" in easy to understand terminology based on your surface and its current condition.

-Explain the "costs" involved in a way that shows short term gains vs. long term benefits on certain type products and surfaces.

-Demonstrate the "benefits" with how it adds value to what you are trying to accomplish on your surface.

-Identify the "good" "better" and best solutions for the situation in regards to a sealer or coating. Most companies have their go to product that covers a wide range and it provides them with better profits as an all in one type of solution. WE do not do that. We utilize the best and offer the rest as alternatives for budgets. Keep in mind that there are some products we wont and dont use. Usually because they are re packaged versions of something else watered down with a different label trying to gain market share. We have your back when it comes to the market being flooded with "Me Too" type products. We understand the compounds and components that make up the chemistry of sealers and coatings and have seen enough success and failures to write a bible on it.


Tile Information

Tiles man made vs. Natural Stone



First, there are some major differences between tile types! Ceramic is a man made material, with a fired, finished surface on each tile that generally does not require any sealing or waxing - it is non-porous and cleans easily with a good neutral cleaner. The grout lines between the tiles, however, are usually cementious (sanded) grout, and this is a porous surface that, if unsealed, will absorb spills and dirty mop water, causing discoloration of the grout lines. All grout should be sealed after installation, but many installers skip this step because the grout needs to cure for a time after installation, and they're often too busy to make it back. So, especially if moving into a new house, make sure that the grout is sealed before moving in! If you're re-tiling a room, count on letting it cure as directed by the grout manufacturer, and then sealing it before use. The installer can do this, or recommend someone to do so. Reputable tile and grout cleaners will also be able to seal a new installation for you on request, and the product used will often be much better than what you can buy at the "big-box" stores to use yourself - which is the option. (Be sure to follow directions on the bottle, and ventilate well while working.)

Natural stone, on the other hand, is a porous material, and must be sealed (along with the grout) after installation and prior to use. Whether a hard stone like granite, a soft stone like limestone, or a travertine or marble, it is essential that the stone surface be protected along with the grout against spills and soil for maximum life.


Daily cleaning can be accomplished by mopping with a good neutral cleaner, and then a plain hot water rinse. (Tile and stone stores can sell or recommend the proper cleaning products.)

When the groutlines and crevices in the tile or stones become dirty, or when several years have passed (3-5, depending on traffic level) and the sealer is becoming worn, it's time for a professional cleaning and sealing!

Stone and ceramic tile and grout should be steam cleaned, preferably with an alkaline cleaner to dissolve soil and grease, followed by a clear rinse to remove residues. The grout and any porous stone should then be sealed before use. Depending on the porosity of the stone or grout, it may be necessary to clean one day, and return the next day to apply sealer, allowing 24 hours for complete drying of the floor before sealing.

In cases of extreme soiling or staining, the grout in ceramic tile installations may be etched with an acidic product that will help whiten it back to its' original color. DO NOT USE ACID! in a stone installation as it CAN be etched, since the acid will also etch and damage the natural stone. This is why it's important to vet your cleaning company carefully, and make sure that they have the certifications and experience to use the right products and procedures for the job!

NOTE: It is not recommended to use any acrylic "gloss" type finish on ceramic or stone; it will require more maintenance than a penetrating sealer, and will require a more expensive stripping procedure at the next restorative cleaning, before the stone and grout can be cleaned.

Saltillo tile floors are a softer clay-based tile, and will usually be cleaned much like a natural stone floor, with the caveat that these will often require stripping first, since they've often had acrylic finish applied in the past, or been maintained with improper cleaning products that have left a finish buildup on the tiles and grout lines.
Slate floors are also prone to these conditions.

If you want a glossier look, ask your cleaner about other new options that can give you that "wet look" without the surface buildup of acrylic products.

Choosing a Professional Cleaner for Your Stone, Tile and Grout

How to get the best cleaning ever, in Salem Oregon or anywhere!

 Given that your stone, tile and grout floors are a major home investment, it only makes sense to care for them properly so that they last longer. So of course you'll want to choose your cleaner with great care when they require maintenance.

Don't be afraid to ask what procedures they'll follow in cleaning, either. Hard surface cleaning is not a "quick-in, quick-out" sort of job, so be wary of anyone who treats it that way. Steps should always be taken to care for and protect your home, such as: use of entry mats, corner guards to protect your walls, baseboards appliances and cabinets taped or masked off while working, and use of wet floor warning signs around areas being cleaned. Better companies will speed-dry areas as they finish, to help return your home to normal as soon as possible. 


Natural Slate floor cleaned and sealed by Fast Finish of Salem Oregon

Natural Slate floor cleaned and sealed by Fast Finish of Salem Oregon

Tile Cleaning

Check out this great video