Here is a time lapse video of ICT sealer.  With so many choices out there as a sealer I continue to test a piece here and answer why I continue to use what I am using.

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A good point that I am so used to over the years I forget some times it needs some explanation for many moving to ICT.  For the guys using ICT for years darkening to water is not even thought about anymore or fretted about.  

There is often a misconception with ICT that if water vapor is transferring through the sealer then this is a sign the sealer isn't sealed.  Many new to ICT use the darkening of water as a sign to worry that if water is darkening the surface than surely staining will result.  With common sealers this could be an issue, not an issue with ICT.  

This is why I put the large spot of water to show vapor is still transferring through, but you can see the tannins cannot get through.  Darkening to water is normal and expected for some time after sealing.  This is the nature of a breathable sealer.  

I thought this would be a good way of showing, not just describing, that particular misconception of ICT.

I hope this helps explain a few things.  

I am not sure what happened, maybe I hit the wrong button.  I put this reply to this video based on questions that were coming my way.

A good point that I would like to make regarding ICT is based questions I get from guys new to ICT and the nuances of ICT.  There are some things am so used to over the years I forget some times it needs some explanation.  

There is often a misconception with ICT that if water vapor is transferring through ICT sealer then this is a sign it isn't sealed.  Many new to ICT use the darkening of water as a sign to worry that if water is darkening the surface than surely staining will result.  With most sealers this maybe the case, with ICT it is not.  

Guys that have been using ICT for years are very used to this idea and used to the way the darkening works.  At first it can be a bit un-nerving if you have not seen it before, then it is no big deal when you see staining not occurring.

This is why I put the large spot of water to show vapor is still transferring through, but you can see the tannins cannot get through.  Darkening to water is normal and expected for some time.  This is the nature of a breathable sealer and the nature of the chemistry of ICT. This is one of many reasons why ICT will not delaminate or have lamination issues over time.

I thought this would be a good way of showing, not just describing that particular misconception of ICT related to water and water vapor moving through the sealer.

It looks like the salsa broke the sealer down there.  I saw that it darkened on your cleaning steps in the outline of the salsa.  It shouldn't darken on that brief of moisture exposure if intact.  I continue to believe ICT and similar systems are the best option for sealing, but getting consistent results definitely takes a lot of work.  Getting the protection consistently with the densifier without streaking on a fine finish that we deal with is an art.  There will always be some darkening if water sits long enough, but I've found I don't trust any darkening at all when testing with water while sealing.  If I get 30 seconds but not 45, I often find out later that the seal is not resistant to oil or other.  Then that raises the issue of test spots showing when leaving the water on for over 30 seconds.  The sealer issue is a tough nut to crack. 

Actually Noah you are incorrect the salsa did not break down the sealer at all.   You can see the darkening goes away, this is exactly why I am showing the results so help guys that ask me question understand the nuances to ICT, the longevity to ICT, and the long term durability of ICT.     One my final wipe, or even if you wipe this same sample today that same area does not darken at all, unless something is set on it for a long period of time.  Acids actually accelerate the cure of ICT under many  circumstances. With ICT you will see darkening, this is completely normal as it is a breathable sealer.  If I was to wipe any of the items mid stream you would see darkening with each and everyone, from the mustard to the ketchup.  This is a mute point with ICT, but it is something that is very misunderstood with this sealer.  

I can show you many examples, 

here is ketchup during a test

After each and every wipe, the 1 hour the 2.5 hour and the 5 hour you will see darkening.

As each area dries you can see there is no issue, and this is normal for a sealer that breathes.  Vapor should migrate through the sealer tannins should not.  This is also why ICT will last much longer than basic coating technologies.

This is a picture after all the marks are wiped off.

Here is the final picture spraying water back over the same area a few hours later.  You can see the water is beading very nicely with no break down to the sealers at all as water is sprayed directly over the areas where ketchup was earlier.

I completely understand the misconceptions when it comes to ICT.  It is different technology, especially if you are expecting the same expectation you get out of getting used to a coating.  

This is an example why ICT continues to work well for many shops over the years.  No worry about delamination, no special equipment for applying, no bad solvent to work with, it is completely food safe....etc etc etc.


Tonight I will put some oil in the same area and let it go over night.    Lets see if the darkening is a sign of break down, if so oil would absorb into the area.  Lets see what happens.

Oh I totally understand and agree that wiping a wet agent like the ketchup off after and hour or three will leave a temporary dark mark.  The salsa spot darkened though with a quick wash, while none of the other spots or surface showed darkening. 

Ok, I now see what you are saying.  The hot salsa was not dried out all the way like the other staining agents being such a thick material and in the cool shop it was still fairly wet when I wiped it.  My guess it took somewhere between 8 to 14 hours for most of the items of dry out.  My shop gets pretty cool at night and being winter there is plenty of humidity in the air, which would keep each of these agents from drying out quickly.  This is why that spot was still darkened a little bit, it was still moist to begin with and the vapor from that spot had not fully left yet.  The sealer is fully intact, no worries at all.

I left oil over the same spots I am showing on the 2% Carbon Black sample pictures above.

Oil is not absorbing into the spot when left over night.

There are many sealers and many ways of using different sealers.  I have been at this a long time, longer than many that have long packed up their bags and left the arena.  I would never tell someone that I use ICT because I guaranteed to make my clients projects absolutely bullet proof, ICT is very resistant and very durable over time.  I do feel at some point projects sealed with ICT will have a bit of patina, an aging nuance the will happen over time with a natural concrete surface.   I use it because when or if something does get through there are a few things that make sense for me to use it.  

1. ICT maintains a natural feel, people are not hiring me to buy concrete coated in thick plastic.  We are hired for make something that is tactile, natural, and real for our clients.  ICT allows for this to happen.

2. If something gets through it just gets through just enough to be a light patina over time, a nuance with age, not a full blown stain.  Our project are allowed to age gracefully and develop a natural look with time and use.

3. life happens and project with ICT are repairable, which I get to charge for rather than a sealer failure.  This has been a business saver over the life of my business.  The ability to repair is huge, life happens and it is nice to know things are repairable.

4. I have no fear of keeping client close to me and charge for a rejuvenation, a buff and reseal over time.  A good buff and a quick reapply (if needed) projects have maintained near perfect condition even with my oldest projects under the harshest conditions.  I often don't even hear from clients for well over 5 years after installs, heck most of my commercial projects have yet to need maintenance. 

The list can go on, I have used this type of sealer as the top option in our shop for over 14 years.  This technology continues to improve and impress compared to other things being offered out there, and better than many things I have tried in our shop over these same years of being in business.  Although I am not proud of it, I too have found myself on the sealer of the month band wagon a few times over the years.  It's easy to get on the band wagon of thinking the grass is greener if I just go to the other side.

Since I am often the top tech support, there isn't much I have not seen or done over the years, which gives a pretty strong track record to knowledgable and experience of the tech support.

I will be doing more of these types of videos.  I get many questions regarding the nuances of what to expect with ICT.  I hope these can shed some light on what can be difficult to explain.  There are some things I try to explain, like ICT being self repairing with many situations can have some people flat out thinking I am full of it.  (how can a sealer repair itself?  Right???)  I hope to show how ICT self repairs as well.  

All of these I am doing to help guys understand ICT and get a feel for ICT as one option.  For us in my shop CreativeCrete it is the top option we use on just about every project.  There are many options out there for sealers, ICT can be one of those options in a shop looking for a sealer with ICT's type of expectation.  Another tool in the tool box of success.

I still had this tile sitting on the table, I put oil over the area where the Hot Salsa was.

 I let this oil sit for the afternoon, you can see there is no absorption where the salsa was.  No sealer break down. 

Ok, a chunk of tomato or something held moisture for the full exposure period.  More videos will always be good.  There's probably a few should watch out now.  ICT is a good sealer, it just has it's quirks and inconsistencies for me.  More experience would certainly help.  I'm not full time, and steered toward more furniture and non countertop pieces of late where I'd just use a penetrating sealer.  The repetitive experience is tough because you need to do a lot of live kitchens.  Sealing little sample slabs and sealing a kitchen island are two different things.

I agree, this is why over the course of 12 years doing this I have more kitchens than I can remember and countless commercial projects that anyone who visits the town of Murphys, Sutter Creek, or Copperopolis CA would be able to view first hand.  These are projects in many of the higher end wine tasting rooms of some of the high profile wineries in the areas. These tops get unbelievable traffic and abuse on a daily basis. 

I guess I could do a time lapse right on my own table at home, sealed 6 years ago and has been as abused as much as any small family could.  Both my children grew from new borns having their high chairs locked to the side of the table to now all of us sitting at the table each day for breakfast and dinner.  We don't use table clothes or dish mates on the table.  We use it as much and as careless any family I would believe.  

The same would go for my kitchen, well loved in many respects over the years.  

The nicest thing about backing a product is living with it and witnessing first hand what it is capable of.  It's a nice feeling of confidence.  

Jon I saw you cleaned the surface with bleach to help clear up the white marks left from the acidic marks. Does this mean it is ok for the home owners to use the Clorox bleach wipes to clean their countertops? or is this something that should only be used when trying to remove a stain? 

Matt, the bleach was to clean the yellow dye that was left from the yellow mustard.  Most of the yellow mustards and red ketchups have pretty strong dyes in them. (which makes you wonder what the hell we are eating)   A quick rub of some bleach takes the yellow dye right up.

If there are any bleach marks (white marks) left from an acid that was left for a long time on the surface, let the clients know just to keep wiping with water over the area and the area will heal itself.  The white that you see is a salt that can be formed at the sealer/surface area.  This salt will dissolve with time and the sealer will react with it, given that area and even strong resistance to stains when it is healed.

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