PROTECTING AND MAINTAINING INTERNAL STONE.
Natural stone is a material that looks better and better as it ages. It weathers down with wear and tear and unavoidable marks and scratches all contribute to the character of the floor.
Protecting the stone:
You should treat the stone as soon as possible. It is absolutely imperative that the stone is completely dry and spotlessly clean before applying sealers or protectors. If the floor is dirtied before treatment, it should be cleaned with LTP Grimex.
To protect the stone, we recommend LTP Mattstone, an impregnating sealer that gently enhances the colour, characteristics and appearance of the stone with a matt finish. The first coat should be applied very generously. Two or three coats should be sufficient in most cases.
Waxing the stone, a traditional treatment, makes the floor look a well-established feature in a very short time, BUT will promote the build up of false layers which will be unattractive in the long term and need regular stripping and re-application.
* Dry one tile on a radiator as a “control” to see the true colour of the stone.
For stone in use in regularly wet areas (showers or baths) we recommend that the stone should be “floodtreated” or many coated with LTP Mattstone. This should protect the stone from excessive ingress of water but will allow it to breath. The stone should be fixed to “falls” so that there is no possibility for standing water to eventually soak into the stone - any standing water should be wiped dry.
The efficacy of LTP Mattstone used indoors will be dependent on the aftercare products used.
Cleaning the stone:
It is better to clean the floor regularly with the correct product, rather than enthusiastically with the wrong one. Some good ‘household cleaners’ will clean off the protector and not help the long life of the floor.
If the stone has been protected with LTP Mattstone, LTP Waxwash should be used for day-to-day cleaning. This liquid soap needs no rinsing after use.
An occasional clean with a stronger agent, such as Grimex, may be necessary.
Sweep the floor first. Then, following the instructions on the bottle, mop the floor with your chosen soap. No rinsing required but a large area of flooring may make the water very dirty half-way through. Change the water if necessary. Clean water means a clean floor. Textured surfaces (Sanded, Bushammered, Flamed, etc.) may need SCRUBBING - not just mopping! Highly polished surfaces should be dry mopped only.
With a ‘just damp’ mop, mop and vacuum dry regularly to remove soiling etc. using either water only or a very dilute solution of neutral detergent eg. Waxwash. Do not use polishes, maintenance cleaners, harsh or abrasive cleaners or anything which will leave a film of soap, detergent or polish on the floor - this will trap soil and eventually require chemical removal.
As soon as anything is spilt it should be wiped away. Wiping and washing is EVERYTHING.
PROTECTING AND MAINTAINING EXTERNAL STONE.
- Stone is a material that looks better and better as it ages. It weathers down with wear and tear and unavoidable marks and scratches all contribute to the character.
- All porous stone paving is susceptible to damage by the application of de-icing salts and chemicals. The rapid localised rise in temperature can result in spalling of the faces of porous natural stones. This can be inhibited and with less porous stones, virtually negated, by treatment with a silicon-based impregnator, which will help prevent the ingress of the saltand chemicals by reducing the porosity of the stone. The use of washed sand as a counter to ice and snow will not harm the stone.
- If snow falls on a Terrace of limestone, it will do no harm to clear it away. The Terrace should be fixed to a Fall so that rain runs away but snow will not. Clearing it will help the stone stand up to very cold temperatures.
Protecting the stone:
If the area is a large or prominent feature of the building or the landscape design, it is worth taking advice from a specialist stone maintenance company regarding the initial protection of the stone and the subsequent maintenance. No protection at all may be appropriate with some stones in some areas, specifically where natural mould is to be encouraged.
Any protection should be applied as soon as possible. It is absolutely imperative that the stone is completely DRY and spotlessly clean before applying protectors. If the stone is dirtied before protecting, it should be cleaned with “Wexa” by Lithofin. If the weather does not allow the stone to dry, a water-based treatment may be used.
For protecting stone we recommend “Stainstop” by Lithofin, an impregnator that barely changes the colour and look of the stone. Two or three thoroughly applied coats should be sufficient in most cases.
If the weather prevents the stone drying through so that it can be protected normally, “Stainstop W” is a water-based impregnator that can be used as a temporary protection until the stone dries out.
If building work is continuing, cover the stone with boards until finished.
Cleaning the stone:
Generally natural forces will look after external stone, though north-facing terraces will develop mould during winter months and the lack of sun in the summer will not burn this away. On a commercial project or town terrace more regular cleaning may be required. Natural marking from trees, leaves or “dirty” rain is usually easy to deal with. Jet washing can clean too effectively and blast the face off the stone. The stone is oxidising and as time passes an unchanged face will naturally become stronger. SCRUBBING is better!
WHITE STONE shows dirt more readily – it may need more CLEANING.
The “Stainstop” protection is designed to act against spills from foodstuffs (which include drinks) and day-to-day cleaning when required can be done by scrubbing the stone with neutral soap in a bucket of water. Some bad spills or natural growth may need an occasional clean with a stronger agent. But usually an exterior stone can be left to its own devices.
These are recommendations, which should not be thought of as definitive. Clifton Stone would like to emphasise that the above mentioned products protect only. They will not make the floor totally impervious to all stains.