No more ‘fade to grey’ with new LTP Blackstone sealer & restorer

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UK surface care specialist, LTP has launched a new outdoor sealer and restorer for dark natural stone and artificial stone surfaces. New Blackstone has a water-based, impregnating formulation, which restores the appearance of faded limestone, marble, slate and concrete.  Like all LTP treatments, the new product is manufactured in the UK and is offered alongside expert advice from LTP’s technical team.

Ideal for paths, terraces and external cladding, LTP Blackstone is fast and safe to use and the permanent finish created provides protection against the elements.  It can be applied in multiple coats until the desired colour effect is achieved – from grey to ebony.  On honed surfaces, it is applied with a cloth or sealant applicator and, on rough cut/textured surfaces, with a foam roller or paintbrush.  Surfaces can be walked on four hours after the final application and can be returned to ‘heavy use’ after 24 hours.

New Blackstone is available in one litre and five litre units and is offered as part of LTP’s extensive range of surface maintenance products.  To find out more, please visit http://www.ltp-online.co.uk.  For further information, please contact LTP on tel. 01823 666213 or email info@ltp-online.co.uk

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PROBLEMS WITH STEAM CLEANING LIMESTONE

The simplicity of water-based steam cleaning can be appealing, but repeated use of too much super heated water can lead to risks of residual staining, mobilisation of salts and corrosion of hidden particles of Iron within some limestone surfaces.

 

Mud vein in limestone magnified 120 Microns

Surface of a Limestone magnified by 120 microns

Steam can penetrate the small cracks and fissures on the surface of the limestone.
This does clean the limestone, but will also embed water into the surface.
Repeated cleaning using a steam cleaner can activate salts and weaken the stone over time. This can also lead to spalling or fragmentation of the surface.

Cleaning to expose new fissuresCOMPROMISED SEALER?
Surfaces that have been treated with an impregnating sealers can also be compromised. Steam cleaning does not normally remove the impregnating sealer, however repeated use can expose new fissures and capillaries within the stone. The newly exposed and unsealed surface takes in more dirt and becomes harder to clean, which then requires more frequent cleaning. This increase in cleaning can exacerbate the problem.

 

SURFACE SEALER DAMAGE?Damage to stone surface

Sealers used to finish the surface of stone can also be damaged. Steam is often used to remove paints, wall papers and other
coatings from surfaces. If a film forming
sealer has been used then contact by a
steam cleaner can cause a partial separation of the seal from the surface of the stone causing it to turn white or opaque.

 

                                                                        Rust stains in Limestone after spalling
RUST STAINS ON THE SURFACE?                                  
Rust stains:  These stains are reddish-orange and are caused by the oxidation (rusting) of iron. The source of iron staining is normally from within the stone, as most of the iron on the surface is normally
removed or discarded at the point of fabrication by the quarry. Therefore most Iron remains hidden and within the stone rather than on it; however, water from steam cleaning penetrating through natural fissures in the  stone can activate or accelerate rusting.
CRUMBLING OF THE SURFACE?
Moisture from repeated steam cleaning can in someSpalling Limestone
cases cause spalling or fragmentation of the surface.
The migration of salts from moisture in the limestone can promote crumbling of the surface causing larger fissures and craters to appear. This is more
common in Limestone’s and marbles that contain naturally occurring mud or calcite veins which are more vulnerable to this issue.

 

WHAT TO DO?

COMPROMISED SEALER: Intensively clean the surface of the stone with LTP Grimex. Leave overnight to dry. Re-apply impregnating sealer – LTP Mattstone or LTP Colour Intensifier. For routine aftercare use LTP Waxwash. This is a PH neutral cleaner that will not damage the stone or compromise the seal.

SURFACE SEALER DAMAGE: Remove the Film forming sealer using LTP Grimex or LTP Solvex. Leave overnight to dry. Re-apply the film forming sealer – LTP Ironwax Satin or LTP Ironwax Gloss. For routine aftercare use LTP Floorshine. This gentle cleaner will clean the surface and repair the seal where it has worn from abraision every time the floor is washed.

RUST STAINS ON THE SURFACE: Intensively clean the surface of the stone with LTP Power Stripper. Leave overnight to dry.Re-apply impregnating sealer – LTP Mattstone or LTP Colour Intensifier. For routine aftercare use LTP Waxwash. This is a PH neutral cleaner that will not damage the stone or compromise the seal.

CRUMBLING OF THE SURFACE: Intensively clean the surface of the stone with LTP Grimex. Leave overnight to dry. Use a suitable resin stone filler of the correct colour to fill in the voids. Re- hone the surface of the stone using a twister pad and sponge down with a little water to remove any dust or sediment. Leave to dry. Re-apply impregnating sealer – LTP Mattstone or LTP Colour Intensifier. For routine aftercare use LTP Waxwash. This is a PH neutral cleaner that will not damage the stone or compromise the seal.

This information is offered without guarantee.  The material should be used so as to take account of the local conditions and the surfaces to be treated.  In case of doubt, the product should be tried out in an inconspicuous area.

Hard surface maintenance made easy with LTP treatments

As the night’s draw out and warmer weather beckons, our attention turns to the garden.  Lawns and borders certainly need attention, but so too do hard landscaped areas.  Moisture and bacteria can lead to moss and algae build-up, discolouring surfaces and making them slippery.  Fallen leaves and other dirt and debris will also stain slabs, and a combination of rain, frost and UV will fade darker surfaces.

The best way to remove dirt and slippery residues is to use a specialist paving cleaner.  It’s generally best to avoid acid-based products, as these can etch stone and eat away at grout.   A viscose-type product, like LTP Mouldex Paving Cleaner, will cling to the surface (rather than running off into beds and borders) and will help remove mould stains caused by mould spores, black spot, lichen, fungus and algae.  It will also help restore the surface to its original colour.

ltp_2017_mouldexpavingcleaner_plasticbottle_5ltrOnce clean, it’s worth protecting the slabs with a sealer – especially if you have a stone surface that continues indoors and you want to maintain a seamless aesthestic.  Look out for a modern, water-based treatment, like LTP External Stone Sealer, which can be applied in damp weather; it will protect against stains and the elements, and will provide a more convenient (and safer) alternative to a spirit-based product.

LTP_2017_ExternalStoneSealer_PlasticBottle_5Ltr_2.jpgTwo new products are joining our British-made LTP range this year, to help restore hard landscaped areas.  New ‘Cement, Grout & Salt Residue Remover’ removes grout and building residues, as well as salt marks caused by rising damp and an installation method called ‘spot fixing’.  This new Remover replaces conventional acid, which would normally be used for the job, so it can safely be used on all types of tile and stone – indoors and outside – except those with a polished finish.  Notably, it can be used on unpolished acid-sensitive surfaces, including limestone and travertine, without any risk of etching.

New products_LTP_Blackstone and Remover.jpg

The second new treatment  – LTP Blackstone – is an outdoor impregnating sealer and restorer that restores the appearance of faded dark limestone, marble, slate, concrete and artificial stone surfaces.  Blackstone is water-based, so it’s safe and convenient to apply, and it provides further protection against the elements.  It’s applied in multiple coats until the desired colour effect is achieved – from dark grey to ebony – and it can also be used to restore stone fireplace hearths.

For samples of the new products and for more information and advice on landscaping maintenance, please visit http://www.ltp-online.co.uk, tel. 01823 666213 or email info@ltp-online.co.uk

Removal of white blooms and chalky residues

White, mineral-based residues can ruin a tile installation.  They come in various guises – from that chalky white grout haze left after an installation, to white blooms that rise up from a subfloor. As well as compromising appearance, they can also make maintenance really difficult.  So, how can you remove them without damaging a tile or natural stone surface?

Most of these residues can’t be removed with a standard cleaning product.  They need something tougher.  The problem is that acid-based solutions generally needed to remove minerals can’t be used on a lot of tile surfaces.  If you attempt to clean an acid-sensitive material with a traditional acid cleaner, like ‘brick acid’, it will corrode the surface and effectively eat it away.  Hydrochloric-based acids also emit harmful fumes and can damage certain metals, like aluminium trims around a shower enclosure.

A safe and effective solution comes in the form of LTP’s new Cement, Grout & Salt Remover.   This brand new product replaces conventional acid and, when used as instructed, is safe to use on all types of tiles – from porcelain to glazed ceramics – and all natural stone surfaces too, except for those with a polished finish.  A diluted application removes mild mineral residue within 30 minutes, whilst a stronger application and agitation gives instant results.  After treatment, just extract deposits with a sponge and rinse the surface with clean water. Wet vacs can also be used.

 

LTP CGSR Remover_PR group

Efflorescent and spot fixing

As well as removing cement and grout, LTP’s new Cement, Grout & Salt Remover also disperses rising salt residues caused by efflorescence and spot fixing.

Efflorescence is very common on outdoor surfaces, like bricks and patio pavers.  It creates a powder-like dusting or ‘bloom’ on the surface.  Efflorescence is caused by soluble salts and moisture rising from the ground or subfloor, or migrating through a wall.  When they reach the surface they evaporate and leave a layer of salt deposits behind.

Spot fixing creates a similar issue.   Adhesive is often dabbed onto each corner and the centre of a tile to fix it onto a wall or floor.  This creates a void between the adhesive, the tile and wall/subfloor. Moisture from the adhesive then collects in this void; minerals from the adhesive or concrete sub floor are then activated and they travel through to the tile surface, leaving a tell-tale ring mark or staining effect above each dab of adhesive.

Stone floor that has been spot fixed

Natural stone floor that has been installed using spot fixing. 

Usually, an acid-based treatment like LTP Grout Stain Remover would be used to remove these marks from acid-resistant stone – but, where the surface is acid-sensitive, LTP Cement, Grout & Salt Remover now offers a safe and very effective solution.

To find out more about the new Remover,please contact LTP on tel. 01823 666213 or email technical@ltp-online.co.uk

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For media information and photography, please contact Angela Fitzhugh PR Ltd on tel. (01590) 622521 or email angie@afpr.co.uk

 

Don’t let aftercare be an after thought

Getting a customer to invest in good maintenance products isn’t easy.  Having bought new tiles – and possibly other ancillaries – they’re generally not terribly receptive to an ‘aftercare sales pitch’.  The problem is that when it comes to natural materials, people really do need to be educated.  And, the introduction of so many fabulous natural-effects has made this even more imperative…

A few years ago, I received a call from the owner of a London-based cleaning business needing help.  One of its clients had invested thousands on a renovation which included new bathrooms; they had commissioned a fairly unique vein cut marble which had been mechanically polished to a high sheen. The cost of the marble and installation was around £10,000.   Starting at the top of the walls, one of the cleaners applied a spray detergent and left it to run down the face of the brown-toned marble. The detergent was a general-purpose kitchen and bathroom cleaner, designed to remove limescale and dirt.   On a marble-effect porcelain or ceramic surface, this probably wouldn’t have caused too much of an issue.   But because the product was highly acidic, contact with the delicate polished marble caused etching and irreversible damage to the whole of the wall surface. In some instances, an attempt could have been made to re-burnish the marble, to polish out the damage, but the amount of water needed and the size of the bathroom ruled this out.

Damaged marble in shower

The huge improvement in digital print technology has, in many ways, compounded this problem.  Tile manufacturers have become incredibly good at copying natural materials like marble.  As a result, some people might not recognise an authentic material or realise that it needs to be treated differently.   Multiple surface finishes may then be maintained with the same general purpose ‘tough on grime’ product, rather than a more gentle pH neutral detergent that would provide a safer – and just as effective – solution.

At the property in London, the insurers are still trying to decide who’s responsible and who should pay for the damage caused. It materialised that the marble suppliers didn’t offer any maintenance advice at the point of sale and the installers didn’t give any guidance on aftercare. The architects who commissioned the marble for the client didn’t specify a sealer or provide any care advice – and the cleaners couldn’t have been expected to know the difference between a glazed engineered tile and polished marble. If the correct advice had been given at anystage, the damage might not have happened.

Shockingly, the cleaner that caused the damage cost just 64p.  A concentrated, specialist neutral detergent probably wouldn’t have cost any more, per wash.   As awful as this sorry story is, it serves as a good example; it’s also worth offering that best practice advice, no matter how prickly the customer might be.

LTP_2017_SprayStonewash_500ml

For information on caring for natural surfaces, visit http://www.ltp-online.co.uk, tel. 01823 666213 or email info@ltp-online.co.uk.  Or, for instant advice on-the go, visit www.ltp-productguide.co.uk

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For further media information and photography, please contact:

Angela Fitzhugh PR Ltd on email enquiries@afpr.co.uk or tel. +44 (0)1590 622521

 

Best-selling LTP Mattstone nominated for TTS Awards 2019

LTP’s Mattstone sealer has been short-listed as a finalist in Tomorrow’s Tile & Stone Awards’ Top 20. The annual awards honour the most exciting and innovative products and services that have had the biggest impact on the industry over the past 12 months. The shortlist was chosen from reader nominations and editor’s picks, and winners will be announced following a public vote early next year.

Mattstone range_LTP TTS.jpg

LTP Mattstone has been part of the LTP range for over 25 years and has quietly established itself as a run-away best seller. This great British ‘stain and Brexit-proof’ product, which is manufactured in the West Country, is renowned for its quality, performance and ease of application, protecting natural and artificial stone and other surfaces at extremely competitive prices. The impregnating sealer protects surfaces from staining and strongly repels water, oil and grease. It’s available in a water-based and traditional solvent formulation and can be used inside and outdoors.

Mattstone has a natural finish and it allows surfaces to breath, so it can be used on floors with no damp proof course. Water-based Mattstone can also be applied over residual moisture and offers an eco-friendly, low-odour option.

To find out more, please visit http://www.ltp-online.co.uk. For further information, please contact LTP on tel. 01823 666213 or email info@ltp-online.co.uk

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For media information and photography, please contact Angela Fitzhugh PR Ltd on tel. (01590) 622521 or email angie@afpr.co.uk

Golden industry veteran – Rex Walker – to retire from LTP

After a remarkable 50 years in the tiling industry, Rex Walker will be retiring at the end of the year. For the last 12 years, Rex has been part of LTP’s sales team, which he joined after he ‘officially’ retired from Marlborough Tiles in 2007.  Rex’s immense professionalism, reliability and energy have shaped his career; he will be greatly missed by his friends and colleagues, who truly value his enormous contribution in the industry.

Rex_LTP PR

Rex grew up in Horsham, West Sussex, and his tiling career started in 1969 with Pilkington Tiles, as Sales Representative.  In 1977, he joined Royal Dutch Sphinx, where he rose from Sales Executive to National Sales Manager. During this time, Rex led the sales force and expanded the firm’s UK distribution network.  He later worked with major DIY chains and established Sphinx’s Specification Division, with an emphasis on developers. Rex was then head-hunted by Bellegrove Ceramics plc, which he joined as National Business Development Manager and proudly established the firm’s housebuilder segment from scratch.

In 1996, Rex joined Marlborough Tiles as National Contracts Manager and set up its housebuilder division.  He later took on the role of National Sales Manager, overseeing the sales force and working with the retail supply chain, along with national housebuilders.

During his time at LTP, Rex not only nurtured and grew existing customer relationships, but also secured new account opportunities on a regular basis.  And, despite taking on the LTP agency for London and the South East as a ‘retirement job’, Rex worked tirelessly and methodically with the stamina and energy of someone at least half his age.

“Any concerns I had about Rex’s suitability for such a demanding job were quickly allayed at our first meeting,” remembers Richard Osborne, “I knew he was a keen sportsman and still played tennis but when he told us that he’d started playing rugby in his mid forties, I thought “this is the man for us!”.  He has been a huge asset to our industry and a great friend. We wish him a very happy retirement for many years ahead,”

A keen jazz enthusiast and sportsman, Rex plans to take it easy for a while, listen to more music and enjoy more time with his grandchildren.

To contact LTP, please call 01823 666213, email info@ltp-online.co.ukor visit http://www.ltp-online.co.uk

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For media information and photography, please contact Angela Fitzhugh PR Ltd on tel. (01590) 622521 or email angie@afpr.co.uk

New Residue Remover using ‘acid-replacement technology’ joins LTP range

LTP has launched a new Cement, Grout & Salt Residue Remover.  The new product replaces conventional acids normally used to remove cement and grout residues, and can be used on all types of tile and natural stone surfaces, except those with a polished finish.  This means it can be safely applied to unpolished acid-sensitive surfaces, including limestone and travertine.  As well as removing new and existing building residues, the new treatment also disperses rising salt residues caused by issues including substrate moisture and spot fixing.

LTP CGSR Remover_PR group

Developed and manufactured in the UK, the new Residue Remover can be used indoors and outside on porcelain, glazed ceramics, quarry tiles and terracotta, slate, brick, sandstone, granite and unpolished natural stone.  A diluted application removes mild residue within 30 minutes, whilst a neat application and agitation gives instant results.  Deposits are then removed and surfaces rinsed with clean water.

The new treatment forms part of LTP’s ‘clean-seal-maintain’ range.  It’s available in one litre and five litre cartons and gives coverage of approx. 5-25mper litre.  To find out more, please visit http://www.ltp-online.co.uk.  For further information, please contact LTP on tel. 01823 666213 or email info@ltp-online.co.uk

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For media information and photography, please contact Angela Fitzhugh PR Ltd on tel. (01590) 622521 or email angie@afpr.co.uk

LTP introduces Blackstone restorer (250ml)

In response to demand, LTP now offers its new Blackstone Sealer & Restorer in a handy 250ml unit.  The new treatment is designed for the restoration of faded black or dark grey natural and artificial stone – and the new pack size is ideal for smaller surface areas, from hearths and fire surrounds, to garden coping stones.

LTP_Blackstone_250ml_LR

Launched this summer, new LTP Blackstone is a water-based, impregnating treatment that restores the appearance of faded limestone, marble, slate and concrete.  It is designed to give a fast, safe application and the permanent finish created protects against wear and tear, and the elements.  It can be applied in multiple coats until the desired colour effect is achieved – from grey to ebony.  Following the final coat, surfaces can be walked on after four hours and returned to ‘heavy use’ after 24 hours.

Like all LTP products, the new treatment was developed and is manufactured in the UK.  As well as the new 250ml bottle, Blackstone is also available in one litre and five litre units for the treatment of larger areas.

To find out more, please visit http://www.ltp-online.co.uk.  For further information, please contact LTP on tel. 01823 666213 or email info@ltp-online.co.uk

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For media information and photography, please contact Angela Fitzhugh PR Ltd on tel. (01590) 622521 or email angie@afpr.co.uk

Up-to-date advice – in an instant – with new LTP Product Selector

LTP has launched its second-generation Product Selector tool at ltp-productguide.co.uk.  The free online resource – which identifies the correct treatment according to surface type and symptom – has been updated to include the latest tile finishes and related issues.  It now provides even greater scope and support for fixers, contractors and end users, as well as a valuable retail sales aid and training tool.

LTP_Product Selector

Designed to give an answer within one minute, LTP has modelled its Product Selector on “user-friendly railway ticket machines”.  Users select surface type, activity – either cleaning, sealing, aftercare or tooling up – and symptom. They are then instantly shown the product recommendation.  Complementary products can also be displayed and results added to a ‘my choices’ tab. These choices can then be emailed back to the user or customer, for reference later.

The new resource has been deliberately designed in web format, rather than as an APP.  As a result, it can be continually updated without having to issue a complete APP refresh.   The resource is also stand-alone, and not connected to any form of online shop, so retailers can be assured that potential sales are not directed elsewhere.

To access the Product Selector, please visit ltp-productguide.co.uk.  Or, for more information, please contact LTP on tel. 01823 666213 or email info@ltp-online.co.uk

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For media information and photography, please contact Angela Fitzhugh PR Ltd on tel. (01590) 622521 or email angie@afpr.co.uk

 

 

Keeping pool sides safe

Natural stone surfaces are a popular choice for pool surrounds but if they’re not correctly maintained, they can quickly create a slip hazard.  This is rarely the fault of the stone.  Most materials specified for pool sides have good slip qualities, with a textured surface that provides grip under foot.   Problems are caused by a build-up of residue and a poor cleaning regime, which fails to remove them.

Swimming pools, and leisure environments in general, come in contact with a host of organic contaminants – from food, cosmetics and sun creams, to environmental contaminants like microscopic algae spores and bird droppings.  During maintenance, it’s not uncommon for surfaces to be washed with a detergent and rinsed with pool water, which re-contaminates the surface. Many detergents also fail to break down the residue and a cycle of poor cleaning and residue build-up is created.

In order to remove organic-type residue, you’ll need to use an alkaline-based cleaner.  LTP Grimex is a great option as it will break down these deposits, without damaging the natural stone surface.  For general use, Grimex is diluted 1:5 with water, but a lower dilution of 1:3 may be needed for very dirty pool surrounds.  The cleaner is applied with a sponge or water brush and should be left to act until the dirt releases – this will normally take between 5 and 30 minutes.  The stone should then be thoroughly rinsed with clean water to neutralize the surface.  Scrubber machines can also be used, where suitable.

Another really good option is LTP Mouldex Paving Cleaner.  Like Grimex, it is also an alkaline-based cleaner and it’s especially useful where there’s a greater build-up of environment contaminants, like mould, black spot, lichen, fungus and algae.  It’s applied directly to the stone surface, left to act and should then be thoroughly rinsed with clean water.  As well as removing residue, Mouldex also has an antibacterial and bleaching action, so it helps prevent regrowth and restores light-toned paving to its original colour.

During a deep clean, any limescale residue should also be removed; limescale quickly builds up in wet environments, especially in hard-water areas, and is a magnet for dirt.  If the surface is acid-resistant, an acid-based cleaner like LTP Grout Stain Remover can be used.  Limescale has a similar composition to cementitious grout, so the treatment will remove new deposits, as well as any old installation residues. LTP Grout Stain Remover is diluted according to build-up, applied with a cloth or sponge and the surface should then be thoroughly rinsed with clean water.

1ltr-+-5-Ltr-Grout-stain-re

Straight after an intensive clean is the ideal time to seal the surface, to protect it from stains going forwards. For absorbent stone, LTP External Stone Sealer is a great option; it has an impregnating formulation, so it protects from within, rather than forming a film that could potentially affect anti-slip properties.  It’s also water-based so offers a safe application and it can be applied in damp conditions.  For ongoing aftercare, choose a ph-neutral, phosphate-free cleaner, like LTP Waxwash, which will protect the stone, the sealant and make ongoing maintenance much easier.

LTP-Waxwash5L&1L_Web

Before embarking on a pool deep clean, always check that the solution you’re using is suitable for your surface.  And, once the surface is clean, ensure that a regular maintenance regime is adopted to keep residue build-up under control and surfaces safe all summer long.

For more information and expert advice, please contact LTP on tel. 01823 666213 or email technical@ltp-online.co.uk