GETTING YOUR PATIO WINTER-READY

Featured

Patios have become really important areas, extending property footprints and allowing us to make the most of the great outdoors.  Whatever the size or setting, periodic maintenance will be greatly beneficial – and late summer is an ideal time to get to work.  It will cut down the ‘elbow grease’ required come springtime and will make outdoor spaces more pleasant over the winter months. 

Time to tidy

Whilst most aluminium and wooden furniture can be left outdoors year-round, materials like wicker and rattan generally need to be protected – under covers or indoors.  It’s a few weeks (hopefully) before we need to pack things away but it’s worth planning ahead now and clearing some storage space.

At this time of year, fallen petals and leaves quickly start to build up, especially behind pots and containers.  If left in place, they’ll quickly decay, leaving stains and slippery deposits.  It’s worth emptying and stacking pots before the temperatures drop – especially if they’re not frost-resistant.  Surfaces can then be swept with ease and any weeds removed.  The clearer the surface now, the less dirt will be picked up on footwear over the winter months. 

The pre-winter clean

To properly remove stains and ingrained dirt, we recommend a thorough wash with LTP Grimex.   A blast with a jet wash may seem like a quicker and easier option but it will only wash dirt off the surface.  A specialist treatment will react with ingrained residue and organic matter, drawing it out of the stone’s porosity.  

Before cleaning the patio, remove furniture, pots and other objects.  Then, test your cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area.

How to apply LTP Grimex:

  1. To remove mild staining, dilute one part of Grimex with 10 parts of warm water. Wash the surface thoroughly, using a brush or yard broom, and rinse with clean water.  
  2. For more severe staining, dilute one part of Grimex with 3 parts of warm water.  Agitate with a scrubbing brush and leave to act for 5-10 minutes, adding more solution to keep the surface wet.  
  3. Sweep up any residue and rinse thoroughly with clean water. 

If your patio is prone to black spot, lichen, moss and algae, it’s worth targeting these now too.  Periodic treatment with LTP Blackspot & Algae Remover will break down microspores and black spot ‘hyphae’ before they colonise.  LTP Blackspot is acid-free, so it’s safe to use on acid-sensitive stone, but it does contain a bleaching action to remove stains.  So, as before, test first on an inconspicuous area.  

How to apply LTP Blackspot & Algae Remover:

  1. Remove furniture and other items from the area to be treated.
  2. Apply neat Blackspot onto clean pavers with a plastic watering can or light pressure garden spray.
  3. Leave to absorb for 2-4 hours; the product will begin to fizz as it gets to work.
  4. Hose off thoroughly with clean water.  

Both LTP Grimex and Blackspot & Algae Remover can be used on natural stone and artificial stone surfaces, including porcelain pavers.

Stopping water ingress

Once you’ve cleaned your pavers and they’re dry, it’s an ideal time to replace any lost jointing sand or cement mortar.  This will stop the ingress of water and will help protect paving during the freeze and thaw cycle of winter.

Added protection

If your patio hasn’t been sealed, consider applying a protective treatment. We recommend LTP External Stone Sealer for natural stone and our new barrier treatment, LTP Porcelain Tile Protector for matt porcelain pavers.  Both are non-film forming and will help prevent the absorption of moisture and organic particles, reducing staining and the spread of algae, mould and black spot.  

LTP External Stone Sealer is a water-based, impregnating sealer that’s applied using a foam roller or paint brush, as shown in the Video Aid.  It can be applied over residual moisture and will protect pavers from moisture, stains, weathering and efflorescence.  It’s also UV resistant and non-yellowing.  

LTP Porcelain Tile Protector creates a barrier against organic matter and makes ongoing maintenance easier.  On newly laid tiles, it also protects against staining and helps increase working times.  Our External Porcelain Tile guide includes lots of useful information on cleaning, protecting and caring for these surfaces. 

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

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

Featured

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

LTP_Blackstone_LR

Protecting encaustic tiles – before & after grouting

Encaustic tiles have a timeless appeal and they’re available in so many different styles – from modern geometrics to traditional curlicues. Authentic designs are made by hand, using traditional frames and moulds; a mix of natural marble powder, cement and coloured pigments creates the surface pattern and the tile’s generally have a sand and cement backing. As a result, they’re porous and can easily become stained, so they will need to be sealed before and after grouting.

Before sealing, we recommend a thorough clean with LTP Grimex, using a 1:10 dilution. This applies to both newly laid and renovation projects. It’s also important not to use an acid-based detergent; encaustic tiles are sensitive to acid, which can etch the surface and damage the grout joint – and the sealer once the tile has been protected.

When it comes to sealing there are various options available, depending on the look that you want to achieve. Impregnating sealers LTP Mattstone or the water-based equivalent LTP Mattstone H20 are popular, as they protect the tile without altering the appearance. Depending on the type of encaustic tile being used, up to three or four light coats of sealer might be needed. Always test on an inconspicuous area first and buff off any excess.

LTP Colour Intensifier is also popular, as it enhances colour and will bring out the different tones within the tile. Like Mattstone, it’s also an impregnator, so it will allow the tile to breathe. For ongoing maintenance, we recommend LTP Waxwash.

A correctly sealed and maintained encaustic floor should last three to four years before resealing is needed.  For more information, please follow the link: Encaustic Tiles guide

To find out more, please call LTP on tel. 01823 666213, email info@ltp-online.co.uk or visit https://www.ltp-online.co.uk


How should I clean my patio?

Nothing beats the pristine look of a newly installed patio but after a long, hot spell and lots of use – or a cold, damp winter – it can start to look a little jaded.  Paving slabs can become stained by food & drink, sun lotion, animals, plants & leaves and other outside elements.  But, with a little effort and the correct tools, slabs can very quickly be restored.

Jet washing may seem like the best method for a fast clean but it will only wash dirt off the surface of the slabs. High pressure water will also damage grout joints. A specialist treatment, on the other hand, will react with the dirt and organic matter, and will help break it down.

A deep & thorough clean

To properly remove stains and ingrained dirt, we recommend a thorough wash with deep cleaner and stain remover, LTP Grimex. Before cleaning, remove furniture, pots and other objects, and sweep the slabs to remove any leaves and residue. Then, test the cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area.

How to apply LTP Grimex:

To remove mild staining, dilute one part of Grimex with 10 parts of warm water. Wash the surface thoroughly, using a brush or garden broom, and rinse with clean water. For more severe staining, dilute one part of Grimex with 3 parts of warm water. Agitate with a scrubbing brush and leave to act for 5-10 minutes, adding more solution to keep the surface wet.  Sweep up any residue and rinse thoroughly with clean water.

If your patio is prone to slippery black spot, lichen, moss and algae, it will benefit from a targeted treatment with LTP Blackspot & Algae Remover. This solution is designed to break down microspores and black spot ‘hyphae’ before they colonise and it’s acid-free, so safe to use on acid-sensitive stone. However, it does contain a bleaching action to remove stains, so test first on an inconspicuous area.

How to apply LTP Blackspot & Algae Remover:

Remove furniture and other items from the area to be treated. Apply neat Blackspot onto clean pavers with a plastic watering can or light pressure garden spray. Leave to absorb for 2-4 hours; the product will begin to fizz as it gets to work. Hose off thoroughly with clean water.

Replacing lost grout

Once you’ve cleaned your patio and it’s dry, it’s an ideal time to replace any lost jointing sand or cement mortar. This will stop the ingress of water and will help protect paving during the freeze and thaw cycle in the winter.

Added protection

If your patio hasn’t been sealed, consider applying a protective treatment. We recommend LTP External Stone Sealer for natural stone and LTP Porcelain Tile Protector for matt porcelain pavers. Both treatments are non-film forming and will help prevent the absorption of moisture and organic particles, reducing staining and the spread of algae, mould and black spot.

LTP External Stone Sealer is a water-based, impregnating sealer that’s applied using a foam roller or paint brush. It can be used over residual moisture and will protect pavers from moisture, stains, weathering and efflorescence. It’s also UV resistant and non-yellowing.

LTP Porcelain Tile Protector creates a barrier against organic matter and makes ongoing maintenance easier. On newly laid tiles, it also protects against staining and helps increase working times.

For advice on patio cleaning and protection, please contact LTP on tel. 01823 666213 or email info@ltp-online.co.uk

 

What causes black spot & how to remove it

Dorset path before treatment – by Silex UK – with LTP Blackspot & Algae Remover

Regular patio maintenance brings lots of benefits.  It retains a tile’s aesthetic, along with its performance, and helps reduce the need for intensive cleaning and re-sealing down the line.  Most organic stains are relatively easy to remove, especially if the surface has been sealed, but there are some that can prove more difficult, like black spot. 

What is black spot?

Despite its name, black spot can be black or white and it originates from plants and trees. This dust-like lichen microspore is carried by the wind and rain and it colonises on stonework, taking about 2-3 years to get really established below the surface.  Black spot thrives in damp, shady places, sending its tendrils or ‘hyphae’ down into the stone’s pores, searching for nutrients.  It’s a particular menace in porous stone, as its open texture enables the microspores to spread more easily, but even less porous materials like porcelain aren’t immune.  Here, the lichen can still create a slippery residue on the tile surface.  

Why water doesn’t work

A pressure washer and, sometimes, a dose of household cleaner is a common go-to treatment.  However, this doesn’t work because hyphae become anchored into place below the surface.  In fact, the extra dose of water only makes conditions even better for the rampant lichen.  Also, pressure washing can damage the surface of the stone, loosen the grout and, if any protective sealer is applied, it will damage that too.

A specialist, two-pronged attack is necessary in order to remove black spot stains and the microspores below the surface.  Any treatment used needs to have a bleaching action, to restore the colour of the tile or paver.  It also needs to target the hyphae below the surface.  But care should to be taken.  If a treatment is acidic, it can damage acid sensitive material and erode the grout joint.

Removing stains and preventing regrowth

Giving results in as little as two hours, LTP Black Spot & Algae Remover targets organic residue, restoring appearance to natural stone, concrete, brick and porcelain.  Developed to deep clean new and existing paths, patios and driveways, the treatment targets black spot, lichen, moss, algae and other stains caused by damp and slippery leaf matter.   

Three case study examples, shared by Alastair Niddrie from stone maintenance specialist – Silex UK – illustrate treatment with LTP Black Spot & Algae Remover at sites throughout the UK:  The first – a York Stone and brick installation in Chiswick – had a build-up of green algae and black spot over 30 years.  As well as white and black staining, the lichen was creating a serious slip hazard.  At the second site in Dorset, a large limestone patio was stained with black spot, algae and dirt. The client was considering replacing the patio as repeated jet washing hadn’t resolved the issues and had damaged some areas of paving.  The third site – a courtyard in London – was also deeply stained with black spot and algae.

“These types of stains are notoriously difficult to remove and a blast with a jet wash just makes matters worse.  We’ve found a solution with LTP Black Spot & Algae Remover. It’s formulated to cling to the surface and once absorbed, it breaks down the hyphae within the stone porosity, as well as the slippery residue on the tile surface.  A bleaching action also removes the staining, to restore surfaces to their former glory. We’re delighted with the results and now routinely use the treatment on all patio refurbishments,” explained Alastair.

Before application of LTP Black Spot & Algae Remover, surfaces should be swept clean.  The treatment is then applied neat, using a watering can or light pressure garden spray, where it fizzes during treatment.  It should be left to act for 2-4 hours and surfaces are then hosed with clean water.  The solution can be used on dry and slightly damp surfaces and should be applied during a morning or afternoon of fair weather.  

Newly cleaned surfaces can be protected with LTP External Stone Sealer or LTP Porcelain Protector.  Both treatments create a barrier without altering surface appearance; this prevents absorption of moisture and organic particles, reducing staining and the spread of algae, mould and black spot.  

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

To contact Silex UK, please visit https://silexuk.com, tel. 0207 504 1070 (London Office) or 01225 650122 (Bath Office) or email info@silexuk.com

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For media information and photography, please contact Angela Fitzhugh PR Ltd on tel. (01579) 673026 or email angie@afpr.co.uk

The two types of rust – and how to remove them

Rust is one of the most difficult types of stain to remove – but did you know there are two different types?  The first is caused by external sources, whilst the second is caused by a chemical reaction within a stone – and each needs to be treated with a different type of stain remover.

External rust stains

Most rust stains are caused by metal objects and they’re particularly common in places where metal comes into contact with moisture.  Metal towel rails, weighing scales, soap dishes, jugs and containers, toilet roll stands and candle holders are common culprits in the home.  Outside, marks are often left by firepits, BBQ’s, garden tools, toys and bikes, pots and parasol stands.  The stains are caused by tiny deposits of iron that wash off the surface of the object when it comes into contact with moisture or water; these deposits then leave a rust stain.  In addition, some weed killers also contain ferric sulphate which can cause rust stains.

Internal rust stains

Rust or orange-coloured discolouration can appear naturally within hard ferrous-type stone pavers, including sandstone, slate and granite. These stones naturally contain iron which can oxidise or rust when it comes into contact with rain. Washing a patio with excessive amounts of water – for example, with a jet wash or patio cleaner – can also cause this reaction, as can some cleaning products.  This type of staining is often referred to as ‘iron break-out’.

Certain acidic cleaners, like brick acid and cement removers, also contain ingredients that can stain/damage limestone and sandstone pavers, and can accelerate oxidisation in hard ferrous stone.  Ironically, these same products are often used to remove rust marks and can create an even greater problem.    

Each type of rust – internal and external – needs to be treated differently for effective removal of the stain. We recommend one of two products – LTP Rust Stain Remover or LTP Ferrex, both of which can also be used indoors and outdoors.

LTP Rust Stain Remover is a non-caustic solution that removes marks caused by external sources.  It is safe to use on all polished and unpolished natural and artificial stone tiles, including marble, granite, travertine, split face stone cladding, sandstone, concrete, terracotta, ceramic and porcelain. After applying, the reaction between the rust stain and the treatment causes it to turn purple, so you can clearly see the product working. More stubborn stains may need more than one treatment. If this is the case, we recommend leaving 15 minutes after the first dosing, then removing the rust residue with a sponge or water and repeating until all of the ‘purpling’ has stopped.  Once there is no colour reaction, all of the iron has been removed.  Here’s a link to more information, including a Video Aid which shows the treatment being applied, step by step. You can also see a short demo on our YouTube Channel, LTP TV, showing treatment on a porcelain paver.

How to apply LTP Rust Stain Remover 

  1. Ensure that the surface to be treated is completely free from dust and dirt before application. If necessary, wash with LTP Power Stripper diluted 1:10 with water. 
  2. SHAKE WELL BEFORE USE. Do not dilute. Completely cover the rust stain with the product. Leave to act for 15 minutes. The product colour will change to a deep purple as it reacts with the rust. Once the indicated time has elapsed, remove the residue and rinse the surface thoroughly with plenty of water and leave to dry. Repeat application until the stain is completely removed. 

The second treatment, LTP Ferrex is formulated to remove the rust stains that arise from within the stone, caused by the naturally occurring particles of iron.  It’s designed for hard ferrous stones including sandstone, granite and slate. Ferrex is an acid-based cleaner but it’s the right kind of acid for harder stones.  However, it is not suitable for use on acid sensitive surfaces, including limestone, marble or pavers with a highly polished finish. It’s worth diluting the product with water before use and testing it at different strengths on an inconspicuous area; in this way, you can see which dilution suits your tile best before treating the whole surface. Here’s a link for more information on application and dilutions. You can also see a Video Aid on the product page and on LTP TV. Treatment to remove these types of stain can take between 3-6 hours. The reaction won’t be visible like it is LTP Rust Stain Remover; the treatment should be left to work and no agitation is generally needed. Once the staining has disappeared, rinse well with water and leave the pavers to dry. 

How to apply LTP Ferrex 

  1. After testing on a small area, apply the solution to the surface and spread out evenly. For external applications garden sprayers can be used.
  2. For severe staining, surfaces should be agitated using a short haired scrubbing brush or black emulsifying pad. 
  3. After 3 – 6 hours, rinse with plenty of clean water. If traces remain after a couple of days, repeat the process. 
  4. After treatment, we recommend that the surface is protected from water with an impregnating sealer like LTP External Stone Sealer or LTP Mattstone H20.  This will greatly reduce the risk of rust discolouration returning. 

Some natural stones will appear darker after treatment, as the product continues to work following the initial application. This is normal and the darkening effect will gradually subside. 

For more advice, visit our blog section on the website, browse LTP TV on YouTube or https://www.ltp-online.co.uk.  To contact the LTP team direct, call 01823 666213 or email info@ltp-online.co.uk

MYTH BUSTER SERIES

“Porcelain tiles are maintenance-free.”

Porcelain tiles are very durable – and generally far more resistant to stains than a natural surface – but this myth is incorrect. They are not maintenance free.

A good cleaning regime with a suitable detergent is essential. It will not only maintain a tile’s aesthetic, but also its slip resistance; this is particularly important in areas like hallways, bathrooms and kitchens, and on paths and patios outdoors.

If dirt is allowed to accumulate in a textured porcelain surface, or on the face of a polished porcelain tile, it will become slippery and dull. In textured tiles, dirt often accumulates in the tile’s high/low surfaces and, once congested, the texture is lost along with the tile’s slip resistance. These issues can also be created by using an unsuitable, waxy cleaner, which will leave a residue behind. Any residue will also create a key onto which dirt will stick and the surface will be more difficult to keep clean.

Outdoors, tiles should also be maintained correctly. A blast with a jet wash may seem like the best option but it will only wash dirt off the surface, and over-use can in some cases damage and remove grout. A specialist treatment will react with ingrained residue and organic matter, ensuring that the tile texture and aesthetic is retained.

Inside, we recommend LTP Multipurpose Cleaner for general cleaning and aftercare, and for Indoors and outdoors, we recommend LTP Porcelain Floor Tile Cleaner.

For external porcelain, we recommend LTP Grimex for a deep clean and LTP Blackspot & Algae Remover for tiles stained with mould spores, black spot, lichen, fungus and moss.

For more advice on stone and tile protection and maintenance, please contact LTP’s Technical Team on tel. 01823 666213, email info@ltp-online.co.uk or visit http://www.ltp-online.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)1579 673026

MYTH BUSTER SERIES

 “Porcelain doesn’t need sealing.”

Porcelain tiles are prized for their durability. They’re incredibly robust, resistant to most stains and very easy to look after. But, perhaps surprisingly, some tiles do need to be sealed and others will benefit from barrier protection during installation.

Polished porcelain tiles

As a general rule of thumb, polished porcelain tiles should be sealed and advice should always be sought from the tile retailer/manufacturer. The aesthetic of a polished finish often causes confusion because it looks glossy and ‘sealed’. However, the actual polishing process opens up pores within the tile, making the porcelain more vulnerable to stains. Some tiles receive a factory-applied coat of sealant as part of the manufacturing process and this offers a level of protection, especially during installation. But, even if this is the case, a further coat of sealer after installation is generally required – to protect the tile and the grout joint. We recommend LTP MPG Sealer H2O.

Matt porcelain tiles

Matt porcelain doesn’t need to be sealed but it will benefit greatly from application of a ‘barrier’ treatment. Generally, matt tiles have a textured finish which provides slip resistance underfoot. They can very easily become stained by grout and installation residues and it’s a particular issue in external applications, where brush-in jointing compounds are often used. Resins accumulate in the tile’s high/low surfaces and once congested, the texture is lost along with the tile’s slip resistance. A quality barrier, like LTP Porcelain Tile Protector, applied before grouting, will help protect tiles from staining and make the removal of residues easier. It will also promote a hassle-free installation, as it will improve/increase grouting working times, and a final coat after installation will make ongoing maintenance easier.

It’s also important to consider the grout joint. Whilst a matt porcelain tile isn’t porous, most cement-based grout is. New installations will very quickly be ruined by a dirty grout joint. Application of a quality grout protector – like LTP Grout & Tile Protector – is always recommended, to help prevent stains from penetrating beyond the surface.

For more advice on stone and tile protection and maintenance, please contact LTP’s Technical Team on tel. 01823 666213, email info@ltp-online.co.uk or visit http://www.ltp-online.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)1579 673026

Getting your paths & patio ready for spring

As the nights draw out, now’s the perfect time to get your paths and patio ready for spring. From small terrace to lavish, landscaped setting, all will benefit greatly from a tidy and deep clean – and using professional treatments can make a real difference over the months ahead.

A post-winter clean

To properly remove stains and ingrained dirt, we recommend a thorough wash with LTP Grimex.   A blast with a jet wash may seem like a quicker and easier option but it will only wash dirt off the surface.  A specialist treatment will react with ingrained residue and organic matter, drawing it out of the stone’s porosity.  

Before cleaning, remove furniture, pots and other objects, and sweep the pavers to remove all leaves and residue.  Then, test your cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area.

How to apply LTP Grimex:

  1. To remove mild staining, dilute one part of Grimex with 10 parts of warm water. Wash the surface thoroughly, using a brush or yard broom, and rinse with clean water.  
  2. For more severe staining, dilute one part of Grimex with 3 parts of warm water.  Agitate with a scrubbing brush and leave to act for 5-10 minutes, adding more solution to keep the surface wet.  
  3. Sweep up any residue and rinse thoroughly with clean water. 

If your pavers are prone to slippery black spot, lichen, moss and algae, they will benefit from a targeted treatment with LTP Blackspot & Algae Remover.   Designed to break down microspores and black spot ‘hyphae’ before they colonise, LTP Blackspot & Algae Remover is acid-free, so it’s safe to use on acid-sensitive stone.  However, it does contain a bleaching action to remove stains, so test first on an inconspicuous area.  

How to apply LTP Blackspot & Algae Remover:

  1. Remove furniture and other items from the area to be treated.
  2. Apply neat Blackspot onto clean pavers with a plastic watering can or light pressure garden spray.
  3. Leave to absorb for 2-4 hours; the product will begin to fizz as it gets to work.
  4. Hose off thoroughly with clean water.  

Stopping water ingress

Once you’ve cleaned your pavers and they’re dry, it’s an ideal time to replace any lost jointing sand or cement mortar.  This will stop the ingress of water and will help protect paving during the freeze and thaw cycle next winter.

Added protection

If your pavers haven’t been sealed, consider applying a protective treatment. We recommend LTP External Stone Sealer for natural stone and our new barrier treatment, LTP Porcelain Tile Protector for matt porcelain pavers.  Both are non-film forming and will help prevent the absorption of moisture and organic particles, reducing staining and the spread of algae, mould and black spot.  

LTP External Stone Sealer is a water-based, impregnating sealer that’s applied using a foam roller or paint brush, as shown in the Video Aid.  It can be applied over residual moisture and will protect pavers from moisture, stains, weathering and efflorescence.  It’s also UV resistant and non-yellowing.  

LTP Porcelain Tile Protector creates a barrier against organic matter and makes ongoing maintenance easier.  On newly laid tiles, it also protects against staining and helps increase working times.  Our External Porcelain Tile guide includes lots of useful information on cleaning, protecting and caring for these surfaces. 

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

What not to use for a deep clean

There’s nothing quite like a home-made recipe.  Something passed down the generations, made from wholesome ingredients.  But when it comes to old fashioned cleaning remedies, they can sometimes do more harm than good.

If, like us, you’ve seen lots of articles on deep cleaning, you may be tempted to try out some of the popular ‘cleaning hacks’.  Many people are recommending mixtures of vinegar, soda crystals, bicarbonate of soda, water and lemon to make disinfectants, all-purpose cleaners and limescale removers.  The problem is that lots of natural materials, like limestone and marble, are very sensitive to acid and alkaline.  Vinegar and lemon are both very acidic – and soda has high alkaline levels.  Both can erode or ‘eat away’ natural surfaces like stone floors, tiles, countertops and mosaics – and damage any protective sealer that’s been applied.  These surfaces should always be cleaned with a gentle pH-neutral product.

It’s useful to think about the pH scale before choosing – or making – a cleaning product.  Running from 0-14, anything that scores a 7 is considered neutral and safe to use on all surfaces. Anything below a 7 is considered acidic and anything above a 7 is considered alkaline.  Acidic solutions are best at removing calcium, rust and other mineral ‘non-organic’ stains. Lemon and vinegar score around 3 on the pH-scale and toilet bowl cleaner is the most acidic, with a pH of 1-3.  At the alkaline end of the scale, you’ll find bleach and many heavy-duty tile cleaners; they have a high pH value of 11-13 and are best at removing organic dirt, grease and oil.  

Surprisingly, many ‘eco’ branded products can also cause damage to natural surfaces. Look closely at the label on a leading anti-bacterial all-purpose cleaner and it states that it isn’t suitable for natural stone because it is acid-based.  It’s always worth reading the small print.  

Another common misconception is that an extra dose of the right product will do an even better job.  But this can actually create problems. Using a lower dilution may mean that a surface needs to be rinsed; if it isn’t, the residue may form a film on the surface, which could make future cleaning more difficult.  

LTP’s range includes lots of different treatments for tackling specific jobs – and removing specific stains – as well all-purpose cleaners for use around the home.  New products include LTP Multipurpose Cleaner – a gentle and effective pH neutral cleaner that’s ideal for kitchens and bathrooms. The new rinse-free treatment is safe to use on all types of natural stone – sealed, unsealed, polished and unpolished – as well as porcelain, ceramic, glass, stainless steel and chrome.  

For more information and expert advice, please visit https://www.ltp-online.co.uk, or contact LTP on tel. 01823 666213 or email info@ltp-online.co.uk

Myth Buster Series

“Sealing stone outdoors traps in moisture”

Many people believe that applying a sealer to external paving traps moisture in – and this statement is both correct and incorrect.

In the case of film-forming products, it is true.  However, in terms of modern impregnators it is false. They do not form a film on the surface but are, instead, absorbed into the open pores.  The carrier, which is either a water or a spirit, dries out to leave the active ingredients to only line the walls of the pore, rather than block it, allowing any water vapour to escape.

Film-forming sealers

Film-forming sealers are often referred to as ‘topical’ or ‘acrylic’ sealers.  They create a protective film on the surface of the tile, to prevent moisture penetration and protect surfaces from wear and tear. Some also provide aesthetic benefits by enhancing colour or creating a glossy finish.  

These sealers can be water-based, but generally they are spirit-based and should only be applied to a surface when it is clean and bone dry.  If any residual moisture is present, it can sometimes become sandwiched between the stone and the sealer, creating a cloudy or milky appearance.  Moisture rising through the ground can, in some cases, also include efflorescence – a crystalline, salty deposit – which is prevented from escaping. This can have the same effect and, in many cases, will cause the sealer to flake or peel away from the surface.

Impregnating sealers

Breathable, impregnating sealers penetrate, react and line the open pores, rather than just sit on the surface. They create a hydrophobic and oleophobic barrier that helps to prevent deep staining and facilitates future cleaning and aftercare. Once cured, water vapour permeability remains, allowing transition of microscopic droplets of moisture. This helps to keep any rising salts down and allows any residual moisture to escape. 

The barrier properties of the sealer repel water, oil and grease from above. Many quality treatments, like LTP External Stone Sealer, also help prevent moss and mould formation, and protect against weathering, UV rays and efflorescence. 

For more advice on stone & tile protection and maintenance, please contact LTP’s Technical Team on tel. 01823 666213, email info@ltp-online.co.uk or visit http://www.ltp-online.co.uk

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Angela Fitzhugh PR Ltd on email enquiries@afpr.co.uk or tel. +44 (0)1590 610313

TWO NEW ECO SEALERS JOIN LTP RANGE

LTP has launched two new water-based impregnating sealers.  Each formulated to protect surfaces from water, oil and grease, LTP Colour Intensifier & Stainblock H2O treats natural and artificial stone, whilst MPG Sealer H2O is designed for polished tiles.

Both new treatments provide surface protection, without forming a film on the surface of the tile, and can be used indoors and outdoors, on wall and floor tiles.  The impregnating formulations are absorbed into the tile’s porosity, whilst allowing the surface to breathe, strongly repelling stains and promoting easy maintenance. 

LTP Colour Intensifier & Stainblock H2O is an all-in-one sealer and enhancer suitable for all types of natural stone, artificial stone, quarry, brick, concrete and paving, with honed, rough cut and polished finishes. As well as providing protection against water and organic stains, it also helps to reduce efflorescence.

LTP MPG Sealer H2O is designed for polished marble, polished and semi-polished porcelain or “lappato” including PGVT (polished glazed vitrified tiles), polished granite and encaustics. The treatment creates a natural finish, with minimal change to the original appearance.  As well as protecting new installations, it can also be used in renovations; highly polished tiles can be quite vulnerable to scuffs and scratches and MPG H20 works well to cover these and helps to make them less visible. 

All LTP water-based protectors offer equal performance to their spirit-based solvent equivalents.  “The water or spirit elements within a sealer don’t play a part in the actual protection,” explained Mark Atkins. “They just facilitate application and evaporate as the treatment dries.” 

As well as providing a fast, safe and easy application, the treatments’ water-based formulations also make transportation/shipping and storage easier, and typically provide 50% greater coverage than a spirit-based solvent.

To find out more about the new treatments and to order free samples, please call 01823 666213, email info@ltp-online.co.uk or visit https://www.ltp-online.co.uk

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For media information and photography, please contact Angela Fitzhugh PR Ltd on tel. (01590) 610313 or email angie@afpr.co.uk