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 firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re really looking forward to spring, after one of the coldest and wettest winters on record – not to mention lock-down. Our patios, paths and driveways have taken a hit – and where there’s damp, there’s black spot. But, with the correct treatment, it’s something that can be remedied and halted in its tracks.
Black spot – which can be black or white – originates from plants and trees. It’s a dust-like lichen microspore carried by the wind and rain. 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.
Most people try to remove it with a pressure washer and, sometimes, a dose of household cleaner. 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 microspore colonises 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 needs to be taken. If a treatment is acidic, it could damage acid sensitive material and erode the grout joint.
We’ve recently introduced a treatment called LTP Black Spot & Algae Remover that can be used on all types of natural stone, concrete, brick and porcelain. It removes organic residues – including black spot, lichen, moss and algae – shifting the surface stains and breaking down the hyphae below the surface, preventing regrowth.
When applying the remover, it’s important to treat the whole area of paving, for a uniform appearance. It should also be left to act for the correct amount of time, so that it’s able to penetrate deep into the porosity of the stone, where the black spot has colonised; if these hyphae are left untreated, they will spread back to the surface and throughout the stone. A second treatment may be necessary if the black spot is really established. After treatment, it’s worth protecting the surface; we recommend LTP External Stone Sealer for natural stone and our new barrier treatment, LTP Porcelain Tile Protector, for matt porcelain pavers. Both will help prevent the absorption of moisture and organic particles, reducing staining and the spread of algae, mould and black spot – something that may become even more of a problem, as our winters warm up.
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 tile cleaners; they have a high pH value of 11-13 and are best at removing ‘organic’ dirt, grease and oil.
Surprisingly, many ‘toxic-free’ 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 products for tackling specific jobs – and removing stains – as well as pH-neutral cleaners that are safe and all purpose. LTP Stonewash is a great all-rounder, if you’re looking for a combined bathroom and kitchen cleaner for all types of tile and stone. The LTP website also includes various Video Aids and others resources to help you Identify your surface and calculate how much product you need.
With Christmas fast-approaching – and a promise of sharing it with loved ones for five days – now’s a good time to give floors and tiles a once-over, to restore appearance and make ongoing maintenance easier.
Kitchen floors and bathroom tiles are two areas that often need a thorough deep clean, to remove a build-up of organic dirt and stains that thrive in moisture. Grout and silicone joints, and tiled shower areas can be particularly tricky to clean and tough cleaning products may seem like the best solution…. but take care. Many of the ‘best-selling’ products, and sometimes even those from eco ranges, contain acid which can damage tiles, grout, chrome fittings and any protective sealer that’s been applied. To deep clean safely, we recommend LTP Grimex. As the name suggests, it removes grime and stains, including oil, grease, ingrained dirt and wax. It’s safe to use on natural stone, as well as porcelain and ceramics, and it comes in one litre and five litre cartons, as well as a trigger spray for more precise application.
For grout and silicone that’s stained with mould spores, we recommend LTP Mouldex. This treatment comes in a pump spray and it’s formulated to cling to surfaces, which targets the treatment and prevents run-off. Mouldex has a bleaching action which helps restore colour and it’s antibacterial, so it helps prevent mould regrowth. It can be used on natural as well as artificial stone – and on coloured grout – but it’s always best to test first, in an inconspicuous area.
For areas that are slightly grubby – and for absorbent tiles – dilute one part of Grimex to ten parts of warm water. Apply with a cloth or mop and rinse with clean water.
For dirtier surfaces, use a stronger 1-3 dilution and agitate the surface with a brush. Let the solution act for 5-10 minutes, mopping with additional solution to keep the tiles wet, and agitate again before mopping up and rinsing thoroughly with clean water.
For built-up grime and stubborn stains, Grimex can be used neat and then thoroughly rinsed.
Sometimes, tiles that have been deep cleaned with a low dilution of intensive cleaner will need to be resealed. The easiest way to see if a sealer is still performing is to carry out a water test:
Drop a bead of water onto the surface.
If it sits in place, it is well sealed. If the water quickly soaks into the tile or makes the surface look darker, then it needs resealing.
To top up protection, choose a suitable sealer from LTP’s range and carefully follow application directions.
Before applying the treatment, make sure that tiles are completely dry. Spray Mouldex 5-10cm from the surface and leave it to act for 45 minutes. Then, apply a little water and agitate with a stuff brush to help lift the grime and dirt. Finally, rinse the surface thoroughly with water and a clean sponge. For silicone and elastic grouting, and for stubborn stains, the treatment can be left overnight. NB. Mouldex shouldn’t be used with acid-based residual grout removers or other acid- based cleaners.
Other recommended treatments
Grimex Spray is really handy for cleaning wall tiles, work tops, grout lines and fireplace surrounds. It’s sprayed directly onto the surface, once any dust has been removed, and left to act for a few minutes. A little water can be applied and the surface can be agitated with a brush or mild abrasive pad if need be – and the treatment can be repeated if necessary.
We also recommend LTP Multiclean spray for grease and limescale removal in kitchens and bathrooms. It can be used on glazed ceramics, glazed or un-glazed porcelain, sanitary ware, chrome, glass laminate and stainless steel. The cleaner should be sprayed 20 cm from the surface, wiped over with a clean, damp cloth, rinsed and left to dry. For stubborn stains, LTP Multiclean can be applied directly to problem areas and left for 15-20 minutes before agitating and rinsing.
Porcelain pavers have become an incredibly popular choice for paths and patios. They bring many practical benefits, as well as providing a wide range of fabulous natural-effect finishes. But, like any new surface finish, they also bring a new set of challenges. One of the most common issues is resin staining from two-part jointing compounds.
About porcelain pavers
External pavers tend to have a matt finish and, unlike polished porcelain, they don’t need to be sealed, which is a big bonus. Most slabs also have a textured surface which gives good grip underfoot – essential in an outdoor location. However, dirt and residue from grout can easily become trapped in the ‘high-low’ surface, compromising the aesthetic, making maintenance more difficult and potentially creating a slip hazard.
About two-part jointing compounds
Two-part brush-in jointing compounds are often used for patio installations as they create a good, strong joint that can withstand the effects of pressure washers and other potential erosion. Once the grout is mixed, it has a limited working time. It’s generally applied to a wet surface and brushed into the joints. The pavers are then rinsed and swept. Often, a white residue remains on the surface of the tile which can be very difficult to remove, especially on textured surfaces. To safely remove these stains – without damaging the joint or the paver – we recommend LTP Solvex, a non-caustic intensive cleaner/stripper, which helps to soften the resin residues allowing for easier removal. Application is normally followed by a final wash with LTP Grimex cleaning solution before rinsing down.
How to use LTP Solvex & Grimex
Pour Solvex directly onto the paver.
Apply generously by dabbing onto stains with a cloth or brush. NB. Always wear gloves to protect your hands.
Work in manageable areas; normally in strips as far as you can reach without treading into the solution; do not brush out.
Leave for up to 30 minutes, but don’t allow the solution to dry out. If it starts to dry out within this time-frame, apply a little more solution.
Use a coarse, stiff brush or LTP Black Emulsifying Pad to remove the softened coating from the surface of the paver. Repeat this process if some staining remains.
Wash down the pavers with LTP Grimex, diluted 1:3 with water.
Rinse with plenty of water and leave to dry.
As well as tackling brush-in grout stains, LTP Solvex can also be used to remove residual epoxy grout, wax, oil, silicone, acrylic and polyurethane sealer from porcelain, as well as stone, travertine, terracotta, slate, sandstone, flagstones, quarry tiles and glazed ceramic. Where surfaces are sealed, a sealant should be reapplied after cleaning and when the surface is sufficiently dry; this may take a minimum of 24 hours.
The benefits of a barrier treatment
To reduce the risk of staining in new patio installations, a barrier treatment can also be applied before grouting. We recommend LTP Porcelain Tile Protector which provides a number of benefits: as well as preventing grout and resins from jointing compounds taking hold, it also makes the removal of any residues much easier should they occur. The protector also helps improve and increase the working time of grouts and jointing compounds, and when a further coat is applied after installation, it makes ongoing maintenance easier too. Find out more about the treatment and link to the video aid here.
For more expert advice and information, contact the LTP team on tel. 01823 666213 or email email@example.com
Limestone is a hardwearing surface that’s really easy to maintain, but correct cleaning products should always be used. All limestone tiles, regardless of colour and finish, are sensitive to acid, so they should be cleaned with a pH-neutral detergent. General household tile and surface cleaners tend to be acidic and will etch the stone along with the grout joint and damage any protective sealer applied. They will also dull a polished finish. Even quality ‘eco’ surface sprays and anti-bacterial sanitisers often contain acidic ingredients, so always read the small print to check if a product is suitable.
Home-made cleaning hacks & steam cleaning Homemade solutions and steam cleaning are two other cleaning methods to avoid. The most common homemade hacks – vinegar, lemon and baking soda – are all very acidic and will damage limestone. Bleach should also be avoided; whilst it is alkaline, rather than acidic, it is still too harsh for natural stone. Steam cleaning isn’t recommended either, as it can damage a stone sealer and compromise protection. Intense heat can also cause ‘spalling’ or flaking of the limestone.
What to use for routine and deep cleaning A regular ‘routine’ clean will maintain a hygienic environment and a tile’s aesthetic. Once grease and dirt builds up on a surface, tiles will be more difficult to clean, and they may become slippery. A periodic deep clean in high traffic areas may also be necessary. Often, the same detergent can be used for routine and deep cleaning, with the dilution ratio and method adjusted in each case. This is the case with LTP Grimex – the detergent that we recommend for limestone floor tiles.
Methods for routine and deep cleaning Routine cleaning with LTP Grimex:
Sweep or vacuum the floor, to remove dust and loose dirt.
Dilute one part LTP Grimex in 10 parts warm water.
Apply with a cloth or mop. Wipe off thoroughly with a clean damp cloth.
Deep cleaning with LTP Grimex:
Sweep or vacuum the floor to remove dust and loose dirt.
Dilute one part LTP Grimex in 3 parts warm water.
Apply liberally, spreading over the surface of the tiles. If necessary, agitate with a scrubbing brush.
Leave to react for 5-10 minutes, keeping the surface wet with additional solution. Agitate surface again, mop up and rinse thoroughly with clean water.
How to maintain a seamless surface, from home to garden If the same limestone tile is installed from inside to outside – for example, through bi-fold doors – it’s important to maintain both areas to avoid an unsightly contrast. Whilst LTP Grimex can be used on outdoor slabs, a specialist external treatment will help tackle issues specific to paths and patios, like black spot, lichen and moss which cause discoloration and create a slip hazard. We recommend LTP Blackspot & Algae Remover.
How to remove stubborn stains If staining is still present on a floor that has been deep cleaned, we recommend use of a specialist treatment. Various solutions are available to safely remove common stains, like oil and grease, rust, wax, grout and salt residue. LTP’s full range of intensive cleaners, for all tile types, are shown here. Always check that the product is suitable for limestone. If the treatment is designed to strip the surface, you will need to re-apply a sealer to reinstate stain protection.
For more advice on the best maintenance regime for your limestone floor, please call the LTP technical team on 01823 666213 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Rust stains are one of the most difficult marks to remove from stone paving slabs. They’re generally caused by metal objects – furniture, firepits, BBQ’s, garden tools, pots and parasol stands are common culprits. Contact with water washes deposits of iron particles onto the pavers which then leave a rust stain. Some weed killers also contain ferric sulphate which can cause rust stains.
As well as marks from external sources, 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 moisture, from rain, washing with excessive amounts of water – for example, with a jet wash or patio cleaner – and from contact with some cleaning products. In addition, 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. So, it’s really important to use the correct rust remover.
For safe removal of rust, we recommend one of two products, depending on the stone type and the nature of the stain – LTP Rust Stain Remover and LTP Ferrex. Both treatments can also be used indoors.
LTP Rust Stain Removeris a non-caustic solution that removes marks caused by external sources – like furniture and firepits. It is safe to use on all polished and unpolished natural and artificial stone tiles. 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.
Ensure that the surface to be treated is completely free from dust and dirt before application. If necessary, first wash the pavers with LTP Power Stripper diluted 1:10 with water.
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.
LTP Ferrex is a professional product designed to remove the naturally occurring particles of iron from within acid-resistant hard ferrous stone. Ferrex is an acid-based cleaner but it’s the right kind of acid for harder stones. It is, however, not suitable for use on softer limestones, 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 a spot clean basis; in this way, you can establish the best dilution for your tile before general application. Here’s a link for more information on application and dilutions. Treatment to remove the iron can take between 3-6 hours. The reaction won’t be visible like 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.
After testing on a small area, apply the solution to the surface and spread out evenly. For external applications garden sprayers can be used.
For severe staining, surfaces should be agitated using a short haired scrubbing brush or black emulsifying pad.
After 3 – 6 hours, rinse with plenty of clean water. If traces remain after a couple of days, repeat the process.
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.
Patios have become really important areas, extending property footprints and allowing us to make the most of the great outdoors. For homeowners, these spaces have made periods of lockdown more bearable and, for many businesses, they’ve made trading more feasible in difficult times. Large or small, patios benefit greatly from periodic maintenance – and early autumn 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:
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.
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 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:
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.
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.
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.
In response to demand, LTP has introduced a new own-brand surface sanitiser. Manufactured in Britain to World Health Organisation (WHO) standards, 75% Alcohol Ethanol multi-surface cleaner is proven to kill up to 99.99% of bacteria and viruses. It can be used on most hard surfaces – from tiles, taps and worktops, to fabric and touch screens. It’s available online and from LTP stockists, in a 500ml trigger spray or five litre container, for re-filling and larger areas.
Most ‘rubbing alcohols’ have concentrations above 60% but in order to kill coronavirus on surfaces, concentrations over 70% are recommended. (NB. Pure alcohol evaporates too quickly to be effective.) Bleach is often recommended as a cost-effective disinfectant but it can damage hard surfaces and protective sealants, and discolour fabrics. When comparing disinfectants and sanitisers, the latter work faster.
On walls, worktops, taps and handles, LTP’s 75% Alcohol Ethanol cleaner is sprayed directly onto the surface and wiped with a cloth. When used to mop floors, the surface should be left to dry. On fabrics, upholstery, phone and touch computer screens, the surface should be sprayed finely and left to dry. The cleaner is not suitable for surfaces that have been polished with a natural or acrylic wax.
LTP’s 75% Alcohol Ethanol surface cleaner is an effective multi-surface contact point cleaner, ideal for use in and around the home and in commercial settings. This 75% Alcohol Ethanol formulation cleaner is tested to European standards BS EN 1276 and BS EN 13697.
LTP has introduced a new specialist rust remover to its British-made range. New Ferrex has been developed to remove rust outbreaks from ferrous hard stones, including sandstone, slate and granite. It also provides rust-resistance and removes fixing residues. Ferrex is an acid-based solution and it can be used on inside and outside surfaces, including floors, wall tiles and paving slabs.
Ferrous stones naturally contain iron which can oxidise or rust when it comes into contact with moisture, from rain or contact with cleaning products. This reaction causes brown stains and discolouration which can be difficult to remove. Certain acidic cleaners, like brick acid and cement removers, also contain ingredients that can accelerate oxidisation. These same products are often used to remove rust marks and can create an even greater problems. LTP Ferrex is specifically formulated to safely remove these blemishes from acid-resistant stone.
Before application, surfaces need to be swept to remove dust and dirt. Ferrex is then diluted – between 1:1 and 1:3 depending on the degree of staining – and applied to the surface. Garden sprayers can be used for outdoor treatment. Stone that is badly stained should be agitated with a short-haired scrubbing brush or black emulsifying pad. After 3-6 hours, the surface should then be rinsed with clean water. If any stains remain, application can be repeated after a couple of days. Outdoors, application should be planned during fair weather, as treated surfaces should be protected from water for a couple of days following application. For further protection, we recommend follow-on treatment with LTP External Stone Sealer – an impregnating sealant that provides water resistance and reduces the risk of oxidisation.
LTP Ferrex is available on-line and from our recommended stockists, in one litre and five litre units. Please note that this treatment isn’t suitable for acid sensitive surfaces, including highly polished natural stone, limestone, marble, enamel, zinc and other acid sensitive metals/materials. Some stones may also become slightly darker following application, so we recommend testing on a small area before full application.
Porcelain is an incredibly versatile material, renowned for its stain resistance and durability. Unlike natural stone which is routinely sealed, porcelain often doesn’t require any protection – but this isn’t the case for all types of tile.
Tiles generally fall into one of two categories – those with a polished or glazed finish, and unpolished or ‘matt’ tiles. The glossy sheen of a polished tile is created as part of the manufacturing process and, as a result, micro-pores in the surface of the porcelain are opened up. This makes the surface more susceptible to staining. Some tiles are sealed as part of the manufacturing process, whilst others are left unfinished.
Protecting polished porcelain
Most polished porcelain needs sealing. You can carry out a simple test on a spare tile/off cut by marking it with black pen. If the pen mark can be wiped off with a small amount of white spirit, then the tile is sealed and no further action is required. If not, then we suggest sealing the tile with LTP MPG prior to grouting to ensure there is no ‘framing ‘from the grout residues. Most polished porcelain will have had some factory wax-type seal applied, so it’s always advisable to clean the tiles back with LTP Grimex before sealing with LTP MPG.
What’s recommended for unpolished tiles?
Unpolished tiles don’t need to be sealed – but they will benefit from a barrier treatment. Many will be textured and even the most subtle undulation will collect dirt or residue – this can be a particular issue during installation, when grout and other residues will be become trapped in the ‘high-low’ surface. Trapped residues will compromise the look of the tile, make it more difficult to maintain and could build-up and create a slip hazard.
Patio porcelain pavers are particularly suspectible, as they will often have a highly textured surface to give them grip underfoot.
To prevent these issues, we recommend the LTP Porcelain Protector. It’s a water-based ‘pre-and-post-grout’ treatment that’s designed to protect the tiles from staining and allow easy removal of residues like cement-based grout, two-part resin based jointing compounds and stubborn dirt.
How does the Porcelain Protector work?
The Porcelain Protector creates a barrier without forming a film or altering the tile’s appearance. It works in two ways: it helps to improve and increase the working time of grouts and jointing compounds, and it greatly reduces the risk of cement and resin staining.
How do you apply the Porcelain Protector?
You can use a spray, roller or brush – here’s a link to more information, including a Video Aid. You apply the Protector before grouting or pointing. Then, once residues have been removed and the surface is dry, a further coat can be applied to the tiles and joints, to help assist with future cleaning and aftercare. Here’s how:
Before applying the Protector, give the tiles a thorough clean. We recommend using a dilute solution (1:5) of LTP Grimex. Rinse well to remove residues and leave to dry.
Shake the Protector bottle before use. Then evenly apply the treatment using a broad paint brush, foam roller or light pressure sprayer. Allow to dry for 30 minutes. Then, apply a second coat. Leave this to cure for a minimum of one hour before grouting or pointing. Once pointing is dry, and all residues have been removed, a further coat of Protector can be applied; make sure that you cover the joints as well, so that they are protected.