Cleaning, Sealing and Maintaining Stone Surfaces – Part Two
Natural stone has been used on floors and walls for centuries. As with all natural materials, it does need a certain level of care.
This is the second in a 16 part series of posts that will offer a comprehensive guide to cleaning, sealing and maintaining all types of stone, porcelain, quarry, terracotta and glazed ceramic tiles and surfaces. This post explains the LTP three-step approach to cleaning, protecting and maintaining natural stone surfaces where a traditional or aged appearance is required. Using traditional oil and wax based sealers will greatly enhance the appearance of reclaimed flagstones, rough cut, honed and tumbled natural stone. If desired it can also provide stone surfaces with an instantly aged appearance. Traditional sealers will give natural stone a softer natural look. The following guide will explain the process and help keep your surfaces maintained and in good condition for many years.
Natural Stone Surfaces – Traditional & Ageing Method
The following instructions are appropriate for reclaimed flagstones, rough cut, honed and tumbled natural stone.
Step one: Initial cleaning
Before sealing natural stone must be thoroughly cleaned to make sure that sealing of the surface can be achieved effectively. This is true of newly installed surfaces, as well as existing, due to the contamination that can occur during fitting. Old layers of sealer, residues from after care products and deposits must be removed from the surface and pores of the tiles. Equipment recommended for this step is a bucket, mop, scrubber or scrubber dryer machine.
Newly installed surfaces
LTP recommends LTP Grimex as the solution for cleaning newly installed natural stone surfaces before sealing. LTP Grimex removes grease, dirt and grime from the surface ensuring the natural stone surface is best prepared for application of a sealing product.
Cleaning newly installed reclaimed flagstones, rough cut, honed and tumbled stone surfaces
- Dilute LTP Grimex 1:5 with water.
- Apply solution to the surface with a mop or sponge. Turn off under floor heating.
- Agitate with a nylon pad or scrubbing-brush.
- Rinse well with clean water.
- Allow the surface to dry (preferably for 24 hours).
Refurbishing used and heavily soiled stone surfaces
- Before sealing the surface must be thoroughly cleaned. Old layers of sealer, residues from after care products and deposits must be removed from the surface and pores of the tiles.
- Depending upon the levels of old wax and dirt, first remove old wax layers with LTP Solvex.
- Dilute LTP Grimex 1:5 with water and apply to the surface with a sponge.
- Agitate the surface with a nylon pad or scrubbing-brush and leave for a further 5 minutes (use scrubber machines on harder stone surfaces if required).
- Continue to scrub while adding clean water. Remove residues from the surface using a cloth or scrubber dryer machine.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean fresh water to remove all remaining residues.
- Allow the surface to dry for a minimum of 24 hours before applying the protective seal.
For the removal of other types of dirt refer to the list below. If you are unsure please call our helpline for advice.
- Care product residues, oil, grease and dirt – use LTP Grimex or LTP Power Stripper.
- Wax and acrylic layers, tar, paint, bitumen residues – LTP Solvex and then LTP Grimex.
- Deeply engrained oil stains – LTP Spot Stain Remover and LTP Fullers Earth.
Step two: Protect your natural stone surface from stains
To protect reclaimed flagstones, rough cut, honed and tumbled natural stone surfaces and help prevent staining LTP recommends the application of LTP Stone Oil or LTP Stone Oil Antique. Surfaces should then be finished with an appropriate wax. Your choice of product will depend upon whether a traditional or aged appearance is desired.
The equipment you will need for this task: bucket, sponge, grout float, sponge, paint brush, soft cloth.
- Apply evenly with paint brush or soft cloth. Turn off under floor heating.
- Fully saturate the stone with sealer. Remove any excess sealer on the surface after 1 hour.
- Grout the joints and clean off any excess grout from the surface within 12 hours.
- Allow the surface to dry and dust off any remaining cement residues.
- Finish with a good coat of wax. Buff well with a soft brush or machine.
Ageing the appearance (internal surfaces only)
LTP Stone Oil Antique applied after a coat of LTP Stone Oil and after grouting will deepen the colour of the stone and joints. This will give an aged appearance. The number of coats applied determine the depth of colour. Finish by polishing with LTP Antique Wax or LTP Clear Wax. To establish the correct number of coats for the desired finish, test this process on a spare piece of stone before proceeding.
Further information on traditional and ageing method protective seal treatments
- LTP Stone Oil, LTP Stone Oil Antique and LTP Clear Wax will render the surface water and oil repellent.
- These products help to prevent staining, aid cleaning and simplify the removal of surface stains.
- LTP Stone Oil and LTP Stone Oil Antique will alter the natural character.
- LTP Clear or LTP Antique Wax will give an easily maintainable hard-wearing satin sheen.
- There are no health concerns once these products have properly cured.
- LTP Wax is film forming so should not be used externally or used on surfaces that are damp or have no damp proof course.
- LTP Stone Oil and LTP Stone Oil Antique are suitable for internal and external use.
- If surfaces are properly maintained we recommend touching up the protective treatment every 3-4 years.
NB. Always test the product on an inconspicuous area. Wet or non absorbent surfaces cannot be treated. LTP Stone Oil and LTP Stone Oil Antique are impregnators which need to fully absorb. Do not allow the product to dry on the surface. Carefully buff with a soft cloth or machine to remove any excess. Unabsorbed sealer if left to dry on the surface should be rubbed over with a little white spirit.
Step three: Maintaining your reclaimed flagstones, rough cut, honed and tumbled stone surfaces
Using the correct maintenance product will increase the life of your floor seal, provide more protection against staining and make sure your floor looks great. Common household cleaning products often contain harsh substances that can breakdown sealing products applied to stone. For this reason LTP recommends using LTP Waxwash on floors sealed with LTP Stone Oil and LTP Stone Oil Antique and finished with wax.
Regular maintenance on reclaimed flagstones, rough cut, honed and tumbled stone surfaces
- Protect from water for 24 hours and do not wash newly sealed surfaces for 3 days.
- Add one capful of product per litre of water in a bucket.
- Mop surface with the solution. Do not rinse.
- Allow to dry. Do not walk on the surface during drying time – 20 minutes.
A one litre LTP Waxwash will wash a 20 sq.m floor 40 times.
Should you use a professional floor restoration company?
The application techniques described above are achievable by a competent DIY enthusiast using the products as described. However, natural stone products are often expensive and by nature each stone has its own characteristics. We often find that many of our customers prefer to use the experience and skills of a professional stone restoration and cleaning company to make sure that their project finished to the highest standard.
LTP is pleased to be associated with the following companies that specialise in natural stone restoration and cleaning:
PLEASE NOTE: Always follow the detailed instructions on the product labels. Protect stone surfaces from contact with acidic substances. Do not use abrasive materials on honed or polished stones. Avoid using normal detergents or strong bleach cleaners on sealed surfaces as they will gradually remove the protective seal.
At LTP we believe in helping to provide solutions and this is why we offer a no obligation LTP TECHNICAL HELPLINE, so please give us a call on +44 (0) 1823 666213 and we will be happy to help you.
Visit www.ltp-online.co.uk to buy from the LTP Range of products or find out more about us.
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