How do I clean my external paving?

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Patio’s can give that refined and uniform look to a garden area, a clean cut from grass to stone, and when newly laid they look fantastic.

olive-limestone

If you had them laid before the winter months however they probably won’t look the same now as they once did. With the amount of rain that we have had over the last few months, the probability is that you will have some form of green growth on the tiles.

This green growth is a mix of Algae, moss and lichen which builds up on the tiles, normally more common in areas of higher rainfall, as this is the perfect place for algae to grow, high rainfall and with areas for the algae to cling to.

However this isn’t the end of your patio, as this can be easily fixed with the correct tools.

Cleaning Patios With LTP Mouldex

Firstly you will want to brush the stone with a stiff bristle deck brush to remove any leaves, dirt or debris from the surface of the stone.

Making sure the area is now free of loose debris, pour LTP Mouldex direct on to the stone and spread out over the area with a brush or sponge. (Garden sprayers can be used)

Black limestone with LTP mouldex applied on it with a sponge.

Leave for a minimum of one hour, then add a little water and agitate with a emulsifying pad or stiff deck brush to help loosen algae, dirt and grime.

After a minimum of 1 hour, agitate with emulsifying pad.

After a minimum of 1 hour, agitate with emulsifying pad.

Rinse thoroughly with water. Garden hoses and jet washes can be used. Be careful though as jet washes force water at the surface at high pressures and can cause damage to some stones.
Some stubborn stains and black spot will require longer treatment, in which case apply and leave overnight.

Rinse well with plenty of water

Rinse well with plenty of water

Once fully dry, (normally 24 hours) we recommend sealing with LTP Mattstone H20, this will prevent moisture and organic molecules from absorbing into the surface.

Black Limestone once cleaned and sealed

Black Limestone once cleaned and sealed

LTP Mouldex is a highly effective HSE registered product which has been developed to Help restore natural stone and paving to its original colour.

Grey Limestone with LTP moudlex.

Grey Limestone with LTP moudlex.

KILLS & REMOVES:

  • Algae
  • Black Spot
  • Mildew
  • Mould
  • Lichen
  • Fungus
  • Pollution
  • Pollen stains

Anti-bacterial action helps prevent re-growth.

Suitable for use on all external stones and concrete paving.

Simple to use….apply and leave….scrub and rinse.

The fast acting formula will restore external paving and help prevent re growth.

Protecting stone surfaces after treatment with LTP Mattstone H20 will further reduce the possibility of black spot and mould spores from returning. It will also help prevent deep staining from falling organic matter and make any future cleaning much easier.

Grey Limestone After cleaning and sealing.

Grey Limestone After cleaning and sealing.

One 5ltr can will treat up to 50 sq.m deepending upon the extent of soiling.

LTP Mouldex 5ltr only £39.54 Inc VAT.  (click here to buy or find your nearest stockist)

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For further information on the application of LTP Mouldex watch the video below.

Please note that this information is offered as general guidance only and without guarantee. Your specific circumstances may need an alternative approach. In case of doubt, any process should be tried out in an inconspicuous area before general application.

Encaustic Tiles

Encaustic tile

Encaustic tiles are made of two or more colours of clay that are then mixed or inlaid together to create a pattern, they are then fired.
Encaustic effect Cement tiles are created by pouring different colour mineral pigments into a mold, grey cement then fills the rest of the body of the tile, this gets hydraulically compressed and left to set or cure for 3 weeks.
Both tiles are unglazed and would require sealing.
For more information please follow this link.

Prior to sealing it is always advisable to clean the tiles thoroughly with a solution of LTP Grimex. This advice goes for both newly laid and renovation projects. Remember not to use acid based cleaner with encaustic tiles .

When it comes to sealing there are various options available depending on the desired look of the floor, however the most popular are the natural Matt finish using either LTP Mattstone or the water based equivalent LTP Mattstone H20. Depending on the type of encaustic tile being used, up to three or four light coats of sealer might be required. Always test on an inconspicuous area first and buff off any excess.

LTP Colour Intensifier is also popular as its use offers a delicate enhancement of the different coloured patterns within the encaustic tile.

Finally, as always, the use of a compatible aftercare product in this case LTP Waxwash, will ensure optimum longevity for the sealed surface as standard household Encaustic 2 pg guidescleaners may compromise the effectiveness of the seal over time.

Correctly sealed and maintained an encaustic floor should last three to four years before re sealing is required.

To download an information sheet, Please follow the link below.

Encaustic Tiles guide

 

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

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.

LTP cleaning of natural stone

Cleaning tips for natural stone wall and floor tiles

When is intensive stone or deep cleaning required?

  • As an important stage in the installation process of wall and floor tiles.
  • Where poorly maintained natural stone floor tiles need a top up seal.
  • When restoring natural stone wall or floor tiles.
  • For routine cleaning of unsealed external patios and paved areas.

Why would newly installed wall or floor tiles require intensive cleaning?

Keeping natural stone wall and floor tiles scrupulously clean before and during the fixing process, is vitally important. Intensive cleaning of stone floors and walls before application of the correct protective sealing product will make sure the result does not disappoint. Installing stone flooring and worktops by nature creates grit, dirt and adhesive residues. Ensuring that a vacuum is used (being careful not to scratch the surface) to remove loose dirt from your new stone floor or worktop will not address stains and residue marks. Simply washing stone flooring in water will not be effective in removing ingrained marks or adhesive. Using standard household cleaning products that often contain bleach is likely to damage the surface of your newly installed natural stone floor or wall. You should make sure that the correct cleaning product is used for the natural stone material being installed. Need more information about surfaces? Visit our identify your surface selector.

Selecting the correct intensive cleaning product for your natural stone flooring or wall tiles

LTP has developed a range of four intensive cleaning products that offer intensive cleaning solutions for most commercial and domestic applications. Each of our intensive cleaning products has been designed to address the needs of specific circumstances related to artificial and natural stone. We have solutions for all types of natural and artificial stone flooring, granite countertops and fireplace surrounds. Ensuring you have the correct product for the task by simply contacting our Technical Helpline on +44 (0) 1823 666213.

Removing grout stains1. LTP Grout Stain Remover (1&5 litre containers)

An intensive cleaning solution for removal of cement and grout residues from stone flooring and wall tiles. Extremely effective against mineral salt formations (efflorescence) and the removal of plaster and dust stains. Useful for routine cleaning of unsealed patios and other outside paved areas. LTP Grout Stain Remover may be used on glazed ceramics, quarry tiles, terracotta and some stone. (Do not use on limestone, marble or other acid sensitive surfaces.) Buy LTP Grout Stain Remover

 

 

Cleaning grime from natural stone2. LTP GRIMEX (1&5 litre containers)

The answer to stubborn grime, oil, old layers of wax or acrylic and even rubber sole marks on terracotta and natural stone flooring. Ideal for removing ingrained dirt and grime, both internally and externally. Suitable for use on glazed and unglazed tiles this product is excellent for renovating old quarry tiles, terracotta, slate, stone, marble, stone fireplaces and can be used to clean brick and external paving.
Buy LTP Grimex >>

 

 

Removing oxidised linseed oil3. LTP POWER STRIPPER (1&5 litre containers)

For removing existing layers of sealer from tiles. One of the few intensive cleaning products on the market capable of breaking down oxidised boiled linseed oil and beeswax from the surface of terracotta. Powerful amines, ammonia and alkalinity penetrate and help lift the hardest, heaviest films. Ideal for intensive cleaning of heavily contaminated vitrified quarry tiles, limestone, travertine, sandstone, slate, glazed ceramics and porcelain. Strips most things first time thereby minimising labour costs. Buy LTP Power Stripper >>

Removing tick layers of sealant4. LTP SOLVEX (1&5 litre cans)

A powerful non-caustic stripper that softens most types of solvent based surface sealer, which can then be removed with ease. Suitable for removing most wax, oil, emulsion and polyurethane sealers. Will not discolour or damage natural stone, slate, terracotta or quarry tile surfaces. After washing and rinsing, surfaces are ideal for re-sealing. Buy LTP Solvex >>

How do I remove white marks (Calcium Carbonate Deposits) from the surface of Slate

Slate tiles showing calcium carbonate deposits onDESCRIPTION:  Slate is basically squashed mud and silt from ancient oceans and river beds subjected to tremendous pressures in a hot environment deep underground. Eventually being forced to the surface by the collision of continents. Slate is hundred’s of million’s of years old. It is possible to get deposits of limestone and marble pebbles or stones, which crush between the layers of silt and then harden to form a calciferous deposit. This is normally visible on the surface of slate after it has been split. It is not a defect, but a natural characteristic of the stone. Aesthetically these deposits are not always appealing, so the following is a guide, which should help aid their removal.

LTP Grout Stain Remover applied to the surface of slateLTP Grout Stain Remover is applied to the surface.

The moment it makes contact with the calcium carbonate deposit it begins to dissolve.LTP Grout stain remover agitate with black emulsifying pad

Agitating the surface using a black   emulsifying pad aids removal without damaging. Make sure to clean           the whole surface and not just the deposit. Rinse well with plenty of water.

Once Dry surface of slate is sealed with LTP Colour IntensifierOnce dry the surface is sealed with LTP Colour Intensifier and Stainblock.

After treatment the slate should appear darker. This also helps to further disguise the blemish that is left following the removal of the calcium carbonate deposit.

Sealed surfaces should be maintained with a mild PH detergent such as LTP  Waxwash.

Repeated use of stronger detergents for maintenance can cause un-necessary damage.

INITIAL CLEANING:                   LTP GROUT STAIN REMOVER       1ltr & 5ltr

  • LTP-GroutStainRemover5L&1L_2011_WebThis should be done after fixing and before sealing and grouting to remove calcium carbonate deposits, dust and dirt that have accumulated during the production and fixing process.  Apply undiluted solution to the surface of the stone and agitate immediately with an emulsifying pad. Rinse thoroughly with a separate pot of clean fresh water. Wipe away the released calcium dirt and grime with a mop or sponge and water and leave to dry for 24 hrs.

TDS – http://www.ltp-online.co.uk/images/tds-Grout_Stain_Remover.pdf

SEALING:  LTP COLOUR INTENSIFIER           500ml, 1ltr & 5ltr

  • LTP-ColourIntensifier5L_1L_500ml_Grp_WebBefore grouting apply a coat of LTP Colour Intensifier & Stainblock, check that all of the sealer has been fully absorbed within 40 minutes, any excess that remains on the surface after 40 minutes should be worked in with a soft cloth or buffing machine. Leave for a further 4 hours or overnight before grouting the joints. Once all residual grout has been removed and the surface and joints are thoroughly dry; apply a final coat of sealer covering the joints as well. Buff to remove any excess within 40 minutes and then leave for a minimum of 3 days to fully harden before making excessively wet.

TDS – http://www.ltp-online.co.uk/images/tds-Colour_Intensifier.pdf

MAINTENANCE:               LTP WAXWASH                            1ltr & 5ltr

DAILY/WEEKLYLTP-Waxwash5L&1L_Web

  • Add 1 cap full of LTP Waxwash per litre of warm water. Apply to the surface with a mop to remove daily dirt and leave to dry. Does not require rinsing.  Using the correct low ph maintenance cleaner will help to increase the life of the seal.

TDS – http://www.ltp-online.co.uk/images/tds-Waxwash.pdf

IMPORTANT NOTES:

When cleaning or sealing vertical surfaces start at the top and work down.

Provided the surfaces are correctly sealed and maintained protection should last 4 – 5 years before considering applying a top up coat. Sealing will not prevent wear from abrasion.

After Intensive cleaning to remove any ingrained dirt or other staining and once dry, always test for moisture ingress. If evident cleaned areas should be re-sealed.

When using LTP Grout Stain Remover, gloves should be worn and ensure you fully read & understand the directions for use.

For detailed application instructions please see Technical Data Sheets.

Marble Floor Loosing its Polished Sheen?

Why do Polished Marble Floors lose their Sheen?

This issue is not un-common, we get hundreds of calls every year about the use of polished marble in heavily trafficked areas.
English: Jefferson County Court House, Beaumon...

Using Marble for Floors

When considering a natural stone polished marble as a floor covering there are several factors to take into consideration, the two most common are location and ease of maintenance.

The effect of foot traffic on a marble floor

Polished marble used in heavily trafficked areas will always be subject to wear from abrasion. This is more common for natural stone marble floors in kitchens and halls. Foot traffic is abrasive and it wears down the polished surface of the marble floor creating dull patches. Signs of this can sometimes appear on natural stone marble floors within six months of installation. Sealing the marble floor can offer a little mechanical strength to extend the wear ability, but it will not prevent it from happening.

LTP MPG Sealer is our recommended product for protecting polished marble floors.

Correct maintenance of marble floors is vital

Using the correct maintenance products on marble floors can help to extend the life of the polished surface as they do not compromise the seal or damage the surface of the marble. If an inappropriate cleaning solution is repeatedly used it can damage natural stone weakening the surface. In the case of polished marble it can cause it to degrade and then show signs of wear sooner than expected.

LTP Waxwash is our recommended product for maintaining polished marble floors sealed with LTP MPG Sealer.

Restoring the sheen on marble surfaces

There are chemical solutions available to restore the sheen to a marble, however they tend to be for repairing small spot marks from acid spillage rather than whole floors. The best solution for restoring the polish on a marble floor is a mechanical one. The surface of the marble floor should be re-burnished using diamond pads followed by correct sealing and then an appropriate maintenance regime. This process is normally repeated every 12-18 months to help maintain the sheen.

When we see marble floors at airports and in hotel reception areas, machines are used repeatedly to clean and re-burnish the marble surface, this is how they manage to stay in good condition. This is not always so practical in a domestic situation.

An alternative finish for marble

If this all seems too much for you it might be worth considering a honed finish instead of a highly polished for your marble floor. as it will be more forgiving and will not need the repeated re-burnishing and re-sealing. A honed finish can be achieved using lower grit diamond pads and the same mechanical polishing process.

For a honed marble floor LTP recommends sealing with LTP Mattstone or LTP Mattstone H20 (Eco friendly selaer) and maintaining with LTP Waxwash.

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 is often expensive and each stone has its own natural 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:

At LTP we believe in helping to offer solutions and this is why we offer a no obligation
LTP TECHNICAL HELPLINE, so please give us a call on +44 (0) 1823 666213 or email info@ltp-online.co.uk and we will be happy to help you.

Visit www.ltp-online.co.uk to buy or find out more about our range of products.

Stone fireplace protection – Clean, protect and maintain

Natural Stone FireplaceHow do you make sure your natural stone fireplace looks great?

Natural stone has been used to create dramatic stone fireplace surrounds and carved chimney pieces since before roman times. The choice is now extensive from traditional grand style to a simple minimalism design or a contemporary stone fireplace for a modern home there is something suitable for every taste. There are even ultra-modern shapes in which you are more likely to insert a TV set than a real fire.

Owning a natural stone or brick fireplace can add real quality to your property and bring an individual room to life. Buying a natural stone fireplace is a significant investment and one that you should protect to make sure that it remains in the best condition and looking great.

Understanding your natural stone fireplace

If you have a fireplace made of natural stone it is important to realise 3 things:

  • A stone fireplace can and will stain. Although natural stone looks impermeable it is actually similar to a sponge, with many tiny pores and fissures. Unless these pores are sealed they will be vulnerable to staining and permanent discolouration from soot, smoke, candle wax, red wine and coffee.
  • Many newly installed stone fireplaces will not be sealed.
  • It is easy to prevent stains and keep the stone fireplace protected using a simple 3 step process to clean seal and maintain the surface without altering the appearance.

Step 1: Cleaning

Whether your stone fireplace is newly installed or well used it is common sense to clean the surface before sealing. New stone fireplaces are likely to have accumulated a degree of dust during installation and this should be removed to ease sealing. Existing stone fireplaces will need reconditioning.

Cleaning Stone FireplacesLTP STONECLEAN – Intensive Cleaner

A fast acting foaming cleaner for polished and unpolished surfaces. Ideal for cleaning and renovating stone fireplaces and worktops. Removes dirt, soot, grime and the build-up of wax and aftercare product. Can also be used on laminate and acrylic worktops. LTP Stoneclean is formulated to penetrate deep into the micro pores of the stone and is especially effective at soot removal. As a foaming aerosol cleaner, stone clean is easy to use and is suitable for all stone surfaces.

Simply point and spray, once the foam has disappeared (2 -3 minutes) the cleaner has worked. Heavily contaminated surfaces may need repeat treatment.

Buy LTP Stoneclean individually >>>

Step 2: Now sealing

Sealing a Stone FireplaceLTP STONESEAL – Protective Sealer

A quick drying spray on impregnating sealer that forms a colourless barrier and helps to protect porous stone surfaces from water, dirt, oil, grease, soot and limescale. Makes treated surfaces easier to keep clean. LTP Stoneseal is a breathable impregnating sealer. Again, it is easy to use and being an aerosol there is no danger of over application or liquid spillage. LTP Stoneseal does not greatly alter the character of the natural stone fireplace as it seals just below the surface. This stops stains sinking into the stone.

Buy LTP Stoneseal individually >>>

Step 3: Maintenance

Maintaining a Natural Stone FireplaceLTP STONECARE – Routine Maintenance

Easy to apply, low foaming maintenance cleaner ideal for use on a natural stone fireplace which cleans without damaging even the most delicate surfaces. Easy to apply and does not need rinsing. Use LTP Stonecare for regular maintenance and it will keep stone fireplaces clean and protect the seal. Beware other household cleaners are likely to compromise the seal.

Buy LTP Stonecare individually >>>

The all-in-one solution for care, protection and maintenance of stone fireplaces

LTP Stone Care KIT – 3 x 250ml aerosols

The LTP Stone Care Kit for Fireplaces and WorktopsInterior and exterior use

The LTP Stone Care kit has the three key products for the care and maintenance of all types of polished and unpolished natural and artificial stone including travertine, limestone, sandstone, slate, marble, granite, quartz, terrazzo, basalt, concrete and all other types of masonry surface.

Buy LTP Stone Care Kit >>>

At LTP we believe in helping to make sure our solutions work for our customers every time 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.

Grout care – cleaning and maintenance

How to get grout clean? – Top tips

Mould & Mildew on groutWhy does grout discolour and become dirty?

Most grout used in domestic situations such as bathrooms and kitchens is water-resistant and not water proof. This means that while your tiles may repel moisture your grout can often absorb it. When mopping dirt off the surface of tiles it is the moisture carrying dirt particles that absorbs into the grout causing it to discolour. In wet areas such as showers or wet rooms it is possible to get a build up of soaps, moisture and sebum within grouting. If not cleaned properly this will stay within the grout and encourage mould spores and mildew to grow.

Approaches to cleaning grout

Cleaning groutThere are many ways that people choose to tackle issues of mould growth, mildew and dirty grout between wall, floor and surface tiles. Household chlorine based bleach; baking soda and vinegar are three common approaches. While these methods can prove effective for cleaning glazed ceramic tiles, there are a number of issues that can make them inappropriate for use with natural stone and tiles. General-purpose chlorine bleach cleaners can damage the stone or the protective sealer applied to the surface. Do not use products that contain lemon, vinegar or other acids on acid-sensitive stones such as limestone, marble and terrazzo as these may etch the stone surface and damage the polish or sealer. Do not use scouring powders or creams; these products contain abrasives that may scratch the surface. This can also apply to glazed tiles. Hydrogen peroxide cleaners can also be mildly corrosive. They give short-term cleaning benefits with limited effectiveness on fungal spores, making them poor at preventing re contamination. Baking soda is a great option with fewer disadvantages. However it can often prove ineffective in tackling stubborn stains and often requires excessive scrubbing to deliver results. In all cases the use of highly abrasive cleaning tools such as wire wool should be avoided, as these will scratch the surface. Ensure you use an appropriate abrasive cleaning pad designed for natural stone.

LTP Tips for cleaning grout between tiles

LTP has been producing natural stone cleaning sealing and maintenance products for over 25 years. Our goal is to produce highly effective solutions design specifically for natural stone and ceramic tiles. To clean dirty grouting on floors and walls we recommend the use of LTP Grimex.

LTP GrimexLTP Grimex

An intensive grease and grime cleaner suitable for intensive cleaning of grout between glazed ceramic or porcelain tiles or unglazed natural stone. LTP Grimex is also excellent for renovating old quarry tiles, terracotta, slate, stone, marble and stone fireplaces.

For further information or to buy LTP Grimex >>

Please note: LTP Grimex will not damage natural stone surfaces if used correctly. It does however breakdown protective layers of sealer and waxes on the surface. It is therefore recommended that the product be tested on a small inconspicuous area before general application. Natural stone tiles should also be resealed after use. Glazed porcelain and ceramic tiles are not affected. Please contact our technical helpline for further advice and assistance.

LTP grout cleaning tips for mould growth and mildew

Grout is porous and absorbs water, especially in humid places like the bathroom. As a result, fungi such as mildew can often be found growing between tiles, in the grout. Removing unsightly mould growth and mildew stains can prove a difficult challenge. The LTP Research & Development Team has developed a unique solution to this problem called LTP Mouldex.

LTP MouldexLTP Mouldex

Formulated to cling to grout and remove mould spores, fungus, algae and moss from grouting, silicone seals and other damp places. LTP Mouldex has antibacterial properties that help to prevent re-growth. LTP Mouldex a 500ml trigger spray ideal for use on bathroom and kitchen wall tiles but can also be used to tackle small areas of floor grout.

For further information or to buy LTP Mouldex >>

When Grout Cleaning Tips Don’t Work

If all your grout cleaning attempts fail, it is time to remove the grout. This doesn’t automatically mean redoing the entire grouted area. If the stain only affects a small area, try removing just the small section affected by the mould growth or stain. For a shallow stain, use a hand-held rotary tool or mini sander to remove just the top layer of the grout. Take care not to damage your tiles. Re-seal the grout to give future protection. A deeper stain means more of the material will need removing. Removing such a stain may need a fresh coat of grout altogether.

The most important tip of all – Protect your grout!

Whether tackling mould growth, mildew, stubborn stains or ingrained grime, grout cleaning is not the most pleasant housekeeping job to perform. Most people avoid it as long as possible, which exacerbates the problem.

So the very best tip we can give is to make sure that you protect you grout and stone surfaces when they are installed and after intensive cleaning. Maintain your tile and stone surfaces regularly. Always make sure that you top up the protection to your grout after cleaning.

LTP Grout Protection

LTP offer two grout protection options:

LTP Grout Protector 1LLTP Grout Protector – 1L 

Recommend for sealing newly laid grout. LTP Grout Protector is a colourless barrier suitable for use in kitchens and bathrooms. Helps protect absorbent, porous grout joints from water, dirt, oil, grease, sebum and limescale. Ideal for use on newly laid glazed ceramic wall and floor tiles where in normal conditions unprotected grout joints quickly become dirty. This product is also ideal for sealing grout between natural stone tiles that have been sealed prior to being laid.

For further information or to buy LTP Grout Protector – 1L >>

LTP Grout & Tile ProtectorLTP Grout & Tile Protector
– 600ml Aerosol Spray

This product is an easy use as a top-up coat. Helps protect natural stone and all other types of masonry surface. Provides a colourless barrier that helps to protect porous wall and floor grout joints from penetration by water, dirt, oil, grease and limescale. Treated surfaces are easier to keep clean and repel dirt and grime. Ideal for use in wet rooms and shower enclosures as a top up protection for grout after intensive cleaning.

For further information or to buy LTP Grout & Tile Protector >>

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.

Natural Stone – Internal Cleaning, Sealing and Maintaining

Cleaning, Sealing and Maintaining Stone Surfaces – Part One

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 first 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 first post explains the LTP three-step approach to cleaning, protecting and maintaining natural stone surfaces used in internal situations. 

Natural Stone Surfaces – Internal Application

The following instructions are appropriate for Travertine, Limestone, Marble, Sandstone, Terrazzo and some Granite.

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. 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 stone surfaces

  1. Dilute LTP Grimex 1:10 with water.
  2. Apply solution to the surface with a mop or sponge. Under floor heating must be off.
  3. Agitate to release the residual dirt and grime from the surface.
  4. Do not use acidic cleaners, such as LTP Grout Stain Remover.
  5. Allow the surface to dry (preferably for 24 hours).

Cleaning natural stone with LTP Grimex

Refurbishing used and heavily soiled stone surfaces

  • Before sealing the stone must be thoroughly cleaned. Old layers of sealer, residues from aftercare products and deposits must be removed from the surface and pores of the stone. Film forming layers of sealer (such as boiled linseed oil) should be removed with LTP Solvex before washing with LTP Grimex.
  • Depending upon the levels of dirt, dilute LTP Grimex 1:3 with water. Apply with a sponge or cloth and leave to sit on the surface of the tiles for 5-10 minutes.
  • Agitate the surface with a nylon pad or scrubbing-brush and leave for a further 5 minutes (scrubber machines can be used).
  • 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: Do not use acid based cleaners on limestone or marble. If you are unsure please call our helpline on +44 (0) 01823 666213 for advice.

Step two: Protect your natural stone surface from stains

To protect stone surfaces and help prevent staining natural stone should be sealed. LTP recommends applying LTP Mattstone for a natural (invisible finish) or LTP Colour Intensifier & Stainblock for an enhanced appearance. LTP Colour Intensifier & Stainblock deepens the colour and enhances the appearance of the stone surface.

Sealing prepared natural stone surfaces

  1. Surfaces must be clean and dry. Ensure under floor heating is off.
  2. Apply the product to the surface evenly using a sponge, brush or soft cloth.
  3. Redistribute to remove excess product and avoid pooling on the surface.
  4. Allow to dry. Do not walk on the surface for at least one hour.
  5. Protect from water for 24 hours and do not wash surfaces for at least 3 days.

Sealing natural stone with LTP Mattstone, LTP Mattstone H20 or LTP Colour Intensifier.

  • LTP Mattstone H20, LTP Mattstone and LTP Colour Intensifier will make the surface water and oil repellent.
  • Prevents stains, aids cleaning and simplifies the removal of surface stains.
  • Provides an invisible barrier of protection that will not greatly alter the surface character.
  • There are no health concerns once the product has properly cured.
  • LTP Mattstone H20, LTP Mattstone and LTP Colour Intensifier are micro porous and so can be used on surfaces that have no damp proof course.
  • 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 Mattstone H20, LTP Mattstone and Colour Intensifier are impregnating sealers 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. Remove unabsorbed impregnating sealer, if left to dry on the surface, by rubbing over with a little more sealer. Some stones may be darker after application. Acidic substances, if left on the surface, may damage stone.

Step three: Maintaining your natural stone wall or floor

Using the correct maintenance product will increase the life of your floor seal, provide additional 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 and LTP Stonewash for surfaces.

LTP Waxwash (for floors): Formulated for use on unglazed tiles such as travertine, stone, limestone, slate, terracotta and quarry. Ideal for washing floors sealed with LTP Mattstone H20, LTP Mattstone or LTP Colour Intensifier. Use routinely in place of normal detergent.

LTP Stonewash (for walls): This gentle surface cleaner is formulated for use on limestone, marble, granite, slate and polished porcelain. Will clean without breaking down and removing protective seals.

Regular maintenance on stone floors

  1. Add one cap full of product per litre of water in a bucket.
  2. Wipe surface with the solution. Do not rinse.
  3. Allow to dry. Do not walk on the surface during drying time – 20 minutes.

Maintaining natural stone with LTP Waxwash

A one litre LTP Waxwash will wash a 20 sq.m floor 40 times.

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 purchase from the LTP Range of products or find out more about us.

Limestone: White or grey deposits on black paving?

Why do mineral stains show up so prolifically on black limestone pavers laid outside?

We are often contacted about mineral stains on black limestone paving. This is often perceived as an issue with the supplied paving stones, laying process or sealing method. Below we explained how a combination of naturally occurring elements can cause this phenomenon. It is in fact not uncommon and occurs with most types of limestone; however the appearance of mineral salt deposits on a black or darker coloured stone is more prevalent. This is why it is possible to notice some marks appearing even before sealing. As a naturally occurring chemical reaction it is often difficult to avoid. However, if fully understood and considered when laying and protecting black limestone this potential issue can be effectively managed.

What causes white and grey mineral stains on black limestone pavers?

When rain water trickles through mortar it can dissolve and transport soluble alkaline compounds. Rain water percolating through sand-cement mortar screed, toppings and bedding under limestone paving can become moderately alkaline. As this rainwater evaporates, its alkalinity increases until the solution becomes saturated. This solution can then travel via natural capillaries within the limestone to the surface where it starts to deposit solids such as white and grey encrustations of calcium carbonate commonly known as lime plumes and efflorescence as seen in the image of the black limestone pavers shown below.

Mineral deposit stains on black limstone

Halo stains and bands of mineral deposits

Trace amounts of sodium and potassium oxides within limestone can also be activated by rain water. Even where rain is mildly acidic, the solutions of these salts in rainwater will gradually become alkaline. Surface wetting and evaporation can produce recurrent patches and bands of dampness known as accumulation zones (rainwater pooling on the surface where it cannot run off). Evaporation concentrates the alkaline solutions until they become saturated at the outer limits or edge of accumulation zones. Further evaporation then causes precipitation, crystallisation and immobilisation of the salts at the surface and in pores immediately below the surface. The resulting bands of distinct pigmentation are halo stains as seen in the image of limestone pavers shown below.

Mineral deposits causing a banding effect

Reducing the impact

Protect your paving with the correct sealing product

Sealers used to enhance the appearance and prevent limestone pavers staining from organic matter outside should be breathable. LTP Mattstone, LTP Stone Oil and LTP Colour Intensifier are examples of breathable sealers suitable for external use. As well as protecting the stone from staining, breathable sealers will allow the microscopic transition of moisture assisting any trapped moisture to escape through the stone from the mortar and sub surfaces. However, moisture permeating through the stone and sealer to the surface can still dry to leave a calciferous deposit.

How do I remove mineral salt stains from the surface of limestone

Wash the surface with a mild solution of acid. This will help disperse the mineral salt deposits from the surface. The downside of this approach is that the acid solution can have a slight etching effect on the surface of the stone causing it to dry much lighter.

LTP Grout Stain Remover is a product suitable for this task. Dilute 1 part LTP Grout Stain remover in 4 parts warm water and apply to the surface of the stone. Agitate using an emulsifying pad or similar abrasive and then rinse thoroughly with plenty of clean water. Repeat this process to remove all mineral deposits.

Ensure you protect your paving by resealing

Once the surface is thoroughly dry and  mineral salt deposits on the surface are greatly reduced, re-seal the stone with an appropriate limestone sealer. LTP Mattstone is our most popular and highly effective natural stone sealing solution and is suitable for external use. However, many of our customers have successfully used LTP Stone Oil after acid washing their stone as it helps to re-enhance and deepen the colour.

Apply LTP Mattstone or Stone Oil impregnating sealer to the surface of the stone using a paint brush. Allow it to absorb into the stone and then remove any visible excess from the surface after 45 minutes using an absorbent dry towel. The aim is to completely saturate the stone with as many coats of sealer as necessary, but do not allow the sealer to dry and leave a film on the surface. Do not apply in direct sunlight.

Please note that this information is offered as general guidance only and without guarantee. Your specific circumstances may need an alternative approach. In case of doubt, any process should be tried out in an inconspicuous area before general application.

Resolving stain issues on natural stone can prove difficult. At LTP we believe in helping to offer 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.

Alternatively visit our main site to view our full range of cleaning, sealing and maintenance products for all types of artificial and natural stone.