Sealing Stone Outside

Limestone, Sandstone, Travertine, Marble, Slate, Granite, concrete:
Regardless of what type of flooring you choose, the likelihood is it will require some form of sealing.

This is because natural stone is porous, and therefore if left unsealed, any moisture will be soaked up by the stone making it very difficult to remove, and potentially leaving the surface permanently stained (sometimes even fallen leaves can cause stains).

The best way to prevent all this is to seal the stone.

When you seal a stone, you are essentially filling any voids or pores of the stone with the sealer. This prevents any further liquid to absorb in to the tile, as demonstrated here with this close up shot of a water droplet on a tile sealed with LTP Mattstone.

When sealing natural stone outside it is important to use a breathable impregnating sealer, this will allow the transition of moisture from underneath.
Examples include LTP Mattstone H20 which will leave the stone looking as it does naturally. And LTP External Stone Sealer which will enhance any natural colour in the stone, both of these are water based breathable sealers and will require 24 hours to cure.

It is important to note that all stones located outdoors are susceptible to a condition known as efflorescence.
This blooming is caused by water moving through the substrate of a material and carrying minerals and salts found in the mortar bed, grout, soil or the stone itself.
We have a blog here all about efflorescence.

Its also very important when laying Natural stone to make sure that its fixed on a full bed of adhesive and not spot fixed.
The end result could look like this if its spot fixed.
Spot fixing issue Sandstone

If this has already happened to your patio, we have a blog here.

When sealing different natural stones, what will vary the most will be how many coats the stone will need before it is fully sealed.
Each stone exhibits different levels of porosity. A tumbled Limestone may have a higher porosity level than a Honed and filled Limestone.

Sealing natural stone with Mattstone H20 

Shake bottle before use.

Test the porosity of your stone with water and a teaspoon, using the LTP porosity test.

Once surfaces are clean and dry, apply the product to the surface evenly using a sealant applicator pad, brush or soft cloth.

When sealing its important not to over apply the sealer and redistribute excess, avoid letting the sealer pool on the surface, as this can cause white marks to appear on the stone when it dries.
On highly absorbent surfaces apply several coats wet-in-wet.
After 15 minutes, remove any excess sealer with an absorbent cloth. Do not allow residues to dry on the surface.
Do not walk on the surface for 3 hours and protect from wet conditions for 3 days.

Sealing Stone With LTP External Stone Sealer.

Shake bottle well before use. Apply evenly to the surface using a foam roller or paint brush. On more absorbent surfaces apply further coats at hourly intervals until the surface is completely saturated. Remove any residual sealer if still visible after one hour

Cleaning Tiles Outside

Before you start sealing your stone it is important to make sure your stone is clean and dry, other wise you will just seal in dirt and grime.

Old layers of sealer, dirt residues and light deposits of organic matter and algae must be removed from the surface and pores of the stone.

This can be done by either using LTP Grimex which is a intensive cleaner or LTP Mouldex Paving Cleaner.

To Clean with LTP Grimex, dilute 1:3 with water, apply to the surface with a sponge or water brush and leave to sit on the surface of the tiles for as long as it takes for the dirt to release. (5-30 minutes depending upon the level of dirt). If areas look as if they are drying out just add a little more solution to keep the area wet.

Agitate the surface with a stiff deck brush after approx 10 minutes (scrubber machines can be used).

Continue to scrub while adding clean water. Remove residues from the surface with water or scrubber machine.

Rinse thoroughly with clean fresh water to remove all remaining residues. Use a power washer if necessary.

Allow the surface at least 24 hours to dry before sealing.

To clean with LTP Mouldex Paving Cleaner, Shake well before use.
Surfaces to be treated should be completely dry before application.
Pour solution undiluted directly onto the pavers and spread out evenly using a sponge or paint brush, Garden sprayers can also be used and leave for a minimum of 1 hour.

Apply a little water and agitate with a stiff Deck brush or emulsifying pad to release the dirt and grime, and then rinse thoroughly using a hose or jet wash.
Some stubborn stains and black spot may require a longer treatment, in which case apply and leave on surfaces overnight. If some black spot remains after treatment, It should fade and disappear after a few days following the treatment. If not: re-apply. Keep pets off at all times during treatment. In case of contact with metals, fabrics and painted surfaces rinse with water immediately. Do not use on warm surfaces. Do not apply if rain is imminent. Avoid contact with ponds & plant life: if contact is made rinse well with plenty of water.

General Maintenance.
Weekly or daily depending on conditions, use a hose and a brush to remove any debris that may be lying on the stone.
Then annually if required use LTP Grimex, this will remove surface dirt and grime, possibly every 6-12 months depending on condition.
Dilute Grimex 1:3 parts water and apply the solution on to the surface and agitate.
Leave for 10 minutes before agitating again and then rinse with water.
Allow 24 hours to dry and then if necessary re-apply a light coat of sealer.

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.

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.

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Sealing Stone Outside.

Limestone, Sandstone, Travertine, Marble, Slate, Granite, concrete:
Regardless of what type of flooring you choose, the likelihood is it will require some form of sealing.

This is because natural stone is porous, and therefore if left unsealed, any moisture will be soaked up by the stone making it very difficult to remove, and potentially leaving the surface permanently stained (sometimes even fallen leaves can cause stains).

The best way to prevent all this is to seal the stone.

When you seal a stone, you are essentially filling any voids or pores of the stone with the sealer. This prevents any further liquid to absorb in to the tile, as demonstrated here with this close up shot of a water droplet on a tile sealed with LTP Mattstone.

When sealing natural stone outside it is important to use a breathable impregnating sealer, this will allow the transition of moisture from underneath.
Examples include LTP Mattstone H20 & LTP External Stone Sealer both are water based breathable sealers and ideal for use outside.

It is important to note that all stones located outdoors are susceptible to a condition known as efflorescence.
This blooming is caused by water moving through the substrate of a material and carrying minerals and salts found in the mortar bed, grout, soil or the stone itself.
We have a blog here all about efflorescence.

Its also very important when laying Natural stone to make sure that its fixed on a full bed of adhesive and not spot fixed.
The end result could look like this if its spot fixed.
Spot fixing issue Sandstone

If this has already happened to your patio, we have a blog here.

When sealing different natural stones, what will vary the most will be how many coats the stone will need before it is fully sealed.
Each stone exhibits different levels of porosity. A tumbled Limestone may have a higher porosity level than a Honed and filled Limestone.

Sealing natural stone with Mattstone H20

Shake bottle before use.

Test the porosity of your stone with water and a teaspoon, using the LTP porosity test.

Once surfaces are clean and dry, apply the product to the surface evenly using a sealant applicator pad, brush or soft cloth.

When sealing its important not to over apply the sealer and redistribute excess, avoid letting the sealer pool on the surface, as this can cause white marks to appear on the stone when it dries.
On highly absorbent surfaces apply several coats wet-in-wet.
After 15 minutes, remove any excess sealer with an absorbent cloth. Do not allow residues to dry on the surface.
Do not walk on the surface for 3 hours.

Sealing natural stone with External stone sealer.
Apply evenly to the surface using a foam roller or paint brush. On more absorbent surfaces apply further coats at hourly intervals until the surface is completely saturated. Remove any residual sealer if still visible after one hour.

Cleaning Tiles Outside

Before you start sealing your stone it is important to make sure your stone is clean and dry, other wise you will just seal in dirt and grime.

Old layers of sealer, dirt residues and light deposits of organic matter and algae must be removed from the surface and pores of the stone.

This can be done by either using LTP Grimex which is a intensive cleaner or LTP Mouldex Paving Cleaner.

To Clean with LTP Grimex, dilute 1:3 with water, apply to the surface with a sponge or water brush and leave to sit on the surface of the tiles for as long as it takes for the dirt to release. (5-30 minutes depending upon the level of dirt). If areas look as if they are drying out just add a little more solution to keep the area wet.

Agitate the surface with a stiff deck brush after approx 10 minutes (scrubber machines can be used).

Continue to scrub while adding clean water. Remove residues from the surface with water or scrubber machine.

Rinse thoroughly with clean fresh water to remove all remaining residues. Use a power washer if necessary.

Allow the surface at least 24 hours to dry before sealing.

To clean with LTP Mouldex Paving Cleaner, Shake well before use.
Surfaces to be treated should be completely dry before application.
Pour solution undiluted directly onto the pavers and spread out evenly using a sponge or paint brush, Garden sprayers can also be used and leave for a minimum of 1 hour.

Apply a little water and agitate with a stiff Deck brush or emulsifying pad to release the dirt and grime, and then rinse thoroughly using a hose or jet wash.
Some stubborn stains and black spot may require a longer treatment, in which case apply and leave on surfaces overnight. If some black spot remains after treatment, It should fade and disappear after a few days following the treatment. If not: re-apply. Keep pets off at all times during treatment. In case of contact with metals, fabrics and painted surfaces rinse with water immediately. Do not use on warm surfaces. Do not apply if rain is imminent. Avoid contact with ponds & plant life: if contact is made rinse well with plenty of water.

General Maintenance.
Weekly or daily depending on conditions, use a hose and a brush to remove any debris that may be lying on the stone.
Then annually if required use LTP Grimex, this will remove surface dirt and grime, possibly every 6-12 months depending on condition.
Dilute Grimex 1:3 parts water and apply the solution on to the surface and agitate.
Leave for 10 minutes before agitating again and then rinse with water.
Allow 24 hours to dry and then if necessary re-apply a light coat of sealer.

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.

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.

 

How do I clean my external paving?

Featured

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.

Patio & Driveway Surfaces – Cleaning, Sealing & Maintenance

Natural Stone Surfaces – External Application

Cleaning, Sealing and Maintaining Natural Stone – Part Three

Natural stone has been used as an external surface covering for paths, driveways, patios, court yards, terraces, porch areas,verandas, loggia and sun decks for centuries. As with all natural materials, it does need a certain level of care.

This is the third 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 used in external applications such as paths, driveways, patios, court yards, terraces, porch areas,verandas, loggia and sun decks. Natural riven or rough cut stones are often used outside because they are naturally slip resistant. Normally thicker than internally fixed stone they are more robust and harder wearing. The following guide will explain the process and help keep your surfaces maintained and in good condition for many years.

Natural Stone Surfaces – External Application

The following instructions are for sawn and honed, riven or rough cut finish: sandstone, slate, granite, quartzite and rough cut and riven limestone.

Step one: Initial cleaning

Before sealing, clean natural stone thoroughly to make sure that the surface is sealed  effectively. This is true of newly installed surfaces, as well as existing, due to the contamination that can occur during fitting. On existing surfaces such as patios, driveways, paths and terraces remove old layers of sealer, dirt residues and light deposits of organic matter and algae  from the surface and pores of the stone. For newly installed surfaces cleaning should remove all grout and cement residue and any general dirt or grime that has built up while fitting. Bucket, mop, sponge, scrubbing-brush or scrubber dryer machine if available.

Newly installed surfaces

Before grouting and once surfaces are clean and dry: Apply one coat of LTP Colour Intensifier & Stainblock before grouting. This treatment will help with the removal of residual cement and grout from the surface of the stone paths, driveways, patios, court yards, terraces, porch areas, verandas, loggia and sun decksLTP recommends using LTP Grout Stain Remover to clean and remove residual grout and mortar from the textured riven surface of natural stone driveways, patios, court yards, paths, stone terraces,verandas, porch areas and sun decks once they have been laid.

Please note: Do not use LTP Grout Stain Remover on honed and smooth limestone. 
This product is only suitable for use on riven limestone.

Cleaning newly installed reclaimed flagstones, rough cut, honed and tumbled stone surfaces

  1. Dilute LTP Grout Stain Remover 1:2 with water. On rough cut limestone dilute 1:6
  2. Apply solution to the surface with a stiff brush and agitate immediately.
  3. Leave for 5 minutes and agitate again. Rinse well with water.
  4. Rinse well with plenty of clean water.
  5. Allow the surface to dry.

Step One Cleaning External Stone Surfaces

Refurbishing used and heavily soiled stone surfaces

  1. Before sealing the clean stone thoroughly. Old layers of sealer, dirt residues and light deposits of organic matter and algae must be removed from the surface and pores of the stone.
  2. Dilute LTP Grimex 1:3 with water, apply to the surface with a sponge or water brush and leave to sit on the surface of the tiles for as long as it takes for the dirt to release. 5-30 minutes depending upon the level of dirt.
  3. Agitate the surface with a stiff deck brush every 5-10 minutes (scrubber machines can be used).
  4. Continue to scrub while adding clean water. Remove residues from the surface with water or scrubber machine.
  5. Rinse thoroughly with clean fresh water to remove all remaining residues. Use a power washer if necessary.
  6. Allow the surface a minimum of 3 dry and damp free days before applying the protective seal.
  7. For the removal of other types of dirt refer to the table below.
  8. Do not allow the sealer to dry on the surface. Carefully buff with a soft cloth or machine to remove any excess. Complete this within 1 hour of application.

For the removal of other types of dirt refer to the list below. If you are unsure please call our helpline for advice.

Step two: Protect your natural stone surface from stains

To protects sawn and honed, riven or rough cut finish: sandstone, slate, granite, quartzite and rough cut and riven limestone surfaces and help prevent staining LTP recommends the application of LTP Colour Intensifier & Stainblock.

The equipment you will need for this task: bucket, applicator, brush, cloth.

Application of LTP Colour Intensifier Stainblock: Enhanced natural finish protects against water, oil, grease, dirt, grime, organic matter and aids maintenance

  1. Clean surfaces and ensure they are dry.
  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 3 hours.
  5. Protect from damp and wet conditions for at least 3 days.

Step 2: Sealing external stone surfaces

Step three: Maintaining your reclaimed flagstones, rough cut, honed and tumbled stone surfaces

Using the correct maintenance product will increase the life of your stone seal, provide more protection against staining and make sure your path, driveway, patio, court-yard, terrace, porch area, veranda, loggia or sun deck 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 Grimex on external surfaces sealed with LTP Colour Intensifier & Stainblock. LTP Grimex will remove surface dirt when required (normally every 3-6 months).

Regular maintenance on sawn and honed, riven or rough cut finish: sandstone, slate, granite, quartzite and rough cut and riven limestone

  1. Dilute LTP Grimex 1:3 with water.
  2. Apply the solution to the surface and agitate.
  3. Leave for 10 minutes before agitating again and then rinse with water.
  4. Leave to dry for 24 hours and then if necessary re-apply a light coat of sealer.
  5. Protect from damp and wet conditions for a minimum of 3 days.

Step 3: Maintaining External Stone Surface.

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 is completed to the highest standard. LTP is pleased to associate 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 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.

Visit www.ltp-online.co.uk to buy from the LTP Range of products or find out more about us.

 

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.

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.

Should I protect polished porcelain from staining?

Polished Porcelain Tiles – Are they maintenance free?

LTP recommends that you protect polished porcelain when fitting by applying an impregnating sealer to ensure the best resistance to staining. It is also important to make sure that polished porcelain is regularly maintained to make sure that stain resistance is maintained.

At LTP we receive several calls a week about polished porcelain which is often sold as a maintenance free alternative to stone, marble or granite. This is not necessarily true.

Regardless of the information that factories offer on this subject, in our experience, 90% of polished porcelain tiles require sealing for one simple reason. The mechanical polishing process used to finish polished porcelain opens up the pores on the surface of the tile. This can lead to maintenance problems and in our view prevention is better than cure so we always advise customers to seal and protect polished porcelain.

Test your polished porcelain to make sure it is protected

LTP MPG Sealer, 5 & 1 Litre & 500ml

LTP MPG Sealer is an impregnating sealer ideal for polished porcelain.

To avoid any doubt you should test an inconspicuous area of your polished porcelain tile. Take a tile and pour on some red wine or cooking oil or even mark the tile with a pen. If after a couple of hours you can remove all three then the tile is fine, if not we recommend the tile is sealed with
LTP MPG Sealer to protect the tile without altering the polished surface.

Buy LTP MPG SEALER >>>

Protect polished porcelain

Some polished porcelain tiles are pre sealed at the factory. This sealing process tends to leave the surface of the porcelain tile smeary and the tile is still vulnerable to staining.

Application of LTP MPG Sealer is quick and easy

The first step is to wash the tile with LTP Grimex or LTP Power Stripper, which removes the original seal. Ensure the surface is dry and that under floor heating is turned off. Then apply a light coat of LTP MPG Sealer to the surface of the tile using a cloth or paint brush and after about 20 minutes use a soft cloth to buff any excess sealer. The buffing is an important part of the sealing process as it encourages the sealer to penetrate all the pores of the porcelain tile and removes any excess sealer from the surface. Leave to dry for two to three hours and re-try the wine, oil and pen tests. Unlike other wax/silicone-based sealers, LTP MPG Sealer is an impregnating sealer so it does not sit on the surface of the tile. Protect the sealed surface from water for 24 hours and do not wash surfaces for at least 3 days.

If LTP MPG Sealer is over applied and the surface of the tile has gone smeary, then re apply a little more sealer and buff off the excess.

For further information on sealing polished porcelain please download our polished porcelain application guide, (PDF format).

Removing stains from protected polished porcelain

Some stains such as marker pen might penetrate the surface of the porcelain tile. It will not however stain the tile as the LTP MPG Sealer below the surface will have absorbed the stain. To remove just apply a little white spirit or LTP Grout Stain Remover. This removes the sealer and the stain with it. To re seal just apply another coat of LTP MPG Sealer to the porcelain tile or area and rebuff.

Protect polished porcelain before fitting

As most stains occur during the fixing stage, we suggest that polished porcelain tiles are pre sealed, especially before grouting as many types of grout, especially dark colours will leave ‘tide mark’ stains along the grout joints. Once the floor is fixed and cleaned off it makes sense to apply a second coat of the sealer to protect polished porcelain fully against household stains.

Maintenance is vital

To protect polished porcelain fully there is last point to remember. The use of the incorrect cleaning product will remove the seal from the porcelain tile and cause the tiles to stain. Clean floors sealed with LTP MPG Sealer with LTP Waxwash.

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 polished porcelain 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 the main LTP site to view our full range of cleaning, sealing and maintenance products for all types of artificial and natural stone.

 

Eco-friendly sealer – LTP Mattstone H20

Eco-friendly water-based sealer for natural stone – LTP Mattstone H20

LTP Mattstone H20 – Eco friendly water-based sealerFollowing 18 months of research and development, LTP launched its flagship eco-friendly water-based impregnating sealer LTP Mattstone H20 in the spring of 2011.

The LTP team were keen to deliver a sustainable eco-friendly product solution for sealing natural stone that matched increasing customer awareness of environmental impact.

Tightening restrictions on the use of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) has ensured that water-based sealing products for natural stone are becoming more widely available in the market place. As demand has risen so water-based technology has improved. It was vital that any LTP solution created needed to set the standard for such technology and deliver results that matched existing products options. So, inspite of the advances in technology, the Research & Development Department at LTP embarked on a program to make sure that the formulation chosen for the new Mattstone H20 impregnating sealer provided the best possible results at a realistic price.

“Our chemists looked at all the raw materials available, these were mixed to create various formulations. We then began testing these against various criteria such as stain resistance, longevity, and water beading on all types of natural stone.  Interestingly enough it was the 20th formulation we tested that finally hit the mark, hence the appropriate name for our eco-friendly water-based impregnating sealer” comments technical director Mark Atkins.

LTP Mattstone H20 is keenly priced when compared with similar water-based impregnating sealers on the market.

Mark Atkins continues, “You can find cheaper water-based impregnating sealers, but be careful, these tend to be hydrophobic only. It is important to make sure that the sealer you choose is going to protect your natural stone surface from oil based stains as well as water, that’s the tricky bit from the chemistry aspect. We are delighted with the performance of LTP Mattstone H20, which we feel has resistance properties equal to our traditional spirit based Mattstone product.”

Eco friendly and low odour

Apart from the obvious benefit to the environment, the other important selling point is that unlike the spirit based alternatives, LTP Mattstone H20 is essentially odour free on application. This puts it at a great advantage especially in circumstances when a surface has to be sealed and made suitable for immediate use, all in a short time scale.

LTP Mattstone H20 can be used internally and externally and is suitable for all types of natural and artificial stone.

Some care should be taken during application as the procedure differs slightly from traditional LTP Mattstone application. With LTP Mattstone H20, as indeed with most water-based impregnating sealers it is necessary to apply wet in wet. Apply Mattstone H20 generously and evenly with a lint free cloth, or similar and make sure even distribution by wiping over several times. After 15 minutes any excess sealer should be removed with an absorbent cloth.

Provided the finished surface is regularly maintained with a suitable maintenance product, in this case LTP Waxwash, LTP Mattstone H20 should provide the end-user with excellent protection for their natural stone surface.

LTP Mattstone H20 is manufactured in 1 litre and 5 litre containers and is available immediately from all LTP stockists and Tile Giant Stores, details can be found on the LTP website: www.ltp-online.co.uk

Sealing and protecting Limestone and Travertine tiles

Basic principles of sealing Limestone and Travertine tiles

Understand your surface

Clasic Limestone floor tiles

Are you sure you know your surface?

Are you sure that your surface is Limestone or Travertine? Although this may sound obvious ensuring that you fully understand the type of surface you are dealing with before sealing is vital. If you are in any doubt about the type of wall or floor tiles you have our online identification guide is a helpful place to start. Limestone and Travertine are delicate natural stone materials that have always been a popular method of decoration in kitchens and bathrooms. When used to cover wall and floors they need careful preparation, sealing and ongoing maintenance. Natural stone such as Limestone and Travertine is by nature unsealed. As such all forms of natural stone wall and floor tiles are absorbent to some degree. Just pour a teaspoon of water on to an unsealed tile and see how quickly the water absorbs. The time it takes can vary from between minutes to hours. This is because natural stone, including Limestone and Travertine tiles have small pin-holes and open fissures as part of its natural texture. This texture will tend to accumulate grit as part of the natural wearing process and unless protected the floor will stain. More information on tile absorbency is contained in our useful product guide.

The benefits of sealing

An example of sealed Travertine

Sealing protects natural stone surfaces from spillage and staining

Natural stone wall and floor surfaces such as Limestone and Travertine tiles and paving will benefit from being sealed in a number of ways:

  1. Stain prevention.
  2. Surface enhancement.
  3. Surface protection.

Choosing the correct sealer

Essentially there are two types of sealing product available on the market suitable for natural stone such as Limestone and Travertine:

1.     IMPREGNATING SEALERS

Impregnating sealers are suspended in a liquid carrier which is either spirit or water based. This ensures that the sealer is absorbed into the tile just below the surface, sealing the small pin holes and open fissures. Once absorbed the carrier evaporates, leaving the sealer behind. General characteristics of impregnating sealers are that they give a natural matt or colour enhanced finish and are micro porous. Meaning they are breathable, moisture repellent and resistant to staining. Generally impregnating sealers are effective for interior and exterior use, including use in wet areas such as swimming pools and wet rooms.

 2.     SURFACE SEALERS

Surface sealers in general tend to be water based and will give an alternative type of protection to the surface of natural stone such as Limestone and Travertine. Depending upon the circumstances they can be used on their own or with an impregnating sealer. It is practical to seal both Travertine and Limestone with either an impregnating or surface sealer, or sometimes both. There are a number of factors that will guide your choice. These are:

  1. The type of finished look you want.
  2. The situation the tiles are used in.
  3. The level and type of traffic the surface will carry.
  4. Internal or external use.

Choosing your finish

There are three basic types of finish:

  1. Matt,
  2. Colour Enhanced Matt
  3. Gloss/Satin

Matt and Colour Enhanced Matt are achieved using impregnating sealers and will preserve or enhance the natural appearance of the surface. If a polished or shiny surface finish is desired then a gloss or satin surface sealer should be used.

Consider where your Limestone or Travertine is being used?

Where your stone tiles are used is a factor that can affect your choice of sealer. Impregnating sealers can be used for internal and external use and are ideal for use in wet rooms and swimming pool surrounds. Surface sealers can offer extra protection and are helpful in high traffic areas.

Lets us help you if your are not sure

Deciding which type of sealer you should use is a difficult choice.
This is why we have developed a simple online 3-step identification guide and
offer a free no obligation LTP TECHNICAL HELPLINE, so please give us a call
on +44 (0) 1823 666213 and we will be happy to help you.

Getting the application right

Before applying the impregnating sealer it is vital to make sure that the stone is completely dry. The number of coats required will depend upon the porosity of the stone, a second or third coat of sealer can be needed. Once sealed the tile will resist all staining and provided the stain is wiped away within a reasonable length of time, there will be no evidence of any mark on the surface of the stone.

A common misunderstanding

It is important to remember however that by its nature an impregnating sealer will not protect the surface of a Limestone tile from acid, which can etch the surface. A red wine spillage would be a good example. While an impregnating sealer will give immediate contact protection, if the spill is left for a period of time the acid in the wine will etch into the surface of the Limestone or Travertine. With this in mind, sometimes a secondary surface seal is required to protect the surface of the tile; however this will alter the appearance of the stone by providing a gloss or satin finish.

Maintenance is also important

Once sealed a neutral cleaner should always be used with stone surfaces such as Limestone and Travertine. The wrong cleaner will damage the seal and return the stone to its porous state. Visit or website for more information on everyday maintenance of surfaces. Finally, no sealer lasts forever, however, provided the floor has been correctly sealed and is correctly maintained, it should stay protected for many years.

The LTP Range of products

Recommended product solutions

OPTION 1: MATT

LTP Mattstone and Mattstone H20 are impregnating sealers which provides a natural matt finish with some initial darkening of the surface of the stone, but minimal change to the character of the stone. These sealers can be used outside and in wet areas and should be routinely maintained with LTP Waxwash on floors and LTP Stonewash on walls.

OPTION 2: COLOUR ENHANCED

LTP Colour Intensifier & Stainblock is also an impregnating sealer, but it will also enhance the natural tones and colours of the stone that in most cases leaves a colour enhanced finish. LTP Colour Intensifier & Stainblock can be used outside and in wet areas; it is particularly suitable for showers and should be routinely maintained with LTP Waxwash on floors and LTP Stonewash on walls. LTP Colour Intensifier & Stainblock is an impregnating sealer and will not provide a surface finish.

OPTION 3: GLOSS / SATIN

In cases where a polished or shiny surface finish is required, LTP Ironwax Gloss or LTP Ironwax Satin should be used. LTP Ironwax Gloss will leave the surface of the stone with a higher gloss finish than LTP Ironwax Satin, which as its name suggests is more satin.  These sealers are both hard-wearing; water based surface sealers which are for interior use only. They should not be used in wet areas. Again the wrong maintenance product will damage the seal, so LTP Floorshine is needed, this product not only cleans the floor, but it also adds protection to the sealer.

If you still have further questions about the sealing of natural or artificial stone such
as Limestone and Travertine please contact the LTP TECHNICAL HELPLINE on
+44 (0) 1823 666213 and we will be happy to help you.