Stone is a material that looks better and better as it ages. It weathers with wear and tear, and the unavoidable marks and scratches contribute to its character. The key to keeping your stone beautiful is to protect it appropriately, and to clean it with the appropriate products..
You can choose to have your stone pre-dried and treated. This is a process offered uniquely by Stone Age, and can speed up the installation as the stone can be grouted soon after fixing without having to wait for it to dry.
Because... it is absolutely imperative that the stone is completely dry and spotlessly clean before applying sealers or protectors. If the floor is dirtied before treatment, clean it with 'Wexa' by Lithofin.
Short Term Protective covering can be a breather-shield (breathable membrane) and hardboard. Long Term protection should be Dust Sheets and Plywood. Do not turn on underfloor heating while covered. The stone should not be covered when it is still wet, and some coverings will actively stain the stone they are meant to be protecting.
We recommend "Stainstop" by Lithofin to protect floors in domestic use, an impregnator that barely changes the colour and look of the stone. Two or three thoroughly applied coats (the first applied VERY liberally – up to 1 litre to every 5m²) should be enough in most cases.
TThe efficacy of the Lithofin Stainstop on internal stone will be dependent on aftercare products used. It is better to clean the floor regularly with the correct product, rather than enthusiastically with the wrong one. Some good 'household cleaners' will clean off the protector and not help the long life of the floor.
If the stone has been protected with 'Stainstop', then you should use 'Wash & Clean', also from Lithofin, for day-to-day cleaning. An occasional clean with a stronger agent, such as 'Wexa', may be necessary. Please note that Wexa will strip the sealer, so the stone will need to be resealed.
Sweep the floor first. Then following the instructions on the tin/bottle, mop the floor with your chosen cleaner eg. Lithofin Wash & Clean. Textured surfaces (sanded, bush-hammered, flamed, etc) may need scrubbing – not just mopping.
Do not use oils, waxes, polishes, maintenance cleaners, harsh or abrasive cleaners or anything which will leave a film of soap, detergent or polish on the floor - this will trap soil and eventually require chemical removal.
On large areas of flooring, commercial applications for example, it is advisable to invest in a scrubbing machine and a wet vacuum cleaner.
Wall tiles in bathrooms should be protected from water staining with Lithofin Stainstop, and then given a regular treatment with Lithofin Care-Sheen (alternating with Lithofin Wash & Clean soap) which will enrich the appearance as well as add to the protection.
For regular cleaning use a product that is pH-neutral (that is, neither acid nor alkaline), to prevent damage to the stone or the protective coat that has formed. We recommend Lithofin Wash & Clean for use on most limestones.
Vanity tops, basins or sinks and shower areas may need regular treatment with a polishing crème. In addition, in hard water areas, you may need to remove cloudy deposits with diluted Lithofin Limescale Away. If you do this, then the affected area will need to be re-treated with Lithofin Stainstop.
If snow falls on a terrace of limestone, it will be a good idea to clear it away. The stone should then be able to stand up to very low temperatures. Although the terrace should have been laid to a fall, this will only ensure that rain runs away – snow will still settle.
If the area is a large or prominent feature of the building or the landscape design, it is worth taking advice from a specialist stone-maintenance company regarding the initial protection of the stone and its subsequent maintenance.
For certain stones in certain areas, the most appropriate solution may be not to apply any protection, particularly if you want to encourage the growth of natural mould.
If you do decide to protect the stone, you should apply the protection as soon as possible. It is imperative that the stone is completely dry and spotlessly clean before you apply protectors, as otherwise these will 'fix' dirt and moisture in the stone. If the stone has been dirtied before protecting, it should be cleaned with 'Wexa' by Lithofin. If the weather does not allow the stone to dry, a water-based treatment may be used.
We recommend protecting stone with 'Stainstop ' by Lithofin, an impregnator that barely changes the colour and look of the stone. Two or three thoroughly applied coats should be sufficient in most cases.If the weather prevents the stone drying through so that it can be protected normally, you can use 'Stainstop W ', a water-based impregnator, as a temporary protection until the stone dries out.
If building work is continuing, cover the stone with boards to protect it until the work has finished.
Generally natural forces will look after external stone, though north-facing terraces will develop mould during winter months, and the lack of sun in the summer means that this will not burn away. On a commercial project or town terrace more regular cleaning may be required. White stone shows dirt more readily, and may need more cleaning.
Natural marking from trees, leaves or "dirty" rain is usually easy to deal with. The best way to clean stone is to scrub it. "Algex" by Lithofin is effective against organic attack. You can use "Stainstop" protection to act against spills from foodstuffs (which include drinks) and day-to-day cleaning when required can be done by scrubbing the stone with neutral soap in a bucket of water. Some bad spills or natural growth may need an occasional clean with a stronger agent. But usually an exterior stone can be left to its own devices.
Do not be tempted by jet washing. This can clean too effectively and blast the face off the stone. It will not only change the character, but will also remove the natural protection that builds up – with time the stone oxidises so that an unchanged face will naturally become stronger.
Stone Age is a specialist supplier of stone products for architectural, exterior and interior use, ranging from flooring to one-off bespoke elements. As a company that has grown organically, we have built up a network of trusted suppliers which allows us to be confident of the quality of the stone that we supply and also that we know where to go to get something a little bit special.