Natural stone tiles are often chosen for their rugged appearance and hardwearing nature, however these tiles are often unsealed and naturally extremely porous. This means they absorb moisture more easily than ceramic or porcelain tile, which will affect the quality of the tiles. Any liquid absorbed by the stone will also cause stains, which can be hard or even impossible to remove. Sealing natural stone tiles such as travertine, limestone, sandstone, slate and marble is therefore extremely important in preserving the life and look of your floors and surfaces.
Checking Tile Porosity
The level of porosity of your stone will affect the type and amount of sealer that is required. Place a teaspoon of water on clean and dry tile and time how long it takes for all of the water to be absorbed.
- High Porosity – Water is absorbed within 5 minutes: 4 coats of sealer required in normal conditions.
- Medium Porosity – Water is absorbed within 15 minutes: 3 coats of sealer required in normal conditions.
- Low Porosity – Water is absorbed within 1 hour or longer: 2 coats of sealer required in normal conditions.
Sealing Terracotta Tiles
1. Fix the terracotta using suitable adhesive, if you get any adhesive on the top of the tile wipe off immediately with a clean cloth.
2. Apply 3-4 coats of LTP Boiled Linseed Oil using a paint brush, remove any unabsorbed oil with a cloth soaked in white spirit. Leave the oiled tiled to stand for 24 hours without adding any additional oil. Grout as normal.
3. Apply 3-6 thin coats of a synthetic sealant (LTP Ironwax Satin or Lithofin Multiseal) until you achieve an even sheen. Allow 30 minutes between each coat. Once all coats are applied, leave for 24 hours to become waterproof.
4. Clean and maintain your tiles with a cleaner that will not strip away the protective sealants, such as LTP Floorshine or Lithofin Easy Care.
Sealing Slate Tiles
1. Fix the slate using suitable adhesive, starting with the thicker ones if they are not calibrated.
3. Apply two additional coats of Lithofin MN Stain-Stop to fully seal the tiles and leave them with a matte finish.
4. To achieve a soft sheen to your slate surface apply a couple of coats of LTP Ironwax Satin or Lithofin Multiseal, this will need to be repeated every 9-12 months to maintain the soft sheen effect.
5. Clean and maintain your tiles with a cleaner that will not strip away the protective sealants, such as LTP Floorshine or Lithofin Easy Care.
Sealing Limestone and Sandstone Tiles
1. Fix the tiles using a white adhesive to avoid any discolouration of the stone. Use a colour enhancer at this point if you would like to enhance or deepen the colour of the tile.
3.Apply an additional coat of Lithofin MN Stain-Stop. A third coat may be needed depending on the porosity of the tile.
4. For a soft sheen effect apply 2-4 coats of either LTP Ironwax Satin or Lithofin Multiseal.