Don’t get stuck on which glues, sealers, enhancers and cleaners to use
With so many glues, sealers, enhancers and cleaners to choose from it can be difficult to know which product to use for which application, so sometimes people just use what is familiar. But it is not necessarily the best solution. Here is advice from some of the suppliers about choosing the right product for the job.
Lithofin makes specialist products for cleaning, sealing, and maintaining internal and external natural and artificial stone, ceramics, porcelain, terracotta, quarry and quartz composite.
Lithofin Products are produced by Lithofin AG in Germany, an internationally recognised authority on cleaning, protecting, and maintaining stone and tile surfaces. Its products are relied upon by professionals and domestic customers alike, who testify to the quality of the long-lasting, easily maintained results they achieve.
So let’s look at some of the specific products from Lithofin.
External Porcelain Tiles
Porcelain tiles are made of fine ceramic materials fired at high temperatures. They are hard wearing and dense. The surface can be matt and often textured to give extra slip protection. But despite the outstanding properties of porcelain tiles, contamination can still adhere to the surface causing marking or staining, so correct maintenance is required.
The three products below will remove most types of contamination.
Lithofin KF Intensive Cleaner is a light alkaline product that will remove contamination of general grease and dirt.
Test one tile at a dilution of 1:10 with water and apply generously to the tile. Work the product every 1-2 minutes with a stiff deck brush or white pad and after 10-15 minutes (depending on the degree of contamination being treated) rinse several times. If the contamination is lifted, work through the area to be cleaned in small, controlled sections in the same way.
Water can often sit on porcelain and produce salts or water marks. To remove these use Lithofin KF Ceramic Clean. Again, test on one tile in a discreet area. If the joints are cement based, wet them with fresh water. Test/apply Lithofin Ceramic Clean diluted 1:3 with water and work the full tile to be cleaned. Keep scrubbing and activating with a stiff brush and white cleaning pad for several minutes, then rinse.
Some areas may require a second application and others may need extra attention with a stronger dilution to remove a thicker contamination of salts.
Once the test tile is satisfactorily cleaned, work through in small controlled sections of possibly only 1-2m2 at a time.
Lithofin KF Ceramic Cleaner can also be used to test for the removal of stains such as those caused by fertilizer pellets that have fallen on to the paved area or rust from metal furniture.
Lithofin MN Outdoor Cleaner can be used for the removal of contamination such as algae, leaf staining, stubborn tea, coffee and wine stains and coloured bird dropping stains.
As ever, first test this product on one or two tiles in a discreet area. Because of porcelain’s low porosity, Lithofin MN Outdoor Cleaner can be applied neat to the tiles. Leave it for 10-20 minutes, scrubbing with a stiff brush every 1-2 minutes. It can be left working for longer if there is more stubborn contamination.
To finish, rinse several times to remove the contaminated water and product.
External Natural Stone
Stone can be simple to maintain, but how simple depends on the stone’s texture.
More textured stones can be prone to contaminants and dirt sitting in the small pores and capillaries of the stone, which can lead to the stone looking grubby and requiring deeper cleaning.
It is possible to impregnate stone surfaces for water and oil repellence and ease of maintenance, and you can use one of Lithofin’s natural stone-specific impregnating or colour enhancing sealers for this purpose. But before the surface is impregnated, ensure that the stone is completely dry and released of all moisture. And ensure a test has been completed on a spare stone or in a discreet area to test for suitability and any colour change that may occur.
For thorough cleaning of Natural Stone outdoor areas, Lithofin MN Power-Clean is ideal for an overall deep clean, removing grease and general and ingrained dirt residues.
It is also suitable for an initial clean of newly laid surfaces to remove dusting.
This mild alkaline cleaning product is recommended for all types of natural and artificial stone, including acid sensitive limestones and marbles.
For effective cleaning of patios and outdoor paving, Lithofin MN Outdoor Cleaner is ideal for removing the marks left by leaf and plant tannins, black spores, bird droppings, and other contaminants.
It works fast and thoroughly with the highly active ingredients providing impressive results. Surfaces can be jet washed initially to remove loose surface debris and then allowed to dry before applying the product. It is ideal for both concrete and natural stone surfaces.
For removing all kinds of rust stains and residues of metal oxides caused by fertilisers and metal garden furniture, Lithofin Rust-Ex can be used on individual areas. Allow it to work for about 5-10 minutes maximum and then rinse off with clean water.
The reaction becomes visible through a purple discolouration that will disappear naturally of its own accord. This product is suitable for acid sensitive natural stone and concrete surfaces.
If algae is an issue, Lithofin Algex will resolve it. And it contains an inhibitor to stop spores re-colonising the area for 6-12 months afterwards.
This product is self-acting and can be used on surfaces such as natural stone, concrete, quarry tiles and wood, making them thoroughly cleaned and brightened.
If the deposits have turned black, clean the surface with Lithofin MN Outdoor Cleaner.
Spray Lithofin Algex as a preventive treatment a few days after cleaning, and thereafter once a year, to maintain the appearance.
Sealing and Impregnating External Natural Stone
Lithofin’s two external sealers are ideal for protecting absorbent natural and engineered stone surfaces against staining.
Lithofin Stainstop W is a water-based impregnator that largely prevents penetration of water, oil, and grease to make maintenance easier. It is UV resistant and does not yellow, but penetrates the surface to form an invisible film in the materials’ capillaries.
The solvent-based option is Lithofin MN Stain Stop, although surfaces must be fully dry before it is applied, so an eye on the weather forecast is essential.
Lithofin Products are available nationwide and to find your nearest stockist and for further product information visit www.casdron.co.uk.
Lithofin UK’s YouTube Channel
When people want to know how to do something the first port of call is likely to be YouTube, which is why Lithofin has introduced the Lithofin UK channel on YouTube that you can subscribe to.
On the channel, you can watch Lithofin Technical Manager Bob Sewell introducing informative Lithofin UK ‘How To’ videos covering product applications of the Lithofin range for professional results. See for yourself at tinyurl.com/Lithofinvideos.
Lithofin also invites you to go and chat with its team at the Natural Stone Show in London ExCel on 6-8 June 2023. The company will be on Stand F35.
If you need help before then, the Lithofin Technical Support Line is available from 8.30am to 5pm weekdays with Technical Experts available to advise on all your stone cleaning, protection, and maintenance queries. Just call the Lithofin Technical Support Line: 01962 732126.