Q. What’s the best way to clean my tiles?
A. All tiles and stone are alkaline by nature, so the safest way to clean them is to use pH neutral or alkaline cleaning products (acidic cleaners should not be used as they can visibly damage or etch the tile or stone surface).
Q. Why should I seal my tiles?
A. Sealing protects tiles and stone against staining. Without a sealer, porous stone and tiles will stain almost instantly. Sealers work by providing reaction time to enable you to deal with spills.
There are two types of sealers. Penetrating sealers sit just below the surface and usually leave the tile with its original natural appearance (although some penetrating sealers are formulated to enhance the colour and character of stone). They act to repel oil and water based stains. Surface sealers, as the name implies, form a protective barrier on the surface of the tile.
Q. I’m building a new house and using travertine for the bathroom floor – what special precautions do I need to take?
A. Travertine is a harder variety of limestone, but it is still a relatively soft stone – therefore it will stain easily. It should be sealed with a premium quality sealer. Also, because it contains a high level of calcium, it is very sensitive to acid. Consequently, never use any acid material to clean the stone – use a cleaner that is pH neutral, or slightly alkaline.
Q. What is Efflorescence?
A. Efflorescence is typically recognised as a white or yellowish deposit on the surface of concrete, bricks, pavers, etc. It is caused by the migration of soluble salts which are carried, by water, to the surface. These salts may originate from a variety of sources, including contaminated water, unwashed sand, mortar or the cement base itself.
While usually not difficult to remove, the key issue is to prevent the re-occurrence of efflorescence. Professional treatments, such as that offered by Aqua Mix Eff-Ex help by converting soluble salts to an insoluble form.
As always, prevention is the ideal solution. A premium quality sealer, applied to the back, sides and surface of the tile or paver, will help to prevent the movement of water (and salts) to the surface. The slab can also be treated prior to the installation of the tiles.
Q. Should I use polished marble for a kitchen bench top?
A. Only if you treat it with Clearstone. Marble is a beautiful stone but most acid substances, such as vinegar or lemon juice, will etch the surface of the stone. Once the stone has been treated with Clearstone, it cannot be stained or damaged by acid. The natural beauty of the stone is retained and the treatment is ideal for both domestic and commercial applications.
Q. Do I need to Pre-Seal my tiles?
A. Pre-sealing is highly recommended for all porous natural stone and most ceramic tiles. Pre-sealing prior to installation will help prevent moisture attacking the stone from underneath and will also help prevent grout and other construction materials from staining the tile or stone. After installation, a final application of sealer will protect the surface from oil and water born stains.
Q. How often do I need to re-apply my sealer?
A. That depends on the type of sealer and the amount of traffic on the tiled area. A premium quality penetrating sealer should last for up to 15 years. However, a surface sealer, depending on the amount of wear and tear it receives, may need replacing as often as every 1 – 3 years.