Hurricane Season is here and lasts until November, so this week I am reminding everyone how to protect your stone when it comes to large rain events and hurricanes.
You can’t always prepare when disaster strikes, but there are measures that you can take that may help protect your natural stone surfaces, or as I like to call then “stone investments.”
Here are my top four tips:
1. Seal Your Stone Surfaces Annually
Most natural stones are porous. Heavy rain and wind can cause water and moisture to penetrate the stone from not only the surface, but also from the sides (through the grout) and from the substrate (below the stone).
Sealing your marble, travertine, limestone, slate, etc. on a regular basis (annually) helps to protect the stone from the surface. This is something that you can do way ahead of time – so you don’t have to scramble before a storm hits.
International Stoneworks always recommends that the surface of the stone and grout be properly sealed with a water repellent penetrating sealer such as Seal & Go ® S. Some sealers last longer than others, but a light sealing every year is recommended.
2. Cover Your Stone Before the Storm
If a rain event or a hurricane is headed your way, we recommend protecting the stone surface and grout by laying two layers of contractor’s paper or felt paper. Plastic is not recommended because it inhibits the moisture evaporation. When using tape to hold the paper onto the stone, first use Blue® painter’s tape then waterproof that tape by covering it with a layer of Duct tape. The Blue® tape will not leave a sticky residue on the stone.
Protecting the substrate is more difficult and may not totally prevent moisture from migrating inside and penetrating the stone. However, a little prevention may prove very useful: make sure that windows, doors, etc. around the stone (inside and outside) are properly caulked.
3. Dry Your Stone As Soon As Possible
As soon as possible following the storm, remove the paper, damp mop the floor with a neutral cleaner such as Lavenet and let the surface dry. Use fans and dehumidifiers if necessary. Surface moisture sometimes evaporates in time and the stone does not need restoration or replacement. If there is some discoloration and it does not disappear, an on-site evaluation by International Stoneworks may be needed.
4. Refinish the Stone Surface if You Have Water Damage
If you do have water damage following a storm, International Stoneworks can professionally clean, resurface, and bring back the natural shine with our no-wax honing and polishing system. We can also attempt to remove discolorations and stains with the poultice method; however, in certain cases, some stains may be too deep to remove.
A large part of stone care is learning how to maintain your natural stone. Taking precautions to protect your stone floors and surfaces during the hurricane season can end up saving you a lot of money. Hopefully these simple steps will help homeowners take a proactive role in preserving their home during the coming months.