As hurricane season draws near, homeowners can take a few precautions in order to protect their stone floors and surfaces.
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).
How you can protect your stone surface ahead of time:
In order to protect the stone from the surface, 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 or Seal & Go® W. Some sealers last longer than others, but a light sealing every year is recommended.
How to protect your stone in the event of a storm or hurricane:
To protect the stone surface and grout, lay 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.
As soon as possible following the storm, remove the paper, damp mop the floor with a neutral cleaner such as Lavenet or Lavenet Green 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.
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 money. Hopefully these simple steps will help homeowners take a proactive role in preserving their home during the coming months.
International Stoneworks’ products, tape and paper products can be found at these local Houston hardware stores:
Bering’s Hardware at 6102 Westheimer Houston, TX 77057
Bering’s Hardware at 3900 Bissonet Houston, TX 77005
Southland Hardware at 1822 Westheimer Houston, TX 77098
Ace Hardware at 14455 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77079