Sealing & Maintenance
Stone & Terracotta
It is worth noting that old stone floors were never sealed and yet still look beautiful today. All stone is naturally porous to varying degrees, for modern-day living and in order to improve stain resistance, we would advise for your stone to be sealed.
The vast majority of our sealants are selected from Fila’s professional range and we work closely with Fila in order to maintain high standards of technical knowledge and support. It is imperative that good practice is observed when installing your tiles to ensure that no building residue is sealed into or marks the product as this can be difficult to remove; tiles should be completely clean and dry prior to each stage of the installation/sealing process, so as to ensure the correct application of the relevant sealant. The guidelines below are general, and there are exceptions to the rules, both in terms of materials and application and sealant required.
Our highly trained staff will be able to offer you a tailor-made quotation based on your individual requirements. All sealants discussed require varying drying times in between applications. When using any sealant, a small inconspicuous test area or off-cut should be sealed first to ensure that the end results are to your liking. The following section gives general advice for sealing, our staff will be happy to discuss and advise on your individual requirements.
Honed & Antique Limestone, Travertine & Marble
These materials and finishes encompass the majority of our stones and they require a base sealant that absorbs into the body of the stone to quell the porosity, followed by a liquid surface wax which provides a slight finish and forms an additional protective layer. Base sealants can be either solvent-based or water-based and the base sealant required differs depending on the density and finish of the material being sealed. Solvent-based and water-based sealant options should not be mixed.
For more porous Limestone, Marble and Travertine finishes Fila Fob, or its water-based equivalent, Fila W68 should be used, some denser Limestones or Marbles may require the use of Fila MP/90. These base sealants protect against both water and oil-based stains by soaking into the stone in order to protect the surface.
Once the stone has been fixed, cleaned with dilute Fila Cleaner, and is thoroughly dry, one coat should be applied with a brush or sponge before the stone is grouted. This initial application of base sealant helps to prevent grout residues adhering to the surface, and grout pigments absorbing into the stone.
After the grout has been applied and allowed to dry for a suitable length of time, the tiles should be given a further wash with dilute Fila Cleaner to remove any grout polymers which may prevent the base sealant from absorbing into the stone.
Once clean and dry a further 1-3 applications of base sealant (Fila Fob, Fila W68 or Fila MP/90) should be applied as required, to further protect the stone. Any sealant residues must be cleaned off the tile surface immediately as they may leave surface streaking. More porous stones may take several more coats. The grout joints should also be sealed at this time.
Once the base sealing process has been completed, the stone should be sealed with a liquid wax surface sealant. This forms a protective layer, making it easier to clean daily dirt and grime from the stone. Two coats are required; the initial application being allowed to dry before the second is applied at 90° to the first. You can choose between Fila Matt (matt finish), Fila Satin (a slight satin sheen) or Fila Long Life (a more hard wearing gloss finish), Fila Satin being the most popular.
Slate is naturally less porous than many other stones, so a liquid wax surface sealant is normally sufficient for protection. These sealants are resistant to wear and tear and also highly dirt and dust repellent.
One coat of either, Fila Matt, Fila Satin or Fila Long Life should be applied after installation but before grouting and then a further coat of the chosen sealant after grouting, ensuring the tiles are free from any grout residues (this will require a wash with dilute Fila Cleaner).
If additional protection is required or the situation does not allow for use of a liquid surface wax then Fila MP/90 can be used to seal Riven Slate. Please feel free to contact us to discuss your requirements.
Honed & Riven Sandstone
This material, amongst the most porous of natural stones, is within our external range but can be used internally.
If fitting internally, a thorough application of base sealant is required to ensure that it is as protected as possible. After fixing and before grouting, 1-2 coats of Fila Fob or Fila W68 should be applied.
After grouting, several more coats of base sealant should be applied to ensure sufficient protection.
After the base sealant, 2 coats of Fila Long Life should be applied to the surface.
If fixing externally, the material can either be left unsealed and allowed to weather naturally or sealed to offer protection. If the decision is made to seal, 1-2 coats of Fila Hydrorep will be required prior to the grouting process, followed by another 2-3 coats approx. of Fila Fob.
Polished Limestone, Marble & Travertine and Honed Slate
These stones have lower porosity levels and so will not absorb as much sealant as other finishes. Due to this fact, they only require a penetrating surface seal of Fila MP/90, 1 coat should be applied prior to grouting.
After grouting, ensuring that the tiles are clean, dry and free of grouting residue (this will require a wash with dilute Fila Cleaner), a further coat of Fila MP/90 should be applied. After 24 hours any surface residue should be removed with a cloth or single-disc cleaner fitted with the appropriate disc.
Honed and Flamed Brushed Granite
Granite is a dense, crystalline material available in Honed or Flamed Brushed finishes for internal use.
One coat of Fila MP/90 or Fila Fob, depending on porosity, should be applied prior to grouting, with an additional 1-2 coats applied after grouting and washing with dilute FilaCleaner. Due to the dense nature of these materials, a surface wax is optional but can be applied if any finish is required.
These products have an extremely coarse surface texture due to the nature of the finish and are made from a geologically diverse range of materials. They can be sealed with 1-2 coats of Fila MP/90, Fila Fob or Fila W68 dependant on the location of your feature wall and the type of material.
Terracotta generally requires the most sealing of all our products. All Terracottas are raw, exceptionally porous tiles, made from natural clays, that need total saturation sealing, surface waxing and a finishing coat of liquid surface wax.
It is worth noting that, due to the nature of Terracotta, salts and minerals present within the tiles may rise to the surface during the fixing process. It may be necessary for this efflorescence to be removed with a diluted application of Fila Deterdek.
The fixed Terracotta tiles need to be clean and dry prior to their initial coat of a 50:50 mix of Boiled Linseed Oil and White Spirit which is to be applied with a clean flat brush. The amount of coats required will vary depending on the source clay and position of the tiles within the firing kiln. Continue applying until the tiles become completely saturated. Any surplus unabsorbed fluid must be removed from the tile surface with neat White Spirit as staining can occur if the residue dries on the tile.
The Terracotta tiles are then grouted ensuring any grout residues are cleaned from the tile surfaces. Once the floor is clean and the grout has thoroughly dried, one or more coats of Fila Naturwax Neutral or Fila Naturwax Brown can be applied to the floor using a cloth and then hand or machine buffed to give a polished shine, if required. To maintain this appearance, apply two coats of a liquid wax surface sealant, Fila Satin, Fila Matt or Fila Long Life.
Porcelain & Ceramic
Porcelain or Decorative & Glazed tiles themselves do not require sealing; however, if using a cementitious/porous grout, this grout should be protected with a coat of Fila Fugaproof. Porcelain tiles should also be cleaned as part of the installation process with dilute Fila Cleaner. Any more stubborn marks may require the use of Fila Deterdek but please check with a member of staff before committing to use.
Crackle Glaze Gloss Tiles
This range is unusual amongst Porcelains in that, due to the crazing on the glazed surface, they require sealing in order to protect them. Crackle Glaze Gloss tiles should be sealed with 1 coat of Fila MP/90 prior to grouting, followed by 1 coat of Fila MP/90 after grouting. Tiles should be cleaned with dilute Fila Cleaner prior to every stage of the installation process.
Wet Rooms, Wet Areas & Stone Bathware
These areas are subjected to more intense and prolonged periods of exposure to water. It is therefore recommended that a combination of base sealants is used in order to offer more thorough protection. This involves the application of 1-2 coats of Fila Hydrorep, followed by 2-3 applications of Fila Fob depending on porosity. A liquid surface wax should not be used due to the fact that with prolonged exposure to moisture, these sealants can become cloudy.
Areas of stone used externally will be subject to staining from natural atmospheric agents and organic matter which can affect the overall look of the material. The sealing of stone externally however is a matter of personal preference and a subject on which there is much debate. Stone can either be sealed in order to protect it from water and staining agents or left to weather naturally.
The two primary considerations are quantity of material and type of stone; sealing large external areas can prove fairly costly. It is worth sealing an off-white limestone over a more rustic/darker sandstone or slate. Ultimately though, the choice will come down to the individual who has to live with the stone.
External sealing of stone should be carried out with 1-2 coats of Fila Hydrorep followed by 1-2 coats of FilaFob dependant on the porosity of the stone (if a water-based sealant is required then Fila W68 can be applied, depending on material).
Maintenance of Stone & Porcelain
Like any surface, stone will require a degree of maintenance and the correct sealing in the first instance is the key to minimal maintenance. Heavily trafficked areas will require more maintenance than those that are seldom used.
For the most part, the main maintenance regime required for a stone or porcelain floor is regular sweeping and vacuuming.
As well as this, the floor should be mopped regularly with a 1:200 dilution of Fila Cleaner, which is a neutral routine cleaner formulated specifically for use with all tiles and natural stone products without any detrimental effects. The use of abrasive, acidic or alkali household detergents should be avoided as they can remove the surface sealant or in extreme cases damage stone or porcelain.
If a stronger detergent is required then Fila PS/87 which is a more concentrated formulation for stain removal in its undiluted state, or diluted for more routine cleaning, can be used (Fila PS/87 should not be used on marble or polished material without consultation with Mandarin Stone or Fila).
Liquid wax surface sealants such as Fila Satin, Fila Matt or Fila Long Life should also be used as part of the ongoing maintenance regime; once a month or after routine cleaning, add a glassful to a bucket of hot water and mop over, this helps to refresh the protective surface seal.
Stains, marks, incorrectly applied impregnators or sealants all have their antidotes, please contact us for best advice. When using any sealing, cleaning, maintenance or restoration product on stone or porcelain, they should always be tested on a small inconspicuous area so the results can be viewed to ensure you are happy with the result. Please refer to the Ancillary Product Price List or one of our branches for more information.
Our range of ancillary products has been extensively researched over the years to ensure their best compatibility and performance with our stones and their intended applications. All of our suppliers are regarded as leaders within their industry. Prices are checked to ensure they are competitive in the market place and we are happy to give you a no obligation quotation for such products alongside your stone. Where alternative products are being used, please check their compatibility with the suppliers or manufacturers before use. All stones photographed for this website, printed media and displayed in our showrooms have been finished with appropriate ancillary products recommended by ourselves. If you have any special considerations or needs for your installation then please feel free to contact us so that we can offer the correct advice and products for the situation.
All advice and instructions, while they are the results of studies and trials carried out, are provided for informative purposes only.