Natural stone waterproofing: is it necessary before installation?

Natural stone waterproofing: is it necessary before installation?

30 July, 2021

Water-repellent treatment for natural stone protects the material without altering its physical or aesthetic characteristics.

Natural stone is one of the most valued building materials and, over the years, has become the key material of many decoration and interior design projects due to its physical characteristics and extreme hardness, which link it to concepts such as permanence, quality and luxury. 

In addition, natural stone has excellent conductivity and a high thermal capacity, making it one of the most efficient natural cladding materials for any architectural project. 

Uses of natural stone

Natural stone is a very versatile material, with many ways to apply it, as it can be installed on façades, walls, and floors.

Some of its most common uses are: 

  • Tiles for exterior paving.
  • Floor and staircase tiles.
  • Cladding for interior walls and floors.
  • Finishes for pavements or roadways.
  • Pieces for masonry elements, such as vaults, mouldings, cornices, or columns. 

Benefits to using natural stone

There are multiple benefits to using natural stone, among them: 

High durability

Natural stone is a very resistant product. In addition, it maintains its appearance over the years, giving environments a long-lasting aesthetic, which does not go out of fashion. 

High insulating capacity

Due to its high mass (Kg/m3), natural stone has a high thermal inertia that will help us to save on heating and cooling. This material is also a good insulator to dampen outside sounds.

Aesthetic variety

Natural stone offers many aesthetic possibilities in textures and colours, making it perfect for any environment and space.

The tones can range from the lightest to the darkest, as you can see in our Airslate collection (with unique slate pieces), or Habana Dark (a black marble with orange veins).

Stone Waterproofing

Exclusivity

Natural stone finishes can be polished, rustic or natural, and provide certain exclusivity: each stone is different, inimitable, unique, and timeless, which gives projects a more noble and authentic character. 

Safety

Finally, natural stone is a fireproof material, which offers total fire safety on exterior façades and allows its use in applications for heat sources in interior spaces. 

What is the purpose of natural stone waterproofing treatments?

The maintenance of natural stone (understanding natural stone as a group of materials that include marble, slate, or granite) is simple: it can be cleaned with abundant water and neutral soaps while avoiding corrosive products such as bleach, acid-based degreasers, ammonia, or lime descalers. 

However, many people wonder whether it is advisable to apply water-repellent coating to natural stone before installing it. 

Natural stone waterproofing consists of applying a chemical compound on this material in order to protect it from humidity and water. Basically, it is a coating that takes care of the surface of certain pieces, in this case stone, preventing them from absorbing liquids.

Stone waterproofing products can have a protective or anti-slip function. In the first case, the aim is to protect the stone coverings so that they keep their original appearance; while in the second case, the aim is to protect natural stone floors that are in contact with water and humidity, for example slate or marble in bathrooms, showers or kitchens.

You may be interested in: Ideas for choosing natural stone in your bathroom

Normally, water-repellent products for natural stone are see-through, so they do not damage the style and texture of the original surface.

Other characteristics are: 

  • They do not affect the stone’s appearance. 
  • They do not form a “visible” film on the surface.
  • They repel water and oil.
  • They facilitate the transpiration of the substrate.
  • They prevent water absorption.
  • They prevent the formation of organic deposits and dirt.
  • They reduce efflorescence (crystallisation of certain water-soluble salts). 

Waterproofing treatment of natural stone is usually carried out to keep exterior surfaces such as façades, swimming pool surrounds or terraces in good condition.

Before waterproofing natural stone, the surface must be completely clean and dry. For example, if we use pressurised water, we will have to wait several days to apply the water-repellent product. Depending on the type of material and the manufacturer’s instructions, one or more coats can be applied. 

Stone Waterproofing

Is it worth applying water-repellent products for natural stone in interiors? 

All natural materials age and that is partly their charm and beauty, because it tells us that they are “alive” and that they are part of nature. Therefore, just as we can have a wooden window without varnishing, we can have a natural stone cladding or an element that isn’t waterproofed

However, it is true that this type of treatment will help us to better preserve the material. In fact, if we choose the right water repellent, we will not notice that the stone has been treated (its appearance, colour, or texture will be maintained) but we will prevent dirt and water from penetrating inside it.

By applying l’Antic Colonial’s Bioprot treatment for natural stone, you are adding a protective layer to the material, allowing it to age more slowly. In addition, the Bioprot product provides an innovative and differentiating quality. 

In any case, our recommendation as experts is to seek advice from the best professionals. 

As for when to apply the water repellent, it depends on several aspects. Often two coats of product are used: 

  • The first one may come from the factory (the material will be pre-treated) to facilitate cleaning after installation.
  • The second layer will be applied once the material is in place, with the purpose of also sealing the joints between panels or pieces. 

The average duration of the treatment will be five years, during which time the natural stone will be protected. 

L’Antic Colonial’s natural stone collections 

Natural stone is one of the best options we can use for decoration. Some ideas could be Travertino (perfect for bringing a fresh look) or the DQS series (a mixture of natural quartz and resin-bonded glass, resistant to scratching and acids and perfect for making kitchen worktops). 

If you want to know more about the characteristics of our products or are looking for inspiration for the installation of natural stone, please get in touch with us

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