One of the most frequently asked questions by our customers before deciding to install natural stone in their homes, whether on the facade or on indoor/outdoor flooring, is whether they should waterproof the stone.
Our answer is not to list the many advantages that a waterproofing product will bring to the stone (there are technical data sheets about the waterproofing agents for that purpose, which we always send out and advise our customers to read), but to respond in a more understandable and accessible way, usually with examples.
Natural materials age. This is their great beauty and shows that they are alive and a part of nature, which we feel when in contact with them. I always ask my customers: who would say that a cathedral isn’t beautiful?
One of the best-known natural materials is wood. I use it to ask another question: can you have an unvarnished wooden door or window installed? The answer is obviously yes, but how will it be better preserved? Well, the same thing happens with stone, but with an added advantage. If you choose the right waterproofing agent, you won’t be able to tell that the stone has been treated, as it won’t change its appearance, colour or texture. However, it will create a layer that prevents dirt or water from penetrating into the stone.
There are water-based waterproofing products, which might be demanding on an ecological level but guarantee slower ageing.
The most frequently asked questions at this point are always how to apply the product and whether it should be reapplied every year.
Two layers of product are always required. A first layer can be applied at the factory, with the huge advantage of customers receiving the material pre-treated, so it’s easy to clean after installation. Meanwhile, a second layer will be applied once the material is already in place, so that the joints are also sealed.
The two coats can also be applied during installation.
As for maintenance, there’s no single response about time, but we can make an estimate based on our experience. It’s not necessary to reapply every year, as its average duration – depending on use – is five to six years.
After this time, some of our customers call us to buy the product again and others decide to let the natural stone age by itself and add to its own beauty.
Finally, I always say to customers that I’ll send a sample, half treated and half untreated, which they can “mistreat”: testing it, staining it and cleaning it with different products. The result is that most of our customers, after these home tests, decide to treat the material.