Last night I reviewed over 50 pictures of my mother-in-law’s riverfront home damaged by Hurricane Irene last year. My husband has the difficult task of negotiating with the insurance companies on his mother’s 50 year accumulation of contents at his childhood home.
Reviewing the devastation, left me thinking that many homeowners in South Florida and contractors are unaware of how to prepare for a hurricane as it relates to stone.
Larry’s Cap Rock & Stone, South Florida’s premier natural stone business, wants Florida homeowners to be prepared for the up-and-coming hurricane season. As hurricane season draws near, homeowners and contractors can take a few precautions in order to save money on future home repairs.
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).
In order to protect the stone from the surface and sides, Larry’s Cap Rock & Stone always recommends that the surface of the stone and grout be properly sealed with a water repellent penetrating sealer. Some sealers last longer than others but a light sealing every two years is recommended.
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 painter’s tape then waterproof that tape by covering it with a layer of Duct tape. The painters 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 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 a recommended installer 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 a lot of money. Hopefully these simple steps will help homeowners take a proactive role in preserving their home during the coming months.” said Larry Albregts of Larry’s Cap Rock & Stone.