Freeze thawing: How to prevent ice damage to your stone
Freeze thawing is an affliction that affects stones, rocks and other porous material, and can be extremely damaging if steps aren't taken to avoid it.
The basic premise behind freeze thawing involves water seeping into cracks and other holes of a membrane while in a liquid form. More common in places that get quite cold, the water then freezes inside the stone, expanding by 9-10 per cent and causing the crack to grow as the water turns into ice.
Following this expansion, the water then melts again when the temperature rises, leaving the crack larger than earlier and the stone weaker. This process continues to repeat until the stone fragments and shatters under the constant expansion and contraction.
Understandably, this isn't ideal for fixtures around the house. Not only does shattered stone look unsightly, but there are a number of dangers involved with sharp shards and pointy sections of rock that could cause serious injury to someone.
These changes are usually cyclic, occurring in the cooler winter months, and will continue to damage the stone until the surface becomes unstable and noticeably deteriorates.
The best way to avoid these damages occurring is to investigate the variety of impregnating sealers available. These work by making the surface hydrophobic (fear of water), preventing water from entering and causing any long term damages to the surface.
Products like STAIN-PROOF Original can help protect your stone from freeze thaw damage, as well as other issues like efflorescence, spalling and picture framing.
Unfortunately, if you happen to have a surface suffer from extensive freeze thaw damage, there is very little in the way of repairs that can be undertaken. The best course of action would be to replace the stone and ensure that you take the time to seal it properly.
If you're unsure about the type of sealer required, seek the advice of a stone professional and gain the insight needed to protect your new flooring investment.