Kristy asked me about sealing the feature pebble strips in the showers, and since I've had a few questions along those lines, I thought I'd post a quick explanation.
Natural stone is porous, so it requires sealing to make it waterproof, and also to bring out the colours. Think about rocks and pebbles in a creek and how pretty they look - but when you take them out of the water and they dry off, the colours aren't as brilliant. Slate floors or outdoor stone pavers require the same treatment to weatherproof them and bring out the natural beauty of the stone. The samples you see in tile showrooms are sealed, but the product you get to bring home looks dull and colourless in comparison.
A tiler would probably do the sealing for you and include it in the price if you ask for it, but it wasn't a standard process provided by our builder, and we saw no reason to pay extra for something simple that we could do ourselves.
So a trip to Bunnings revealed numerous products that would do the job - most were in giant economy-sized containers though, obviously intended for large expanses of flooring or outdoor paving. All I needed was enough to do two strips of pebbles.... I ended up with a litre of All-Stone Sealer - still way more than I needed, but the smallest quantity I could get. Cost was around $25, I think. Plus about $2 for the cheapest paintbrush I could find, since I had no intention of cleaning it for re-use.
Then it was just a matter of applying 3 coats with a brush as per the instructions on the bottle. So simple, any idiot could do it. If only all DIY was that easy....