Slate tiles are durable and forgiving materials. Aggressive cleaning can remove accumulated soil, but professional striping is necessary to remove old coatings and wax.
What is Slate?
Slate is a very dense, but soft and easily scratched material which can be used effectively outdoors as well as indoors. Slate is a foliated metamorphic rock derived from shale and consisting mainly of grains of mica and quartz. Most slate is grey to black, but the rock may be red or purple, depending on its mineral content. The surface of slate is generally uneven with cleft planes which can spall or flake due to the cleaving of the stone along its layers. Slate has a low to medium absorption rate of oils and other liquids and should be sealed with an oil-repellent penetrating sealer to prevent staining, reduce soiling and decrease the effects of foot traffic.
Cleaning Slate Floors
Cleaning slate tiles can present some difficult challenges due to the many varieties of slate and the fact that slate tiles are often sealed with topical water or solvent based sealing products.
There are many types of slate tiles originating from various places around the world and the slate tile cleaning process can vary depending on the type of slate tile being cleaned.
Before cleaning slate you should test the slate surface to understand what type of sealers were used on the slate and to be sure that the cleaning product will not damage or create any discoloration. Alkaline cleaning products are generally safe for cleaning slate but cleaning slate with acidic based cleaning products could potentially damage the slate tile surface.
If the slate tile appears to have a topical sealer, this will need to be stripped before any cleaning process can begin. It is also helpful to find out the type of sealer or wax that the floor was previously sealed with to be able to use the right product when stripping.
Because of slates cleft planes and strong possibility of spalling, slate should never be cleaned at very high pressures, and if so only when the grout is in good condition.
Sealing Slate Tiles
Slate is fairly dense, but still highly porous – You can easily test how porous your natural slate is by applying a drop of water to the surface and watching how it is absorbed. You can then see how any type of water based stain can be absorbed by the slate tile surface and grout.
As slate tiles sometimes can naturally appear lackluster, various sealing solutions have been designed to enhance the color or create a glossy finish.
Sealing your slate will keep most stains suspended at the surface, creating a barrier that provides protection against chemical attack, deterioration and contamination. Sealing is the first important step towards protecting your investment against stains.
TWO MAIN SEALING OPTIONS EXIST FOR SLATE TILES
· Deep Penetrating Impregnating Sealer
(Transparent Finish/Color Enhancing Finish)
· Topical Sealer
A deep penetrating impregnating sealer protects slate and grout from water and oil based stains by chemically reacting with the surface pores using nano-technology to create a breathable protective barrier. An impregnating sealer protects the slate surface and grout from absorbing stains while also resulting in cleaning and maintenance becoming much easier.
Australia’s Deepshield™ range of impregnating water based sealer’s, offer long term benefits, lasting for up to 10 years while Deepshield™ Gold, based on the latest fluoro-bond technology lasts for up to 15 years. A penetrating impregnating transparent sealer enters the pores of your stone and, once cured will not change the look of the tile or stone. A penetrating colour enhancing sealer is designed to enhance and enrich the natural look of stone surfaces.
Experts Floor Care are the experts at applying all types of sealer and will ensure your slate looks its absolute best. Experts Floor Care experienced technicians can apply a topical sealer when especially required to create a high gloss, satin sheen or matte finish to your surfaces. Topical sealer is also helpful in situations where the old solvent based sealer can not be completely removed or when required to hide certain types of damage. Topical sealer’s have a life expectancy of around 3 years.
Types of sealers used on slate tiles
It is very important to ensure that tiles achieve their cleanest possible condition prior to being sealed. This will protect the appearance of the tile, and importantly ensure that there won’t be any dirt, stains or other debris caught under the layer of sealant.
To provide the best possible protection from oil and water-based stains; to maintain the look and slip resistance of your slate and to prevent damaging moisture from being trapped within the stone, it is recommended to seal your slate with a high quality, invisible, fully breathable impregnating sealer.
Slate Floors Maintenance
Slate can be well preserved if a proper maintenance cycle is put in place from the point of installation. Due to the lack of calcite in its composition, slate is resistant to acid, however problems can still arise if the slate is very porous as some can be in which case the application of a high quality penetrative sealer is an absolute must.
After you have cleaned your slate tiles you may notice that the grout is still not as clean as you had hoped for. It may be necessary to do some extra scrubbing along the grout lines with a scrub pad. Test the cleaner first on the slate to be sure it will not damage or discolor the slate tile surface.
Floor Doctors Slate Services
Cleaning slate takes a combination of specialized industrial equipment and heavy duty cleaning products. By using specially developed cleaning solutions & high pressure van mounted cleaning equipment we are able to clean your tiles & grout to the highest standards.
All porous tiles should be sealed, sealing your tiles helps prevent & reduce staining. Sealing your slate will keep most stains suspended at the surface, creating a barrier that provides protection against chemical attack, deterioration and contamination. Sealing is the first important step towards protecting your surfaces against stains.
MINOR TILE REPAIR
Do you have cracked tiles, chipped tiles, loose tiles or discoloured tiles in your walls, floors, stairs or around the swimming pool. Do you have spare tiles left over from installation? Experts Floor Care have professional & experienced tilers in our team that can assist you with repairing your indoor & outdoor tiles and replacing the broken/damaged tiles.