Slate Tile Cleaning

Chinese Slate Floor Revival in Harrogate

The pictures above are of a 12 metre squared Chinese slate floor in the kitchen of a property in Harrogate which had been laid ten years prior. You can see from the photographs that the grout had darkened and the slate itself had lost a lot of its character and colour.

Chinese Slate Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Harrogate

Sealers typically last between three to five years so by now there was little protection left and so dirt had become trapped in the pores of the stone and grout making it difficult to keep clean. It was now overdue a deep clean and the application of a fresh seal.

I went over to survey the floor and provide a quote for stripping off what was left of the original sealer, cleaning the floor, and then resealing. I had been recommended by a previous customer so happy with my track record and the price I quoted, they asked me to do the work. They had received a quote from another firm which as it turned out was a lot more expensive than mine.

Cleaning a Chinese Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

Given there was little sealer left to remove I decided to start by scrubbing the floor with a strong concentration of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to soak into the slate for ten minutes. Then I worked the solution in with a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad. Pro-Clean is a very versatile product that will strip the sealer off a floor when used in a strong dilution with water, it will also remove deep seated dirt too.

Chinese Slate Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Harrogate

Due to the riven nature of the tiles however I found the black pad was struggling to reach into the crevices of the tile so to achieve the desired result I resorted to scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees with a scrubbing brush. Its important that the floor is as clean as it possibly can be before sealing otherwise you simply lock the dirt in and it will never look clean.

Sealing a Chinese Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

The floor was left to dry off overnight and I returned the next day to apply the new sealer. First, I checked to ensure that the floor was fully dry using a damp meter. The sealer would not cure properly if the floor damp and this can detract from the finished appearance.

I was happy with the readings, so I started to apply the first coat of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which I felt was the best product sealing Slate. The stone needed four coats; each one being left to dry before applying the next. Seal and Go is a stain resistant sealer which results in a low sheen silky appearance, it is good on surfaces such as the Chinese Slate which tend to be more porous and being water based it does not leave a smell as it dries.

Chinese Slate Kitchen Floor After Sealing Harrogate

The client was very happy with the result and mentioned to me that it had never looked that good even when new.

For aftercare cleaning I recommended the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which will keep the floor in the best condition. This is a pH neutral cleaner which can be used daily and won’t compromise the newly laid sealer like many of the stronger products you find in supermarkets.


Professional Cleaning of a Chinese Slate Kitchen Floor in North Yorkshire

Renovating a Brazilian Slate Floor in a Harrogate Kitchen

Pictured below is a Slate tiled kitchen floor that had been installed in the kitchen of a property in Harrogate around fifteen years prior. I discovered that the tiles had never been cleaned and resealed since installation and this explained why they were now looking dull and un-interesting. They had lost all character and it wasn’t until I started cleaning them that I realised the must be of the multicoloured Brazilian Slate variety.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning Harrogate Kitchen

As well as looking dull and unattractive, there was also some water damage to some tiles caused by a leak, this had resulted in some shaling and efflorescence staining. This had occurred some time ago and the floor had now dried out fully, so I was not expecting any further efflorescence issues going forward.

Brazil, I understand is the world’s 2nd biggest producer of Slate, it is also exceptionally durable and reasonably priced so its not surprising you see a lot of it over in the UK. Like any natural stone however it is porous and without a sealer to protect it and bring out those natural colours it soon ends up like the example on this pad.

Cleaning a Brazilian Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

I cleaned the floor with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean using my usual method of spraying the cleaning solution onto the Slate and grout and then leaving it for a ten minutes to soak in and get to work breaking down the dirt and old sealers. Although I doubted there was much sealer left on the floor after all this time you need to be sure to remove all of it to get the best result. The floor was then scrubbed with a rotary floor buffer fitted with a black scrubbing pad, then after rinsing with water and extracting the soil I inspected the floor.

I detected there was still some sort of sealer present in some of less used parts of the floor, it was proving stubborn to remove so I suspect it may have been an old fashioned wax based product that was used. Not a problem though we Tile Doctors have a solution to every problem, so I spot treated the stubborn areas with Tile Doctor Wax Away to see if I was right. After scrubbing that in followed by another rinse and extraction with the wet vacuum I was pleased to see I was right and was happy all the old seal had now been removed. I gave the floor another rinse at the end of the day and dried it as much as possible with the wet vacuum, then left it to dry off fully overnight.

Slate Floor After Cleaning Harrogate Kitchen

Sealing a Brazilian Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

I came back the next day and checked the floor was dry with a damp meter. The readings were good, so I was able to crack on and seal the tiles using several coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. Each coat was applied leaving time to dry between each layer. This gave the floor a uniform appearance which disguised the damaged tiles. It will also help to stop more cracking and reduce the appearance of the efflorescence. The sealer really brought out the natural colours in the Brazilian Slate and the floor looked transformed.

Slate Floor After Sealing Harrogate Kitchen

I’m sure you will agree it was a vast improvement, certainly my client was very happy and couldn’t believe the difference I had managed to achieve. Before leaving I recommended, they should invest in some Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which would ensure the newly applied seal was prematurely eroded away which is a problem with many of the stronger products you find in supermarkets.


Professional Restoration of a Slate Tiled Kitchen in North Yorkshire

Cleaning and Sealing Riven Slate Floor Tiles in Horsforth

The pictures below are of a Riven Slate floor at a house in in the Leeds suburb of Horsforth which had been laid ten years prior. It’s probably difficult to appreciate from the images but the sealer on this floor was well worn through in the high traffic areas making it patchy in places. Without the protection of the sealer dirt was now ingrained in the pores of the stone leaving it looking dull. Riven slate is always tricky to clean thoroughly due to the rough surface and that combined with the ingrained dirt was making it very difficult to keep clean.

The floor now needed to be stripped of old sealer and then resealed and although I can provide a price for this over the phone my preference is to visit the property and survey the floor. In the case the owner had sent me some photographs via email however they were not too clear and so I felt it would be best if I paid the customer a visit to ensure I could give them an accurate price.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning Horsforth Leeds Slate Floor Before Cleaning Horsforth Leeds

The floor was indeed overdue a clean and seal, as suspected dirt was ingrained into the areas where the seal had worn off. The house was home to a very busy family, so the area was subject to the significant traffic. I carried out a test clean on a small area and they were surprised by the results, when you live with a floor for so long you don’t notice the very slow decline in its appearance. They agreed to my quote and we arranged a time to return and carry the deep clean out.

Cleaning a Riven Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

When I arrived, I started off by protecting the skirting and surrounding woodwork. Given the rough surface of the floor I first applied Tile Doctor Wax Away which is a very effective coatings remover that is designed for removing wax but works very well in these situations. The product was left to dwell for a round ten minutes so it could get to work breaking down the old sealer and then scrubbed in using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine.

This process removed most of the dirt and old sealer, but some stubborn patches remained. To treat these, I replaced the black pad with a coarse 200-grit burnishing pad and finally some handheld diamond burnishing blocks for the edges and corners where more intricate work was required, and the circular pads struggle to reach.

I gave the floor a rinse, and extracted the soil with a wet vacuum, the floor was then left to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Riven Slate Tiled Floor

The next day I returned, first the slate floor was checked for moisture using the moisture meter. Once I was happy it was within the correct parameters, I then sealed with four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go. This is a modern water-based blend of acrylic polymers that provides both a stain resistant surface seal and a durable low-sheen finish also being water based there’s no smell as it dries.

Slate Floor After Cleaning Horsforth Leeds Slate Floor After Cleaning Horsforth Leeds

The sealer really brought the stone to back to life and the lovely colours in the natural stones were now evident. The patchy appearance of the floor was gone, and the customer was happy.

I discussed with them how they should maintain the floor and advised them to use Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner. This is pH neutral cleaner that won’t prematurely erode the new sealer like the stronger products you find in Supermarkets which are only for use on Vinyl and Ceramic floors.


Professional Renovation of a Riven Slate Tiled Kitchen in North West Yorkshire

Kitchen Slate Floor with Inlaid Granite Renovated in Harrogate

I was recently asked to survey an unusual stone floor at a house in in Harrogate comprising of Slate inlaid with Granite. The client advised that it had not been cleaned properly for 20 years and wanted it renovating! It was now definitely overdue a deep clean and professional attention. Fortunately, having worked on these floors for many years I knew I could make a substantial impact and transform its appearance. Fossilized slate is a beautiful stone when cleaned and sealed correctly.

 Slate and Granite Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Harrogate

The owner confessed they had actually been sealing the floor every two years but without a deep clean first, so they were effectively sealing in the dirt each time. I discussed with them the process I would use to clean and re-seal the floor and we agreed a price to carry to out the work.

Cleaning Slate and Granite Tiled Kitchen Floor

To remove the layers of old sealer and dirt used a set of Tile Doctor Diamond Burnishing pads. The pads are attached to a rotary floor machine starting with the coarse 400-grit pad which was lubricated with a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go to help strip the floor of dirt and layers of sealer. After rinsing and extracting the soil I worked through the different grades of pads in sequence finishing with the 1500-grit and this time using just water for lubrication.

A set of diamond handheld burnishing blocks were then used to clean up the edges and corners where the large 17” pads struggle to reach. This ensures all areas are treated and free of dirt and old sealer.

The floor was then rinsed and extracted again to remove the remaining soil. I find a wet vacuum is an invaluable tool for this. The floor was then left to dry out overnight ready for sealing the next day.

Sealing a Granite and Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

I returned the next day to seal the floor, first checking with a damp meter that the floor was dry, and the moisture reading was below the acceptable level. These results were fine, so I had a green light to continue and seal the stone.

The customer wanted a shine on the floor so rather than apply a satin sealer which I felt wouldn’t adhere to the stone properly I decided to polish the floor further with a the last of the four burnishing pads which is a very fine 3000-grit pad. You don’t need to use a lot of water with this last pad just a small amount sprayed onto the floor using a technique we refer to as a ‘Spray Burnish’.

To seal the floor, two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow were applied. This is an impregnating matt sealer which intensifies the natural colours of this beautiful stone and provides long lasting durable protection.

 Slate and Granite Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Harrogate

Even I was impressed with the finished result but more importantly the client was over the moon. To keep the floor looking its best I recommended they use Tile Doctor Stone Soap which is pH neutral. You should always read the label in detail when choosing a floor cleaning product as many are too strong and not recommended for sealed stone surfaces as they will prematurely erode the sealer.


Professional Restoration of a Slate and Granite Kitchen Floor in Yorkshire

Worn Sealer Replaced on a Slate Tiled Floor in York

The photographs below are of a Slate Tiled floor in a house in York, a walled city in North West Yorkshire which is very famous for its Viking heritage and its many landmarks, including the stunning York Minster. I visited the client to discuss what could be done to improve the look of the slate tiles which were installed in the kitchen and run into the downstairs cloakroom WC.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor York Before Cleaning

I could see that the floor was suffering from the usual problem of dirt becoming ingrained into the pores of the stone making it difficult to clean effectively. This happens as the protection provided by the sealer wears off with use and the stone becomes dull and lifeless with the trapped dirt; additionally, the floor had some bad scratches from chairs being dragged across the floor. Being a Kitchen, the area was in used to high family traffic, so it was in need of some care and attention. The client was happy to go ahead with my quote.

Slate Tiled WC Floor York Before Cleaning

Cleaning a Slate Tiled Floor

I arrived the following week and started by taping up and protecting the surrounding areas and thresholds. Then working in sections, I applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean (1 part Pro-Clean to 3 parts water) to the floor and left it to soak in and get to work breaking down what was left of the old sealer and dirt. This is a multi-purpose cleaner which works hard on stubborn areas. It was then scrubbed in using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer. I then used more Tile Doctor Pro-Clean on the grout which was stained in places and this was scrubbed in by hand using a thin stiff grout brush.

The floor was then rinsed with water, and the now soiled cleaning solution removed with a wet vacuum before moving onto the next section. We try and keep the mess to the absolute minimum. One area included a downstairs WC which was too tight to get the floor buffer in so there was no option but to scrub the tiles and grout by hand.

After cleaning all the slate and grout I inspected the floor and was pleased to see that the scratches were a lot less obvious after cleaning, so I suspect it was the old sealer that had been mostly affected. Had the scratches been deeper we would be looking at resurfacing the stone with milling pads which is a messy and more expensive process. The client was very pleased to hear that wouldn’t be required.

After a final rinse the floor was looking much better already and was left to dry off overnight aided by the hot summer weather.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

I returned the next day and checked the floor was fully dried out by using my moisture meter. All the readings were fine so the lovely weather had done its job which was much appreciated by myself as this greatly helps the floor cleaning process.

I applied four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a water-based sealer (so no smell) that leaves a lovely deep lustre to the floor. The scratches had all but disappeared and I was able to get on with the job quite quickly due to the bonus weather that helped he sealer dried a lot quicker than usual between each coat.

Slate Tiled WC Floor York After Cleaning

The customer was very pleased with the finished floor, and I think you can see from the pictures how much better it looks. It will be much easier for them to clean and maintain in the future.

Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor York After Cleaning


Professional Restoration of a Slate Tiled Kitchen and Cloakroom in North West Yorkshire


North West Yorkshire Tile Doctor

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