Sealing Slate

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

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