Easily split into layers that can be made into tiles, slate is a metamorphic rock composed of compressed mud. It is flaky, tough and durable. Slate is commonly installed in any area of the home, including showers and mudroom floors. Honed, polished, or left in their natural, cleft state are the options for slate tile. Slate, in order to last and look its finest, needs to be properly treated. To ensure its long-lasting beauty, washing, caring and sealing slate are very important. With this in mind, we at Silver State Floor Restoration would like to discuss the proper care and treatment for slate tile.
Slate Tile Flaking & Disintegrating?
Being a naturally cleft, flaky stone, many homeowners may notice spalling, which is when some small pieces may flake or break off of the tiles. This is a natural process that occurs as the slate gets used to the new environment. Where the slate has been recently installed, you may also notice excessive dust buildup and small chips underfoot. To help bring up the dust and chips, sweep the slate daily. For those that have a hard surface vacuum, or the option to deactivate the beater bar, you can vacuum the slate floor daily as well. Once the slate has settled, the spalling will stop on its own.
Cleaning Water Spots & Dirt etc on Slate Surfaces
The surface of slate, being a natural stone, can be etched with some acids and alkaline cleaners. Though it is usually subtle, and not noticeable on natural cleft slates, it is obvious on honed and polished slate surfaces. To cut down on surface grit and dust, sweep the slate regularly. Using a stone cleaner or a mild detergent with a neutral pH, wash the slate tiles as needed. These ingredients, lemon and vinegar, can cause etching, rinse the slate with clean water and dry polished and honed slates with a soft cloth to prevent water spots.
Sealing Slate Tile
Including some made with stones known as quartzites, there are many types of slate tile. Some slates may also absorb stains since they are porous and will absorb moisture. To prevent staining, it is vital to seal your slate on a yearly basis. To see if it is porous by pouring water on its surface, test your slate. Your slate needs to be sealed in the event the water leaves a dark area after 10 minutes. With a foam paintbrush, use an impregnating sealer and paint it onto the slate. If desired, a topical color-enhancing sealer. When it is wet, these deepen and darken the color of the slate to the color it appears. Though they do not affect the care of the tile, such sealers are optional.
How to Get Scratches Out of Slate Tile
Particularly in high traffic areas, slate may show chalky-looking scratches from time to time. By applying mineral oil to the scratch and the surrounding area of tile, these can be disguised. With a mild detergent and dry it thoroughly, clean the slate well. Until it disappears from view, use a soft cloth to apply the mineral oil, rubbing it into the scratch. If the stone is porous with the mineral oil will also seal.