Slate Tile Cleaning

Welcome to my Work History archive where you will find detailed examples of the cleaning and renovation of Slate flooring carried out in Birmingham

Cleaning and Renovating Slate Floors

Slate is a very popular floor and wall tile due to its low porosity; there are many varieties and textures of Slate available as such Tile Doctor has spent many years researching the best cleaning and sealing methods and products. The semi-riven tile is particularly easier to maintain compared to the rough textured Slate commonly available due to its cheaper quarrying cost.

Porosity however small, is the main issue when maintaining Stone floors as dirt can easily become trapped in the pores and once that happens it becomes very difficult to clean. The solution is to prevent the ingress of dirt in the stone by applying a sealer such as Tile Doctor Seal and Go which works very well on Slate. However sealers do wear down with use and the application of unsuitable cleaning products, and so unless regularly maintained the floor will need to be stripped, deep cleaned and then resealed again every three to five years.

Below you will find detailed examples of work we have carried out in the past, it should give you some idea of what’s involved and what can be achieved with the right techniques and products.

Multi-Coloured Kitchen Slate Floor Renovation Wolverhampton

Dull and Lifeless Multi-Coloured Slate Floor Renovated in Wolverhampton

A client in Wolverhampton contacted me about the Multi-Coloured Slate floor in their Kitchen. They had a lot of building work done recently and so dirt had built up on the tiles making them appear dull and lifeless.

Multi-Coloured Kitchen Slate Floor Before Cleaning Wolverhampton Multi-Coloured Kitchen Slate Floor Before Cleaning Wolverhampton

Happy to help I paid a visit to the property to survey the Slate floor and carry out some cleaning tests to work out which method and products would yield the best approach. The results from the testing came up well and they were happy with the quote I worked out, so we booked the work in.

Deep Cleaning a Multi Coloured Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

This was a straightforward job, the type of job Tile Doctors tackles every week, i.e., cleaning the floor tile and grout followed by sealing. Due to the big size of the kitchen and the utility area I decided to break the work in four sections rather than tackling the whole area in one go.

Multi-Coloured Kitchen Slate Floor Before Cleaning Wolverhampton

To start I sprayed a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove & Go to the floor and allowed it to soak in for ten to fifteen minutes making sure that it didnโ€™t dry out. I then cleaned the area with a 120-grit silicon carbide brush attached to a weighted rotary machine which loosened up the dirt and followed with a stiff brush along the grout lines to give them a good scrub. Remove and Go was chosen for this floor as the testing I did earlier revealed traces of an old sealer and this product is ideal for removing old coatings whilst cleaning.

I then rinsed the floor using my Airflex Pro machine which deploys water at high pressure washes and then vacuums the soiling away. These machines are quite expensive but are a good investment as they make light work of cleaning floors and are very popular with carpet cleaners. This was repeated for all areas and once I was satisfied that we had achieved a good clean throughout the kitchen and utility it was left to dry off fully overnight. Before leaving for the day, I set up four air movers to assist with drying out the floor.

Multi-Coloured Kitchen Slate Floor During Cleaning Wolverhampton Multi-Coloured Kitchen Slate Floor During Cleaning Wolverhampton

Sealing a Multi Coloured Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

On returning the following day, the tiles were already looking so much cleaner that the day before. Before applying the sealer though the Slate needed to by dry so I tested the floor using the damp meter. If you try to apply the sealant before the floor is dry, it will not cure properly leading to a patchy appearance.

The readings were acceptable so I was able to move on to the final part of the renovation and apply a fresh sealer to the tiles. For this I selected Tile Doctor X-Tra Seal, this is a strong oil-based sealer, it does take a while for it to be absorbed especially on Slate as itโ€™s not as porous as other types of tile. The new sealer will give the Slate a great durable stain resistant finish which should last for many years to come. Itโ€™s ideal for a kitchen which can experience lots of foot traffic and spillages. Only one coat of Tile Doctor X-Tra seal was applied and after a couple of hours it had dried out and could be walked on.

Multi-Coloured Kitchen Slate Floor After Cleaning Wolverhampton Multi-Coloured Kitchen Slate Floor After Cleaning Wolverhampton

To finish off I buffed the floor with the rotary machine fitted with a White pad which removed any excess sealed and gave the floor a very subtle sheen finish. My client was very happy with the results and for aftercare cleaning I left them with a bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner. This product is pH neutral and is mild enough to use daily without impacting the newly applied sealer which is the problem with the stronger products you find in supermarkets.

Multi-Coloured Kitchen Slate Floor After Cleaning Wolverhampton


Professional Restoration of a Multi Coloured Slate Tiled Kitchen in Birmingham

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Slate Tiled Floor Before and After Sealing Moseley

Dull Slate Tiled Floor Stripped and Re-Sealed in Moseley

A client contacted me regarding their slate tiled floor which had only been down a few years and was now looking dull and uninviting. The slate tiles were laid in a herringbone pattern and Interestingly they had only been cleaned and sealed about a year ago by another company, but it has soon started to look dull again. Naturally my client was disappointed with the result, especially considering how new the floor was.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning Moseley

The property was in the Birmingham suburb of Moseley and as per usual I paid them a visit to survey the floor and conduct a test clean. From what I could see the sealer the previous company had used was already failing and wearing off, this left the stone vulnerable allowing dirt to become ingrained in the stone. We discussed the overall procedure and I completed a test clean on part of the floor which went well so the customer was happy to proceed. Whilst I was there, we also discussed the effects of different sealers I would recommend for the tiles so they could select one that would give them the look they wanted.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning Moseley Slate Floor Before Cleaning Moseley

Cleaning a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

On the first day I applied a strong solution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean combined with Tile Doctor Remove and Go, this was left to dwell on the slate while I cleaned up the grout with a stiff grout brush. I used this combination of products to ensure I stripped any coatings that may have been applied to the floor by the previous company and the original installer. With the grout scrubbed I turned my attention to the Slate tiles by scrubbing them with a black pad fitted to a weighted rotary buffer machine. The floor was then rinsed thoroughly, and the now soiled cleaning solution extracted with a wet vacuum.

Slate Floor During Cleaning Moseley

The kitchen area was quite large, so I did the clearing in three section inspecting each section afterwards before moving onto the next. There were some areas where the existing sealer was proving stubborn to remove which were re-treated until clean. I discussed this with the customer who explained that the previous company had left a tin of sealer and advised them that they should clean the floor and then apply more sealer. This meant every time they did, they were adding another coat of seal and if the cleaning was not effective it would result in trapping dirt under the sealer! After spending most of the day cleaning, it was agreed to let the floor dry out and see how it looked next day.

When I returned on the second day, I could see there were still traces of sealer on some areas of stone and grout, so I decided to clean the floor again with more Pro-Clean but this time working in in with an abrasive 400-grit burnishing pad. This did the trick on the slate, but the grout needed a handheld diamond block to remove the seal. The whole floor was then rinsed and allowed to dry.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

Although previously we had discussed the different options for sealing the client wasn’t sure which one to choose. To help them decide I dried some of the tiles with a heat gun and applied different sealers to they could see the different between the matt and sheen finishes. The client decided on Tile Doctor Seal & Go Extra which helps bring the colour out in the tiles, itโ€™s also breathable and has a nice sheen to it but slightly less so than Tile Doctor Seal & Go. I applied four coats as soon as the floor had dried.

Slate Floor After Sealing Moseley

I left the client with a bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner to help maintain the tiles appearance. The client was very happy with the results, thanked me for my hard work and commented that the floor looked better than the day it went down.

Slate Floor After Sealing Moseley


Professional Restoration of a Slate Tiled Floor in Birmingham

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Birmingham Tile Doctor

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