Keeping Slate Floors Clean
The easiest way to clean slate floors is to be sure they don’t get too dirty in the first place. Coating the floor with a high quality sealer will keep liquids from penetrating the stone and give it a high gloss finish. For the best results, use multiple coats of sealer but allow each coat to dry for at least 30 minutes before applying the next layer. Do not use regular wax to coat a slate floor, as it will dull the stone and make it dangerously slippery. With use, the sealer will eventually wear out, and it should be replaced every few years, with the old coats stripped off before new sealer is applied.It is also easy to keep slate floors clean by using area and throw rugs in the areas most prone to spills and stains, such as near doorways and by kitchen appliances. Avoid wearing shoes on slate floors, as the shoes will drag in dirt, sand, and debris that will stain and scuff the floor. Wipe up any spills immediately to avoid lasting damage, and follow a regular cleaning and maintenance routine to keep your slate floors looking their best.
Getting Rid Of Stains
How To Clean Slate Floors
Slate floors dont require as much attention as other types of flooring. However, when you do clean, you must do it correctly. There are a few things you should avoid when cleaning this natural stone:
- Acidic cleaners: Acid can cause a chemical reaction when exposed to slate stone. This will cause the floor to etch and become damaged. So avoid acidic cleaners, even natural ones such as vinegar or lemon .
- Abrasive cleaners: Strong chemicals can remove the sealer on the floor and grout. This will expose the porous surface to liquids and stains.
- Oil-based cleaners: These will make the floors slippery and can clog up the textured surface.
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Using The Wrong Treatment For Moss Mold And Mildew
Stone isnt immune to biological stains and growth of lichen, mildew, mold, and moss. This problem may be especially noticeable in shady areas of the patio that stay damp. Dont use just any product to kill moss, mold, and mildew and remove the stains. Harsh chemicals that are abrasive or acidic can damage the stone. You can easily remove these stains and kill mold by creating a solution of one part water and 1 part bleach. Apply the diluted bleach and scrub the stone with a non-scratch nylon pad or bristle brush to agitate and lift the stain and kill the organisms. After allowing to sit for 15 minutes, rinse away the excess bleach with water.
Does Slate Scratch Easily
The short answer is yes, it can.
Slate began as a shale a sedimentary rock made of very fine grains of quartz and other minerals. Shales, or mudrocks, are deposited in water in quiet settings, like the bottom of the ocean. Then, the shale is buried and subjected to heat and pressure. It metamorphoses into slate. It takes hundreds of thousands or millions of years to turn shale into slate.
Slate tiles do get scratched and scratches tend to show more on slates dark colors. To decrease the number of scratches, first try to choose slates that are higher quality harder. Slates are not all created equal.
Key questions to ask are: is the slate outdoor grade , where is the slate from and does it have low water absorption? Water absorption is important because it can cause the slate to cleave or flake. In freezing climates, water absorbed by the slate freezes and the slate can crack.
Slates come from all over the world. Natural stone experts say that slate from Vermont and New York is smoother and denser, with low water absorption.
Slate from Portugal, Wales and the U.K. are high-quality and dense. Chinese and Indian slate is colorful but soft and tend to absorb water. Brazilian slate is colorful, dense and has low water absorption.
If slate comes from so many places and in lots of grades how do you choose? Before committing big bucks, ask for free samples or buy one or two of the slate tiles you are considering.
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How To Clean Mold From Your Flagstone Patio Or Pool Surround
If you are dealing with mold growth on your flagstone patio, here are the tools you will need to get rid of it:
- Scrub brush
Steps for how to clean mold from your flagstone patio:
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Baking Soda And Peroxide
For very stubborn stains, you can make a paste using baking soda and peroxide. The combination of these ingredients will effectively lift and dissolve dirt and grease. These ingredients are also relatively mild, and therefore, safe for slate flooring.
Combine equal amounts of peroxide and baking soda and mix until a paste is formed. Wait until the bubbles have stopped and then apply it to the stain. Allow the paste to sit for a couple of minutes and then wipe with a cloth .
Do Slate Patio Slabs Scratch
Slate patio slabs do scratch, and darker slates show them more visibly. To avoid scratching, choose high quality, dense slate thats less porous and doesnt absorb much water. This slate has a harder surface thats less prone to flaking and deep scratching, which can be maintained more easily.
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Important Factors To Consider
When using stone of any kind outdoors, especially slate, it is important it have a low absorption rate, which means that the pores found on the surface of the stone will not soak up moisture. When water gets into these pores, it can freeze, which causes it to expand and then shatter the stone.
Slate is generally a good stone to use outdoors because it has a very low absorption rate. However, the absorption rate will vary slightly between different types of slate, so be sure to research the material you select. Overall, slates natural water-resistance makes it a good option for near-water features and pool areas.
Most importantly, consider your geographic location before deciding on using slate outdoors. If you live in cold or rainy climates, the freeze-thaw cycle will cause the water to expand in your stone and crack and shatter the slate. Southern California is an ideal climate for using slate outdoors.
Use the following tips when you shop for slate to protect your investment:
Consider purchasing from a large, well established supplier. Smaller stores must often rely on selling cheaper products to compete. Especially with slate, you usually get what you pay for.
Consider where the slate is from as this affects durability. Vermont slate is usually smoother and denser and tends to be one color with low water absorption. Indian and Chinese slates come in many variegated colors and are usually dense but soft and tend toward higher water absorption rates.
Can You Clean Slate With Vinegar
More Tips for Cleaning Slate Floors To keep your slate floors looking their very best Never use acidic cleaners such as vinegar, which can damage and discolor the stone. Avoid scrub brushes with stiff or metal bristles that may scratch the flooring. when cleaning the floor to avoid spreading extra dirt around.
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The Chemical Components Of Slate
Slate is a combination of the minerals quartz, muscovite, chlorite, hematite, pyrite, and biotite. Formed from clay or volcanic ash, this stone is considered a metamorphic rock thats characterized by its perpendicular planes and harsh angles, known as stone cleavage. Smooth and flat, and often shiny and colorful, slate is used for roofing, countertops, patio tiles, and more.
Can slate be damaged?
Slate is a much more durable stone than other common patio tiles, like limestone or travertine. Slate is very stain resistant, meaning that minor spills are typically not a major issue. However, its not immune to all damages in fact, slate is a very vulnerable stone and, while not easily stained, can be easily scratched. If cleaned at a pressure above 800 PSI, slate can spall, and deterioration will be evident. When you clean slate flooring or move furniture around, make sure you are extremely careful not to scratch it. Additionally, when exposed to certain chemicals like salt from ponds or chlorine from pools or when exposed to harsh weather conditions, slate can damaged. As such, taking proper care of slate by getting it sealed and cleaning it regularly is important.
Cleaning Instructions for Slate
More Tips For Cleaning Slate Floors
To keep your slate floors looking their very bestâ¦
- Never use acidic cleaners such as vinegar, which can damage and discolor the stone.
- Avoid scrub brushes with stiff or metal bristles that may scratch the flooring.
- Use clean tools when cleaning the floor to avoid spreading extra dirt around.
- Sweep or dust mop your floor regularly as part of a house cleaning chore list to prevent buildup of debris or dirt that may cause stains.
Cleaning will extend the life of slate floors, making them appear new longer and preventing damage and stains. By answering the question “how do I clean slate floors?” you’ll be able to care for your flooring easily.
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Choosing The Right Sealant For Your Slate
The sealant that you choose for your slate should be dependent upon where your slate is located and the elements that it is exposed to, as well as your preference. You can choose between an enhanced sheen finish, or a more natural-looking sealant finish for your slate tiles. We recommend you have a professional seal slate flooring tiles for maximum coverage and protection.
Our natural stone sealant finish comes with a 4 year guarantee and the enhanced sheen finish comes with a 3 year written guarantee. If for any reason the sealant on your slate stone needs attention, well come out to your home and re-seal it one time.
After you have sealed your slate tiles, then maintenance and cleaning will be easy instead of having to worry about deterioration and staining, you will simply need to use soap and water on your slate floors on a regular basis to keep them in tip-top shape.
The natural finish comes with a 4 year guarantee and the enhanced sheen finish comes with a 3 year written guarantee. If for any reason the sealant on your travertine stone needs attention, well come out to your home and re-seal it one time.
Have more questions about Slate Sealing or Cleaning? Contact a Professional Today
Cleaning And Maintenance Tips
A water barrier sealer should be applied to the stone after installation. Ask your contractor how often the sealer should be re-applied.
Choose a sealer based on your slate. Some sealers are better for more porous stone and some for low-water-absorption stone.
To protect the stone from weathering and fading, apply a non-yellowing protective finish to the surface every few months.
Dont use cleaners that contain acid.
Dont use abrasive cleansers as they can scratch your slate.
Dust mop often to discourage dust, dirt and grit from scratching the slates surface. When you dust mop, run the mop in only one direction to avoid pushing the debris back and forth over your slate.
Use two gallons of water and 1/4 cup mild detergent to wash your slate. Allow to dry completely.
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How To Clean A Slate Patio
Cleaning quarried stones are relatively easy and do not require much thorough maintenance. You can sweep off dirt, dust, and other debris daily to prevent accumulated particles that can embed themselves on the crevices or holes of your slate.
Using mild detergents and pressure washing, grime, and other tough dirt should be easily rinsed off.
There are eco-friendly slate cleaners that are premixed and are safe for your slate tiles and more to bring back the original color of the stone.
After cleaning your slate patio, you should let it dry for several hours before using it. See more related content at our article about the different types of patios on this page.
Tips For How To Clean Flagstone Floor & Other Flagstone Surfaces
Here are three helpful tips for cleaning flagstone surfaces:
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How To Clean Patios And Outdoor Surfaces
- Working Time: 2 – 4 hrs
If you have greenish-black stuff on your concrete patio, it’s probably mold, mildew, or moss. Damp or moist conditions from rain or humidity can encourage mold and mildew to grow in those nooks and cracks of concrete pavers or bricks. It’s important to find a sure way to remove it that won’t destroy nearby landscaping and harm the environment with a blast of harsh chemicals. This method uses natural, super-versatile ingredients in most homes, such as vinegar and Borax. These cleaners should be able to tackle most cases of mold or mildew.
Cleaning Older Slate Patios
To pre-clean an older patio we recommend Patio Cleaner Plus to remove dirt, grime, lichens, algae, and other organic contaminants.
It is unlikely you will need other cleaning agents unless you have been replacing old jointing materials with new.
After cleaning with Patio Cleaner Plus lots of rinsing off will be required and a good jet wash!
If you are going to strip old sealers, please contact us this can be quite involved. It is often difficult to identify the old sealer unless you have a container left over. There are ways of doing this, but it is beyond the scope of this article.
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Cleaning Sealed Vs Unsealed Slate Floors: Is There A Difference
You would essentially clean a sealed slate floor the same way as you would treat an unsealed slate floor. Slate floors and slate tiles dont technically have to be sealed, but once you have gone down this road or the previous owners committed you to this journey, you need to keep that glossy finish up to date.
A slate floor that has previously been sealed can be cleaned in the same way as a natural slate floor. Be aware that slate is porous in its natural, untreated state and can absorb fluids like red wine and juice.
Sealing your slate floor decreases its absorption, making it a little more stain-proof. However, if you allow liquids to pool or messes to set, you will still face a nasty discoloration.
The slates stain-absorbing properties can become a nightmare for you, but using heavy-duty solvents can cause the slate to become brittle and worn down.