This customer in the coastal village of Heysham had recently had these beautiful Copper Slate Tiles laid by a builder who had been working on the house. As part of the work he also sealed them with a solvent aerosol sealer. Floor tiles experience a lot of wear from foot traffic and as a result the sealer only lasted about two weeks before it had worn off and dirt had started to penetrate the pores of the stone. The photos below were taken two months after they were sealed.
Aerosol sealers are only good for wall Tiles where they experience minimum contact, we usually only recommend their use for shower cubicle or wet rooms and they need constant topping up every 6 months or so. In our experience floor surfaces receive a lot of abrasion from the traffic of shoes and so on which will diminish an aerosol applied sealer very quickly.
Cleaning Rough Copper Slate Tiles
It makes sense to clean tiled floors before applying a sealer otherwise you simply trap the dirt under the seal which will reduce its appearance. So before re-sealing the floor with something more effective it was treated to an abrasive clean using a 200-grit diamond encrusted floor burnishing pad fitted to a weighted buffer machine. The pad was run over the whole floor using water to lubricate and with the machine running at slow speed to reduce splashing.
Next step was to clean the recessed grout which pads can struggle to reach, this was done by applying a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean along the grout lines and then scrubbing it in with a stiff grout brush by hand. Once done the residue from the tile and grout cleaning was rinsed off the floor with water and then extracted with a wet vacuum.
Sealing Rough Copper Slate Tiles
The floor was left to dry off completely overnight and I returned the next day to re-seal, this time with a more suitable product. My sealer of choice for Slate is Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will not only protect the stone from dirt and staining but also adds a very pleasing sheen finish. The new sealer really brought out the black and copper colours in the stone and now looks amazing.
For long-term care I always recommend customers avoid the use of steam cleaners and acidic or strong alkaline cleaning products which can prematurely reduce the life of the sealer resulting in dirt becoming trapped in the pores of the stone again. Naturally Tile Doctor have designed a product for this which is called Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner, supplied in concentrated form when diluted with water it becomes pH neutral and safe to use on sealed surfaces. I always leave my customers with a complimentary bottle after cleaning their floor, so they are reminded what to use.
Natural stone products such as Slate need to be sealed for it to look its best, the sealer brings out the best in the natural features and also protects the stone from dirt becoming ingrained in its pores and once that happens it becomes difficult to clean effectively and starts to lose its appearance.
A good example of this is the Slate Tiled Floor shown below where that we were asked to maintain in Edinburgh, the sealer had worn off allowing the stone to dull and the grout to become stained.
Cleaning Slates Flooring and Grout
There was still evidence of the previous sealer on the floor so the first job was to strip that off completely using a 50:50 solution of two Tile Doctor products, Pro-Clean and Remove and Go. The two products combined together make a powerful cleaner/stripper combination which was left to dwell and soak into the tile and grout for 10-15minutes.
Next step was to scrub the solution into the floor using a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine and a stiff narrow brush was run along the grout lines. The now dirty solution was then extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum and the process repeated until all the previous sealers and coatings had been removed from the floor. The floor was then given a clean using just Pro-Clean to make sure all dirt had been removed again using a wet vacuum to extract the solution.
The final part of this process was then to give the floor a rinse with a diluted solution of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner to remove any trace of strong cleaning products and the wet vacuum was used to get the floor as dry as possible ready for sealing the next day.
Sealing Slate Floor Tiles
The floor was left overnight to dry and the following day we returned to seal the floor checking first it was dry. Sealing was done by applying five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which will protect the floor going forward, adds a nice low sheen and works very well on Slate, Quarry and Victorian tiles.
The Slate floor came out really well and the tiles and grout now look like they were recently installed.
Slate is a hard-wearing product ideal for floors however it does need a sealer to bring out the best in it and sealers do wear off after a few years and this had happened with the Slate tiled floor in this post. The floor was now looking dull and the grout had also discoloured so time to call in Tile Doctor to breathe new life into the tile and grout.
Cleaning a Slate Floor
It’s not a good idea to apply a new sealer on-top of existing as it can affect the final result so the first task was to strip back the floor to the natural stone giving the Slate and Grout a thorough clean in the process.
To do this a strong solution of Tile Doctor Tile Doctor Pro-Clean was applied and left to soak into the floor for about 20 minutes; Pro-Clean has a strong alkaline base so it’s safe to use on Stone as opposed to a weak acid cleaner. After twenty minutes it was worked into the slate and grout using a low speed bonnet machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad with the excess extracted using a wet vacuum.
This process was repeated three times to make sure all the old sealer and dirt was completely removed and after this the grout was cleaned by hand using more Pro-Clean and a stiff brush. Once done the whole floor was then neutralised with more water to ensure there was no trace of cleaning product remaining on the floor prior to sealing.
The floor was left to dry off overnight and returned the second day to colour the grout to dark grey which made a big improvement to the overall look of the floor; the grout colours we use come in 12 colours so we can usually find one that matches the customers’ requirements, once applied they also form a great barrier preventing future staining. Once the colourant has dried the floor was given a further clean with Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner which is an everyday cleaning product we recommend for sealed floors.
Sealing a Slate Floor Sealing
The floor was left to dry and we came back two days later to re-seal the tile for which we used five coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is a great sealer for Slate tiled floors as it leaves a low sheen finish whilst providing excellent stain protection. I should mention that Seal and Go is also a water based sealer so it doesn’t leave a smell whilst it’s drying.
We left the floor to dry overnight again and came back the third day to seal the Slate tiles for which we used six coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which give a subtle shine to the tiles and matched the customers requirements.