Splitting easily into layers that can be made into tiles, slate is a metamorphic rock composed of compressed mud, which is flaky, tough, and durable. These tiles can be left in their natural, cleft form, or can be polished and honed. These tiles are diverse and usually installed in bathrooms and mudrooms. To maximize the slate tile’s beauty, condition, and longevity, it needs to properly care for and maintained. Today, we at Heart of Texas Chem-Dry would like to share the proper care your slate tile needs.
Slate Tile Flaking
As a naturally cleft, flaky stone, slate can be expected to flake away or break off the tiles in the first three months of installation. This event is known as spalling and is a normal process that slate does as it settles in the new environment. There is often excessive dust and small chips underfoot after the installation. To ensure the condition is preserved, be sure to adamantly sweep the slate tile daily to remove the chips and dust. A vacuum designed for hard-surface floors or a vacuum set to bare floor (where the beater bar is deactivated) is also good to control the dust and chips. Eventually, the spalling will cease after the slate has settled.
Cleaning Slate Shower & Floors
Some acids and alkaline cleaners may etch its surface since slate is a natural stone. On natural cleft slate, the etching may not be noticeable, but it is very obvious on honed or polished slate tile. To manage the grit and dust, sweep or vacuum the floor daily or as often as possible. Use a natural stone cleaner and a cleaner with neutral pH level to wash the floors. Avoid any cleaners that have lemon or other citrus cleaning bases as well as vinegar as this will increase the etching. Following the wash, use a damp cloth or mop to rinse the cleaner off the surface and dry polished and honed slates with a soft cloth to prevent water spots. Every 6-12 months be sure to contract a professional deep cleaning expert to remove the buildup normal washing cannot remove.
There are many variations of slate tile, including some made with quartzites. Most slate is naturally porous and will absorb moisture and staining substances. On an annual basis, be sure to seal the slate to prevent the moisture buildup and staining. Pour a few ounces of water on the slate tile to test if the sealant is intact. After 10 minutes if the water has left the surface darker, you may be due for sealing. On average, sealing should be done annually, but may require more frequently depending on the care and foot traffic. To ensure it is done properly, contact a professional for sealing services. It is important it is done right after the floors have been deep cleaned, otherwise the sealant will tap the dirt and debris.
Fixing Scratch in Slate Floor
From time to time, particularly in high traffic areas, the slate tile may develop chalky-looking scratches. By applying mineral oil to the scratch and the surrounding area of the tile, you can disguise the scratches. Be sure to clean and the slate tile and dry well before the treatment. Apply the miner oil onto a clean, soft cloth and rub the oil into the scratch until it dissipates. The mineral oil will also help seal the scratched surface as well.