Slate Tile Sealing

Scratched and Dirty Slate Tiles Rejuvenated in Eastbourne

This Slate tiled floor had been installed in the conservatory of a property in Eastbourne, which I’m sure your aware is a large and well-known seaside resort town on the south coast of England. The home owner contacted Tile Doctor to see if a deep clean and a fresh seal could turn this floor’s fortunes around.

The combination of durability and price makes Slate a popular choice for floor covering, it’s also available in a number of colours, ranging from plain black to a more diverse array of shades. The Slate tiles pictured below are a good example of the latter. Unfortunately, they were looking very tired and had many obvious scratches which were further spoiling their appearance. In other words, they were desperately in need of restoration!

Coloured Slate Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Eastbourne Coloured Slate Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Eastbourne

The word Slate actually comes from the Old French word Esclate, which means ‘piece broken off’, or ‘to split and break’. Which makes sense as Slate tiles are actually made by splitting a larger piece along the grain.

Cleaning a Scratched and Dirty Slate Tiled Floor

To deep clean this floor, we used a combination of two Tile Doctor products. First was Pro-Clean, an alkaline-based cleaner which we use in the majority of natural stone cleaning jobs we undertake as it very reliably removes heavy soil build-up. The second product was Tile Doctor NanoTech HBU, a very strong product which utilises nano-sized cleaning particles to penetrate into the pores of the stone, getting underneath and dissolving any stubborn muck. The combined solution was applied to the floor and then covered in a thin plastic sheet so that it wouldn’t dry out and left to sweat for an hour.

The cleaning solution of Pro Clean and NanoTech HBU was then worked into the entire floor using a scrubbing pad fitted to a heavy rotary machine. The floor was rinsed with water and the resultant slurry removed with a wet vacuum. The revealed floor was much cleaner and fresher, and I was able to spot treat stubborn areas before giving it a final rinse.

The slate floor was then left to dry completely overnight so that it would be ready for sealing the following day.

Coloured Slate Tiled Floor During Cleaning Eastbourne

Sealing a Slate Tiled Floor

To seal the tiles, we once again opted to use two different products. Firstly, we applied Tile Doctor Stone Oil, which is an impregnating sealer that adds colour making any imperfections blend back into the tile, which was useful as there were quite a few scratches on this floor.

Secondly, we applied four coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go, which is a topical sealer formulated to provide long-lasting protection against ingrained dirt. It also leaves a high-quality sheen finish which really enhances the overall character of the floor.

Coloured Slate Tiled Floor After Cleaning Eastbourne Coloured Slate Tiled Floor After Cleaning Eastbourne

The results of the restoration can be seen in the photos above. We were very pleased with the outcome and the customer was equally very happy. As you can see the patina of the Slate tiles is much more impressive – and it lends more personality to the entire room.

Professional Renovation of a Scratched and Dirty Slate Tiled Floor in East Sussex

Poorly Installed and Stained Black Slate Floor Restored in Bexhill

The photos below show what can only be described as a botched installation of a black Slate tiled living room floor by a non-expert builder. It may not be immediately obvious what the problems were – but the property owner was pulling his hair out with the situation (having spent a small fortune) as the floor was incredibly dirty. He decided to call us in to take a closer look at what could be done to put his mind to rest.

Black Slate Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Bexhill Black Slate Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Bexhill

This property was located in Bexhill, a large seaside town on the South East coast that is known for its abundance of Edwardian and Victorian architecture.

We arrived at the property and, upon closer inspection, we could see that the floor was covered in unsightly marks. At first glance I thought it might be grout smears (aka grout haze) which is a fine powder that is meant to be polished off after tiling, but it was in fact excess grout that had been left on the tile and then to compound the problem sealed over. To make things worse the slate tiles had not been laid completely flat and there was a great amount of lippage between them. However, despite all the problems I was confident we could resolve the issues for the customer and we set a date to come back and do the work.

Restoring a Poorly Installed Black Slate Tiled Floor

On our return we set about covering the skirting boards with a thin plastic sheet to protect them from any splashing from cleaning products.

Black Slate Tiled Floor During Cleaning Bexhill
Once this was done work started on the restoration beginning with an application of Tile Doctor Acid Gel, which is a blend of phosphoric and hydrochloric acids that comes in a gel form that is easy to control. This is used to break down the existing sealer and – in combination with some diamond encrusted burnishing pads – to dissolve and grind away the excess grout which was marking the floor.

Black Slate Tiled Floor During Cleaning Bexhill
The floor was then rinsed with water and the soiled solution extracted using a wet vacuum. Following this the slate tiles were inspected and stubborn areas re-treated.

It’s worth noting we would not take this aggressive approach on acid-sensitive stone such as Marble, Limestone, Travertine and some types of Terrazzo. We would use a more neutral cleaning product, combined with the burnishing pads. Acidic products can cause etching on these sensitive types of stone, but thankfully Slate is hard-wearing and is compatible with Acid Gel.

Sealing a Black Slate Tiled Floor

The floor was left to dry completely over the course of two days. We then returned to apply a fresh seal to ensure the floor was be protected for the future.

First, we applied Tile Doctor Stone Oil, which is an impregnating, colour enhancing sealer. It’s designed for low porosity stone like Slate and does a remarkable job of restoring the dark tones in the stone. Once this had dried it was followed by a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which adds a high-quality and aesthetically pleasing sheen finish to the tile.

In the space of a few days, we were able to help the customer avert what initially seemed to be a crisis caused by amateur tiling. The customer was very relieved not to have to take a costly and drastic action like replacing the floor entirely. With the right products and cleaning methods, we were able to get these tiles looking the way they should have in the first place.

Black Slate Tiled Floor After Cleaning Bexhill Black Slate Tiled Floor After Cleaning Bexhill


Professional Restoration of a Poorly Installed Black Slate Tiled Floor in Bexhill

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