Care of Slate Floors
What Is the Best Maintenance Plan for Slate Floors?
Natural slate is pretty much immune to most common chemicals used to clean and polish floors. The result is, in the matter of floor maintenance, it is pretty easy to maintain over the life of the floor. Most of the usual cleaners may be used on slate without worry, though strong alkaline solutions or acids could adversely affect the grout joint. If you have questions about your floor in this regard, please call us today at 972-463-6604 and we can discuss each of your questions.
Because slate is dense and practically non-porous, it is usually not affected by strong detergents or ammonia. Keith Clay Floors recommends that you begin the cleaning process with warm water only. Prevention of any additional potential problems is then a matter of education with each individual slate floor surface as to what may be used for care. It can be in the regular application a sealant found in tile stores to slate, especially the grout. Let’s discuss this prevention aspect a little more.
Can Synthetic Detergents Be Used?
It is possible to use a synthetic detergent to maintain a slate floor. Using this type of detergent, you will be keeping it clean like any other floor, scrubbing as necessary and mopping between times. If you have a cleft floor however, Keith Clay Floors does recommend you have it cleaned professionally. It really requires a professional machine using a stiff brush pad to insure that the surface comes clean. Keith Clay does not recommend abrasive powders as they sometimes leave a residue and take a while to dry properly. Once thoroughly cleaned, rinsed and allowed to completely dry, the floor will benefit from the application of a protective treatment. The word “protective” as it is used in this context is not to imply that the slate needs protection, but that a coat of wax, sealer or impregnator will allow it to be cleaned easier in the future. We believe this is the best of all worlds in the life of the floor, and what sets slate apart from most floors.
Can We Use Sealers Or Impregnators?
Slate floors which are supplied in the standard “natural cleft” finish, can be sealed or have an impregnator applied as well. Keith Clay recommends that a sealer for slate to be a low viscosity type, and less than 25% solids. Today’s new impregnators can also work very well, but any treatment should be applied strictly in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Keith Clay Floors can find out any particulars about your floor before you make a decision about what to use. Impregnators typically do not result in a gloss finish, whereas sealers may be a gloss or satin finish. Remember that all sealers and impregnators are a permanent treatment, and that they are very difficult to remove. We recommend that a sample piece or small area be treated first to insure that you achieve the desired end finish. Once complete, you will be able to make the best decision for your floor.
What About Waxes?
Keith Clay Floor does recommend water waxes and resin finishes for interior surfaces, as they seldom hold up satisfactorily on outdoor surfaces. It is possible that they may turn gray from exposure and could be difficult to remove. The solvent waxes are less affected by the exposure, but since they must be buffed when dry, they present a problem on a natural cleft surface rather than a smooth surface. For interior slate, either kind of wax will emphasize the colors and make sweeping and dusting much easier. Keith Clay Floors will be happy to properly evaluate floor type and best solution for your particular location based on manufacturer’s recommendations.
In general, dust and ordinary soil will not be present and stay on a waxed surface. Often dry buffing will avoid the need for mopping or scrubbing. If soil on the waxed surface resists buffing with a brush, fine steel wool or an abrading pad may be used, and Keith Clay Floors recommends that a professional handle that for you. It is necessary that a high degree of care should be taken not to dig into the wax if possible. Some of the acrylic waxes are very good on natural slate. For interior slate, any of the self polishing water waxes or one of the emulsified resin finishes may be best suited as they do not require buffing after drying.
What About Having Traffic Patterns?
Most heavy use areas will eventually develop “traffic patterns” over time. You may think that the slate is wearing, but more often than not, it is just the finish which is on the slate that may be worn. Waxes can be stripped and reapplied, however some sealers are relatively permanent. A record of the finish and manufacturer should be kept as some sealers are not compatible with others. Keith Clay Floors is happy to contact the original manufacturer for recommendations for re-sealing or removal of the finish it you make that decision.
What About Slip Resistance?
Care should be taken when applying any finish to slate as well as any stone to preserve “”slip resistance”” on commercial projects. A stone’s slip resistance is usually altered by the application of a finish. Usually this is extremely important on commercial floors, but finding a way to deter accidents is also desirable in the home. All floors are slippery when wet and the use of some finishes may compound the problem.
Keith Clay has been in business for over 30 years serving Dallas, Frisco, Plano, Richardson and all Dallas Metroplex suburbs. We know wood floors and can answer any questions you may have. If you want the best job from a company of professionals, call us today. 972-463-6604. World Class Craftsmanship. Reasonable Prices.