Best Maintenance Techniques for Slate Floor Tiles

Slate floor tiles can bring an exciting organic look to interiors and offer a durable and hardwearing alternative to wood or laminate floor for functional areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. To get the best from slate flooring the area will need to be carefully maintained following a few simple guidelines. 

Seal Slate Tiles

If your slate floor has been installed using untreated slate, especially if the stone originates in Asian countries such as China or India where the natural slate produced is of a more porous nature and therefore more prone to staining in the event of spills, it is advisable to apply a water-based polyurethane tile sealant to the floor at the first available opportunity. 

To seal the tile the floor should be swept or vacuumed and then washed using a solution of water and tile cleanser, available to buy from most hardware stores. When the floor is dry the tile sealant can be applied using a brush or mop to seal the surface, let the first coat dry fully and apply a second and even a third for the best effects. This sealant will make your floor more resistant to spills and stains allowing for a simple daily maintenance routine. 

Slate Tile Maintenance 

Once the slate tile floor has been treated with a sealant it should be swept or vacuumed daily – dirt and grit brought into your home on shoes and trodden into the surface of the tiles can dull the finish on your floor and leave it looking lacklustre.  Every few days the floor should be mopped using a gentle acid free soap cleanser, special tile friendly versions are available from your hardware store. Mop once with the soapy solution to remove dirt and then, using plain water, mop a second time to rinse. Floors can be left to dry naturally.

Do not apply any waxing products to your slate tile floor – waxing will detract from the natural beauty of the slate by covering natural patterning and changing the organic hues of the material, applying wax can also cause grout to turn yellow over time which will make your floor look soiled and old. If you want to achieve a gloss finish for your floor, a sheen adding product can be applied at the sealing stage although again, this may detract from the natural look of the floor and will make the surface more likely to show up any dirt between cleanings. 

Cleaning Grout Stains 

If the grout between tiles becomes stained dues to spillages do not use any strong acid-based cleaning products as these may come into contact with the slate tiles themselves and can weaken the material. Instead apply shaving foam direct to the stained area of grout and leave in place for half an hour, before wiping away. Repeat as necessary until stain is removed.

Inspect Slate Floors 

Check slate tile floors regularly for chips and crack and replace damaged tiles as soon as possible in order to avoid compromising the integrity of the floor – this can lead to further damage as surrounding tiles are weakened.