Looking after a slate floor requires proper cleaning and maintenance. Slate floors are made from tiles that are constructed from quarried rock and, therefore, can also be fragile. Slate is prone to cracking, but in older homes, this is also classed as a decorative feature to enhance the dignified age of the house. Cleaning and polishing slates floors should be done regularly so that debris doesn’t break down the surface and make them the tiles look grubby.
Step 1 – Preparation
Prepare the floor by brushing it with a soft-bristled broom. All dust and debris should be removed by brushing the floor. Any grit that was there can be ground into the slate and cause cracks or scarring on the tile surface.
Step 2 – Brushing
Your slate tiled floor may have been previously waxed. If so, this will need removing before you can wash the tiled floor. Use a firm bristled brush to brush off any excess wax. As wax is water-resistant, if you miss any parts, you will notice it during washing, so make sure it is all cleaned away before you begin that process.
Mix wax remover solution in a bucket. Follow the label on the wax stripper for mixing and dilution instructions. Dilution techniques may vary from product to product.
Dampen a mop in the stripping solution and apply to a small area of floor. Do not flood the floor area with solution, as it can work into and beneath the slate and damage any underlying materials.
Allow five to 10 minutes for the solution to react with the wax. If you see the solution beginning to dry, apply another layer.
Mop again to remove solution and wax. Rinse the mop in water between each application.
Continue this process until the wax is removed from the whole floor. You may need to apply more than one coat of wax stripper to an area to completely remove the wax.
Step 3 – Vacuuming
When you have brushed the wax off, use the soft broom to brush all the dirt and debris up and then vacuum the entire floor surface. Leave no dust or grit behind because it will interfere with the mopping process.
Step 4 – Mopping the Floor
Dip the soft cotton cloth into the warm soapy water and squeeze it out. Clean the entire floor with the mop, refreshing the water in it periodically. Wash away all the loose particles and rinse the mop after every use.
Step 5 – Rinsing
Rinse the mop out and drench it in the warm clean water and rinse the floor. Eliminate all signs of soap suds and leave the floor to dry thoroughly. You will note that as the floor dries out, the slate tiles will look dull and without sheen. Once all the tiles have the same appearance, you will know the floor is totally dry and ready for waxing.
Step 6 – Waxing
Once the floor has totally dried, begin waxing. This will mean getting on your knees and polishing the wax into each individual tile. It is not totally necessary because some floor waxes can be mopped, but other more long lasting waxes will require that level of care and patience.
Step 7 – Finishing Up
Once the wax has been thoroughly applied across the entire floor surface, use a clean dry mop cloth to polish the wax up to a shiny coating. Apply two coats if necessary and polish again. As a word of caution, do not use oil on slate tiles because it is an unsuitable covering for slate. Always use floor recommended wax polish on slate.