Slate Tile Cleaning

Welcome to my Work History archive where you will find detailed examples of the cleaning and renovation of Slate flooring carried out in West Cheshire

Cleaning and Renovating Slate Floors

Slate is a very popular floor and wall tile due to its low porosity; there are many varieties and textures of Slate available as such Tile Doctor has spent many years researching the best cleaning and sealing methods and products. The semi-riven tile is particularly easier to maintain compared to the rough textured Slate commonly available due to its cheaper quarrying cost.

Porosity however small, is the main issue when maintaining Stone floors as dirt can easily become trapped in the pores and once that happens it becomes very difficult to clean. The solution is to prevent the ingress of dirt in the stone by applying a sealer such as Tile Doctor Seal and Go which works very well on Slate. However sealers do wear down with use and the application of unsuitable cleaning products, and so unless regularly maintained the floor will need to be stripped, deep cleaned and then resealed again every three to five years.

Below you will find detailed examples of work we have carried out in the past, it should give you some idea of what’s involved and what can be achieved with the right techniques and products.

Welsh Slate Floor Before and After Renovation Holywell

Welsh Slate Kitchen Floor Renovated in Holywell

We were contacted by a client from the Welsh market town of Holywell asking for assistance with the renovation of a Welsh Slate floor. The stone floor was in their Kitchen and adjacent dining area and had not been professionally cleaned and resealed for several years. To prevent dirt from becoming ingrained in the pores of natural stone its important to maintain the sealer which does wear off with use.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning in Holywell

I visited the property to survey the floor and identify any potential issues and could instantly see that the Slate tiles in the large kitchen and dining area had lost their appearance and were now looking very dull indeed. It was clear the sealer had worn away and the stone now needed some love and care to get it looking as it should. To prove to the point, I ran a small cleaning demonstration on part of the floor and straight away they could see an improvement. Happy with my quote to deep clean the Slate and Grout and then reseal the job was booked in.

Slate Floor Before Cleaning in Holywell

Deep Cleaning Welsh Slate Tile Floor Tiles

The first job was to mop the floor with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean which is a strong cleaner, stripper, and degreaser. A strong dilution is best for treating heavy soiled areas and after application it was left to dwell for ten minutes before being scrubbed in with a black pad fitted to a rotary machine and water. This combination released the dirt and old sealer from the pores of the Slate. It normally works on grout lines too but in this case the grout was so dirty I had to use a wire brush to get it clean.

The manual scrubbing is of course a slower process than using a machine but was the only way to get the grout clean. The dirty residue was removed with a wet vacuum and the process was repeated until we were satisfied the Slate and grout was as clean as it could be. After a final extraction with the wet vacuum the floor was then left to dry out naturally overnight.

Sealing a Welsh Slate Kitchen Floor

Returning the next morning the floor was tested with a damp meter to make sure it was ready to seal. The readings were good, so a coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow was applied which is an impregnating and colour intensifying sealer. This was left to soak into the tiles for ten minutes before rubbing the excess off with a microfibre cloth. This brought out the different natural colours out in the slate and being an impregnator offers a great defence against ingrained dirt.

Once the sealer was dry it was followed by the application of Tile Doctor Seal and Go to give the floor a nice gloss finish which the client had requested. I found it took five coats of Seal and Go to fully seal the floor but as you can see from the final photographs on this page it made an incredible difference.

Slate Floor After Renovation in Holywell Slate Floor After Renovation in Holywell

On their return from work, they were over the moon with the finished result, the floor really had been transformed and fully revived. For aftercare cleaning I recommended they use Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner which will keep the floor clean without damaging the sealer.

Slate Floor After Renovation in Holywell


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Grubby, Unsealed Slate Tiles Revitalised in Lymm

One of the worst examples of bad tiling practice is to leave a newly installed floor unsealed and therefore unprotected. This is exactly the problem that had occurred at this property in Lymm, West Cheshire. A builder has installed a new Slate tiled floor in the kitchen of this property, but had neglected to seal it, leaning the tiles exposed to dirt, stains, and other general muck so they quickly lost their appearance. To be fair I could not fault the installation but the floor now looked terrible.

Slate Floor Before Clean and seal grout recolour in Lymm Cheshire

The property owner was keen to have the grubby Slate tiles refreshed and sealed, so she gave me a call. I agreed to complete the work and travelled to the property in Lymm – which incidentally means “place of running water” in Celtic – and was named after an ancient stream that ran through the village centre.

Cleaning a Grubby Slate Tiled Floor

Upon my arrival at the property I got straight to work, cleaning the tiles with our heavy duty remover/cleaner, Tile Doctor Remove and Go. This was applied to the floor, left to soak in and then scrubbed into the tile using a rotary machine fitted with a black scrubbing pad to break down the layers of muck. Normally I would use Remove and Go to strip away old coatings and sealers, but here of course there was no sealer to begin with just a lot of ingrained dirt.

I also carefully scrubbed the grout lines with a special grout brush as I went along. The grout lines are often where dirt can be come easily ingrained, and it was no different here. The floor was then rinsed off with clean water, and any resulting could residue was quickly removed using a wet vac machine. Finally, the floor was left to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Slate Tiled Floor

The next day I returned to the property and started by checking that the floor was completely dry and ready to be sealed. This involved running damp tests to check for excess moisture. When satisfied, I proceeded to seal the floor with a single coat of our impregnating, colour enhancing sealer, Tile Doctor Colour Grow followed by two coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go Extra, which gives the tiles a fantastic sheen finish.

Refreshing Grout with a Grout Colourant

The customer requested for the grout lines to be recoloured, but first I had to leave the property overnight to allow the sealer to dry. The next morning, I coloured the grout lines with white Tile Doctor Grout Colourant which is just a question of applying the colourant with a small brush and then wiping the excess off the tiles. It’s not a tough job but it can be quite fiddley and it does make a real difference to the appearance of the grout.

Slate Floor After Clean and seal grout recolour in Lymm Cheshire

As you can see from the After photograph the white Grout Colourant contrasted very nicely against the naturally dark Slate. The absence of a sealer had left the floor looking very dull but now, with a fresh, robust seal, it has been completely revitalised. My customer was exceptionally pleased with her hugely improved kitchen floor.

Post Installation Treatment of a Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor in Cheshire

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