Slate, a very dense but soft and easily scratched material with low porosity, can be used effectively outdoors as well as indoors. Higher absorbency varieties are not suitable for exterior areas in freezing climates. Slate is a fine-grained metamorphic rock formed by the metamorphism of shale and clay under lower pressures and temperatures which tends to split into sheet-like (cleavage planes) structures formed in response to differential stress. It comes in a multitude of colors and has two lines of breakability (cleavage & grain).
What is Slate Made of?
Mainly grains of mica and quartz, plus smaller amounts of chlorite, hematite, and other minerals. Most slate is gray to black, but the rock may be red or purple, depending on its mineral content. The surface of slate is generally uneven and cleft planes can spall, due to the cleaving of the stone along its layers. Has low to medium absorption of oils and other liquids. Should be sealed with an oil-repellant penetrating sealer to prevent staining and reduce soiling. Because of the cleft planes and the strong possibility of spalling, it should never be cleaned at pressures above 800 PSI and then only if the grout is in good condition.
Vermont type slate is typically smoother, denser, one color (red, green, black, blue). Indian and Chinese slates are dense and soft, of all colors and variegated colors. Brazilian slate is typically dense and hard, interesting colors and patterns of color.
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How should you care for a Slate Floor?
- DO clean up spills immediately to minimize damage to your stone.
- DO use trivets or mats under hot dishes and cookware.
- DO use place mats under china, ceramics, silver and other objects that can scratch your stone’s surface.
- DO use coasters under glasses, especially if they contain alcohol or citrus juices.
- DO clean surfaces regularly with StoneTech™ Professional Revitalizer™ Cleaner & Protector.
What shouldn’t you do with a Slate Floor?
- DON’T wait to clean up spills on stone.
- DON’T use cleaners that contain any type of acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners or tub cleaners.
- DON’T use vinegar, bleach, ammonia or other general-purpose cleaners.
- DON’T use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers.
- DON’T use alkaline cleaners not specifically formulated for stone.
- DON’T use scouring powders and abrasives because they will scratch the surface.
- DON’T clean at high pressures.
Sealing & Protecting Slate Tile
Natural stone surfaces must be sealed to prevent or minimize staining. Leaving natural stone untreated may greatly hinder the complete removal of stains in the future. The following suggestions are for impregnating the stone and will allow the stone to breathe. Allow new installations to cure for 72 hours prior to applying sealer.