Semi-Riven Slate

Renovating Copper Slate Tiles with a Semi Riven Finish in Ribchester

This Copper Slate tiled floor at a property in the Ribble Valley village of Ribchester had been sealed just twelve months before by another company who used a topical acrylic sealer as the client wanted a shiny finish. However, this was a bad choice for a semi-riven tile and exacerbated by the fact that the client had three large dogs. The topical sealer just couldn’t cope and the shine on the Slate faded in a few months.

Semi Riven Copper Slate Before Cleaning Ribchester

After discussing the problem, I suggested stripping off what was left of the topical seal and then re sealing with a sturdier impregnating sealer. I recommended a product called Tile Doctor X-Tra seal which is a premium product that improves colour and is very durable so much so it can also be used externally. Since releasing this product last year it has proved to be very popular and has proven to be the answer in numerous tricky situations. It also adds a lustre and patina to the stone. The client was happy to go ahead with my quote.

Semi Riven Copper Slate Before Cleaning Ribchester

Cleaning a Semi Riven Copper Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor

My first concern when dealing with a floor situated in a kitchen is to prevent water being absorbed by the kitchen base units and plinths. Normally the plinths can be removed but if not, the solution is to run a bead of silicone around the area of concern. MDF is easily blown by moisture, and it doesn’t take us long to add so it’s well worth doing.

Semi Riven Copper Slate Before Cleaning Ribchester

The cleaning started with the application of a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was scrubbed into the floor to remove the old sealer. On this occasion it was scrubbed in using a 200-grit milling pad fitted to a rotary machine. As well as stripping off the old sealer this action deep cleans the tile and grout. A lot of soil is released during the process, and this is brushed and rinsed away with clean water and extracted using a wet vacuum.

The next step was to give the floor an Acid Rinse using a product called Tile Doctor Grout Clean-up, this not only cleans the grout but also neutralised the pH of the floor after cleaning with The Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an alkaline product.

An acid wash removes grout smears, unwanted mineral deposits and roughens the stone at a microscopic level to provide a better bond for the sealer. You must be careful what you use it on, and we wouldn’t recommend it for use on acid sensitive materials such as Limestone, Marble, or Travertine. Grout Clean-up is however safe to use on Slate, but I wouldn’t leave it on for a long period of time.

After another rinse with water the wet vacuum was deployed again to remove as much moisture from the floor as possible. The floor was then left to dry out fully overnight.

Sealing a Semi Riven Copper Slate Kitchen Floor

The next day after confirming the floor was dry, work started with the application of what would be two coats of Tile Doctor X-Tra seal. X-Tra seal is an impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the Slate ensuring dirt cannot reside there.

Semi Riven Copper Slate After Cleaning Ribchester

I would be the first to admit that a topical sealer would have resulted in a shiner finish but clearly this was not a practical choice when you have 3 big dogs who will run around the floor and tear at the sealer with their claws. Topical sealers as the name suggest sit on the surface and are simply not a very practical option for this situation.

Semi Riven Copper Slate After Cleaning Ribchester

Once completed the Copper colour in the Slate was really enhanced, the grout looked much cleaner and overall, the floor looked great; more importantly the client was very happy with the work we had carried out.

For the cleaning of sealed Slate tiles, I recommend the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Clean which is pH neutral and gentle enough for regularly use. Its also provided in concentrated form so a small amount goes a long way. Many of the floor cleaning products you find in supermarkets are bleach based and far too strong for use on a sealed tile resulting in premature damage to the sealer. I forgot to ask what they had been using to clean the floor previously, but this may also have been a factor in why the previous sealer only lasted a few months.

 

Professional Restoration of a Semi Riven Copper Slate Kitchen Floor in Lancashire

Brazilian Grey/Green Semi-Riven Slate Floor Hornby Kitchen

Rough Slate is notorious for homeowners to maintain as dirt can quickly become trapped in the rough surfaces. The example on this page is that of Brazilian Semi Riven Slate installed in the Kitchen of a house in the village of Hornby, which while naturally cleft from the rock loses none of its texture and style and yet has a much smother appearance than the typical rough Slates from China. Less processing means it’s not quite completely smooth but it is a lot less expensive to buy than say a honed or polished Slate which is more difficult to maintain due to various polishing techniques required to keep up the appearance. Brazilian Slate is in fact one of my favourite slates to clean and also one of the most rewarding of Slates to seal as the sealer really does bring out the colour and character of the stone.

Sealers provide a protective barrier on natural stone floors and without it dirt can penetrate into the pores of the stone making it more and more difficult to clean effectively. Unfortunately on this floor the new homeowners were unaware on what sort of Stone it was and had no idea how to look after it which resulted in the sealer wearing down prematurely and the floor becoming dull and un-inviting.

Semi-Riven Slate floor Before Cleaning Hornby Semi-Riven Slate floor Before Cleaning Hornby

Cleaning Black Semi-Riven Brazilian Slate Tiles

To restore the appearance of the Slate floor we started by taping up the edges of the new kitchen units to protect the wood from splashing. This was followed with an application of a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-clean worked in with a black buffing pad fitted to a buffing machine running at slow speed (working at a slower speed results in less splashing). The pads can struggle to reach the edges and corners so these were cleaned by hand.

Once we had finished on the main floor area we then concentrated on the grout using a steam cleaner and more Pro-clean scrubbed in with a narrow stiff brush.

Last step of the cleaning was to rinse the floor with water to remove any trace of cleaning products from the Slate and then dried off the floor the best we could with our high wattage wet vacuum machine and left the floor to dry off naturally over night.

Sealing Black Semi-Riven Brazilian Slate Tiles

The next day we returned to seal the floor checking first that the floor had completely dried. The customer had requested a matt finish however we have worked on Brazilian Slate many times before and we knew how good they can look with this Satin finish sealer. Naturally its the customers decision so we offered to do a test piece and let them decide if they didn’t like it we would strip off the test piece and apply a Matt finish sealer like Tile Doctor Colour Grow instead.

The floor was dry so a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go were applied to one Tile so that they could appreciate how it would look. Luckily the customer agreed with us and so we set about sealing the whole floor with Seal and Go.

To speed up the drying process Air Blowers were installed as we worked and it wasn’t long before the sealer was dry and the customers were able to walk on the floor and inspect every area before we left. I’m please to report that they were over the moon with the floor and my recommendation of sealer.

Semi-Riven Slate floor After Cleaning Hornby Semi-Riven Slate floor After Cleaning Hornby

To maintain the slate tiles going forward we always give our customers a free bottle of Tile Doctor pH neutral tile cleaner, which is a little incentive for them to provide some feedback via our website.

Professional Semi Riven Slate Floor Renovation in Lancashire

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