Tenuous link I know but I worked on this semi riven Black Brazilian Slate Tiles in the kitchen and dining room of a house in the seaside town of Thornton-Cleveleys around the time of the Rio Olympics. I love working on Slate as although it’s appearance can degrade without proper maintenance due to a build-up of dirt I knew they would look fantastic by the time I had finished.
The tile itself had lost its rich black colour and the grout lines had become stained, leaving the floor as a whole looking very unattractive. Out of interest honed Slate has a smooth, refined texture whereas the riven Slate has a rougher, more natural texture, and this can make it more difficult to keep clean. Needless to say, the customer was keen to have the tiles restored to looking their best.
Cleaning Black Semi-Riven Brazilian Slate Tiles
To restore the appearance of the Slate, I cleaned the floor and removed what remained of the old sealer off using Tile Doctor Remove and Go. This was scrubbed into the floor using a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary machine. The floor was then rinsed with water, and the process repeated where necessary to tackle particularly stubborn areas of dirt.
As mentioned previously, the grout lines were in a particularly bad state, and would need special cleaning attention. I cleaned carefully with a strong 5-to-1 dilution of Tile Doctor Pro Clean with water, which is our high alkaline cleaner. The cleaning solution was scrubbed I’m using a stiff handheld grout brush, with the grout lines looking immediately cleaner. When I was satisfied that the grout lines had been restored to the best possible condition, I gave the floor a thorough rinse using the wet pickup function of a wet wax machine to get the floor as dry as possible and then left the whole floor to dry off overnight.
Sealing Black Semi-Riven Brazilian Slate Tiles
Upon my return to the property I ran some quick damp tests to check that the floor was completely dry. This is important as any excess moisture would have prevented me from sealing the tiles, since it can cloud the sealer and damage it performance.
Previously I discussed sealer options with the customer and they stated that they would prefer a Satin finish, so I applied a sealer called Tile Doctor Seal and Go, our topical sealer which will both protect the Slate from dirt and stains, and also gave it the desired finish. As you can see from the below photographs, the rich, dark shades in the Slate were really enhanced.
The customer was very pleased with the finished result, but was also concerned about keeping the Slate clean in the long-term. For regular cleaning I advised the customer to use a pH neutral cleaner for aftercare called Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner. As a pH neutral cleaner, it will not erode the sealer compared to acidic cleaners you so often find in supermarkets.