Because Slate can come from so many different original rocks and it can come in any color. Slate is a porous stone but not as much as other types of stone. Slate can be used as roof shingles but if water sits on it can peel or delaminate.
Slate can be stained but is generally pretty stain resistant. Slate’s unique characteristics are why Slate has some varied and unique uses such as roof shingles, tabletops, pool tables, floor tiles, Flagstone pavers, showers and other uses.
The Power Clean method for cleaning existing Slate tile will depend on its current condition and what type of sealer was previously used. These are general methods and results will vary.
Bare (uncoated) Slate: We use light abrasives and a cleaning solution to loosen the dirt and debris from the stone and grout.
Previously coated Slate where the coating is still generally intact: We will use appropriate grit strength to clean surface dirt without removing the existing coating and prepare for a re-coat with surface sealer.
Previously coated Slate with coating breakthrough and bare spots: This will usually require stripping of the existing coating as much as possible and aggressive cleaning before it is ready for a re-application of a surface or penetrating sealer.
We use our powerful truck-mounted cleanup machine to remove slurries created during the cleaning and stripping steps. The use of a powerful vacuum system such as ours is key to providing the best cleaning possible and insuring a clean and even sealer application.
After being cleaned with our custom abrasive process, the top portion reveals so much color, varying greatly from the dull lifeless slate in the bottom half of the photo.
Penetrating sealers are clear and soak into the Slate with no change to appearance. The function of the penetrating sealer is to fill the pores and make the Slate less absorbent, keeping spills to the surface only. Keep in mind that all natural stone is porous, staining is still possible depending on what is spilled.
Penetrating sealers mixed with oil will darken & enrich the various colors in Slate but won’t add any shine. Think of it as moisturizer for the Slate. A penetrating sealer will help keep liquid spills on top of the stone rather than soaking in. It is important to note that penetrating sealers are not bulletproof, and all natural stone is porous. Staining can still occur depending on what is spilled.
Topcoat/Surface sealer will always impart some shine ranging from semi-gloss to high gloss. First, we apply a large molecule chemical resistant sealer. This soaks into the Slate as much as possible to prevent water penetration and stains. Then we apply several coats of acrylic sealer that is chemically sensitive. This becomes a working surface as long as it is cleaned properly and recoated before the sealer has broken through and bare tile is exposed. It is very important that topcoat sealers are maintained properly or they will lose restorability. In some cases, the coating may need to be stripped. Stripping is removing as much of the coating as possible and makes restoration more difficult as well as adding expense to the project.