The photos below are of a Black Slate Kitchen floor at a property in Tooting SW17, which as you can see had lost all its colour and character. I went over to survey the floor and discussed a renovation plan with the owner.
One of the problems was the grout which like the tile hadn’t faired very well over the years and being in the Kitchen was subject to staining. I explained that like all stone floors the Slate needed to be sealed in order to keep the dirt out of its pores and keep it looking its best. Sealers however wear down with use and in this case the floor hadn’t been deep cleaned and sealed for some time.
I costed out a renovation plan which included deep cleaning the Slate tile removing any remaining sealer in the process, renovating the grout, and then re-sealing the whole floor to bring back the appearance of the stone and protect it going forward. Happy with the quote we agreed a date to start the work.
Deep Cleaning a Natural Black Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor
Normally I would use a Tile Doctor product called Remove and Go to remove the sealer, however in this case testing had shown that what was left of the sealer could be removed with Pro-Clean which is also our go to Tile and Grout Cleaner.
I used a strong dilution of Pro-Clean to do this, spraying it onto the floor and leaving it to soak in for ten minutes and break down the dirt etc. Then using a black scrubbing pad fitted to a heavy rotary buffer machine it was worked into the Slate to release the dirt and old sealer. The floor was then rinsed with water and the soiling extracted with a wet vacuum.
The pads can struggle to get into the corners and edges of the floor and the recesses of the grout line. So, to complete the cleaning a handheld scrubbing brush was used and a wire brush run along the grout lines, again with more Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. After another rinse and extraction with the wet vacuum the floor was left to dry aided with a couple of floor blowers.
Grout Colouring and Sealing Black Slate Tiled Kitchen Floor
Once dry the grout was coloured with a Black Tile Doctor grout colourant which is basically painted onto the grout with a small brush and any excess wiped off the tile. This grout colourant gives the grout a uniform appearance and adds an impenetrable barrier over the grout sealing it in and keeping it safe from further staining. Keeping grout clean in a kitchen is always a problem so the colourant will protect it and make it very easy to clean.
The last step was to seal the Slate for which I used Tile Doctor X-Tra Seal. This was chosen because it’s an impregnating oil-based sealer that will restore the beautiful dark colour in the stone. Impregnators work by occupying the tiny pores in the stone thereby forcing dirt to remain on the surface where they can easily be cleaned away.
In the subject of maintenance cleaning, I recommend the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which is a gentle but effective cleaner that won’t harm the sealer. Many of the floor cleaning products you find in supermarkets etc are not for use on sealed stone, they contain strong chemicals such as bleach etc which will strip off the sealer prematurely so best avoided.