Slate Tile Cleaning

200-Year-Old Black Slate Floor Restoration in Grange over Sands

The customer from Grange Over Sands had taken up a musty smelling carpet that had been in place for many years over a Black Slate tiled floor. After taking to the internet to do some research he had worked out that the pointing would need to be re-done, the stone deep cleaned and then a breathable sealer put in place. Using a breathable sealer on an old floor is very important as it won’t have a damp proof membrane and so must be allowed to breathe. If the moisture can’t rise through the floor, it will accumulate and reach out to the walls causing rinsing damp which can be most unpleasant and result in mould.

Black Slate Floor Before Cleaning Grange-Over-Sands

Realising this was a lot of work to do on his own we were asked to quote for renovating the whole floor including sealing. Whilst I was there surveying the floor, I also noticed the slate slabs were slightly uneven with small height differences between the stone tiles, something we call lippage which can be a trip hazard.

Black Slate Floor Before Cleaning Grange-Over-Sands

Speaking with the owner I discussed the lippage problem and how it could be resolved using a process Tile Doctor invented called milling which uses very coarse diamond encrusted pads to grind away up to 4mm of unwanted stone and then refinish the surface. Happy to go with my suggestion out quote was accepted and a date arranged for the work to begin.

Milling Black Slate Flooring Level

We use a heavy weighted buffing machine to mill the stone, it weighs about 55kg when fully loaded and the extra weight ensures the coarse diamond pads make good contact. The process starts with a 50-grit DRB Milling pad to cut into the stone and remove the lippage, only water is used to help lubricate the process and once done the floor is rinsed and the soiling removed with a wet vacuum.

This process is followed with a 100-grit DRB pad and then a 200-grit DRB which hones the stone and gives it a smooth texture. The other advantage of using these pads is by removing the top layer it also takes the dirt with it leaving a new clean surface.

Next step was to knock out the old pointing with a Titan Breaker tool, it’s a noisy process but much of was already loose or missing so it was easier than it sounds. The old pointing was replaced using a modern flexible product that is also breathable.

The new pointing was allowed to cure overnight and then we called back to finish that stage of the restoration by working in a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go with a 200-grit milling pad. This step is designed to remove any sticky texture left over for the pointing and then we give the floor a final rinse with water and vacuum off the excess.

Sealing Black Slate Tiled Floor

The floor was left to dry off overnight and we came back for a 3rd day to seal the slate which was the final stage in the restoration. Before doing so though we like to check the moisture levels of the stone to make sure its dry enough. We don’t recommend applying a sealer to damp tile as it the results can be patchy.

To seal this floor two coats of Tile Doctor X-Tra Seal were applied, this product is oil based which is perfect for Black Slate as it helps restore the colour and adds texture to the stone. X-Tra Seal is also breathable and so will allow moisture from under the floor to rise through the stone and evaporate at the surface so no more musty damp smell.

Black Slate Floor After Cleaning Grange-Over-Sands

Once the sealer dried the room was transformed, additionally the newly milled finish will make the stone a lot easier to clean and maintain unlike the rough texture it had before. This was a great result when you consider this is an original slate floor over 200 years old; original features like this are very much sought after so a good investment that’s a natural fit within the older building.

I always mention to my customers the importance of using a PH neutral tile cleaning product for aftercare cleaning and not to use a bleach-based cleaning products which are simply too strong and will prematurely damage the sealer given time reducing its protective qualities and appearance.

Black Slate Floor After Cleaning Grange-Over-Sands


Professional Slate Floor Restoration in South Cumbria

Old Black Slate Hallway Floor Renovated in Grange over Sands

I recently completed the renovation of a Black Slate Floor at a property in Grange over Sands. The Slate floor was in the hallway which as you can imagine is one of the busiest areas in any house. The Slate had been down for many years and was now in need of an upgrade.

Black Slate Floor Before Renovation Grange over Sands

After surveying the Slate floor, I recommend using a method we have developed at Tile Doctor called Milling. This doesn’t just clean the stone but cuts through the rough texture and old shaling leaving a much smoother finish. This It is a bit like sanding a wooden floor using various grits of sandpaper to resurface the wood and then add a polish. In the case of stone of course sandpaper wouldn’t long, so when Milling we use coarse heavy duty floor pads encrusted with industrial diamonds.

I gave my client a quote for the work, which was happily accepted, and we scheduled a date for the work to be done the following month.

Resurfacing a Black Slate Tiled Hallway Floor

For Milling we use three different grits of pad applied in sequence with a weighted heavy duty floor buffer, the extra weight is needed to ensure a strong contact with the floor. Work starts with the 50-Grit Milling pad, then 100-grit and finally a 200-grit. Water is used to help lubricate the process and a wet vacuum is used after each pad to remove the slurry generated, the water also helps keep down the dust.

The mortar between the Slate was also in a poor state so this was broken out using a hammer drill and new pointing was applied, we like to use VDW800 for this purpose as it is available in 5 different colours. The natural tone looks very similar to lime pointing, but unlike lime pointing this product sets fully hard after 48 hours and it’s fully breathable so it is perfect for using with old floors like this without a damp proof membrane.

Black Slate Floor During Renovation Grange over Sands

Once the stone was milled and pointed, it was left to dry for 48 hours so it would be ready for sealing. I don’t recommend applying a sealer to a damp floor as the seal will struggle to cure and this can lead to an uneven result.

Sealing a Black Slate Tiled Hallway Floor

Returning later in the week, we then gave the floor one last light clean before applying two coats of Tile Doctor X-tra seal. This is a very effective and modern oil-based impregnating sealer the leaves a nice satin finish and breathable. Oil based sealers are essential for black stone as black stone is only black because of its oil content. In fact, Tile Doctor developed X-tra Seal in 2021 for exactly this type of job. The sealer can also be used outside as it comes with UV light protection unlike most sealers on the market which are really designed for internal use.

Black Slate Floor After Renovation Grange over Sands

My client was very happy with the work and even left the following feedback.

“Excellent service by both”

For aftercare cleaning I recommended the use of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which will keep it looking in great condition.

Black Slate Floor After Renovation Grange over Sands


Professional Restoration of a Black Slate Tiled Hallway in South Cumbria

Varnished Brazilian Slate tiled floor refinished in Barrow-in-Furness

This beautiful Brazilian Slate tiled floor was installed in the kitchen of a house in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria; the slate has been previously sealed with a number of products including Varnish and the overall effect was inconsistent making the floor dull and had done little to bring out the true beauty of the natural stone. Additionally varnish is quite brittle and easily scratched by furniture etc. so never a good choice for sealing a floor.

The situation needed to be remedied so during my visit I did a small test to strip off the old sealants, clean the tile and re-seal; the effect was transformational so they booked me to come back in a few weeks’ time to finish the job.

Varnished Brazilian Slate Tiles Before Cleaning

Removing Varnish from slate floor tiles

To transform the floor and guarantee the final appearance its necessary to remove all the previous products applied to the floor stripping it back to its natural state and then seal again. So I got started stripping off the varnish and other sealants from the floor slate using a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which is a tile friendly product designed to remove coatings from natural stone. The solution is sprayed onto the floor, left to soak in and then agitated using a floor buffer fitted with a black scrubbing pad. The soiled solution is then rinsed away and removed using a wet vacuum.

This process removed most but not all of the varnish and sealers so the next step was to apply NanoTech UltraClean which is a gel that you apply and leave for 30 minutes before adding water and agitating with a scrubbing pad. This did the trick and now not only was the slate clean of all coatings the grout had come up nice and clean as well. The whole floor was given a thorough rinse to remove any trace of product and then dried as much as possible using the wet vacuum to soak up the water.

Varnished Brazilian Slate Tiles Before Cleaning

Sealing Brazilian Slate Tiles

The floor was left to dry off overnight and I returned the next day to seal the tiles checking first with a damp meter to ensure they were no longer damp. All was well so I proceeded to apply the sealer with a paint pad applicator. For this we had agreed on Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is ideal for slate as it really does transform the look of slate and adds a nice satin finish, the Slate was quite porous so five coats were needed in total.

Varnished Brazilian Slate Tiles Partly Sealed Varnished Brazilian Slate Tiles Sealing

I think you will agree the Brazilian slate tiles look much improved; certainly the customer was happy with the results. Before leaving I gave them some advice about aftercare and what products to use when cleaning the floor in future for best results.

Varnished Brazilian Slate Tiles Finished


Brazilian Slate Floor Cleaned and Sealed in Barrow-in-Furness

Cleaning and Sealing Slate Tiles in Windermere

A Kendal Tiles customer from Windermere called me in to take a look at their Multi Coloured Chinese Slate tiled kitchen floor which was looking very dirty with ingrained stains and marks on the stone from spills etc. that were proving difficult for the customer to clean. The brief was to give the floor a deep clean, remove the stains and make it easier for them to maintain thereafter. On inspection I could see the sealer had broken down, which is why the slate was getting stained and hard to clean. I did a test area on the slate and grout to show them how it could look and it came up really well so the signed my Work survey form and booked me in to do the work.

Slate Tile Floor Cleaning Before Slate Tile Floor Cleaning Before

Cleaning Slate Floor Tiles

On my arrival I covered the wood and carpet in the kitchen and hallway to protect it then started on removing what was left of the old sealer with Tile Doctor Remove and Go; I sprayed it on working in small areas and activated it with a brush making sure I scrubbed well around the areas of slate that are risen as in this slate its uneven and then washed it off using a wet vacuum to remove the soiled solution. It was very satisfying to watch the tiles come back to life with bright colours, I kept at it all day until all the Slate tiles were clean and the sealer was fully removed, I then scrubbed all the grout joints to make sure they were all clean then I washed all the floor down before I left ready for sealing the next day.

Sealing Slate Floor Tiles

The next day I sealed the floor with Tile Doctor Seal and Go to protect and enhance the tile putting on five coats before it was fully sealed. I used an industrial air blower to help it dry quicker as the house owner had a dog and I did not want any paw prints in my work. Below is a photograph of the end results in which you can see the natural colours have come back to life.

Slate Tile Floor Cleaning After
This job took me two days and the owner was extremely happy with the result, I also spent time to explain a maintenance program discussing how to clean the floor with Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner which has a low PH and not an off the shelf supermarket cleaner which being mildly acidic can break down the sealer and reduce its life.

To Buy These Multi Coloured Chinese Slate tiles contact Kendal Tile and Stone.

Restoration of Slate Floor in Windermere

Cleaning and Sealing Slate Tiles in Ulveston

This property in Ulveston had previously been used as a guest house and was now being refurbished and turned back into a home. The kitchen and conservatory had a Slate tiled floor and as you can imagine had seen a fair amount of wear from the numerous fried breakfasts that had been prepared in there. The owners had decided to replace the kitchen but were keen to keep the slate floor however it was in a bad state and looked as if it had never been cleaned and sealed for some time.

I did a small test using Tile Doctor Remove and Go (which you can see in the photograph below) and it came up really well, naturally we were booked to come back and finish the rest of the floor which I had estimated would take two days.

Slate Floor in Ulveston Test Area Slate Floor in Ulveston Test Area

Cleaning Slate Floor Tiles

Two weeks later I turned up at 9am as agreed and set up my equipment, the kitchen had already been removed so with the exception on the cooker little preparation was required. I worked in small areas using a high pressure spinner tool to remove as much dirt off the tiles as possible and a wet vacuum to remove the soiled water.

Slate Floor in Ulveston Before Cleaning Slate Floor in Ulveston Before Cleaning

Stubborn areas were treated with Remove and Go and then I moved onto the next job which was to clean up the grout. For this I used a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a alkaline tile and grout cleaner that is safe to use on natural stone. It was scrubbed in using a stiff brush and then rinsed off with clean water, again using the wet vacuum to remove the soiled solution. The floor was now clean but still damp so I tidied up my tools and left for the day.

Slate Floor in Ulveston After Cleaning Slate Floor in Ulveston After Cleaning

Sealing Slate Floor Tiles

The Next day I came back and inspected the floor to ensure it was dry and that I hadn’t missed anything. All was well so I started to seal the floor with five thin coats of Tile Doctor Seal and Go which is an ideal sealer for slate as it adds a nice subtle sheen to the tile and being water based there is no smell as it dries. The sealer was applied using a paint pad applicator and each coat took around about twenty minutes to dry.

Slate Floor in Ulveston After Sealing Slate Floor in Ulveston After Sealing

When it was complete and the floor had dried I packed up my equipment and spent some time talking to the customer to check they were happy with the results (they were very happy) and to advise them on how to maintain the floor using with a neutral tile cleaner going forward which will help extend the life of the sealer.

To source slate tiles similar to these visit

Multi-coloured Chinese Slate Floor Cleaning in South Cumbria


South Cumbria Tile Doctor

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