Slate Care and Maintenance

A few tips from the team at Ardosia Slate. Find questions that we are often asked and answers providing you with help on your long term slate maintenance .

polished slate worktop in a modern cottage kitchen with an exposed stone wall

How do you polish slate?

Slate is relatively easy to polish when you need to clean it or repair scratches. For a basic clean, wash down your slate with soapy water, avoid using abrasive cleaning products. When you have removed all dirt and grease, wash the slate off with clean water and a clean cloth, this will remove any soap residues. When the slate is clean of dirt and soap, dry the slate off and you can use a proprietary ‘sealer’  0n the face of the slate to restore the pristine look. Make sure that you polish the sealer to remove any excess and provide a nice sheen finish. If any scratches remain polish them with a fine wire wool, followed by the sealer to restore a perfect finish.


Does slate need to be sealed?

Slate doesn’t need to be sealed in many cases but it is advisable to use a sealer for slate when it is used for flooring or high usage areas and you want to retain a pristine finish and for ease of maintenance. Slate has been used as traditional flagstone flooring for centuries where the wear and tear of usage just adds to the natural beauty of the floor.


What is the best sealer for slate tiles?

If you have highly polished slate and want to retain the perfect finish, a sealer is recommended. Sealers developed for stone floors are always the best products to buy as they will be specifically manufactured for use with stone.

bespoke polished slate kitchen worktop with a fantastic finish


How often should you seal slate floors?

It is often the case that a sealant would only need to be applied once a year to retain a protective layer over the flooring. The number of times that a sealant is used depends a lot on the wear and tear on the floor. If there are areas on your floor such as to the sides and walls where there is little wear, you may only need to seal once. High footfall areas may need to be sealed more regularly but once a year for slate sealing is a good guide.


What paint do you use on slate?

You can easily paint on slate, in fact it is a perfect use for non permanent paints and chalk and was the first form for the traditional school chalk board. Today, slate signs are often seen outside of restaurants and pubs for the latest menu choices as it is easy to clean off temporary paints and chalks and paint over. Permanent paints also work on slate, often with slate engraving, the inside of the engraved edges are painted with a light colour to make the engraving stand out against the darker colour of the slate.


Stunning country bathroom with a copper bath finished on slate flooring and wall cladding


Do you grout a slate tile?

You can grout slate tiles and patience is the key to a perfect finish. Slate flooring tends to have uneven finishes, especially with slate flagstones. If you get grout onto the slate flagstones around the spacing it can spoil the appearance. Take your time when filling the spacing with grout, you could even put down neat lines of masking tape but ensure that these don’t go into the spacing. The masking tape will help keep the immediate areas around the space free from grout. If you do spill grout on a tile, clean it up immediately and thoroughly and take plenty of time! It is always advisable to grout slate tiles if there is spacing, this provides strength to the edges of the tiles and prevents the slate from cracking.


What do you grout a slate tile with?

Before you grout and if you are going to seal your floor, do the sealing first, this will help to protect the slate tiles. When you do grout a floor, work in one area at a time, do not aim to grout the floor in one go. It is a lot easier to clean grout off before it starts to go off so work in a small area at a time, usually around a metre square of floor or wall.  You do not need to buy a specialist grout, most standard grouts are designed for stone floors. Clean off any excess grout around the slate as soon as possible using clean water and a clean sponge. You can purchase grout tools for specific edges and for tricky corners.


Can you polish slate?

Small scratches can be sanded out using fine wire wool or ‘wet and dry’ sand paper working from a coarse grade to finish with a smooth grain over the entire tile if you have a scratch and always finish off with sealer to provide the professional finish.