Technical Guides

Slate Installation & Maintenance

After Installation & Cleanup

  1. Natural slate is a hard dense material with a skid-resistant texture and a beautiful range of colors. Its economy, performance and durability make it a very popular choice for flooring and wall-cladding.
  2. Slate is quarried in many countries and is offered in several formats: Natural cleft slate varies in thickness by approximately 1/4” (from 3/8” to 5/8”). Some slates are available ‘gauged’ – in a uniform 1/2” thickness. Others are ‘even thickness’ – 3/8” to 1/2” thick. The advantage of natural cleft slate is that you can affect color by putting either side up. The advantage of ‘gauged’ and ‘even thickness’ slates is that they are easier to install.
  3. All slates should be set with a medium set mortar. Tiles can be sorted and back-buttered, if necessary, to achieve a level surface. A joint width of approximately 1/4”-3/8” is recommended by the manufacturers. A natural gray or complementary colored grout should be used.
  4. Most slate tiles are shipped loose or bundled in crates, not cartons. Buyers should add approximately 5-10 percent for breakage and waste.
  5. Sealing of slate is necessary to improve stain-resistance and cleanability. When a natural look is desired and your floor is subject to normal soiling, apply Slate Sealer, a combination penetrating sealer and low-sheen finish. For floors exposed to food, beverage or other staining agents, apply Sealer’s Choice, a penetrating sealer with high solids content that protects below the surface. One coat of sealer before grouting makes grout clean-up easier. Remember your floor should be squeaky clean before you apply sealers and finishes, and you should do a test area first.
  6. If a color-enhanced finish is desired, seal first with solvent-based Stone Enhancer and then use one of the penetrating sealers above. Multiple coats may be necessary to achieve the desired appearance.
  7. When a buffable top finish is desired, use Floor Shine and Hardener for a medium to high sheen. This can be applied over the Slate Sealer to maximize stain-resistance and cleanability.
  8. For routine maintenance, mop with neutral cleaners such as Stone Cleaner. Be sure to remove as much of the cleaning solution as possible to prevent dirt from settling back onto the floor. A thorough scrubbing of the floor should be done occasionally depending on traffic, using a more concentrated solution. Heavy-duty cleaners will strip your floor finishes or break down penetrating sealers.
  9. The products specified above are manufactured by Aqua-Mix and sold through Tile X Design. Always use products specifically manufactured for natural stone or recommended by your supplier or risk damaging your stone.
  10. Since most slate is sedimentary, some flaking may occur during the first year or so. These areas should be rubbed down with steel wool and spot sealed, if necessary, to match the other areas of the floor.

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