Slate is one type of natural stone flooring which, along with other options such as marble and limestone, has always been a popular choice for flooring. It is chosen as a floor for a variety of reasons – sometimes purely aesthetically as slate offers a limitless range of naturally occurring designs, shades and colors, while it is also often chosen on the basis that it is a highly durable substance that will last for Many years to come.
The good look that comes with the floor is what people wish to maintain for many years and people often mistake 'durability' with 'maintenance free' and this is where problems can occur. Slate, like any other type of flooring will look good only as long as you keep it that way, and without regular maintenance and cleaning – it can soon acquire a dull, uneven and unsatisfactory appearance that can be very difficult to change.
The first steps of cleaning revolve around protection – so assuming the floor has been professionally installed and the grout correctly applied – the first stage is the application of a good quality sealant to offer an additional layer of protection. It is usually a good idea to apply a special grout sealer, but a slate floor cleaning specialist will be able to recommend this for you.
The main damage to floors comes from tiny dirt and grit particles and sand walked in on the soles of shoes which can cause surface scratching and allow a place for grime and bacteria to build up over time. Surface scratching can also be caused by incorrectly moving heavy objects such as furniture – so care should also be taken there. Regular sweeping and vacuuming as well as placing doormats at entrances should reduce this risk.
The cleaning itself can be as simple as using a mop and warm water and thoroughly cleaning the surface to make sure there is no surface build up of grime. Different cleaning products can be used but take care to avoid products with any acidic or bleach content as this can actually mark or discolour the surface of the stone.
If, despite your cleaning efforts, you notice that there are stains or marks on the floor, it is possible that a spot on the floor has not properly cleaned and layer upon layer has built up to form as stain which is difficult to shift . It is equally possible that a section of the sealant (which should be periodically re-applied) has worn off exposing the surface underneath.