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   How to:  Clean  |  Seal  |  Restore


Sealing - Cleaning - Problem Solving - Protection - Care

help with flooring

Indian Slate - Cleaning and Sealing
Indian Slate - gauged (cut flat)

slate living room floor

slate shower


Ungauged Indian Slate
Indian Slate - unguaged

Vermont Slate - Cleaning and Sealing
Vermont Slate

Indian Slate - gauged
Brazilian Slate

quartzite stone flooring
This is a piece of Quartzite stone.  These are very dense and can sometimes be found mixed in pallets with the the softer slate pieces.  See the Quartzite page for more detail on this harder stone. Choose the sealer based on this less absorbent stone and let the more absorbent stones have more sealer.

Slate is a name that is now used to describe many different stones with greatly varying characteristics.  The primary characteristic for sealing decisions is the absorption rate - see below.

There is no need for confusion or problems brought about by misidentification of a surface type, yet it happens all too often. If you would like to see why this is the case and how to properly identify a surfacing material ..... Click here

If you are concerned about doing it yourself - consider that the satisfaction of a project is directly related to your knowledge of what needs to be done and how. Who actually does the work is less important. We estimate that 25% of the usage of Aldon products is by "do it yourself" homeowners and we know they are happy because we hear from them.

MATERIAL DESCRIPTION - With Identifying Characteristics

Typical absorption range:

  • Brazilian = low
  • Vermont = very low to low
  • Indian, Chinese = low to high

Testing for acid sensitivity

Testing your surfacing for absorption rate

Note this on your worksheet for later reference

  • Approximately 5/16 to 3/4 inches thick.
  • Slate has become a term that is used for many types of cut stone.
  • This is a sedimentary material that has been created by layering in stream beds.
  • Wide range of colors.
  • Vermont type slate is typically smoother, denser, one color (red, green, black, blue)
  • Indian and Chinese slates are dense and soft, of all colors and variegated colors.
  • Brazilian slate is typically dense and hard, interesting colors and patterns of color.
  • The correct sealer will increase the strength and durability of slates.
  • "Gauged" slate is sawn to a uniform finish height so the end result is a smoother floor. It is also less expensive to install by $1.00 to $2.00 per square foot.
  • "Ungauged" slate is unsawn and split to size. Some pieces will be thicker than others and results in a less smooth, more rustic floor. The height variations cause a slower and more expensive installation.
slate pool deck

  • Traditional beauty
  • The great variety of colors, finishes, and shapes allow for a wide spectrum of rustic to sophisticated design options.
  • Used for wall cladding also. For suggestions regarding commercial projects where slate wall cladding will be caulked, click here.
CONSIDERATIONS      (All Are Preventable!)

(Click links for Aldon's solutions to these issues!)

  • Some Indian and Chinese slates will flake and powder from foot traffic. This is not rust or other minerals coming to the surface. These are spots of softer material becoming loose particles. To see how to deal with this problem, click here.
  • Some slates may be quite hard, but have a soft spot that can powder out. The powder residue is the same color as the slate. This is not efflorescence as that is a white powder. To prevent this gradual removal of slate that turns into a bigger and bigger hole, choose a sealer here How To Choose The Best Sealer For Your Project that is classified as "densifying".
  • Cement residue from grouting is difficult to clean from slates with ridges, crevices and holes. Do not use a sealer as a grout barrier (pre-seal). Prevent grout smears, surface scratching and keep grout residue out of surface texture by coating with Aldon "Grout Easy" before grouting. "Grout Easy" is a water soluble coating that comes off easily while grout is being cleaned up with water and a sponge.
  • Efflorescence (subsurface originating white powdery stains) can occur. However, this is easily cleaned.
  • Efflorescence can be stopped by sealing with the appropriate Aldon sealer.
  • Some black and brown slates (if unsealed) can lose color from aggressive cleaning. Click here for color restoration.
  • Some slates have almost zero absorption and a surface that can darken in patches from cleaners, chemical action, and/or scrubbing action. This can be prevented by sealing with S-B-S Sealer.

Following are recommendations for products you may need (in sequence of use ) for whichever of the categories applies to you. Please review each and mark your printed worksheet accordingly.

Layed, But Not Grouted

  1.  Grout Easy
  2. Efflorescence            Treatment       
  3. Grout Residue
    (should not be needed after using Grout Easy)     
Grouted, But Not Sealed
  1. Grout Residue
  2.  Efflorescence            Treatment       
  3. .............Sealer ( see below )
  4. Lifeguard
  5. Care ...........

Sealer Has Been Applied

Important! - First - Click here!

  1. Aldon Products Premium Stripper
  2. ...........Cleaners   ?
  3. ...........Sealer ( see below )
  4. Lifeguard
  5. Care ..........

Regarding The Sealer Results Shown Below - These examples are various types of slate with the differences noted for reference.

An Aldon sealer does far more than just bead water and look pretty! To see what that is click here.

Your results may vary somewhat from these pictures due to variations in computer display and the surface materials themselves. Nevertheless, you will be able to see the differences well enough to make good choices. Different areas of the same piece are used as much as possible to minimize raw material variations. Of all the sealers Aldon manufactures, the ones shown are recommended as best suited to this surface type. (Important: If your project has had any sealer applied in the past, it must be evaluated differently. To see why, Click here!)

Unsealed "Vermont" Slate

  • Note water absorption at "A"
  • This slate is low absorption, but will absorb enough to stain.
Vermont Slate - unsealed
"Same Day Sealer"
Water Based - Penetrating Type

  • Water Based - Penetrating Type
    Recommended for any slate that tests for sufficient absorbency. (Test slate with water drops. This is a water based sealer that must all penetrate, therefore, the slate must be able to absorb a water drop in 3 seconds. If the slate is not sufficiently absorbent, see S-B-S Sealer for greater penetration ability.)

    Slate is "Vermont" type
    Absorption rate is low

    Top and middle pictures - green and black slate:

    • Sealed in one application
    • Note water drop on sealed black slate.
    • No gloss
    • No color change
    Bottom picture - black slate
    • "Same Day Sealer" plus "Lifeguard"
    • No Color Change
    • Low (matte) gloss created by the "Lifeguard" coating.

Vermont Slate with Same Day Sealer  

  Vermont Slate with Same Day Sealer

Vermont Slate - Same Day Sealer plus Lifeguard

"Crystal Glaze Sealer"
Water Based - Coating Type
Recommended for any absorption slate

Top Picture - Vermont Slate:
  • Top portion is unsealed
  • Bottom portion is one application
  • No color enhancement
  • High gloss
Bottom Picture - Indian slate:
  • One Application - Fully Sealed
  • Medium Gloss
  • Little or no color enhancement

Black Vermont Slate with 1 application of Crystal Glaze

Indian Slate with 1 application of Crystal Glaze


"S-B-S Sealer"

Solvent Based - Penetrating Type

Recommended for any slate
Usually the best choice for all slates
  • Sealed in one application on dense slates
  • Low to medium gloss
  • Color enhancement for all slates
Green Vermont Slate with SBS Sealer
Green Vermont slate with SBS Sealer

Red Vermont slate with SBS Sealer Red Vermont Slate with SBS Sealer

Indian Slate with SBS Sealer
Indian slate with SBS Sealer

Brazilian slate with SBS Sealer on the right side.
Note how the colors have come to life.
Brazilian slate with SBS Sealer
Due to its low absorption rate, SBS Sealer
is usually the best choice for Brazilian slate.



"Porous Stone Sealer"

Solvent Based - Penetrating Type

Recommended for softer, more absorbent slates. Make sure your slate is absorbent enough to allow some penetration for a good bond.

Indian Slate shown in right panel
  • Sealed in one application
  • High gloss
  • Color enhanced
Indian Slate with 1 application of Porous Stone Sealer


Other care products you might need for this surface type



Dust Whiz

* Note:       will add another level of gloss to any of the above sealed surfaces.
It also prevents traffic wear to the sealers finish.

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