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Slate Tile

How to:

Seal | Clean | Repair | Protect
Strip & Restore | Easy Care

Sealers and Sealing instructions
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slate living room floor slate shower
Indian Slate - Cleaning and Sealing          Indian Slate - unguaged
Indian Slate (gauged)        Indian Slate (ungauged)

Indian Slate - gauged          Vermont Slate - Cleaning and Sealing
Brazilian Slate             Vermont Slate

quartzite stone flooring
Quartzite (see in "discussion" section below)

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.

Traditional beauty with a great variety of colors, finishes, and shapes allow for a wide spectrum of rustic to sophisticated design options. Also used for wall cladding. For large commercial projects wall cladding that will be caulked, click here.

Further discussion about "Slate":
Quartzite stone is very dense and can sometimes be found mixed in pallets with 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.

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 that is classified as "strengthening".

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.

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 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.


Advantages of Slate tile:

As you progress down this page you will see:
  • The products you may need for surface Preparation before sealing.
  • Pictures of each of the recommended sealers for this surface type. Click the sealer's picture for it's full description.
  • Handy tips to prevent issues that others have had before coming to Aldon.
  • Perhaps more information than you need now, but might be of interest later.

Surface Preparation before sealing grout
What you need for your Slate project


You have 1 of the 3 possible situations that follow. The products you need are listed in the sequence that you would use them. Click the picture to add a product to your list.

#1. If the Slate tile is not yet grouted

Use 1st 2nd 3rd
Grout Release
Grout Easy

Grout Release
*Grout Residue
Remover

Remove white stains
*Efflorescence
Treatment

* Should not be needed after using Grout Easy.

#2. If the Slate tile is grouted, but grout is not sealed.

1st 2nd
Grout Release
*Grout Residue
Remover

Remove white stains
**Efflorescence
Treatment
Remove white stains
***Grout
Restoration
* If you have old grout smears.
** If you have white powder (efflorescence) stains.
*** If your grout is badly stained.

#3. If the Slate tile has been sealed in the past.

Use 1st 2nd
Remove all sealers
Premium
Stripper

Grout Release
*Grout Residue
Remover

Remove white stains
**Grout
Restoration
* If, after stripping, you find old grout smears or crystal efflorescence from years ago.
** If your grout is badly stained. Regular stains are usually removed by the stripping process.

Your Choices for Sealing

Vermont Slate - unsealed
Black Slate - unsealed, raw. A low absorption stone but it is absorbing water at the arrow. Any darkening under a water drop indicates it will stain and must be sealed.

"Same Day Sealer" on Slate Tile. This sealer is Water Base | Penetrating Type. Provides: No color enhancement or gloss. Coverage guidelines (depending on absorption) 250 to 600 sq.ft./gal.

clean, protect, seal tile - stone - pavers - brick
Add to Project List
Gallons

Case (4 gal)

Quarts

Case 12 qt

Sample

Vermont Slate with Same Day Sealer
Green Vermont Slate with 1 application of Same Day Sealer

Vermont Slate with Same Day Sealer
Black Vermont Slate with 1 application of Same Day Sealer. Water drop shows high bead.

Vermont Slate - Same Day Sealer plus Lifeguard
Black Vermont Slate with 1 application of Same Day Sealer plus 1 application of Lifeguard to create some gloss.

Showing Vermont slates because they are typically very dense and low absorption. Same Day Sealer is appropriate for any slate that tests for sufficient absorbency. Test slate with water drops. Same Day Sealer 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.


"S-B-S Sealer" on Slate Tile. This sealer is | Solvent Base | Penetrating Type. Provides: color enhancement | low gloss | strengthening | efflorescence barrier. Coverage guidelines (depending on absorption) 150 to 500 sq.ft./gal.
clean, protect, seal tile - stone - pavers - brick
Add to Project List
Gallons

Case (4 gal)

Aerosols

Case Aeros

Sample

S-B-S Sealer is a low solids sealer that is perfect for Slate tile projects. In addition to sealing and protecting, it creates some color enhancement and an easier to clean surface.
Green Vermont Slate with SBS Sealer
Green Vermont slate with 1 application of S-B-S Sealer

Indian Slate with SBS Sealer
Indian Slate with 1 application of S-B-S Sealer

Brazilian slate with SBS Sealer

Brazilian Slate with 1 application of S-B-S Sealer. S-B-S Sealer has the best ability to penetrate into this very dense, low absorption slate.

"Crystal Glaze Sealer" on Slate Tile. This sealer is | Water Based | Coating Type. Provides: little or no color enhancement and high gloss. Coverage guidelines (depending on absorption) 350 to 600 sq.ft./gal.
clean, protect, seal tile - stone - pavers - brick

Add to Project List

Gallons

Case 4 gal

Sample

"Crystal Glaze" provides a high gloss, very tough finish in one application.
Indian Slate with 1 application of Crystal Glaze Sealer
Indian Slate with one application of Crystal Glaze.
Some color enhancement and a high gloss tough coating.


Easy Care Products: for a Slate floor or wall.


Mexican tile - clean, protect, seal tile
_____________________
Quarts

Case 12 qts

Gallons

Case 4 gal
Sample n/a

Mexican tile - wet mop cleaning without streaks

_____________________

Quarts

Case 12 qts

Sample n/a
"Insta-Clean" removes food, grease, oil, etc. stain causing materials - from floors, patio furniture, machinery.
"Maintain" - for no streak wet mopping of Slate and all other types of flooring.

Mexican tile - clean, protect, seal tile
_____________________
Gallons

Case 4 gal

Mexican tile - dusting the easy way

_____________________

Pints

Case 16 pts

Sample n/a

"Lifeguard" prevents traffic wear to a sealer. Adds gloss.
"Dust Whiz" - easy dry mop dust pickup at 1,000 sq. ft. in 3 minutes.


Items of Interest

You may have heard of concerns about Slates. All of them would be prevented with the information we provide here. Therefore, you can have the floor you want!

How to select a sealer
To select a sealer it is good to have some idea of the absorption rate so you achieve the gloss level (none to high) and all the other benefits available without using more sealer than necessary. Also, you can test for (and protect against) acidic liquid sensitivity.

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.

Important: If your project has had any sealer applied in the past, it must be evaluated differently. To see why, Click here!

Sealer "solids" levels?
This discussion applies only to the petroleum solvent based sealers. With the water based sealers, solids level is not a consideration.

Here are the relative solids level of our petroleum solvent based sealers:
  Lowest: SBS Sealer
  Next level Higher: Penetrating Paver Sealer
  Another level higher: Porous Stone Sealer
  Highest level: Mexiglaze

A porous surface will require more gallons (more money) of a lower solids sealer than using a higher solids level sealer. That, plus different surfaces have different requirements, is why we make the different solids levels. They all work as described, so it is only a matter of which is best for your needs.
The more porous the surface, the more solids will be required to achieve the desired effects of gloss, strengthening, stopping efflorescence, etc.

The more porous the surface, generally the greater the need for the sealer to create a stronger surface.

An old sealer below the surface, even after stripping, will lower the absorption and porosity to some degree. Sometimes it is uneven below the surface and can create an uneven coloring effect with a color enhancing sealer applied later. Another reason to test first.

Do not make decisions based only upon the price per gallon.
Unlike other sealers, Aldon's sealers typically require fewer applications (fewer gallons), less cure time, and longer life. And that is only a few of many considerations.
To see more of why the price per gallon has little to do with what will be your total project cost, click here. For other questions about sealers, see the FAQ Sealers link on the slide out menu.

Do not believe yet that you have the type of surfacing you were told:
There is no need for confusion or problems brought about by misidentification of a surface type, yet it happens all too often. Sellers use fancy marketing names that can be misleading about the true nature of a surfacing. For instance, a customer was told they bought "Petite Granite" for a bar surface. But, unlike granite it was etching circles from wine drips. After simple testing, it proved to be a limestone which is treated very differently than granite. It was easily restored and protected after a 60 second test. Please review our "Surface Types" page to compare pictures, descriptions, and testing if needed, to confirm you have what you were told.

Do not "pre-seal" - apply a sealer BEFORE grouting.
Do not use any sealer as a grout release barrier (pre-sealing). This technique creates many risk factors to be avoided. 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 off in the normal process with water and a sponge.

Colors fading?
The iron oxide pigments used in concrete products, and the colored clays in clay products, do not fade . The appearance of fading is actually from tiny efflorescence particles (white powder) in the pores. It can be removed and color restored (with Aldon Efflorescence Treatment) and then stopped from returning, and color restored, by sealing with the appropriate Aldon penetrating type sealer.

You can stop efflorescence (white powdery stains)
Efflorescence (subsurface originating white powdery stains) is common with many surfaces. This can even occur before installation. However, it is easily made to disappear without scrubbing by using Aldon Efflorescence Treatment. If the white powder is old and is now "crystalline" that is bonded to the surface - it can be eaten away with Aldon Grout Residue Remover.

Renew a glossy finish
Aldon Sealer applications can be made hours or years later, but do not apply thin layer upon thin layer. Apply a sufficient quantity to insure below surface penetration & bonding. Or, for the solvent based penetrating sealers, test spraying lacquer thinner as an alternative to slightly melt and reform the surface and not build too much gloss or create sealer "layering". A layer of sealer on top of another layer of sealer can result in poor bonding between layers and that can cause separation peeling that looks grayish.

Concerned about Doing It Yourself or what your contractor says?
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 50% of the usage of Aldon products is by "do it yourself" homeowners and we know they are happy because we hear from them.

Our goal for our contractor customers - NO CALL BACKS. A good contractor will understand the logic of Aldon application instructions on the labels and will not take shortcuts. If a contractor does not agree, feel free to let us find out what is so unusual about this particular project so the contractor does not have to return.


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