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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Question

We clean a bar and a restaurant with two-year old unsealed slate floors that get pretty dirty. The owners were told they did not have to seal or finish them. Now, they have gotten dirt in the crevasses from mopping. We have been using an auto scrubber and flat mop and they have really cleaned up. Now, we want to seal and probably put a finish on them to aid in clean up (dirt and debris wonít stick, so clean up is easier) My question is, they were told that they never needed to strip or seal them. I have not seen any thing on the net that says this, so I guess it is the opinion of the person who sold them the floor. What is the best way to help them to understand that they do need to be stripped and sealed?


Answer

Your first problem is that they donít need to be stripped and sealed. Slate can survive for many years in its natural state. You have already restored the appearance to a high degree, and could probably use a hard floor tool on a truck mount to clear even more grime from the grout and crevices in the tiles.
Ask the owners if the restoration you have achieved thus far is acceptable in their business place. If it is, you are in the clear and by using the right tools you can keep it looking reasonably good.
Will sealing make it easier to clean? I suspect so, but you will also introduce the need to renew the seal every year or so to maintain a uniform appearance. This adds time and cost to the maintenance. Then, you have to select the seal that will provide the look the owner wants. And you will have to select the best one for the type slate installed. If you can find the manufacturer, seek their advice.
For a whole lot of pros and cons on sealing slate see:
www.theflooringlady.com/sealing_slate_tile_floors_000829.html

Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Editor
lekrafft@juno.com