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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Question

We recently installed polished slate floors. Which buffer or polisher would be best to maintain the shine without damaging the sealer?


Answer

If it is a topical sealer, it adheres to the surface of the slate and, usually, is itself protected by several coats of finish that are designed to take the traffic and wear and be repaired so the floor continues to look good. If the sealer is a penetrating sealer, it is in the slate and should not be harmed by polishing even if there are no finish coats on the surface.
Any soft light colored polishing pad should work to bring out the shine without damaging the finish or the tile. Do not use a scrub or strip pad (darker colors are more aggressive) unless you intend to remove layers of finish. Do not use a high-speed burnisher unless the floor is really smooth. Sharp edges on raised slate tiles will tear a pad to shreds in minutes. If the tiles are not smooth, consider using a "union mix" polishing brush under a standard 175 RPM rotary floor machine.
Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Associate Editor
lekrafft@juno.com