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Tips to Refinish Slate

Updated:2014-05-30 10:47:40
Slate is a stone that forms when shale--a clay-like substance--is put under conditions of high heat and pressure. Due to their beauty, slate floors have become popular over the last few years in the United States. At one time, slate was only available in shades of gray, but today, there are hundreds of different colors from which to choose. Finishing a slate floor requires a different techique than that used to finish marble or granite. However, you can easily maintain and finish your slate floor yourself to give it a more elegant look.
Instructions as follows:
Firstly, dry dust-mop your slate floor on a regular basis, as dust and debris can cause scratches that will diminish the quality of the slate. If your slate floors see a lot of heavy traffic, this should be done on a daily basis. To avoid scratching the floor, be sure to dust-mop only in one direction. Use a dust pan to sweep up any dust and debris. Throw the debris in the garbage.
Secondly, remove all furniture from the room with the slate floor. Cover all painted surfaces--including baseboards and the bottom of painted walls--with plastic to protect them. Hold the plastic in place with low-tack painter's tape.
Thirdly, mix one cup of ammonia with one gallon of warm water in a large rubber bucket. This mixture will remove any wax or other coating. If the ammonia mixture does not remove the coating, your slate slab most likely has a urethane or epoxy-based finish. If this is the case, you will have to call a professional to remove it, as it is difficult to remove without damaging the surface of the slate.
Fourthly, dip a stringed mop into a bucket of chemical stripping solution (diluted per manufacturer instructions), and mop the floor one section at a time. Let the solution sit for several minutes to allow the chemicals to break up the coating. Apply more of the solution if it starts to dry.
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