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Clean and strip slate tiles

I have been receiving quite a few queries on cleaning and stripping slate tiles. Over time slate tiles, especially black and autumn colours, can become dull and cloudy, losing their beautiful colour under layers of wax polish. There are products at your local Builders Warehouse that will restore dull and faded slate tiles. 


"I have moved into a town house that has slate tiles varying from grey to brown but they are dull and look great when wet, but dull and faded when dry. The unit is 5 years old and in very few areas it seems to be relatively okay-looking. I used a milky liquid wax which I was told washes off and it does, but looks ashy and streaks after washing. I have tried to wash as much off but have no idea what previous resident used - if anything. Do I have to strip these floors? Was thinking of TFC natural stone seal."

Having slate tiles laid throughout the lower level of my home I have tried various products to see how they clean, strip and seal the tiles. The best products used to date have been the TFC range of products.

"It's two months since we moved into our rented town house and I'm unable to find a way of improving on the slate flooring. I bought the products and tested the TFC sealer stripper and cleaned with Easy Clean and rinsed, but the 4 'test' tiles turned a chalky snow white. I tried washing it off without any success."

Stripping tiles of layers of wax polish is not a quick and easy project, unless you do it on a regular basis - say at least once a year. The more layers of wax build up there is, the harder it will be to remove. You may have to repeat the process a couple of times to remove layer upon layer of wax that has accumulated over the years.

Follow the instructions on the container when using the TFC Stripper and make sure that the stripper doesn't dry on the tile. After allowing it to sit on the tile for the recommended time, have a bucket of warm water handy and a scrubbing brush. If you find that the tiles still have a milky layer of the top, this means that there is still wax that needs to be stripped and you need to repeat the process. If you have a large surface area that needs to be stripped, work in one section at a time. The stripper will eventually remove all the excess wax build up to reveal the natural tile finish and then you can seal the tiles to protect them.

If you use a sealer specifically designed for natural stone or slate tiles you will avoid the wax build up and cut down on the necessity to strip the tiles on a regular basis. It is the wax in the polish that eventually dulls the finish, as wax degrades and becomes milky.


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