Thursday, October 17, 2013

Slate Tile and Sealing It

Going back to high school science class discussions, it is known that slate is metamorphic. This means the stone is comprised of compressed mud layers. Just like a lot of stones, slate can absorb moisture as it is porous. This also means that slate tile backsplash must be sealed properly so that the stone will not be weakened. If foreign substances can penetrate the tile, it may be difficult to remove as the slate surface is rough.

As kitchen backsplashes are susceptible to juice, grease, and various other liquids, it is important to regularly reseal the slate tile backsplash to help protect against potential stains. The first step in resealing is spraying stone cleaner to the slate and buffing it with a very soft cloth. Then any existing surface dust, debris, grease, or stains must be removed as they may be sealed into the stone’s surface. The slate is then left to completely dry. The second step is pouring sealer into a shallow dish and dipping a clean cloth into the dish. The cloth should be properly wrung so that the cloth is damp with sealer but is not dripping.

The third step is applying the sealer to the stone with the cloth that has been soaked with the sealer. The surface should be wiped with clothing, and being mindful to cover all the areas. Some slate tiles have cleft surfaces, which means that more sealer is required to cover fully all the nooks and crannies of the tile. The slate tile backsplash must appear wet where the sealer is rubbed. It is important to look for areas that are dry on order to ensure the one gets the right coverage.

The fourth step is waiting for about 10 minutes for the tile sealer to fully penetrate into the slate. Any excess sealer is buffed away with a clean cloth. Then the drying and rubbing is continued to the slate until the material is not tacky. The surface should also be dry. The tile sealers will do its job of curing for the next 2 hours.

However, there is a warning when it comes to slate tile backsplash sealing. Several sealers have high levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). It is best to open a window or turn on the exhaust fan while working in order to facilitate the ventilation in the area. When the backsplash is properly sealed, homeowners can now enjoy their kitchens.

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