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slate floor

Slate is a type of natural stone flooring. It is very popular in up-scale homes in Arizona.

Slate is a natural stone which has been metamorphosed from shale. It consists of clay-like materials that have undergone change under heat and pressure. Slate can be recognized by its sheet-like structure. The material is usually thin, and if broken in half, will flake off into sheets. Slate is not usually highly reflective unless it is sealed or coated. Its surface is usually uneven unless machine-sanded.

Red-colored slates contain hematite, which gives them their red color. Greens contain chlorite and blacks and grays contain carbon and/or graphite. The reddish tans are the result of iron oxides.


Before deciding on Slate, you need to know the proper care techniques.

  • Dust mop daily
  • Vacuum 1 time a week
  • Damp Mop with a neutral PH Cleaner
  • Never use vinegar, ammonia or other acidic cleaner
  • Dry with a microfiber mop
  • Do not use a wax based cleaner

Slate can be dry mopped or dust mopped daily. We advise vacuuming the tile floor weekly with a tile canister vacuum that has a soft brush lip on the head of the wand. Never us a vacuum with a beater bar on your tile, only use those on carpet. The Eureka BOSS canister Vacuum is what we recommend. This will suck up the dirt, dust and debris that is so popular in our desert climate. Whereas sweeping is just moving the dirt around, not picking it up. Sweeping also pushes the dirt into the grout area where it settles and eventually darkens the grout lines. It also settles in all the uneven nooks and crannies of slate floor.

Because Slate is a natural stone, you should never use an acid or chemical cleaner. It can etch, discolor and dull the stones surface. This includes vinegar. Vinegar is used a lot as a green cleaner, however it is an acid and should not be used on any natural stone. You should use a PH neutral cleaner that you can find at your local home store like Home Depot or Lowes. We suggest using Basic H by Shaklee. A few drops in a bucket of water will do the trick. We use a cotton string mop, but you must wring out very well before mopping. You don’t want to leave puddles of water on slate  or the hard water deposits will remain on the tile after the water evaporates. Using too much water will also leave a streaky floor. To dry we recommend using a micro fiber dry mop over the floor to soak up any left over water so that you don’t have water spots left behind.

slate tile (4)

Mopping Slate Floors

Slate is beautiful but it is also very difficult to mop. Because it is so uneven and porous, its kind of like trying to mop a sidewalk. The mop doesn’t flow easily over the floor. And there are so many nooks for dirty water to settle into and become dirty and sticky. We recommend having your slate floors professionally steam cleaned every 6-9 months to keep it looking clean and new. In this picture you can see that this slate floor was not taken care of very well. See how the dirt has settled into all the nooks and crannies and the grout lines.

If you are in the Phoenix area and need professional steam cleaning for your tile or carpet, give us a call at 3d Home Services. 602-403-6893