Debby Allmon on an uneven slate floor

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Last updated on January 1, 1970

Q. We have a natural slate floor in our kitchen. It is uneven in some areas; so much so that I have tripped on occasion. We don’t want to replace the floor. Is there a way to take down some of the uneven areas? I’d also like to know the best way to clean and seal the floor. I realize this is a job for professionals. Who would you recommend?

A. You could try using a grinder to grind the high points in the tiles. Using a 4-inch grinder with a diamond blade is recommended. You will most likely need a professional for this task as the grinding can create a great deal of dust and a professional should have the tools to help control the dust.

Cleaning a slate floor starts with an overall vacuum of the area to remove dirt. Then spread a cleaning solution with a mop or deck brush. Do not use any cleaners with an acid base, as they can damage the floor.

Work in manageable sections for the most effective clean (such as a 5-square-foot section at a time). After the cleaner has been spread, use a brush to clean grout lines and a deck brush to clean the tiles. Scrub rigorously.

Mop up the dirty solution and then rinse the area with warm water. Dry the floor with a microfiber cloth to help pick up any dirt left and soak up the water. Allow the floor to dry completely before sealing.

There are many types of sealants available to slate floors. Start by choosing the finish you want: glossy or matte. A penetrating sealer will create a stronger seal than a topical sealant that coats only the surface. The penetrating sealer will have a more matte finish and the topical a glossier finish.

Apply the sealer with a towel and keep the surface saturated for about 10 minutes. Then, wipe the excess sealer off the tiles and grout. Sealants can be purchased at a home improvement or hardware store. Make sure to follow the specific directions with the sealant you select. I would recommend contacting a tile installation company or a tile-and-grout cleaning professional for this project.

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