How to Polish Slate Flooring and Countertops

Polishing Slate to Its Absolute Best

Slate is a terrific choice for floors, counters, outdoor decor, etc. The stuff is fireproof, insulating, and resistant to frost damage. Like all surfaces, however, it gets worn down, scratched, and stained, so we’ve compiled a quick guide to help you clean and polish your slate surfaces to make them look their absolute best.
  • Step 1: Mop and Rinse – Sweep the floor and mop it with a mix of water and detergent. Mop over it again with a combination of bleach and water – the recommended ratio for sanitizing is one tablespoon of bleach for every one gallon of lukewarm water, but if instructed otherwise, follow the instructions – rinse and let the floor dry.
  • Step 2: Strip the Floor – Apply one coat of acetone stripper to the floor and scrub to get the oil and grime that the initial mopping and rinsing might not have removed. You can also use a commercial floor stripper, but make sure to wear rubber gloves and goggles when doing so. Rinse the floor when done and let it dry.
  • Step 3: One More Cleaning – Buy a natural alkaline stone cleaner, preferably one specially made for slate, and apply to the polished slate surface. Once finished, rinse and let the surface dry.
  • Step 4: Seal – Now that you’ve almost achieved that polished slate look, sealing the slate will finish the job. Purchase a stone sealer and apply a thin layer over the stone with a paintbrush. Wait for two hours and reapply if you feel it’s needed. After you’re satisfied with the sealing, wait 24 hours before walking on the floor.

Extra Care: Scratches

If you notice scratches on the slate, you can sand them down before sealing. Wet the floor before sanding and wet the sandpaper abrasive as well. Use a 200 grit at first, rinse the surface when finished, repeat with a 400 grit, and then with a 600 grit to get rid of scratches.