How to Restore a Painted Slate Mantel

Updated February 21, 2017

Slate is an attractive natural material that is often used for fireplace mantels. Through the years, different trends in home decorating may have led you or a previous homeowner to paint over the slate mantel. You can restore a slate mantel in your home to its natural beauty as a do-it-yourself weekend project. Lightly sand the painted surface and apply a special slate stripping solvent to remove the remaining layer of paint to restore the mantel to its natural surface.

Sand all of the exposed painted surfaces of the mantel with a fine-grit sanding pad to remove as much paint as you can without reaching the bare slate surface.

Apply slate stripping solvent to the mantel with a brush. Allow the solvent to sit on the surface of the mantel until the paint bubbles up.

Scrape away the excess solvent and paint using a plastic putty knife.

Pour liquid detergent into a bucket of water. Wash and rinse the mantel with a cloth rag. Allow the slate surface to dry before use.


You can either leave the slate natural or apply a slate sealant to add a clear matt or gloss finish to the mantel.


Wear eye, face and hand protection when applying stripping solvent. Follow the safety warnings on the container carefully.

Things You'll Need

  • Fine-grit sanding pad
  • Slate stripping solvent
  • Solvent resistant brush
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Bucket of water
  • Liquid dish detergent
  • Cloth rag
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About the Author

Jonah Morrissey has been writing for print and online publications since 2000. He began his career as a staff reporter/photographer for a weekly newspaper in upstate New York. Morrissey specializes in topics related to home-and-garden projects, green living and small business. He graduated from Saint Michael's College, earning a B.A. in political science with a minor in journalism and mass communications.