What Do You Use to Seal Slate Tile?

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What Do You Use to Seal Slate Tile?
Sealer adds a glossy finish and brings out the layered colours of slate. (Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Slate tile is an attractive, versatile material used for floors and paving outdoor walkways and patios. Naturally weather-resistant, sealing porous slate is not essential, but it helps to slow fading and erosion. There are several different types of sealer designed for slate depending on the type of finish you want to achieve. Once you choose the best type of sealer for the surface, the application process is simple.

Impregnating Sealer

Impregnating sealers are clear and prevent water damage and oil stains. This sealer coats a slate surface so it won't absorb stains, making them easier to clean. Impregnating sealants are either water or solvent based. Solvent-based sealers penetrate deeper into the slate and grout, and go on easier. Water-based sealers are safer for the environment, but more challenging to use.

Enhancing Sealer

Similar to solvent-based impregnating sealer, enhancing sealer brings out the layer colours of slate and adds a glossy finish. To apply enhancing sealer, dip a cloth in the solution and wipe it over the slate. Keep the surface continually saturated with sealer for 10 minutes, wiping away and excess. Test enhancing sealer on a spare piece of slate, and add a second coat to see if you prefer a glossier finish.

Topical Glossy Sealer

Topical glossy sealer creates a high-gloss finish and adds an eye-catching lustre to slate floors and counter tops. It also removes the faded, chalky look of unsealed slate. Topical sealer blocks all contaminates from entering the porous surface. This expensive sealer tends to scuff and fade quicker, and dirt and grime can cling to its surface. Depending on the usage of the slate, this sealer should be stripped and reapplied every few years.

Other Materials

Aside from finding the right slate sealer, application requires only a few basic materials. For instance, you need a water bucket and scrub brush to clean the stone prior to sealing them. A clean rag or towel works well for spreading the sealant in thin coats. You should always wear protective gloves and open a window for ventilation if you're working indoors.

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