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How to Care for Slate Patio

Slate is a type of porous, natural stone that is created when clay and shale is metamorphosed under low pressure. The colour of American slate is usually varying shades of grey, but Chinese, Indian, and Spanish slate can be red, purple, green, or blue. With slate tile readily available at home improvement stores, slate floors and patios are becoming increasingly popular. Installing a slate patio is a significant investment. Luckily, with the proper care and cleaning techniques, you can maintain your slate patio's appearance for many years.

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  1. Seal your slate patio with a penetrating sealer before use, if desired. Apply the sealer to your slate patio according to package directions. Note that while sealing your slate patio will prevent water from penetrating the tile, it will also make your slate patio slippery when wet. Use caution.

  2. Hose down your slate patio, as needed, to remove dirt, dust, and grime that may damage its finish. Direct the water in a single direction when hosing down your slate patio to prevent dirt from acting as sandpaper on the surface of your tile.

  3. Clean moss and algae from your slate patio with a solution of one part bleach to ten parts water. Scrub the algae from your tile using a soft-bristled brush, taking care not to scratch the finish. Hose down your patio after cleaning to rinse away the moss, algae, and diluted bleach solution.

  4. Clean up accidental spills on your slate patio as soon as possible to prevent them from staining. Blot up spills with a soft cloth and then clean the area with warm, soapy water. Clean your slate patio with a neutral stone cleaner, used according to package directions, to combat stubborn stains.

  5. Tip

    If you decide to seal your slate patio, reapply the sealer every two to five years.


    Do not use harsh chemical cleaning products like tile or grout cleaners on your slate patio. Abrasive cleaners or cleaners containing acid can damage your slate tile.

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Things You'll Need

  • Penetrating stone sealer
  • Garden hose
  • Bleach
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Soft cloth
  • Mild liquid soap
  • Neutral stone cleaner

About the Author

Megan Mattingly-Arthur has been writing professionally since 1998. She has contributed to various publications, including "Teen Voices" and "Positive Teens" magazines, as well as a book, "The Young Writer's Guide to Getting Published." Mattingly-Arthur is studying travel and tourism through Penn Foster Career School.

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