A new slate patio can look absolutely amazing in the beginning giving your garden that wow factor and makes a great platform to build an outdoor room around. The downside occurs when dirt and debris start to become ingrained into the slate and begins making that lovely deep slate colour look very dirty and discoloured. A good session with the trusty jet wash does make a bit of a difference but still doesn’t regain that gorgeous initial lustre that the slate had when it was first laid.
Have no fear though as re-invigorating the slate back to it’s original condition is not as an impossible task as you may think. There are products available on the market today that make the job of cleaning the patio a successful one albeit requiring a lot of time and effort being invested in order to reclaim the desired finish.
There are different cleaning agent manufacturers some provide multiple product systems which facilitate cleaning, stripping and then finally conditioning and sealing the tiles.
Below is a picture of the patio slabs before they have been refurbed and after they had a good jet wash. You can see that the patina of the tile is very dull and shows a mixture of ingrained dirt and the residue of previous conditioning products.
The first products we applied using an every day sponge floor mop cleaned up the surface of the tile removing any loose dirt. The cleaning agent was jet washed off – the slates need to be completely dry before the next stage. We then applied a stripping agent in the same way using the floor mop which had to be left on for an hour and kept wet by reapplying the agent while it penetrated the old coating. The stripping agent was agitated with a stiff bristle broom and then washed off with the jet wash and again let to fully dry.
The next and very important stage was to apply a neutralising agent in the same way as the other cleaners, this is important because if any chemicals remain on the slates, you will not get the desired effect from the sealant which would be very disappointing considering the effort put in up to this point.
Once the patio was completely dry, we then applied three coats of the conditioning and sealing agent using a paint pad, each coat was left for 10 minutes and then the excess sealant removed with micro clothes and then left for another 20-30 minutes before applying the next coat. Once all three coats have been applied and left the required times, an electric machine polisher/buffer with a wool bonnet attachment was used all over to bring out the slate’s natural colour as shown in the image below. This brings out the really deep lustre of the slate and shows the full colour and patination. The coating also provides a waterproof coating so water sits on top of the slates, if this effect is not achieved, another coat of sealant should be applied as this waterproofing will prolong the protection of your slates patio.