||The actual care and maintenance of slate flooring is not a complicated subject. In fact, the main reason slate flooring gets dirty or ruined can be traced to simple neglect. Let's suppose you've just purchased a brand-new car, and you never wash it. Soon enough the paint will fade, the body will rust, and the car will cost you a small fortune to restore. On the other hand, if you make the effort to wash it on a regular basis and throw a coat of wax on it every now and then, it will look as good as new for years. This is exactly what you need to do for slate flooring. Keep it clean and protected, and it will last until the kids move out -- and may even be around when they move back in. To keep your slate flooring in tip-top condition, a few simple maintenance procedures are necessary. For best results, they should be followed very closely.|
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Of all the procedures used to maintain slate flooring, dust mopping is probably the most important. Dust, dirt and grit are what cause most surfaces to scratch and mar. If we could somehow eliminate them, this would cease to be a problem. Several studies have indicated that floors, which are dust-mopped often, stay cleaner and shinier longer. Dust mop your floor daily. If traffic is heavy, or the floor is located in a commercial building, do it several times a day. Remember, do not use oil-treated dust mops on slate flooring.
When dust mopping, be sure to run the dust mop in one direction only. Do not move it back and forth. Think of it as pushing the dirt in only one direction. When you have accumulated enough dirt and debris, pick it up with a dustpan and brush and take the dust mop outside to shake any remaining dust. When storing the dust mop, be sure to keep its head off the ground. Hardware stores sell various hangers, which are excellent for storing mops and brooms.
Designate only one dust mop for each type of surface. For example, you should use one dust mop for your slate flooring and a separate one for other tile or wood floors. Do not get the dust mop wet; if the floor is wet, be sure to dry it before dust mopping. Purchase a good-quality machine-washable mop and keep it clean. Wash it in cold water with laundry detergent and machine-dry.
Welcome mats, rugs and walk-off mats
Another important tool necessary for keeping dirt and debris off your slate floors is some type of mat, rug or what is commonly called a walk-off mat. A good-quality mat will capture dirt before someone walks on the floor. If it is placed outside your door, it is only human nature and common courtesy for people to wipe their feet before entering the house. Studies have shown that it takes approximately seven steps to remove most loose dirt from one's shoes. For this reason, I would recommend placing mats both inside and outside.
There are hundreds of mats and rugs on the market today. Be sure to purchase one of good quality. Be careful about using rubber- or jute-backed mats or rugs on slate flooring; either kind of backing can bleed into the slate, causing a stain that may be difficult or impossible to remove. A mat should be at least as wide as the doorway it serves.
Clean your mats often, daily if possible. Take them up and clean under them when you dust mop. Be sure the floor is dry before returning them to the floor. Never place a mat down on a wet surface or put a wet mat on any surface.
Damp or wet mopping -- All slate flooring needs to be cleaned. How often you will need to damp or wet mop will depend on the amount of traffic and the finish (honed, coated, textured). The following frequencies are recommended:
• Residential: Once a week
• Light commercial: Twice a week
• Heavy commercial: Daily
These are only recommendations; you will need to adjust the frequencies to suit your own conditions. For example, during a heavy rainstorm, dirt is tracked onto the floor more frequently and should be mopped up as quickly as possible.