Cleaning Spilled Cement from Slate
LESLIE: Veronica in New Jersey needs some help with a cement overrun or spill, if you will. What happened?VERONICA: I had a major oil leak and it required a major cleanup to take out my front steps and my front sidewalk and the company who did the cleanup had done the replacing of the sidewalk and the front steps and they did a terrible job. Specifically, my front step is cement with slate surrounding the top and then the steps are slate.TOM and LESLIE: OK.VERONICA: The top part that was cement, they spilled a lot of the cement onto the slate part and it just looks awful and it – I don’t know how to get it off the slate. I don’t want to ruin the slate but it’s brand new and it looks like it’s about 50 years old. I mean they just did a terrible job.TOM: Essentially what you have to do is wear it off the slate. You have to abrade it so it goes off the slate. You’re not going to be able to do anything that will loosen it up or wash it off as you would try to get a spill off of a floor. It doesn’t work that way. Slate is very absorbent and so that concrete is probably really soaked into it and it’s very difficult to get it out.Now you know, it’s possible that you could try an acid wash, but I’m concerned that that may adversely affect the slate. I can tell you that if you were to have it ground off, it could be abraded off and slate is going to retain its color straight through. So it could sort of be ground and polished off. It’s really not a do-it-yourself job. I mean you need some heavy tools. If you try to do it with a hand grinder, one of these abrasive pads that’s on the bottom of – sort of like an abrasive pad with a handle on it that masons use, you know, it’s a lot of work. But if you have the right tools you can grind that off, polish that slate and it’ll look fine. But it’s nothing that you can definitely clean yourself, Veronica.VERONICA: So would that be a mason I would call? I mean who would I call to do that?TOM: I think a mason could handle that for sure; absolutely.VERONICA: OK.TOM: They would have the right tools for that.VERONICA: Excellent.TOM: Veronica, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.