Property tips: Using slate for interior flooring

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Following on from a transformation post, Lisa sent a comment / question over – “I actually love the slate floor – would never have thought of it. Is it good for kitchens? Growing up in South Africa (I live in another country now) I recall having a lot of slate but mostly outside – and I *think* I recall it absorbing and staining a lot, no?”

My answer is a resounding No! Slate is brilliant for using throughout the home, particularly in hallways, wet areas and kitchens, though not so fantastic if you are bit cack-handed and are always dropping things! Obviously, it’s a very hard surface material so your favourite mug will break if you drop it 🙂

Below are some images of spaces where I’ve used slate. The first images (above and directly below) aren’t so sharp as they were pre-digital and scanned. The floor was gorgeous, a rustic slate with lots of coppers and golds racing through the greys and giving a really warm feel to the oak kitchen units. It was a large space which carries though to where the taker of the picture is standing, so the room could take the random tiling pattern.

 

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The below is a makeover of a communal space in a block of flats, so the floor needed to be tough, hard wearing and practical. Slate, laid on the diagonal for added interest, did the trick, and I had the builders create a boxed off unit with sturdy plywood and tiled over it to give an area of greenery (plastic fantastic though as low maintenance required!).

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This last one is a kitchen previously posted. The tiles here were large (600 x 400), thick  and rectangular, laid in a brick pattern, with underfloor heating underneath, very toasty in the winter for a client who likes to go shoeless.

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A few slate laying tips:

I always use a slate sealant on the tiles to protect the surface. This sealant also serves to enhance the colour of the tile and make the hue deeper, richer and more vibrant. I’ve used it inside and out and it’s been perfect for both. An added factor in using it on slate tiles outside, on patios etc, is that sealed tiles definitely keep cleaner for MUCH longer and don’t get as slippery / weather affected. I used a lot of slate, so always buy the 5 litre tins – far cheaper than the 500ml bottles from places like Topps, but if you only have a small area to do, maybe it’s better for you to go small rather than go large!

Make sure your floor is nice and even, levelling off solid floors with self levelling compound and if you have a suspended timber floor, always lay a minimum 9mm plywood suitable for tiling on.

Check the depth of your tiles. Slate is a natural material, so unlike porcelain tiles, slate tiles can vary quite dramatically in depth, especially if you are at the more cost effective end of the market. Try and lay similar depth tiles together to avoid ridges you might stub your toes on / trip over.

If you have opted for a rustic pattern, make sure the tiler doesn’t lay gold next to gold, grey next to grey etc – they must be varied to look the best they can!

 

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