Slate is a very popular flooring medium among modern homes, and is preferred for its fine-grained appearance and textured surface. Although slate is comparatively cheaper than most natural stones, it can give your floor all the desired effects ranging from rustic to elegant.
Advantages of slate flooring
- Slate is a natural stone that is formed under great pressure under the ocean floor. Therefore it is very hard and long lastingand is well suited for daily kitchen activities.
- Slate flooring can withstand harsh kitchen temperatures, spills and moisture. Hence this does not absorb liquids and does not stain easily.
- Slate flooring is preferred over other natural stones because it is slip resistant and ideal for wet kitchen areas.
- The slate floor offers a unique pattern of color shades, texture variations and spots that can make the kitchen attractive to look at.
- It comes in a wide range of natural color shades that include grays, blues, greens and browns. Slate flooring can therefore fit into any interior design style and color scheme. Slate floor tiles of one or more colors can be used to create an interesting mosaic around the kitchen floor.
- Because of the unique patterns and textures found on slate floor tiles, no two slate floors look the same. This can give your home a unique look and increase its resale value.
Disadvantages of slate flooring
- The slate floor reflects the surrounding temperatures. So in winter it can get very cold, making walking barefoot very uncomfortable. However, with a suitable heating system, this limitation can be eliminated.
- As with any natural stone floor, the slate floor can be a bit hard on the knee and ankle joints due to its hardness. If you have to spend long hours cooking, you can create soft standing spots by placing rugs in key areas.
- Also, do not leave acidic foods on the surface at any time. Foods such as tomatoes, lemon juice or vinegar if left on the surface can ruin the surface.
Cost of slate flooring
Slate is mined in places like Vermont in the United States and is also imported from Asian countries. Therefore each manufacturer will put a different price on slate floor tiles. On average, slate flooring will be available for about $2 to $3 or more per square foot, excluding installation charges. Prices can go up as you go for bigger or thicker tiles. Colors and patterns that give a dramatic effect will cost more; however they are worth the investment. The total price will be directly proportional to your kitchen area.
Tips for buying slate floor tiles
1. Slate has a natural split along its grain, so it is prone to breaking during installation. Therefore, it is recommended to buy a few extra boxes of tiles. They can always be useful for future repairs when finding similar tiles is almost impossible.
2. Check if factory treated tiles are in your budget. These types of tiles are calibrated and chamfered to change their appearance from rustic to sophisticated.
3. Whatever type of slate floor tiles you choose, make sure it matches your current kitchen interior decor and style. If not, they may look out of place. An experienced interior designer can use a combination of different colored slate tiles to form a unique pattern around the kitchen floor.
4. If your kitchen countertop and backsplash are made of slate you must choose slate floor tiles of the same color and pattern. This brings a uniform appearance.
5. You can give your kitchen a spacious look by buying larger, light-colored slate tiles. This would also mean less grouting and more hygiene.
6. The polished slate floor is easy to clean. However it can be slippery, especially when walking on wet ground with certain footwear.
Installation of slate flooring
It is worth spending more to install professional installers to install your slate floor. This is because slate tends to crack, so the tiles must be fixed on a solid substrate. Improper installation can also lead to tile cracking in the future. A professional installer will see that the slate tiles are properly leveled, aligned and grouted at the edges, and the entire floor is properly sealed.
A professional installer also ensures that the color is uniform and does not peak in a particular corner. Before installing the tiles, proper markings should be made to ensure proper tiling along the walls and edges of the cabinet.
Maintenance of a slate floor
Always follow the instructions printed by the manufacturer to keep your slate floor in the best condition.
As time goes by, you may notice that the grout lines darken. You may also notice some porosity in certain areas. This can result in staining and corrosion due to the action of acidic substances such as tomato or lemon juice. The daily cleaning action can also wear the sealing. In such a case you may have to do some grouting and sealing to restore the original shine of your slate floor.
Never use corrosive cleaning liquids on your slate floor. For daily cleaning, you can sweep or dust and then scrub your slate floor with a mop dipped in mild soapy water.
How to get the best price on slate flooring
Amazon seems to be the best place to buy slate flooring from (sponsored link). In addition to the best prices, Amazon’s customer-friendly policies make shopping from them a pleasure.