Today, we see people looking for unique options for home flooring while not giving up on color, patterns, and quality. One option that is sadly overlooked is slate. Without doubt, slate is a remarkable choice, adding character and texture to any room of the house. The only thing to remember is that this type of flooring can be challenging to install since every piece must interlock, and be spaced perfectly.
Now, if you want to install slate, you could but first, you will need the appropriate tools. For this, you need chalk, a chalk line, tape measure, framing square, square notched trowel, large sponge, buckets, three-inch stiff blade scraper, grout float, and diamond blade wet saw. Then, to make the job more comfortable, we also recommend kneepads.
Keep in mind that your slate is going to be adhered permanently to the subfloor using cement based thin set. The thin set power is comprised of ultra fine, silica sand grain, as well as Portland cement, and acrylic resins. This thin set is then mixed with water so you end up with a thick, sticky mortar. The benefit is that when this mixture is dry, you will not experience any flex, meaning even heavy slate can be installed.
If you want, the slate flooring can be installed onto a wood subfloor but because of the weight, the wood needs to be a minimum of one and one/quarter inch thick. If necessary, you can always add a half-inch piece of plywood on top of the subfloor to build to the needed thickness. To ensure the two pieces stay, simply use screws every eight inches around the edges and center.
Next, a thin coat of water-based urethane would be applied directly to the piece of plywood, which will keep water seeping into the space between the two pieces of wood. Once dry, you would place your slate tile out on the subfloor to determine the pattern you want. Remember, slate is different size and shaped pieces that all fit together much like a puzzle, which are cut using the diamond cutter. As you place the pieces, we suggest you use spacers, keeping each piece of tile five/sixteenths of an inch apart.
One quick note - do not mix the thin set until you are ready to use it. Then, you would use your trowel to spread the thin set onto the subfloor, working in small areas. Once you have the tile installed, it would need to cure for 48 hours. After that, you can walk on the floor to begin the grouting process. For this, you can purchase premade grout and simply follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. You will be amazed at the transformation of your room.