Cut from natural rock slate tiles can add style to even the smallest of kitchens, one of the biggest advantages of slate flooring is the tiles are cut from natural rock which allows the beauty of the striking textures to show through amidst a variety of colours.
However for the tiles to look their best a lot of thought has to be given to the foundation you are going to be laying them on and when it comes to laying slate tiles on a concrete floor preparation and a sound base is a must.
The smoother the floor is before you begin laying the tiles then the better the floor will look, leveling the concrete is essential as is filling any gaps or holes, even the slightest bump in the floor can throw out the whole of the floor and spoil the effect.
Get the Floor Level First
Once you have removed the existing flooring whether it is carpet, floor tiles or other covering it is time to sweep the floor to remove any dust or debris that might have accumulated under the old flooring. Now you are down to the concrete it is essential that you get the floor as level as possible and this means going over it with a fine tooth-comb looking for bumps or dents in the concrete. When it comes to leveling the floor a leveling compound can be used to ensure that it is flat and then should be allowed to dry completely before tile laying.
After making sure the floor is level you would be wise to also make a floor plan. By making a rough sketch of the floor you will be able to determine how many tiles you will need, however remember to take into account the grouting space between tiles.
When you have a figure add on 5% for waste, you will want to buy all the tiles together which ensures that you get them all from the same batch, because even though slate tiles have a natural texture that does differ slightly you do not want a vast colour variation.
Do a Dry Run before Laying Tile
Before rushing in and actually laying the tiles make a dry run first, this is the easiest way of laying slate tiles on a concrete floor. The simplest way to start is by taking chalk and making an X on the concrete by chalking two true 90 degree lines with the centre of the X being in the centre of the room.
From here you can put down rows of tiles along the lines starting in the centre and then coming out to the edge of the room, you have to remember to leave space for the grout and a good idea at this stage is to actually insert the spacers. Once you have reached the outer walls you might see that the tiling on the floor is not symmetrical if this is so then go back and adjust the chalk line until you finally get symmetrical tiling.
When you have got this perfect then you can begin by filling in the four quarters of the X, do not use mortar at this stage and by doing it this way you can make any alterations easily, when you get to the edges then you can start measuring and cutting tiles to fit.
A diamond blade wet saw is the best tool for cutting slate tiles and this can be hired, if you need to drill a hole into the tile then a masonry bit will do the perfect job and then file the edges with a half round file.
Once you have the tiles laid out as required then it is time to anchor them down, always start at the corner which is the farthest from the door. Take out around five tiles and spread tile floor adhesive down then fit the tiles back into place not forgetting to put the tile spacers back into place to keep the gaps even.
At this stage you will need a spirit level and a small rubber mallet to gently push the tiles into the adhesive while making sure they remain level. Continue these steps throughout the room ending at the door then leave the tiles to set solid before walking on the them, this can take around 24 hours.
Once the flooring is completely dry then it is time to start grouting in-between so take out the spacers and begin working over the floor. Wipe away any grout that gets onto the surface of the tiles as you work with a soft damp sponge and to finish the grouting process go over the lines with a grouting tool. When the grouting is completely dry wash any film from the tiles and then polish as required.