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Slate Pinwheel Bathroom Floor

by Roger

Slate Bathroom Floor in Fort Collins, COI recently finished a bathroom / laundry room floor in Fort Collins. The slate is 12 x 12 inch and 6 x 6 inch tile with the 6 x 6 and 1 x 2 inch mosaics on the vanity backsplash.

Schluter Ditra was used as the underlayment. Ditra is an ideal underlayment for this installation because slate is a relatively fragile stone and any movement in the substrate at all will lead to larger problems than cracking grout.

Schluter Ditra is advantageous in that one of the key features is the “uncoupling” properties. What this simply means is that the Ditra will separate any movement in the substrate from the tile installed upon it.

The door in the center between the bathroom and laundry room is a pocket door. These create their own unique set of problems for any tile installation. They are not easily removed so if the door does not set high enough off of the substrate to allow for the underlayment and tile it must be cut in place without removing it.

The color variation in this particular slate gives it a very unique look and really focuses the look of the room. It definitely stands out as a very custom, very intended space.

When slate is grouted it is much easier to seal the stone before you grout. This makes for quicker, cleaner grouting and helps keep the natural look of the slate since there won’t be random grout spots all over the face of it. Slate, as well as any natural stone, should be sealed after installation. It helps tremendously with clean-up and maintenance as well as preserving the original look.

The photos of the floor after it is grouted may look a bit funny because the grout is not yet cured (dry) and the slate is still wet, although not consistently so. You may click on any of the images below for a full-size version. If you need slate installed in Fort Collins, or any part of Northern Colorado, just give us a call or fill out our contact form to the right.

maribel campbell

Hi Roger,

I’m thinking of putting slate on my bathroom floor. Is this a smart move over ceramic tiles? I really like the colors of slates that are out there over ceramic tiles , but I really need something that is going to require low maintenance. I’m confused.

Maribel

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Roger

Hi Maribel,

As far as slate being a smart move over ceramics that would entirely depend on what aspect you are looking at. If you are looking at strictly the aesthetic aspects of natural slate over tile then yes, natural stone always looks better (to me anyway). However, you stated you need something that requires low maintenance, slate is definitely not that. It requires regular cleaning, sealing, and may require specialty work to buff out or remove any scratches, gouges, etc. that it may acquire. Slate is a fairly high-maintenance stone.

On the other hand you can get porcelains that look almost identical to slate and are very easy to maintain. The higher end lookalike porcelains even have similar texture to the natural stone without the headaches. My next blog post will be about a slate lookalike that I recently completed in a bathroom. I will let you know when I have it finished and up on the site and you can take a look at it – that may be a better option for your project.

Hope that helps.

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Karen

which post shows the slate look-a-like?

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Roger

Hi Karen,

This one.

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Tom

Hi Roger,
We are looking into putting in a slate shower/bathroom, but unfortunately we are located in Florida and cannot have you do our job. Do you have any words of wisdom or concerns with putting slate in the actual shower? Shower floor? Any sealing issues?
Thanks for any advice,
Tom

Reply

Roger

Hi Tom,

My first bit of advice would be not to put it in a shower. :D However, I am also realistic enough to know that my advice is not going to stop you. So . . .

When choosing your slate get the good stuff. (Good = expensive) The cheaper the slate the more prone it will be to flaking and/or falling apart. The cheaper slates are really little more than pressed mud – seriously.

The day before you start installing take every piece of your tile and dunk it in a bucket of warm water and let them dry out overnight. This will remove any dust or residue left over from the manufacturing process and ensures a full bond to the tile with the thinset. Use a high quality modified thinset to install the slate. (Again, high quality = expensive)

As far as the floor tile is concerned (I assume in the shower) you want a slate no larger than about three inches square – two would be better. This will allow the tile to follow the gradual slope of the floor and it will have enough grout lines to ensure a non-slip surface. Do not use an enhancing sealer on the floor tile – it will make it slick.

After your shower is installed and grouted (waiting the required time for sealer – usually 48-72 hours) use a very high quality penetrating sealer and do it at least two or three times. Sealer is also not permanent – it needs to be resealed about every 2-3 years, possibly more on the floor.

Hope that helps. If you have any more questions please feel free to ask.

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TONY

Did you use all 12×12 and 6×6 tiles or did you use a few 12×18 or 12×16? We love the pattern but looking at it, it seems like a few of the tiles are a little bigger.

Reply

Roger

Hi Tony,

I used only 12×12 and 6×6 slate tiles in that floor. Some of them may look larger due to a similar color tile directly next to them.

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Rob Sprague

Hi Roger,
You do great work! Nice to see a fellow tile setter that takes pride in his work and cares about the end product.
Rob

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Roger

Thank you very much Rob. Your comments are appreciated!

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