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Misc

Mosaic Tile Flooring – Mosaic Tiles

Mosaic Tile Flooring

200 year old mosaic in FlorenceMosaic Tile Flooring is perhaps the most well known type of flooring used by homeowners today. This is because you can make your own patters, mix and match the tiles, and install them yourself. Homeowners like that they are able to customize the floor to their specific tastes using mosaic tiles.

Mosaic tile flooring can be laid down at random or as a pattern (such as a picture). Mosaic tiles can also be used in countertops, backsplashes and on small tabletops (such as a cocktail table).

Flooring Fact


Mosaic tile flooring is one of the friendliest of DIY tasks – and it can be virtually done for free using old throw-away tiles!

Interesting and Very Unique

Mosaic tiles usually come in 2×2 inch squares; you can buy them separately or already mounted on a mesh backing. Mosaic tile flooring come either glazed or unglazed, and are made out of either ceramic or porcelain. You can even use old tiles you find lying around, smash them into small pieces and create a unique pattern on, for instance, a table top.

Durable Materials

Both ceramic and porcelain are durable materials. However, as with all tiles, you do have to take care during installation of the mesh backed variety so that the tiles don’t get cracked. If mosaic tile flooring is laid properly, it will last quite a long time.

Suitability

Mosaic flooring is hard and easy to clean, which is why it is most often used in kitchens, bathrooms and entryways. It is also very water and bacteria resistant, and although it doesn’t necessarily need sealing it will better protect the grouting if you do seal it. Most commercial bathrooms are done in mosaic tile, due to its versatility. In addition, mosaic tiles are very affordable. That means you don’t have to break the bank to tile your entire kitchen or bathroom!

Mosaic tiles, while not quite as hard as marble or other similar flooring, can still be hard and cold underfoot. Many people use area rugs to take the edge off, but you may be hesitant to do this, especially if you have a pattern that you made yourself and are keen to show off!

Do-It-Yourself

Mosaic flooring is a do-it-yourself project! It is fairly straightforward to install. If you are artistic, you will enjoy installing your own flooring even more! There is no limit to the amount of mixing and matching of colors and patterns that you can do. However, make sure that you create your own patterns with a light hand and step back every few minutes to gauge the look of your floor. Too many patterns or overuse of color can be overkill.

If you are unsure of how to install the floor, any home hardware store will be happy to give you instructions. Below are some tips on installing mosaic flooring:

1. Make sure the subfloor is clean and dry (ideally, it will be concrete or plywood)

2. Use adhesive specially made for ceramic or porcelain

3. Be careful when using glazed tiles; they should be used primarily for walls (backsplashes) because they tend to be slippery when wet

4. Take care during the installation; mosaic tile is not as durable as other flooring and the tiles may break

Maintenance

Mosaic tile is very easy to maintain. However, the tiles may trap more dirt than other types of flooring. For this reason, you will want to vacuum the floor first to make sure that any trapped dirt or debris is removed. Then use a damp mop with mild household detergent to clean. You flooring dealer may also suggest a special floor cleaner for ceramic or porcelain. Any stains should be removed using a brush with synthetic, non-abrasive brushes. Otherwise, you will permanently scratch the tiles.

Advantages/Disadvantages of Mosaic Flooring

Advantages

  • Relatively durable material
  • Easy to customize yourself
  • Water and bacteria resistant
  • Inexpensive
  • Great for a do-it-yourself project
  • Low maintenance
Disadvantages

  • Glazed tiles can be slippery if wet
  • Cold and hard underfoot
  • Tiles may damage/crack

Alternatively, use one of the following tile types:-

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Misc

Meyer Laminate Flooring

Meyer Laminate Flooring

Meyer Laminate Flooring, from Meyer USA, a subsidiary of Compagnie de Saint-Gobain, produces laminate flooring in a range of colors and shades to suit the most fastidious buyer. See for yourself.
Their efficiency and sophistication in the production of these materials has led to the manufacture of laminate flooring, a product that is manufactured under strict quality control conditions, ensuring a product that the consumer can be confident will perform as expected under various conditions. Their current manufacturing plant in Europe is an ultra-modern production facility with a huge capacity of over 39 million square meters of laminate flooring.> 
 
Operating under the umbrella of Compagnie de Saint-Gobain, Meyer produces a range of laminate flooring that is widely known and respected worldwide for its consistency and quality. For nearly two decades, Meyer has supplied the kitchen manufacturing industry with laminate materials for kitchen door fronts and other kitchen materials and is well established in this area.

The main reason I like Meyer is their range of Wide Planks, all of the planks below are over 7.5″ wide. The examples shown below are only a small selection of the different wood surface finishes available. Select your Meyer Laminate Flooring from the table below:

Meyer Laminate Flooring Range

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Misc

Metal Tiles – Metal Flooring

Metal Flooring

You may not have thought of using metal flooring tiles for your floor. However, metal tiles have properties that make this an option for homeowners today. Once only used in commercial applications, metal flooring can be treated to simulate other more expensive materials such as brass and bronze.

Metal tiles can be made of stainless steel or any other type of metal material. One popular option is to use recyclable metal tiles as a means to save the environment.

Metal tiles can add a unique, customized look to any room. They come in a wide variety of colors, textures and finishes.

Flooring Fact

Metal flooring does not have to be the usual commercial variety – take a look at what’s available for your own home, kitchens, bathrooms, studies, they can all look great!

Duribility

There is really no need to elaborate here. By its very nature, metal flooring is extremely durable. Properly cared for and installed, a metal floor will last for 20+ years.

Suitability

Metal tiles are most often used in basements, kitchens and bathrooms. It is water, allergen and bacteria resistant. It is very easy to maintain and keep clean.

Metal tiles are very hard and cold underfoot. They can also be very slippery when wet. In addition, it conducts heat, cold and sound. For these reasons, area rugs are often used in areas inside the home where metal tiles are installed.

Metal tiles come in a wide variety of finishes. You can use metal tiles as one complete floor, or mix and match tiles to make the floor more interesting.

Professional Installation

Installing metal flooring is really a job for the professionals so it is recommended that you do not attempt installation yourself. It goes without saying that metal tiles must be cut and fitted by a professional contractor. Additionally, depending on what kind of flooring you choose, the metal tiles may have to be specially treated in some way. Metal tiles do not require sealing.

Always get several estimates before choosing a contractor to install your metal tiles. This type of flooring can be very expensive and take a long time to install; however, you may find that the results are worth the effort. If you have a metal floor installed, it will probably be the last one you need!

Here are some questions you should ask when interviewing potential contractors:

1. How long will installation take

2. What gauge steel are you using

3. Is there a warranty on the work

4. How should I maintain the floor

Maintenance

Metal tiles are virtually non-maintenance. All you really need to do is sweep and clean with a damp mop regularly but still be aware that particles of grit can scratch a highly polished metal surface – just look at the average stainless steel sink.

Advantages/Disadvantages of Metal Floor Tile

Advantages

  • Very durable
  • Extremely versatile
  • Moisture, allergen and bacteria resistant
  • Virtualy maintenance free
  • Unique, customized look
Disadvantages

  • Hard and cold underfoot
  • Expensive
  • Requires professional installation
  • Conducts heat, cold and sound

For other tile floors take a look at:-

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Misc

Marble Flooring – Marble Floors

Marble Flooring

 

Marble Flooring has become increasingly popular in the last 5-10 years. Aside from its beauty, marble has several obvious benefits to homeowners. Besides being used as flooring, marble is also used in countertops and backsplashes.

Not For The Feint of Heart – Or Wallet

Marble flooring can give your home an aura of richness. It definitely has a natural beauty that quite surpasses most other flooring materials. For this reason, marble is quite expensive. In addition, it is very heavy and so must be installed by professionals, adding to the cost. Marble also must be frequently cleaned and sealed, also by professionals. The maintenance costs do begin to add up.

All-Natural Substance

Marble is a natural stone product. As such, it is completely biodegradable, making it a favorite among environmentaly-conscious homeowners. Marble is bacteria, allergen and moisture resistant (when sealed).

Suitability

Marble is very hard, durable and long lasting. Marble is more porous than granite, and so it is critical that it is sealed if using in areas that will be exposed to moisture. Marble flooring can stain if not sealed properly. Marble flooring is less hard and less durable than granite flooring but not so much that you really need to worry about it getting easily damaged.

Marble can be used in kitchens, bathrooms and entryways, due to its resistance to moisture and for its durability. However, bear in mind that it has to be professionally sealed and cleaned every 9-12 months, depending on the amount of foot traffic it is exposed to.

Do-It-Yourself – Leave It To The Professionals!

We advise you not to attempt installation of marble flooring unless you are a seasoned do-it-yourselfer or a professional. There are several reasons for this. One, marble is very heavy; you don’t want to end up hurting yourself. Two, it requires extreme precision and know-how to install. Installation, even in the flattest and squarest room takes lots of experience to know how to do correctly. Three, repair jobs are often very difficult and complex. Cracked or broken marble requires a professional to repair it.

You should always get more than one estimate if you are considering purchasing marble for any purpose. Below are some key points to consider when choosing a company to purchase and install your marble:

1. How much experience do they have?

2. How will any repairs, should they be needed, be handled?

3. What kind of performance guarantee do they offer?

4. How long will the job take (realistically!)?

Maintenance

Aside from the professional cleaning and sealing that will be needed every 9-12 months (depending on foot traffic), marble flooring is relatively simple to keep clean. Simply sweep well and go over with a damp mop. Do not use abrasive cleaners! Not only is it not necessary, but marble will stain and scratch if you do. Marble is virtually indestructible, hence its high cost. Additionally, it will last a lifetime with proper care.

Your marble flooring dealer should be able to give you product recommendations for cleaning.

Advantages/Disadvantages of Marble Flooring

Advantages

  • Very hard and durable – lasts a lifetime with good care.
  • Very beautiful
  • Available in a wide range of colors, styles and patterns
  • Extremely versatile
  • Hypoallergenic, allergen and bacteria resistant
  • Highly resistant to water/moisture
Disadvantages

  • Needs professional installation
  • Much more expensive than other flooring types
  • Can feel hard and cold underfoot
  • Needs regular cleaning and sealing
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Misc

Linoleum Flooring

Linoleum Flooring

 

Today’s Linoleum flooring isn’t your grandmother’s linoleum anymore! Linoleum today comes in a wide variety of great colors (not that icky green you may be thinking about!).

Made from natural products, today’s linoleum has been given new life. It has an appealing combination of durability and beauty. Modern linoleum comes in a variety of patterns and colors. The color in linoleum is diffused throughout the tiles, so it does not show wear and tear as readily as other flooring materials.

All-Natural Substance

Linoleum is made with all natural materials, including linseed oil, plant by-products and wood fibers. It is completely biodegradable, making it a favorite among environment-conscious homeowners. Linoleum is also completely hypoallergenic and is water, mold and bacteria-resistant. For this reason, it is most often used in kitchens, bathrooms and basements.

Suitability

Linoleum flooring is very hard, durable and long-lasting. It is most suitable for high-traffic areas and rooms where durability is paramount. Because of the hardness of linoleum, it is most often used in the kitchen. Basements and bathrooms are other popular places to have linoleum installed; its resistance to moisture and its durability makes it ideal for these purposes.

Do-It-Yourself

Linoleum flooring is a DIYer’s dream. It comes in either tiles or rolls. The tiles are the easiest to install, while the roll version requires a bit more precision. Some companies make the tiles so that they install by a click-and-lock mechanism. You can get pointers from a hardware store such as Home Depot; they’ll be happy to give you installation instructions. Linoleum tiles are also easy to repair when damaged. Simply use a bit of linoleum adhesive and some of the left over material from the installation.

Below are some key points to be aware of when installing linoleum flooring:

1. Use only adhesive made for linoleum.

2. Always buy more than you will need for the final floor, so you have leftover materials for any repairs.

3. Subfloor must be smooth, level and DRY.

4. If the subfloor is concrete, repair any cracks.

5. Use precision when cutting the linoleum flooring to fit around corners

6. Allow the floor to dry thoroughly before walking on it to prevent the tiles from shifting.

Maintenance

Grit is the enemy of linoleum so you must clean regularly. The good news is that it is so hard and resilient that linoleum is very easy to keep clean. Sweep and mop the floor regularly. You should mop the floor using household detergent. Many manufacturers also make cleaners specially designed for linoleum flooring such as:

  • Linoleum cleaner – used to clean thoroughly
  • Linoleum polisher – used to keep the linoleum shiny and new
  • Linoleum stripper – used to get deep into the crevices of the linoleum to remove tough grime

There are also products that you can purchase for no-wax floors, to keep your linoleum looking just like it did when you first installed it!

Advantages/Disadvantages of Linoleum Flooring

Advantages

  • Very hard and durable – at least 15-year lifespan.
  • Low maintenance
  • Today’s linoleum very stylish
  • Hypoallergenic and bacteria resistant
  • Highly resistant to water/moisture

Disadvantages

  • Roll linoleum can be difficult to install
  • More expensive than vinyl flooring
  • Must be installed with precision
  • Can look dull if not cleaned regularly
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Misc

Limestone Flooring – Limestone Floors

Limestone Flooring

 

Limestone Flooring is among the most durable flooring material that you can buy today. Limestone is often used by homeowners to give the rooms in their homes a timeless, classic look.

Durable and Long Lasting

Limestone is quite rightly a favorite among homeowners. It costs a bit more to install, but once it’s in, it will last virtually a lifetime. Additionally, it is very easy to keep clean and maintain. Once sealed, it is nearly impervious to accidents.

All-Natural Substance

Limestone flooring is natural stone material. It is easy to take care of and comes in a variety of natural looking shades and colors. Limestone is also used by many interior designers due to its versatility – it can enhance the look of any room.

Suitability

Limestone floors are very hard, durable and long lasting. If it is going to be exposed to moisture, you must make sure that you use a proper sealant. Limestone varies in its degree of porosity.

Limestone is used in kitchens, bathrooms, entryways and patios, for its durability and good looks but in order to maintain a good condition over time will need to be treated and resealed every few years.

Do-It-Yourself – Leave It To The Professionals!

Only attempt installation of limestone flooring if you are a seasoned do-it-yourselfer or a professional. Limestone comes in either tiles or slabs and either way, it is still very heavy so installation must be handled with precision. It takes a long time to learn how to install limestone flooring properly. Repairs can be extremely costly, not to mention the fact that you may hurt yourself during the installation. Cracked or broken limestone will require a professional repair if it is possible to repair the defect.

Our advice would be to save yourself the aggravation and risk of injury and have a professional flooring company install your flooring. However, if you absolutely have to do it yourself, make sure you get proper instruction first, and make sure that you will be able to see the project through to completion. If you have any doubts about this, don’t even attempt it. If you do, and have to call in a professional to complete the job, it will end up costing you twice as much.

Maintenance

Aside from the professional sealing that will be needed every few years, limestone flooring is relatively low maintenance. All you need to do is sweep it well and clean with a mop and mild detergent. Limestone will last a lifetime with proper care.

Advantages/Disadvantages of Limestone Flooring

Advantages

  • Very hard and durable – lasts a lifetime with good care.
  • Low maintenance
  • Available in a wide range of colors, styles and patterns
  • Can be used outdoors
  • Hypoallergenic, allergen and bacteria resistant
  • Stain and moisture resistant
Disadvantages

  • Needs professional installation
  • Can be very expensive
  • Can feel hard and cold underfoot
  • Needs sealing
  • Slippery when wet
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Misc

Laying Floor Tiles

How To Lay Floor Tiles

Guide to Lay Ceramic Tiles and Lay Vinyl Tiles

Tiling your own floor is a big job to take on, but it can be done. And with a little know how and some forethought you can produce an amazing floor.

The first thing to figuring out how to lay your floor tiles; is you need to choose your tiles. Obviously you will need to consider the color, size and shape of the tiles by taking into consideration the rest of your decor and furniture.

But more importantly, from the perspective of laying the tiles, you need to choose what type of tiles. And it is a big list. The first to come to mind are ceramic floor tiles and vinyl floor tiles but there are heaps more like leather tiles, terracotta, glass, porcelain, metal, rubber and the list continues. But for the sake of this article we will discuss ceramic and vinyl tiles.

Ceramic tiles are ideal for your wet areas like the kitchen, bathroom and laundry. You can buy ceramic floor tiles either glazed or unglazed; however because the unglazed version needs to be sealed, most DIYer’s use the glazed type.

Vinyl tiles are very comfortable under foot and the easier to lay. They can also be an economical option and in today’s market they come in a variety colors and patterns, and often realistically resemble other materials.

Before you buy your tiles ensure you plan out the job on first. This way you will know exactly how many tiles you will need – don’t want to be left short and find out you can no longer get that tile. At a minimum calculate the square footage of floor area that you need to tile.

Before you even think about laying any tiles, make sure that you are working on a good surface. Rushing in and starting will only produce disappointing results further down the track.

Ensure your floor area is flat, stable, and clean. If you are laying tiles directly onto a new concrete floor, you shouldn’t have too much problem. If it is an older floor that previously had tiles on it, it is imperative that every bit of old tile, grout and rubble is removed.

Now that your surface is ready, you can begin the tiling. It is best practice to start your work from the middle of the room. This ensures there will be an even spread of cut tiles around the edge of the room.

When laying the tiles, begin from the centre with entire tiles. Spread the adhesive with an applicator in an even thickness over an area of no more than 3 square feet. Only do a small area like that at a time to prevent your adhesive from dying out.

With ceramic floor tiles; put the tile down on the adhesive and twist the tile slightly to bed it firmly in place. The installation of vinyl tiles requires a slightly different approach; lay the tile down in it’s correct position, slide it into position and then firm it down evenly with your hand to ensure adequate adhesion.

When you have all the whole tiles in position, it is time to cut the remaining tiles for around the edge. To do this, place the tile to be cut exactly on top of the last whole tile in that row. Next place another whole tile on top of this one but butting up against the wall, now mark where this second tile touches the first and that is where to cut. It sounds more difficult than it is, give it a try.

To cut the tiles line up a steel ruler and use the appropriate method outlined below to cut your tile.

Ceramic tiles – score the tile with a scribing tool and then snap the tile with a heavy duty tile cutter.

Vinyl tiles – cut a sharp utility knife.

Once you have them all laid out the vinyl tiles are finished but with the ceramic tiles there is one more step; they will need to be grouted.

Choose a grout that is going to complement your tiles – different oxides are available to produce different color grouts. Only mix up a small quantity of grout at a time as it dries quickly. Using a sponge or rubber squeegee push the grout into the joins, then use a piece of dowel to smooth the joins.

Leave your tiles to dry for the recommended period of time and then give your floor a thorough clean and polish. Now stand back and admire your handiwork and proud of the job you have accomplished.

For your next project maybe you would like to know:-

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Misc

Laminate Flooring – Best Laminate Flooring

Laminate Flooring Guide

 

Laminate Flooring started off life years ago as a cheap alternative to solid hardwood flooring and although there are still some misguided apprehensions about using this particular type of flooring, the truth is that just like any job you attempt, the end result will always depend on the amount of planning and preparation you do.

Manufacturers of laminate flooring have now realised its potential and products incorporating designs made to be durable and practical are now the norm. Just about any surface finish is available, such as stone, cork, wood, marble, bamboo and special hand crafted varieties.

Best laminate flooring can be installed over most sub-floor surfaces, the main criteria being that the surface is flat and bump free. Ease of fitting is a positive for these floors, most consisting of a ‘snap-together’ mechanism whereby no glues or other adhesives are necessary in order to give a no-gap professional looking finish.

Flooring Fact


Being ‘flat‘ does not mean being ‘level‘. Although many people refer to the floor being ‘level’, the important thing is flatness. Being level is not nearly so important.


In many unit developments these days, noise is a factor that must be considered when installing any type of flooring, but especially laminates. Using the correct type of underlay for your flooring can dramatically reduce noise transmission. Other benefits of good underlay are its properties as a moisture barrier and as an insulator.

Laminate is also a popular choice when there is a height restriction to consider. Unless your base floor needs a considerable amount of self-levelling compound (and it might!), doors may not have to be trimmed. See our article on Directions for Installing Laminate Flooring for more information.

Laminate is available with a pre-finished look, where the timber has had a high or semi-gloss finish applied at the factory before delivery. Either way, you are free to finish your laminate floor with your own lacquer finish if so desired.

Advantages:

  • Looks like the real thing.
  • Easy to install.
  • Extremely cost efficient.
  • Huge range of realistic simulations.
  • Easy to maintain.
Disadvantages:

  • Not suitable for very damp areas.
  • Not a durable as wood or some other products like vinyl or lino.
  • Can sound “hollow” underfoot.
  • Not as warm as real wood.
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Misc

Installing Vinyl Flooring – How To Lay Vinyl Floor

Vinyl Floor Tile Installation

Article Summary: Vinyl Floors can be fitted with relative ease by most do-it-yourselfers but there are a few important things to consider before you start. This article looks at how to get the perfect results when fitting Vinyl Tiles.
For wooden floors, I always recommend a thin plywood or hardboard covering before fixing the vinyl floor. This layer should be screwed to the existing floor at 12 inch intervals and the heads of screws should be countersunk in slightly then filled with suitable filler. This procedure isn’t essential and will depend largely on the quality of your existing wooden floor, many will have ridges visible where they join together and this will show through the vinyl. 
 
Vinyl tiles are pretty easy to fit, but as with any job the quality of the initial preparation will make a huge difference to how your new vinyl floor looks. The slightest lump or bump under the newly laid floor will unfortunately show up as a huge crater and look pretty awful. So when laying vinyl flooring it is very important to prepare well. In fact, of all the flooring surfaces, this one needs the most pre-installation care. Even the smallest grain of dirt will show up through the floor, so use of a vacuum is essential as a final clean up.

An alternative would be to use a floor sander to get the surface smooth and flat. This would be a good course of action where, for example you could not raise the level of the existing floor very much.

For concrete floors, make sure that the surface is flat, smooth and completely free from grit. On my own floors I used to first treat the concrete with an acid based etcher to ensure a good painting surface, and then paint the floor with good quality floor paint. This would make absolutely sure that no grit would be present when I fitted my vinyl floor tiles. This is not essential, but if you have the time it is well worth the effort. In any case the concrete should have any small holes filled and any lumps ground flat.

Fitting the Vinyl Floor Tiles

Most walls these days aren’t well aligned with each other. All you can do is to use the most prominent straight wall to use as a guide to fit your tiles to. Don’t fit the first row against the wall, but instead first measure across the room width and divide the width of the tile into it. This will give you the number of tiles and any fraction of a tile you need to use. Divide the remaining fraction by 2 to get the distance you should set the first tile away from the wall. This will result in each tile nearest each wall being equal. Not clear? OK, an example:

Room width = 128 inches (3250mm)
Tile Width = 12 inches (305mm)

Room Width divided by Tile width:
128 / 12 = 10.667 tiles. (10 full width tiles plus 0.667 of a full tile)
Divide the remaining 0.667 of a tile by 2 to give 0.3335 times 12 inches = 4 inches.

Therefore each end tile should be 4 inches wide.

 

Why bother? – Have you ever seen a tiled pattern that has been set out where a full tile width has been set against a wall, but at the other end a tile width has been cut to fit? If you have you will know that it looks awful! This way takes a little more time and effort but makes all the difference.

Always use either a long straight edge or a chalk line to mark the position of the first row of vinyl floor tiles. The wall may not be exactly straight, so this is important.

When fitting vinyl tiles it is important to use only the manufacturers recommended glue. Other glue might be cheaper but you always want to; a) Protect your warranty, b) Risk your tiles coming loose after a short time, c) Risk any sort of damage to your tiles like color bleeding.

If you have followed my advice above you shouldn’t have any problems with damp, but always check that your sub floor is damp-free before fitting any kind of tiles.

Cutting vinyl tile is easy with any type of sharp knife. Always use a fresh blade and a straight edge to cut your tiles. The first cut should be a gentle test cut before finally slicing through the vinyl unless you are well practiced in this. It is easy for the blade to veer off course, so take your time and get it right the first time!

Other Requirements – Vinyl tiles should be stiff enough to not require an excessive amount of pressure when fitting. Many tile manufacturers require the use of roller or weight to force the tiles to the sub floor. Rollers can be hired and should be used if stipulated for best results.

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Misc

Installing Slate Flooring – Slate Flooring Installation

Slate Flooring Installation

Article Summary: Slate Flooring is one of the most satisfying flooring materials to use, but you have to take some preparatory steps first before you start the job. This article explains the process.

Slate is one of those timeless materials that has a certain “wow” factor that consumers love. Because it is a natural material you can be sure that your new floor will have its own character and will look good for years without any major maintenance. In order to show off your new slate flooring at its best, before you start the installation first take a look at the sub floor surface. Slate is very heavy and depending on what thickness material you use you may need to consider whether the floor is strong enough to take the dead load. Your installation options depend on whether you are fixing the slate to a wood floor or to a solid floor.

Installing onto an existing Wood Floor

There is basically no problem with installing slate flooring over an existing wood floor as long as it can take the load. The minimum thickness of wood floor recommended is 1″ (25mm). If it is less than this, simply screw a high grade plywood sheet to the top of the existing floor. This has two benefits, first fitting water resistant plywood will give a long lasting base that will protect the existing timber and second, you can correct any high or low spots with the plywood sheets, giving you a nice flat surface on which to fit your slate flooring.

A further protective layer of urethane can also be applied if you want to be extra sure that you have a good, solid surface to start from. If you are struggling with a height restriction you can also use a much thinner cement based wall board (usually used for tiling), over the floor. If you use this also use a good quality glue as well as screws to fix it to the floor.

To fix the plywood, first pre-drill holes through the ply using a drill about the same size as the screw, but not too tight. Use a square pattern with screws placed approximately every 12 inches. This may seem excessive, but this will absolutely guarantee that you don’t have any bouncy spots under your slate. You really shouldn’t find any more bouncy spots, but if you do, don’t be afraid to use extra screws.

These days you can buy special flooring adhesives that comprise the usual flooring grade glues but with rubber granules added in to give a substance that will move with the flooring. This helps to stop cracking caused by expansion and contraction in the wood sub floor and the slate, which won’t expand or contract at all. I have had no problems with any tile floors I have laid over wood using these products.

Installing over existing concrete or hard floors is simply a matter of making sure the sub floor is flat, but small discrepancies can be easily covered using the same adhesive as described above.

Having made sure that the sub floor is ready to receive the new slate flooring, the next step is to lay out the slate in the exact pattern that it will occupy once fixed. This is very important. Slate is often laid in a set pattern but this will depend on the manufacturers instructions. Check out the product first and see what the requirements are. You may wish to go for a completely random style of slate flooring. This often looks great when done well, but you will need to pay extra attention to the joins to make sure that any gaps are kept to a standard width. Always space the slate out as per the manufacturers instructions, usually this is around 3/8″ (9mm) but could be more or less depending on the product.

Fix It!

Having laid out the slate flooring, next start mixing the adhesive. Make enough to cover about a 4 foot square section at a time, any more and you may have a situation where the adhesive may start to set before you are ready – not quite a disaster but definitely an unnecessary inconvenience. Start laying the slate from the longest straight wall, using it as a laying guide. When you have finished, step back, admire your new floor and have a beer – you deserve it.

Leave your floor to set properly, again this will depend on your ambient conditions, whether it’s hot, cold, humid or dry. After a day or so you can try to step on the floor. Do it carefully just in case and if all is well you are ready to start on the next step – applying the grout. But before you do, consider whether you want to seal the slate. It is recommended that you do, this has two main benefits at this stage. One, sealing will give the slate a deep luster and two, grouting will be a lot easier as the sealer will not let the grout stick to it.

The Final Stage – Grouting

The grouting process is never easy, but by doing it yourself you will be able to get a much better finish than most professionals, mainly because you have the time to do so. Make sure the grout is pushed well into the gaps and use a slightly damp sponge to wipe away any excess. Whatever you do, don’t use a wet sponge as any water ingress into the grout will weaken it substantially. At this stage try to get as much off the slate as possible so there is only a dusty residue left, the less there is the easier it will be to remove later.

After the grout is dry, which will be at least 24 hours, use a dry cloth to scrub any dust residue left over from the surface of the slate and you will have a wonderfull slate floor you will be proud to show off.