Home Improvement: Slated For Success

The day I discovered slate was the day I found myself in blissful stone heaven.  The color, the texture, its variety, me oh my, it was love at first sight!  Since that day, I have been plotting and scheming how to fit it into my décor, or should I say how to make my décor fit my future slate floor.  Well, my dreams finally came true when the hubs finally gave the green light to go and shop for my dream slate floor for the entryway.  I went on my merry way to a local home improvement store and went promptly to the isle that held my beloved tile.  Oh, I’ve made many a trip to my favorite home improvement store, merely to smell the sweet aroma of wood and dream of how I would one day make a future house a home, I know I’m a home improvement store freak, but I’m comforted by the fact that I know I’m not alone!  Well, I spent a good hour at the store going through each box and making sure none of my tiles were cracked or broken.  Thank you to the salesman in the tile isle too, I would never have gotten the cart to the front without knocking some shelves over, that thing was HEAVY!

 Here’s a look at the pergo while it was being torn up-  Can I just say how gross it is to find that amount of dust, hair and who knows what else? 

The next step was laying down some concrete backer board.  In laying down tile, especially to sub-floors, you need to apply it to some type of surface like concrete or another similar material (at least that’s what all the blogs and DIY websites said).  I had to apply some thin set/mortar between the board and the sub-floor, which was actually a little trickier than originally thought, due to the fact that it was rather large and awkward to handle while applying adhesive!  I managed however.  After laying all of the backer board, for added security you must screw the board to the sub-floors too.  This whole part of the project was done on week nights so that the heavy duty tiling could be done all at once over the entirety of the weekend.

Installing the cement board

Installing the cement board

Saturday morning I laid out all the tiles as I wanted to have them in the entryway.  This step, as I had heard from others but dismissed as not very important, really was one of the best things we did the whole weekend.  Especially with slate floors where there are different colors and thickness, it was imperative to know which ones were going where, not only for cutting purposes but also so that I wouldn’t end up with 5 yellow tinted tiles in a section and 4 green ones in another!  Perhaps the most important reasons for laying them out however, would be so that you are sure you have plenty of tiles, and that you are able to arrange the tiles in such away that you don’t have tiny little cuts to make that would end up making your tile project appear unplanned and unprofessional! (You don’t want your entryway screaming DIY!)  I’m glad we did this step, if we wouldn’t have, we would have had a very complicated cut going underneath the closet that probably wouldn’t have been possible.

Probably the second most important thing to know going into a tile project becomes evident when you actually start preparing to secure the tile to the floor.  This item would be a wet saw!  Wow, they are simply amazing, and when laying slate flooring, you can’t use the snap cutters, as the slate would probably break in jags.  I was nervous about cutting the tile, but Matt and I found it incredibly easy (he became the tile cutting pro), and the only mistakes made with the saw were simply on our end not the saws’!

Here’s a look at all the tiles mortared and laid down.  We had to seal them and let them dry overnight (recommended to wait 24-36 hours before grouting).

Tiles all laid out....just waiting for some grout!

Tiles all laid out....just waiting for some grout!

Why seal before the grout, you ask?  Well, Slate is a natural stone and thus more porous, so unlike ceramic tiles, requires a coat of seal prior to grouting to prevent the grout from staining the tile.  Extra work, but SO worth it. The next day in the afternoon, we started grouting away, and although tedious wasn’t difficult at all.  Another little suggestion here, is make sure you have the tiles with you when you pick your grout, to make sure you get the effect you were looking for.  I only had like 25 options, but I still found just what I wanted!  Also, we had to fix & touch up the grout a few days later to make sure that it was properly done, we got a little tube of extra grout to fix that and save for future fixes, if they should be needed.  One last coat of seal, and here is the result:


Finished Tile Floor!

Finished Tile Floor!

So that’s my tiled path to slate heaven. I love walking across it, and the dogs are quickly falling in love with it’s cool touch. I have a sneaking suspicion as the South Carolina summer heats up, that the slate tile floor will become a favorite sleeping spot.


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