Slate floor products

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I'm going to install a slate floor in my kitchen. I'm planning:
1. 6mm plywood sheet over existing hardboard. 2. Adhesive 3. Slates 4. Lithofin MN Power-Clean 5. Lithofin MN StainStop 6. Lithofin MN Colour Intensifier
I'm planning to use Indian/Chinese style slate. The rough stuff with red streaks in, anyway. Is this a reasonable sequence? The floor will be a fraction over 10m2.
Some questions:
1. Is 6mm plywood a good base to start on? Should I PVA it first? 2. What adhesive should I use? 3. How many coats of StainStop and Colour Intensifier should I use? 4. How many litres will I need of each? 5. At what point in the sequence do you grout? (i.e. before, after or in between coats of the StainStop?) 6. Do I need a particular type of grout? What colour looks good and won't look manky in five year's time?
Christian.
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P.S. Should I use MN Slate Seal instead of StainStop/Colour Intensifier?
Christian.
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Christian McArdle wrote:

I used both. Use intensifier to bring it up, and the sealer to seal over afterwards, and the grout too.

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red
in
won't
Not entirely relevant, but I laid a limestone floor in our kitchen onto a concrete/screed floor, so obviously I didn't bother with plywood.
I used the flexible adhesive supplied by the stone supplier, Stonell. If you're installing onto relatively thin ply I imagine you'll need a flexible adhesive as well.
I used Lithofin's Wexa to clean the tiles after fixing, then a coat of StainStop. This is before the grout to stop the grout from staining the tiles.
Then the grout (again, supplied by Stonell) - a flexible product from the same manufacturer as the adhesive. I forget the name off hand but I've got the remainder of a bag at home so I can post back later if you're interested.
Another coat of StainStop to seal the tiles/grout and that was it for me.
From memory, I has 1 litre of Wexa, 1 litre of StainStop and one litre of the Lithofin cleaner. I've got loads of the Wexa and StainStop left, and this was for a floor 7.5 m2 area. The cleaner has lasted about 2.5 years of fairly regular use but we're running low now.
Stonell's HQ is a couple of miles away from me so it was easy to go and get more adhesive when I ran out, and they refunded the returned grout I didn't need. They were very helpful with regard to the installation details and I would recommend them.
HTH
Neil
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Neil Jones wrote:

Actually I forgot to say that descalers work well in getting dried cement off, and brick acid is even better.
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Christian McArdle wrote:
The previous post from N. Jones has covered most of it, also got our slates (bamboo) from stonell, who were very helpful and would also recommend mainly because of their advice, but also cost wise they were reasonably priced (3.0+VAT/unit) , and also had the 400x400 slates which we wanted. They also allowed us to arrange own delivery - (Palletline - 41+VAT/900kg). Our kitchen was 20m2, (on part wooden floor) so make your own adjustments of what you'll need (bought 145 slates, 20 or so weren't used as non broken when arrived)

Normally the recommended thickness of ply is 18mm, screwed down at 200mm centres, you may be able to get away with 9mm if your floor is already solid, a good way to check is fill a glass of water to the brim and put in into the centre of the floor, then walk / jump around a bit, if you don't loose any water then you should be okay with 9mm (but I wouldn't go anything less). We PVA'd the ply using Ardex PVA before applying the slates.

Stonell recommended Howtex SS, however we opted for Ardex Ardu-flex 7001 timber system (approx. 30 / bag ), used 10 bags in the end as had uneven floor. Used Ardex mainly cos their technical support / advice line were more helpful.

The more the better, we bought 2 litres of stainstop, which did 3 coats.

We 'stainstopped' each tile before laying, then 'stainstopped' once laid, then grouted, even then it still took more than a day to remove the grout from the slate, thus remove as much of the grout from the slate when still wet otherwise you'll regret it. Finally once grouted we 'stainstopped' again, from recollection you need to reapply every year after that.

I think I followed the advice given here (andy hall ?) and went for grey at 8-10mm spacing, certainly looks right. Again use the flexible stuff, we used Ardex again - 2x11kg bags (10-15/bag)
Although it took much longer to do than originally thought, we are delighted with our slate floor! Good luck, Jon
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OK, 9mm ply it is. I need to keep the thickness down as it is a wooden floor. However, it is pretty well solid already and layed with hardboard.

Hmm. Is that 3 quid per 400mm slate? (i.e. 18.75/m2) I was planning to use 300mm slate at about 1.40 each (15.55/m2), so it would be in the same ballpark. Is 400mm cheaper, the same or more expensive than 300mm slates? I think 300mm would look better for us.

Ah, that could make it more expensive. I'd rather collect for free, if possible. (My personal transport is a 2.8 tonne GVW minibus, so no problems shifting it in one load).

Ouch. That sounds expensive. Presumably I'd need around 5 bags, then, or did you lay it on really thick? Are there cheaper sources that aren't too much of a compromise?

It sounds like a litre should do me, then.

Do you stainstop the grout, too?

Can you get it ready coloured, to avoid matching problems?

I hope to be so soon, too!
So, cost wise, we've got around:
30 Stainstop 10 PowerClean 15 Colour Intensifier 150 Adhesive 15 Grout 50 Plywood 150 Tiles ----------- 420 Total
Does that sound right? Have I missed anything major?
Christian.
P.S. I think I've given up on the underfloor heating idea in favour of an under cabinet fan convector. There would only have been room for electric underfloor, and at around 300 quid to install, too. Is the floor sufficiently warm (on suspended timber subfloor) to stand walking around in socks?
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On Tue, 27 Jan 2004 17:41:57 -0000, "Christian McArdle"

Generally the larger sizes are more expensive per unit area if there is reasonable quality preselection. Look carefully, though, because some suppliers pass off the junk as 300mm. I saw some real junk in (I think it was) B&Q.

Stonell are in Paddock Wood in Kent -not a great distance from the motorway. I wanted to look at the quality of what was normally delivered rather than selected material in the showrooms. They said that one should budget about 5% for duds and breakages. If it's more than that then you can yell.
I needed more than 50sqm so this was a delivery job anyway. There were three quite large pallets delivered with a HIAB, and the slates are heavy. I had 600x400 size, but even 300 square are noticable after a while.

You don't want to compromise on adhesive - this is a false economy with slate. The slate will vary in thickness over a range - IIRC about 9-14mm. You can roughly sort into thicknesses for different areas so that the adhesive can be laid to different depths as sppropriate. Obviously this results in greater use of adhesive than with ceramics.

It goes a long way. The first coat on the grout soaks in a fair bit, but after that it not too bad. I believe you can get 500ml sizes if you run out.

Yes, but that will be during the process of course.

Yes. Howtex do two or three greys. 8-10mm is about right. Do keep in mind that you are handling a natural material and that there will be small variations.
It's important to avoid significant steps at tile edges (it's a trip hazard) but you will get small variations across the surface as a result of the cleaving. These should be no more than 2-3mm on a given tile.
I did a third StainStop coat after 2 weeks because there is a always a small amount of delamination - should be no more than small flakes and gritty bits a few mm across. You can vacuum and wash the floor, vacuum again and then apply the final sealer. After that, we experienced no more delamination .

Take the time and you will be.

Can't see anything major.

We do and our subfloor is concrete. I tend to wear socks in the winter and not bother in the summer. I'm not sure what the thermal conductivity of slate is but it doesn't feel as cold as ceramic or concrete under foot.

.andy
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
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Chris,
pleasingly andy and the natural philosopher have covered it all, so briefly:
Going back to the adhesive, a 22kg bag of ardex was ment to cover 5sqm at 3mm thickness, i.e I should have only used 4 bags!, but maybe this was because I adopted the suppliers advice of laying the thickest 1st.
More info see http://www.ardex.co.uk/arduflex_range.asp
Cutting: I bought a cheap (20) diamond angle grinder blade from B&Q, superb cut the slates like butter.

Although we already had a large radiator in the kitchen, we decided to go for underfloor heating (400), wished we hadn't bothered as only had it on once, mainly cos ardex suggested that the heating / cooling of the timberfloor alters the moisture content eventually causing warping of the timber, hence cracking of the slate, also its not that cheap to run, and finally its not cold on your feet anyway.
Good luck Jon
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They've got a "Stone Centre" near Wantage. I wonder if collections could be made from there, rather than having to troop round to Kent? Not that I have any problem with long drives.
What stone did you go for? Looking at the website, Indian Summer and Bamboo look about right.

10sqm shouldn't be too much of a problem, though? That's only a little over 100 tiles.

I saw the ones in B&Q. They looked fantastic, but probably were just a bit too rough for trip hazard reasons. I'd like to have a few bumps, though. The more impurities the better. I want streaks of red and completely random surfaces.
The main issue when laying is going to be removing the appliances from the kitchen when I do it. I should probably wait for a nice dry period and stick them outside. I will probably floor under where the integrated appliances are to make for easier installation/removal.
Christian.
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Christian McArdle wrote:

Thats where we went, its worth popping down just to get some ideas, although its a small unit, the entire floor is made up of their products, you'll also see that you can use combinations of 0.6, 0.4 & 0.3 tiles, from recollection they only supply from the warehouse in Kent.

Its all down to your own taste, we went for Bamboo as its very light (we have a dark kitchen), and only has a few flashes of orange, the Indian Summer is quite dark and uniform but has a metallic purple look, hence our friends went for that (they weren't looking for a new floor, only giving me a lift at the time).
Jon
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Hmmm. Just noticed the horizontal scroll bar on their site. The Sheng Li looks good too. Can you remember if the prices are very different for the different shades?
It looks like a trip to Wantage is on the cards.
Christian.
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Christian McArdle wrote:

I've scanned 2 relevant pages from their price list http://tinyurl.com/yslnr http://tinyurl.com/36eyc
Jon
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Thanks for that!
The Sheng Li, which looks just like the thing I'm looking for is actually the cheapest. 14 quid per square metre, just like the B&Q stuff. I'll probably go along and compare with the other shades, though. I can't get much of a feel for the stuff from a web site.
The Sheng Li is also wear rated for 6 (heavy interior/exterior commercial use) rather than 3 (moderate interior/exterior domestic use) for the bamboo. The large colour variation is an advantage.
Christian.
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Christian McArdle wrote:

Actually I hadn't noticed that, that would suggest that the Sheng Li is a much stronger slate, you may get away with thinner / no ply?, certainly one to ask them.
Jon
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I doubt it would make much difference. I presume the purpose of the plywood is to make the floor solid enough that the tiles don't ping off when someone walks on the floor and flexes it. I doubt the wear qualities of the slate would affect this, although a good quality flexible adhesive might be indicated.
Christian.
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actually
get
commercial
bamboo.
If Sheng Li is the one I remember, one slate might be dark green, the next bright orange, etc. "Strong colour differences" is an understatement!
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Well, the kitchen units are a little bit uniform, so something to break down the monotony is desired. I'll overbuy by 15% or so and discard the particularly lurid ones, I suspect (or use them under the appliances). OTOH, I haven't seen them in the flesh yet, so I could end up with Bamboo or Indian Summer. The website picture of Sheng Li laid is exactly what I want (without the horrible green painted units, though!)
Christian.
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the
break down

OTOH,
want
On reflection, I realise that any which were too outrageous could be used under your appliances.
Neil
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Roughly what proportion are too ridiculous to use in the ones you saw? (I realise this is pretty variable in practice). Obviously, I'm desiring a reasonable amount of colour difference, but may wish to avoid lime green, fluorescent yellow and bright pink.
Christian.
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