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We Chose a Slate Floor for Our Kitchen: A Case Study

By: Mary Williams BA (hons) - Updated: 2 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Slate Floor Kitchen Natural Flooring

John McDonald has recently refitted his kitchen. He had the space it occupied extended and then opted to go for a whole new look. That included choosing a slate floor for the kitchen.

John said: “I had been meaning to do something about my kitchen for a long time. It was tired, old fashioned and really impractical to use. But to be honest it wasn’t simply a question of the cost, the time or the chaos that resulted in my delaying it endlessly, it was also working out exactly what I wanted.

Starting the Extension

“Eventually, I decided the best thing was just to make a start - to create the larger space I wanted and then to think about the design once I knew how it looked and what the light was like. The plan was to knock through from what was a smaller kitchen into a small dining room next door. The dining room was then to have French windows put in and two skylights fitted into the roof. This would make the whole room lighter.

“As expected the building work took longer than any of us thought it would, but once the room had been opened up, it did become easier to see how the room might take shape. First, we decided to fit oak cupboards with a solid oak work surface. Next we decided to paint the walls in an off-white, bringing in just a hint of red in a couple of blocks at either end of the room.

Getting the Flooring Right

“Surprisingly, the biggest problem was the flooring. Elsewhere in the house we had Wooden Floors but, to be honest, I was anxious about how well they would hold up in a kitchen. We’ve got children aged seven to 17 and our house gets a lot of wear and tear. The kitchen is very much the hub of our home and so the floor needed to be durable.

“Carpet simply wasn’t an option for me. There was no way I intended to be vacuuming up crumbs and scrubbing out squashed vegetables day and night! A soft vinyl flooring or perhaps a laminate was a possibility but after a lot of deliberation, we decided to go for something harder and more natural - Slate.

“We went along to various dealers and looked at a whole range of different slates. I was amazed at the different shades it came in and then there was size to be considered too.

“Our kitchen was now pretty large, so it could take big pieces. But equally, we knew it was harder to lay the larger tiles and to achieve a nice even floor.

“Finally, we decided on squares of about a foot in size, in a dark blue/black Chinese slate. The colour complemented the shades we had chosen for the walls and we felt we could afford to go quite dark because of all the light that was now pouring into the room.

“The natural texture now looks fabulous with the wooden cupboards and despite being a form of stone, the tiles are not too cold underfoot.

“In some ways slate isn’t the obvious choice for a family. If you drop something on it, the item will shatter. But slate is hard wearing and it will last. It cleans up beautifully and it really does look fantastic.”

*Names have been changed.

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We have slate in our kitchen too, and John's quite right about it being very unforgiving with dropped glasses and crockery - one it topples, you need to reach for the dustpan and broom. Apart from that, though, it's been perfect. It's not slippery at all (quite the opposite, in fact), and cleans up with incredible ease. It's something I've recommended to friends. It does need to be sealed annually to stay at its best, but that only takes an hour.
jeremy - 23-Jun-12 @ 10:16 AM
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