The following procedure for the installation of INTERIOR GAUGED NATURAL SLATE FLOORING may be used over any wood or cement floor that is structurally sound and dry. In new home construction where plywood Is used as a sub floor, it is suggested that sheets of 1/2″ or 5/8″ plywood be laid to insure rigidity where slate floors will be Installed.
1. Clean area where slate is to be installed. In the case of smooth painted or varnished floors, it is necessary to sand with a very coarse sand paper to assure a good mastic bond.
2. Lay out slate on an adjoining area, following the flooring pattern enclosed with package slate or create your own patterns, being sure not to extend joint lines more than 2 or 3 feet in a straight line. If using colored slate, distribute colors in a random fashion.
3. Using a notched 1/4″ x 1/4″trowel, hold at a 450 angle to be sure a full ridge is made with the notches. Spread adhesive on floor starting at a far corner so you can back out of the room as you proceed. Spread Just enough area so you can reach over it to place the slate.
4. Maintain a grout space between the pieces as recommended by the slate supplier (3/8″ or 1/2″). To do this accurately make a wood or metal template of 3/8″ or 1/2″ to measure the joint spaces.Slate may also be laid without joints, in which case edges are then butted against one another.
5. Each piece of slate should be firmly pressed into the adhesive to secure a good bond.
6. After all slate is set in place – allow at least 24 hours for drying before grouting joints.
7. Slate tile can be easily cut with a hand masonry saw using a blade with 14 teeth per inch (the coarser the teeth the better the cut). Scribe a line on the slate, whether it be a circle or straight, and cut through vertically.
JOINTING AND CLEANING
1. Have all equipment and material clean. Clean all joints and surface of slate.
2. Grout joints between pieces of slate with a latex grout. Add water slowly while mixing to get the texture of damp sand. Mix only enough grout to be used in about 30 minutes or difficulty will result in hardening in the pail.
3. Apply mix to joints with a 3/8″ painting trowel making certain joint is completely filled with mix.
4. Trowel or wipe off surplus grout from slate with a damp sponge. Rinse several times with clean water, changing the water as often as necessary so it remains clear. It is very important to do this as you go along. If the grout dries on the slate surface, it will probably never come off.
5. After grout has set hard to the touch, clean surface of slate and along grout line by rubbing briskly with a clean piece of cloth. A preferred way to clean the slate is to sprinkle sawdust over the completed floor, then rub the sawdust over the face of the slate and the joints with a clean piece of burlap.
6. Let joints harden for three days.
7. Wash floor completely again by freely applying fresh, clean water on the entire floor and sponging dry.
Sealing slate is not necessary, it Is a matter of choice – whether you choose to retain the natural beauty of the slate or apply a chemical sealer which is available in a shiny or matte finish. Sealers may be purchased at retail stone dealers.HELPFUL HINTS: Do not apply a sealer over wet, waxed or oiled slate. Allow the slate floor to cure for 30 days before sealing.
1. Apply slate sealer with a large clean cloth or with a paint brush. Apply In a thin coat, following the grain of the slate. Let dry for two hours and apply a second coat.
2. Sealer will dry to the touch within two hours; however, it is advisable to stay oft the floor for 24 hours.
NOTE: It you do not allow the 24-hour drying time and end up with foot marks on the floor, the consequences will be time consuming and costly – the floor must be stripped, and the sealer reapplied.
The slate floor is easily maintained with a solution of mild soap and water. While waxing slate is not harmful, it detracts from the natural beauty of the stone, turns the floor to a darker shade, and may yellow the grout.
Look for this seal and be assured that you are dealing with a reputable stone firm.