Many experts consider a slate kitchen floor one of the best types for a kitchen area. Slate is durable, water-resistant, less expensive than other natural stones, and beautiful. It is also versatile in style.
According to Livingetc, slate is a “timeless flooring option that can look good in any style property, modern or traditional.”
Slate Kitchen Floor: Pros and Cons
Most people love the look and feel of a slate kitchen floor, but nothing is perfect for everyone. Consider this quick list of the benefits and drawbacks of this gorgeous stone to decide if slate kitchen flooring might be a good option for you.
- Beauty – Slate flooring has a varied coloring from gray to vibrant hues. It is a textured stone for rustic style kitchens or can be sanded smooth for more modern styles.
- Durability – Slate is a natural stone that has innate strength and durability to resist certain damage. With proper care, slate flooring can last for as long as the life of your home.
- Investment – Natural stone flooring is attractive to other home buyers and can increase your return on your home investment.
- Water Resistance – Slate flooring is water and stain-resistant making it an ideal choice for kitchen flooring.
- Cost – Slate floors are less expensive than other natural stone floor varieties like marble or granite.
- Easy Regular Maintenance – The regular maintenance required for kitchen slate floor tiles is sweeping or dry-mopping each day and wet-mopping around every month.
- Repair – In severe cases, slate kitchen floor tiles can be damaged or broken. It is difficult to replace the broken tiles without breaking the surrounding ones.
- Installation – Slate is hard but also brittle. Slate floor tiles are more difficult than other tiles like porcelain for DIYers to install because the subfloor must be level in order to keep the top layer of slate from cracking.
- Cost – Slate is more expensive than synthetic floor options like vinyl or laminate.
- Sealing – Slate flooring must be sealed each year in order to keep the porous natural stone from absorbing water and other substances. m
- Scratching – Slate floors are easy to scratch. Therefore, this is not a suitable flooring type for a room where its floors are subject to heavy abuse.
- Hardness – Slate is a hard flooring material which can be difficult to stand on for long lengths of time. It is also less forgiving when you drop objects on it.
What is Slate?
Slate is a fine-grained, layered metamorphic rock that has been formed from a shale-type rock made from clay or volcanic ash.
Slate also contains quartz, feldspar, calcite, pyrite, and hermite. Slate is formed with heat and pressure which causes these minerals to line up parallel to each other and form the layers which allow slate to split into sheets.
Most slate is a deep gray color, but there is also slate available in green, red, brown, black, and purple. Slate flooring can be found in exterior as well as interior spaces because of its strength, beauty, and durability.
Types of Slate Flooring for Kitchen Design
By far, the most common type of kitchen slate flooring is tiles. These have a variety of styles and finishes that you can purchase.
Slate Kitchen Tile Types
There are three main types of tile styles: gauged, ungauged, and calibrated.
- Gauged Tiles – Gauged slate tiles are ground down or cut on the bottom side of the tile with the top side remaining textured or uncut to keep its rustic quality.
- Ungauged Tiles – Ungauged tiles are left rough and uneven on both sides. These are “tiles” in their most natural state. They remain non-uniform in both size and thickness. These are most often used outdoors.
- Calibrated – Calibrated slate tiles are ground down on the top and the bottom to present a more uniform style. These have a smoother appearance which is often used in more modern or contemporary style kitchens.
Slate Kitchen Tile Finishes
Slate tile manufacturers have a variety of tile finishes that you can choose. The most popular finishes are polished, honed, tumbled, and clefted.
- Polished Slate Tile – Fabricators sand polished slate tiles to create a smooth and tight textured surface. This creates a more slippery surface so this finish does not work well if you have small children who are more accident prone.
- Honed Slate Tile – Honed slate tiles are also finished to create a smooth surface but not enough to create a shine. These slate tiles have more grip, so they work better in busy areas like kitchens.
- Tumbled Slate Tile – The surface of tumbled slate tiles have some texture and variation, but the edges and the surface have been softened.
- Clefted Slate Tile – Clefted slate tiles are the most rough and textured of these four types. It is also called natural slate and is used in rustic and traditional kitchen settings.
Cleaning a Slate Floor and Other Maintenance
In a busy and active room like a kitchen, it is vital to understand how to care for the floor and to keep it clean.
- Clean Each Day – It is important to keep your slate tiles free from dust and debris that can build up on a slate floor and cause scratching down the road. Each day, sweep or dry-mop the floor.
- Wet Mopping – Every month or so, or when you have been extra messy with food prep, mop the slate floors with a cleaning solution with a natural pH. Do not use any cleaners with lemon or vinegar. Let them air-dry or use a soft cloth to buff them dry.
- Sealing a Slate Floor – It is best to maintain a regular schedule for sealing your slate floor tiles for kitchen spaces. Choose a sealer with the type of finish you want from matte to glossy. Clean the slate and allow it and the grout in between the tiles to dry for 24 hours. Pour the sealer into a roller pan. Apply the sealer with a foam roller or sponge. Allow the sealer to dry for 24 hours before you walk on it.
- Special Cases – If your slate floor scratches, apply mineral spirits which may hide the scratch. Use felt pads on the bottom of furniture to minimize the scratching potential. Clean up spills as they occur to avoid staining. If staining does occur, use a stone poultice to try to remove the stain.
Slate Kitchen Floor Ideas for Design
A slate floor kitchen is most common in farmhouse and rustic design, but there are also modern kitchens that use slate. We have rounded up some examples of different types of kitchens that use slate flooring.
Farmhouse Slate Kitchen Floor
A farmhouse kitchen with slate floor is a ubiquitous design feature, but it gets a twist in the farmhouse space.
In this kitchen design, Plain & Posh design company uses a multi-colored square slate tile for the flooring. The gorgeous and varied tile complements the neutral cream and dusky blue farmhouse kitchen cabinets.
Mid Century Modern Slate Kitchen Floor
This mid-century modern kitchen gets a boost in style with a multi-tile sized slate floor. The floor does not just elevate the look of the kitchen, it provides another texture to counterbalance the wood cabinets and white walls.
Contemporary Kitchen With Slate Floor Tiles
In general, you might not think to pair slate floors with contemporary kitchens. But in this design, Partners 4 Design combines the rectangular slate tiles with contemporary elements like the white flush cabinets and the waterfall island in a seamless way.
This design emphasizes each smooth slate floor tile with contrasting white grout for a more modern look.
Rustic Slate Flooring Kitchen Design
Rustic and historic-style kitchens look amazing with slate tile flooring. If you want the most rustic floor, use a clefted or a tumbled slate tile. These will have the most texture and provide the most “aged” look of all the tile options.
The slate tile floor in this rustic kitchen grounds the space which allows the designers to use light colored wood and white walls in the kitchen and still look balanced.
Transitional Kitchen With Slate Flooring
The multi-colored slate tile in this kitchen works to blend all the disparate foundational elements in this transitional kitchen. It complements the wood detailing, the white cabinets, and pops of black and copper.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
What is the most inexpensive type of kitchen slate floor?
According to HomeAdvisor, the cost of the average slate tile flooring ranges from $4-$10 per square foot. For high-end slate, you can pay from $15-$28 per square foot. Installation runs between $10-$16 per square foot. If you want to save money in your slate kitchen floor, try to find more slate that was mined closer to the surface which is less expensive and also consider ways to install the slate tile yourself. Make sure that you build a solid subfloor surface that is level before you install your tile or your tile can crack later on.
Is slate a good choice for a kitchen floor?
Slate is a beautiful natural stone that works well in kitchens because it stands up to heavy foot traffic and is easy to keep clean. On the other hand, it is also hard and can cause your feet to hurt and cause more breakages from objects dropping on it. If you like the look of slate floors, you can add thick rugs to help in places where you will need to stand for lengthy periods of time.
What are the main sizes of slate floor tiles?
Slate tiles come in both regular and irregular shapes. Square slate tiles come in sizes ranging from 6”x 6” all the way up to 24”x 24”. Rectangular slate tiles also vary in size from small sizes like 3”x 6” up to 18”x 24”.
Are slate kitchen floors still in style?
Slate tile is the type of flooring that never goes out of style. While it may be more or less trendy at certain times, slate kitchen floors have always had and will always have many fans.
What is the best kind of rustic slate floor tiles?
If you are looking for a rustic style slate floor, choose gauged or ungauged tiles with a clefted or tumbled finish.
Slate kitchen floors are a classic and elegant choice for any home kitchen. These floors have a timeless quality that can maintain their look as other trends come and go.
Slate tiles are durable, water-resistant, and beautiful. Slate tiles in your kitchen also provide a great return on your investment when you decide that it is time to move on to another home.