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Discuss Tiling my kitchen floor - slate tiles in the DIY Tiling Forum area at

  1. Futuregrout

    Futuregrout Active Member

    Good evening all.

    I need to tile the kitchen floor over the bank holiday weekend. We are having slate tiles. The existing floor is sand an cement screed, laid a few months ago. There is UFH under the screed. My wife wants a brick bond pattern, which I think means 600 x 400 tiles (which sound huge to me). I will be doing this myself. I simply cannot afford a tiler this time, and I have to get it done quickly as we are due to have our first child soon so I need to get everything finished off. And to be honest I get real satisfaction from doing a job like this to a passable standard, acknowledging that it will take me a lot longer than a real tiler and I will not end up with the same quality of finish.

    I set out my plan for the work below - any questions or comments would be much appreciated. In the interests of full disclosure I have also posted on diynot and have had some good advice, but thought that I would come back to this board for specialist input.

    I have also added a section on layout, because I cannot quite get my head around how best to do it. I will gather my thoughts and put my questions in a separate post.

    Wednesday night.
    1. Clear out room, hoover and clean floor, mop it to get as much dust up as possible and leave to dry.

    Thursday night.
    2. Prime with Mapei primer G.
    - Not sure about how much to dilute - think it is 1:1?

    Friday night
    3. Put down ditra mat, with rapid set flexible adhesive, with 3mm or 4mm square-notch trowel.
    - Are there any cheaper alternatives to ditra mat? I find it a bit of a pain to fill in all of the holes and it costs a bomb, but there are some small cracks in the screed and I don't want to risk it.
    - Adhesive: I assume I don't need latex?

    5. Fix tiles to ditra mat using standard set flexible adhesive. Need to push adhesive right in to all of the little squares. Use 10mm square notch trowel. Leave 4mm grout lines, using spacers. Also levelling clips/wedges (system to be decided) to make tiles completely level. All tiles to be back buttered in addition to bed of adhesive. Small gap to be left between tiles and the wall (to be covered with skirting board later)

    - Cutting: I have a cheap wet tile saw. Is it worth me hiring a better one for the weekend?
    - Adhesive: I assume I don't need latex?

    6. Finish fixing tiles as above.
    - Any special tips on how to finish off on the Saturday, to allow me to re-start on the Sunday? When I have done floors before I have done them in a day (even if it meant working until midnight) so not had to consider it before.

    7. remove spacers and clean the tiles with LTP grimex. Seal with LTP Mattstone.
    8. A few hours later, grout tiles with Mapei Ultracolour Plus (grey). Clean with a sponge, a lot.
    9. Seal again with LTP Mattstone.

    I have added some pictures, although there is so much rubbish in the kitchen at the moment you will do well to actually see the floor!

    View attachment 90637 View attachment 90638 View attachment 90639

    Screenshot_20170517-123110.png Screenshot_20170517-123114.png Screenshot_20170517-123117.png
    Last edited by a moderator: May 17, 2017
  2. Tom Astley

    Tom Astley Professional Tiler

    Instead of Ditra use this.........
    Kerakoll Idrobuild Tex Anti Fracture Crack Mat | Decoupling Membrane | Fixing Materials | Tilers World -

    Get the primer G from is cheap there. You could do two coats of 2:1 as this will have less chance of creating a 'film' on top of the screed.

    Is the slate the same thickness?

    Depending on the slate edge finish...I wouldn't bother with spacers or clips.

    Work clean and you shouldn't need grimex.

    Again, depending on the slate and joint width, consider using silver sand and portland cement as a grout with slate, it will be cheaper and may get a 'fuller' finish.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Localtiler

    Localtiler Professional Tiler Top Contributor

    How long has the screed actually been down ?
    As tom said, you could save money using a thin anti fracture mat like the one above, or bal make one, or tilemaster and others
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Futuregrout

    Futuregrout Active Member

    So, I am also thinking about layout. My wife doesn't want square tiles set out in the normal pattern. She wants brick bond, because she assumes that is the only alternative. And I don't really want to do anything too fancy or mixing sizes - this is going to be hard enough as it is.

    The problem I have is that brick bond means, as far as I can tell, 600 x 400 tiles. Not only do they sound technically difficult to work with, but they are also very wide. As you can see from the photos, there is an island in the middle of the kitchen. The floor space between the island and the L-shaped kitchen worktops is about 110cm. So I won't even get two full-size tiles to fit along one of the sides of the island, if you see what I mean.

    I attach an approximate layout. If I am going with brick bond, which way around should it run? I assume that the best way to do it would be to have the long side of the tile parallel to the bifolds, such that it runs "across" the room as you enter from the hall, rather than "into" the room as you enter from the hall. The problem with this is that there is a second entrance from the lounge, and I think it would look odd to have the tiles running "into" the room from that entrance.

    These two problems make me wonder if a herringbone layout would be better. I think that would mitigate the impact of having the area around the island looking narrow (which I think is a risk if I cannot get two full tiles in there), as well as there being no "direction" to the way the tiles run. But this is adding yet another technical complexity - I am assuming that a herringbone pattern is harder than a brick bond pattern.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated!


    Last edited by a moderator: May 17, 2017
  5. jcrtiling

    jcrtiling Professional Tiler TTA Member Top Contributor

    I suggest you phone up Ltp to see how long they want between sealing and grouting and grouting and second seal .
    Also there are easier grouts to clean up than mapping ucp . For any thing over 3mm joints I like ball wide joint flexible .
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Tom Astley

    Tom Astley Professional Tiler

    You are worried about technical skills of laying brickbond so you counter that with Herringbone............

    I shudder to think what you do when you are choosing which colour socks to wear each day.......
  7. Futuregrout

    Futuregrout Active Member

    Thanks all. In response to the questions: the tiles are calibrated so should be the same thickness. The screed went down around Christmas, possibly soon after. There was a crack - you can see the repair in the pics - because the plumber was a bit too enthusiastic when turning on the UFH. But it really should be dry by now. You can see that I have put down sheeting and carpet to try to protect the surface from wearing away.

    I will check the times for sealing again -thanks.
  8. Futuregrout

    Futuregrout Active Member

    Apologies if I was not clear. I think that herringbone may be a better layout for the shape of the room, but I am assuming that it is more difficult to get right than brick bond. (I am not even contemplating 45 degree herringbone, I am considering 90 degree).

    The technical difficulty I foresee with the brick bond is more the size of the tile really. At 600 x 400 they are twice as big as anything I have used before.
  9. Localtiler

    Localtiler Professional Tiler Top Contributor

    I think you need a tile that size to look right on the area you have there. Herringbone is a different kettle of fish especially with the island, I wouldn't advise taking that on, it will take you twice as long maybe more
    • Like Like x 1
  10. impish

    impish Trusted Advisor Professional Tiler Top Contributor

    Your best option for fast sealing is Universeal Rapid All-in-one. You can apply it to wet slate after you've washed it (properly) and grout after 20 mins.

    (Nesting instinct is a real problem - I feel your pain my friend!!!)
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Localtiler

    Localtiler Professional Tiler Top Contributor

    Is that what you use imp that rapid all in 1?
  12. impish

    impish Trusted Advisor Professional Tiler Top Contributor

    Yes, I use it a lot. New formulation doesn't smell either! Very very good sealer, unless you want an enhancer because this doesn't enhance.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Futuregrout

    Futuregrout Active Member

    Thanks all - it is so helpful to get responses so quickly!

    There is one other problem I am struggling with. We have an american fridge freezer, and I will have to tile under it. It sits between two tall units currently. I don't know how to do this. It is too big to fit through the doors so it has to stay in the room. And moving it about on the tiles would almost certainly scratch them.

    Option 1: move fridge to corner of room, and tile under it before doing anything else. But that will take ages by the time I have put down the anti fracture mat, tiles, grout and sealed. And it would also determine the layout for the rest of the room.

    Option 2: move fridge to corner of room, tile under it on day 1 of tiling; push it back in to place at start of day 2 over newly laid tiles. Problem here is that it will likely scratch the (visible) tiles I will have to push it over to get it back in to place, and will have to bring it out again to grout etc.

    Any other, better options?!
  14. JulianSidney

    JulianSidney Trusted Advisor Professional Tiler

    ramsey, essex
    have I missed the question / answer,
    how long has the screed been down?
    has the ugh been commissioned?
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Futuregrout

    Futuregrout Active Member

    Hi. Screed went down before Christmas. The UFH is working and was on almost permanently through mid-Jan to the end of march.
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Plan Tec Tiling

    Plan Tec Tiling Administrator Staff Member Trusted Advisor Professional Tiler JOTM Winner Top Contributor

    Wimborne, Dorset
    I've amended and added your images into the thread for ease of access & viewing
    • Like Like x 1
  17. SJPurdy

    SJPurdy Professional Tiler

    I think that a 4mm joint width is a bit optimistic. All of the slate I have fixed has required double this to accommodate the variation in sizing and the non flatness of the slate.
    Likewise the slate that I have fixed (even the calibrated) has varied in thickness/ flatness so much that I would recommend a tile notch size greater than 10mm.
    For the same reason I am not sure the levelling clip systems will help that much with slate but then I have never tried it.
    Slate takes longer to fix than general ceramic tiles because of the variation in thickness which needs to be accommodated by varying the thickness of the adhesive bed (that will depend on the quality of the slate, flatness and pre-sorting/calibration); and all cuts need to be none using a wet saw (or equivalent). You may be optimistic about getting it all fixed in 2 days.
    An alternative to brick bond would be random bond and this can make things easier as you can plan so that full tile joints hit things like the edge of the island unit.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. Futuregrout

    Futuregrout Active Member

    I thought I would let you all know how it went.

    Prep and laying decoupling membrane:

    I started two days late due to work commitments, so I only emptied the kitchen on the Friday night. It took me all of Saturday to get cleared up, sort out the layout and get the decoupling membrane down. It was roasting hot all day - rapid set was a bad choice, and totally unnecessary in hindsight. I used the Kerakoll mat recommended on this thread. I found it harder to put down than ditra mat and I did have a few issues smoothing it out properly. I will give myself a 5/10 (10/10 being the result achieved by a good professional tiler) because while I did get it done per the instructions, it took me forever as I had to mix up the rapid set in such small quantities. Even with my dad helping by doing the mixing, it took ages.

    Working out a layout:

    It took 2 hours on Sunday to work out the layout. I am very pleased with the layout, it was pretty efficient and I think it just looks "right". 2 hours well spent. I will give myself 9/10 for the layout - I think it works really well, although I am sure others would find problems with it.

    Laying tiles:

    I used a 12mm trowel following suggestions on here, and back buttering the back of the tiles with maybe 2mm of adhesive. I was using semi rapid set adhesive, half a bag at a time, with 5mm spacers (admittedly ignoring the advice here, but I thought the tiles were pretty uniform and that I could manage a smaller space). I also used Rubi levelling clips. It took me a long day and a half to lay the tiles.

    I will give myself 6/10 here. On the whole I think I did a decent job and, as a DIYer, getting all the tiles down in a day and a half (Sun PM and Monday) felt like a result even with my dad helping by mixing up the adhesive and cutting the tiles. The vast majority of tiles feel and look flat, level and flush... but there are 3 or 4 where I can feel a lip when stepping on them and I just know it will drive me nuts over time. I am not sure what the rubi clips achieved to be honest - I couldn't see any obvious difference they made, and they broke as soon as I squeezed a bit to hard. The size of the tile was less of an issue than I had thought, and as someone on the the thread above said, anything smaller would have looked wrong in the room, but the little plastic rubi clips seemed incapable of doing anything to level up the heavy tiles. I also made more mess than I expected to - in particular right at the end (the nearest tiles in the picture - they have since been cleaned up).

    Grouting will have to wait until the weekend because the supplier didn't actually ship the grout, and because I ran out of time and energy anyway.

    Overall: I am pleased to have got it done but it was really hard work, a pro would have managed to get a better finish, and my knees are killing me! I would do it again if I had to, but my hope is that next time I will be in a position to pay a good tiler to it instead. Thanks everyone for the advice!

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    Last edited: May 30, 2017
  19. Localtiler

    Localtiler Professional Tiler Top Contributor

    Looks good you have done well. Remember to seal them well before grouting and again after and be careful moving the fridge as slate scratches extremely easily
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Paul C.

    Paul C. Professional Tiler

    To go one step further on Locals post, agree. Good job. Have you picked out your sealer yet?

    As he says it scratches just by looking at it. Even after it is sealed, with most clear sealers, the scratches are still visible even after applying a further lick to try and blend it in.

    Recently had some dealings with a honed slate. A fart from 3 blocks away can scratch it. Oil based sealers (like LTP Stone Oil or Lithofin Slate Oil) are by far the best [IMO]for the initial seal and to perfectly touch up scratches if they ever occur after installation, which i'm sure they will.
    • Like Like x 1
  21. Localtiler

    Localtiler Professional Tiler Top Contributor

    My recent slate job I used stainstop mn which was good, slate isn't very porous, I think I used around 1.5lt for 40sq m
  22. Futuregrout

    Futuregrout Active Member

    Thanks both. You are right about the scratches - I couldn't believe just how easy it was to scratch them. We have metal based stools for the island but I'm going to cover the bases with felt before putting them back. I actually wanted the honed slate but the supplier almost refused to sell it to me when I told them it was for a kitchen floor because they scratch so easily.

    As regards sealer:I have lots of ltp matt stone left over from the bathroom so was going to use that but open to suggestions for better options
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