shutterstock_266272460If there’s a flooring option that we’ve been seeing an increase in requests for here at Floor Coverings International, it would definitely be natural stone flooring. Natural stone floors are beautiful, natural (obviously), durable, and unique. While stone flooring options such as the more luxurious granite and marble can be expensive and intimidating, a good ‘starter stone,’ as it were, is slate. Slate tile floors are gorgeous and resilient, but once you start looking into them more, it can be confusing about where to start and what you want. While it is the least expensive of all the natural stone options, slate still manages to be confusing, as it is surrounded by befuddling jargon that few outside the flooring industry tend to be familiar with. So this post will review the various types of slate tile flooring available to you from Floor Coverings International and help you to decide what type of slate is the best for your next natural stone flooring project.

Gauged Slate Tile Flooring

Gauged slate refers to slate tile flooring that has been cut or ground along the backside into a flat surface, even though the other side, or the face of the tile may still be naturally rough. This is in contrast to un-gauged slate, which has not gone through this process so that the surface is still naturally rough and textured. Gauged slate tiles tend to be a bit pricier because they are so much easier to install. There is no uniform thickness to un-gauged slate, so getting a flat flooring surface can be difficult, requiring practices like back-buttering to get the tiles to lie flat. Typically, un-gauged slate is preferred for outside uses, and is great for things like garden stepping-stones. Gauged tile, on the other hand, is ideal for indoor applications, as the even thickness will make the floor flatter and more even.

Cleft or ‘Natural’ Slate Tile Flooring

The meaning of the term ‘cleft’ slate is similar to that of gauged slate but instead refers to the surface of the slate, rather than the back of it. Cleft slate is also known as natural slate and refers to slate tile flooring that is kept in its natural state, with a surface texture that is rough and uneven, providing the characteristically rustic look of natural slate tile flooring. Cleft slate tile is very durable because even if it is chipped or damaged, the rugged surface will disguise the marring. This also applies to dust and dirt, so even though we advise regular sweeping and cleaning, cleft slate can tolerate a bit of sloth. The characteristic look of slate, which comes to mind when most people think of it, refers to the look of natural, cleft slate tile flooring.

Honed Slate Tile Flooring

Honed slate tile flooring refers to slate whose surface has been ground smooth so that the naturally uneven texture of the tile is replaced by an even and polished surface that will work with more simple, minimal, and modern designs. Honed slate tends to have less vibrant color disparity than cleft slate tile, so people who want to go for the more daring looking slate might want to stick with cleft slate. Honed slate can range from still being mildly rough and textured, to polished as smooth and glossy as marble. Slate is not really suited for this sort of high gloss treatment though, as it is a naturally rough, hard, and brittle material.

Photo: IsakBA

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Like what you read? Get in touch with your local Floor Coverings International to learn more about the different types of slate tile flooring available near you.

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