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New terrace paving? Put the slate on a pedestal!

Uteflis ligger på pidestaller på en terrasse. Skiferflisene er fra Offerdal
Elevate your terrace to the next level, literally. Place the outdoor tiles on pedestals (as a system floor) and you’ll get a maintenance-free terrace – completely without glue, mortar and joints.

There are several reasons why you shouldn’t put someone, or yourself, on a pedestal. But there are exceptions, of which one is when sitting on a gorgeous slate terrace – mounted on pedestals.

Mounting the terrace on pedestals is a simple installation method that does not require glue, mortar or grouting. Simply place pedestals on top of a stable surface of concrete, wood or other firm and stable covering, determine the height and lay the tiles. The pedestals are just ordinary blocks that have a perpendicular corner groove in which you place the slate tile. The system is also called system flooring and there are many different suppliers of these blocks on the market.

A large terrace with gray slate tiles from Offerdal. A flower bed with high concrete walls runs along one side.

– I always recommend this type of installation to customers. It’s attractive, self-cleaning and very easy to set up, says Runar Gabrielson Bø, who runs Runar Steinsystemer AS.

He has worked with slate for over 30 years, and early in his career he saw a need for an even simpler attachment method.

– One of the things that makes slate so unique is that the stone can be used over and over again. Many people want to rebuild or extend their terraces, so it’s a big advantage if the terrace floor can be dismantled easily without being damaged, says Runar.

Tiles of Otta Pillarguri slate lying on pedestals (system floor)
Otta Pillarguri slate on pedestals from Runar Steinsystemer (Terra Level).
Tiles of slate lying on pedestals (system floor).
The system can be used directly on an existing wooden terrace – an enormous transformation in a short time!

Runar Steinsystemer AS was an early adopter of pedestal systems for installation of terrace tiles. Over the past 10-15 years, Runar has experienced increased demand for this type of installation.

– I think part of the reason is that many properties with roof terraces have been built, in addition to the fact that terraces can now also be installed with pedestals directly on the ground and on steps. This provides a great many possibilities. So installing on a pedestal system is absolutely brilliant, he says.

A close-up of Offerdal outdoor tiles laid on a pedestal. The open self-cleaning joints and beautiful structure on the stone is very visible.
Offerdal outdoor tiles laid on pedestals provide open self-cleaning joints and gives a beautiful and clean result.
Offerdal outdoor tiles laid on pedestals that stand directly on gravel.
Offerdal outdoor tiles laid on pedestals that stand directly on gravel.

All of our slates, Oppdal quartzite, Otta Pillarguri phyllite and Offerdal quartzite, have very good flexural strength [up to 46.5 MPa]. This means that it can withstand high loads without breaking. In fact, the slate can be down to only half the thickness of, for example, a Norwegian granite and still withstand the same load. Minera Skifer has carried out tests in collaboration with CBI / SP in order to determine the dimensioning of slate slabs for use on pedestal systems.

Hides “ugly” items

Modena Fliser has also seen increased demand for this type of attachment system.

– One of the things that makes pedestals such a popular attachment method is that you have a lot of creative freedom. You can adjust the height from 1- 55 cm, so it’s an easy way to elevate – and renew – part of the terrace, says Tommy Ivesdal.

He is product manager at Modena Fliser, which also offers pedestal systems for slate.

– In many ways, stone slabs provide an opportunity to create a new terrace, while hiding any ’ugly‘ elements on your terrace, such as drains and pipes, without having to remove them. Many people find it convenient to be able to get under the stone terrace if they need to, he explains.

Tommy Ivesdal says that they mostly sell ceramic tiles for their pedestal systems.
Price plays a role, although there is nothing to beat real natural stone and it’s definitely worth the extra expense.

In recent years, technological advances have made it possible for slate slabs to be cut into specific thicknesses, and combined with the flexible pedestals, it’s possible to get an even slate surface.

– Slate is a low-maintenance natural product and is also very sustainable, especially when compared to materials that are cast abroad and imported to Norway. The slate’s intrinsic weight will also provide increased stability in the face of adverse weather conditions, Tommy Ivesdal concludes.

Three good reasons to consider pedestals as the attachment method on your terrace:

1. Flexibility

If you use pedestals as an attachment method, you’ll be able to rebuild – or build on – the terrace as you wish. The slates are only held in place by their own weight and can therefore be easily lifted off and moved elsewhere.

This is also useful if you need to get under the floor of the terrace. It’s also easy to lift off one to three slates to get access to a concealed drain or pipes.

The fact that the pedestals’ height can be adjusted also allows you to be creative and create terrace zones with different levels. The pedestals also ensure that your terrace is nice and level, even if the ground below it is not.

2. Weight

The only real threat to a terrace deck mounted on pedestals is the wind. So it’s reassuring to know that the slate has the weight needed to stay put.

Wind is not a problem in most cases, but if you live in an area with a lot of wind, it may be worthwhile to increase the thickness a bit, and thereby also the weight. So it’s a good idea to think about where the wind most often comes from and try to prevent it from getting under the tiles.

3. Drainage and frost protection

When there are no joints between the tiles, it’s easy for water to escape. So when the sun comes out again after a heavy rainstorm, you won’t have to wait long before you can relax on your terrace again.

If you choose flooring of natural stone, the naturally rugged surface of the stone will also help to break the water membrane, so that water disappears more quickly. With fully smooth surfaces, such as on ceramic tiles, it can take much longer for the water to disperse, simply because nothing breaks the water membrane.

When winter comes, you won’t have to worry about frost freezing the ground beneath the slate. The pedestals will make sure the tiles stay just as you left them.

A large terrace with a dining area and with gray slate tiles from Offerdal. A bed of decorative stone runs along the edge.

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