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Refurbishing your bathroom? Get some expert tips about slate

Et bad med en vegg av skifer tørrmur. Et betongfelt på midten utgjør dusjen, moderne dusjarmatur.
It’s no secret that Norwegians are champion refurbishers. It’s not known whether we’re world champions at staying in the bath or shower, but we do like a nice bathroom. Are you thinking about refurbishing your bathroom – but need a little inspiration? Here are a few expert tips!

Stein Vidar Gulløien is a trained painter and decorator and runs Trysil Flis & Malercenter. He’s been swinging hammer, chisel and paintbrush in people’s homes and cabins for over 25 years. He’s in no doubt that folks here in the mountains love their bathrooms.

– Norwegians like to be clean and hygienic, and we spend a lot of time on our personal grooming. We like to bathe, shower and get made up. Yes, and we also like to be comfortable on the loo! he says with a smile.

Dark bathroom with narrow slate tiles from Otta Pillarguri on the wall and floor. White sanitary furniture from Alessi.
Otta Pillarguri slate on both floor and wall. Sanitary equipment from Alessi.

A relaxation department

The experienced craftsman naturally follows current trends closely and has no difficulty describing the state of the art. There are many details such as wall-mounted toilets and built-in shampoo niches.

– Floor tiles have to be large, people want double washbasins, and rain showers are a must. Maybe even a bathtub, if there’s room for one.

Over the years, he’s seen the bathroom become more and more a place of recreation a personal relaxation department.

– We’ve seen many people putting in cosy armchairs and they want both a sauna and a steam shower. In general, there needs to be more space in the bathroom, Gulløien says.

Large bathroom with a feeling of luxury with slate tiles by Offerdal on the wall, white marble on the floors.
Slate tiles of Offerdal quartzite in natural surface, combined with white marble.
A sauna with walls and ceilings of slate tiles. The stove is clad with a piece of solid slate slab from Offerdal
Offerdal quartzite slate on both wall and sauna stove.
A bathroom and a sauna in a cabin with light Oppdal flagstones on the floor.
Light Oppdal quartzite crazy paving in the bathroom and shower.

Sketch your bathroom

For anyone dreaming of an exciting new bathroom, the expert has the following advice: begin by sketching how you want your bathroom to look.

– You need to find out what you have space for. Is there room for a bathtub, as well as a shower? Do you want a standing toilet? And what about the washing machine? Make a plan of all the surfaces and decide where you want to have the heating elements or panel heater.

Try out different types of slate. Put together several different surfaces and structures, and see how the combination turns out.

A large bathroom with light Oppdal silk-brushed slate tiles on the floor and on the shower wall.
Silk-brushed Oppdal quartzite on the foor as well as the walls.
Details of a rain shower with silk-brushed slate tiles from Oppdal on the floor and on the shower wall.
Details of a bathroom floor with tiles of silk-brushed Oppdal slate. There is a black table with wellness items there.
Details of a shower with light gray slate tiles on the floor and wall. A long drain is embedded in the slate tiles.

Once you’ve made the important decisions, contact a good plumber who can manage the project from A to Z.

– It’s important to get the technical aspects of the wetroom right. A bathroom is an expensive room, but it can quickly become even more expensive if you don’t do everything according to the book, he emphasises.

– The great thing about slate is that it comes in all sizes and surfaces. From light grey Oppdal slate via medium grey Offerdal slate to black Otta slate, and from the roughest to the very smoothest. A creative tiler can do a lot with that versatility!

Stein Vidar Gulløien
A double shower with tiles of Otta slate in different heights on the wall. Light gray slate tile in large format on the floor.
Otta Pillarguri tiles on the wall, combined with light gray silk-brushed Oppdal tiles on the floor.
Bathroom with narrow slate tiles in Otta Pillarguri slate on the wall and in a larger format on the floor. Large sink with white worktop.
Otta Pillarguri tiles (slate strips) in natural surface on the wall toghether with tiles in a brushed surface on the floor.

Versatile stone

One of the big decisions you’ll have to make is what kind of surface you want on the walls. Gulløien says the size of your wallet is often what decides this. But if money is no object, he has one firm favourite: slate.

– Because it’s so extremely durable. You’ll never get a scratch in it. It hasn’t been baked in a kiln in Spain, but has lived its own life for millions of years. This also increases the sales value of your house, he adds.

Gulløien says that there’s a lot more clout in a slate-clad bathroom. And it also gives an avalanche of inspiring options.

– The great thing about slate is that it comes in all sizes and surfaces. From light grey Oppdal via medium grey Offerdal slate to black Otta slate, and from the roughest to the very smoothest. A creative tiler can do a lot with that versatility, he says.

A large bathroom with light Oppdal silk-brushed slate tiles on the floor and on the shower wall.
Light Oppdal quartzite
A modern bathroom with Offerdal slate tile on the wall and Offerdal slate floor in mosaic
Offerdal quartzite
A modern bathroom with black Otta slate tile on the wall and floor in herringbone pattern
Otta Pillarguri phyllite

Stone with soul

He has done exactly this himself. Gulløien describes large slate tiles on bathroom walls and mosaic tiles in the shower. Hewn edges and stepping stones. The sky is the limit.

– Once, we installed a bathroom where the entire shower area consisted of two gigantic slate slabs weighing 250 kg each. No grouting You can’t do that with tiles. No, it’s not the cheapest of material, but you can really be creative with it and over time you find that the cost decrease due to its durability.

Bathroom with Oppdal slate brick and cast concrete slab in the middle of the shower wall. Slate tile flooring.
Light Oppdal quartzite both as tile on the floor and as a rustic brick shower wall.

He has noticed how more and more people are using many different types of surface. These days, it’s common to find more than one type in a bathroom.

– It’s increasingly popular to mix the old with the modern. For example, a smooth tile on one wall and coarse slate on another. It’s also really stylish to set light grey Oppdal slate against brown wooden walls. This creates a real ‘cabin’ atmosphere, he says, and concludes:

– Slate is, after all, stone with soul.

A rustic bathroom with gray timber walls and Offerdal slate tiles on the floor. Entrance to a sauna inside.
Slate flooring tiles from Offerdal in a natural surface, combined with gray round timber walls. Rustic and soulful!

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