Along with an aga, a flagstone floor has been a farmhouse kitchen staple for centuries. You may have visited or even lived in a country house with those unmistakeable black, square cut flags, authentic and incredibly hard wearing.
If you're the lucky owner of a flagstone floor, it's most likely originated from one of two places - North Wales, or Caithness, in the Scottish Highlands.
Flagstone is an umbrella term for types of stone that can be easily split into layers. Welsh flagstone (or Welsh slate) is slate. Caithness flagstone is actually a sandstone.
Whilst Caithness stone and slate look similar, they have different geological properties as they were formed in different ways. Slate originated from volcanic ash, whereas sandstone is a sedimentary rock. This means that was formed from the compression of lots of sediment over millions of years.
We commonly think of sandstone as being red. Caithness flagstone however varies in colour from grey/brown to dark grey. When polished professionally it takes on a striking, almost black colour.
As a sandstone, Caithness stone is not absorbent, which makes it ideal for bathrooms and kitchen worktops and floors, where spillages are likely and cleaning is regular.
These days Caithness flagstone is more popular than ever. And you no longer need to tip toe across a cold stone floor in the morning, as a Caithness flagstone floor is well suited to underfloor heating.
And as the old farmhouses prove, a Caithness flagstone floor will more than withstand the test of time.
You can read more about the history Caithness flagstone here.