Apr 082010

Slate tile seems to be one of the most popular choices in natural stones used today.  Slate is a combination of volcanic ash along with mud and clay that give it the unique mix of colors, ranging from blues and blacks to reds and copper tones.  Slate is a great tile to install interior or exterior that has a look and feel no other natural stone can give.Slate will also stand up to high traffic areas such as bathrooms and kitchens.  It is also stain and slip resistant and also bacteria resistant making  it  a very user friendly tile for keeping clean.  Slate is also a very affordable over other natural stones and a great bargain for the natural beauty it can add to your home.

Slate Tile Porch

When picking your slate floor tile it is important to see as many tiles from the lot as possible.  Every slate tile is unique and trying to choose your tile from just one sample can lead to a false idea of  how the over all look of the floor will turn out.  I would advise to open up a whole box and lay them out to get a feel of the dominant color for that slate.  Slate tile will also come in different thicknesses depending on if you pick a gauged or ungauged tile.  A ungauged slate will vary in thickness and will have a lot more textured feel to it.  Most of your gauged slates are going to be much more uniformed in thickness and can come with a much smoother finish.

No matter which natural slate tile flooring you choose its a good idea to seal the tile.  The sealer can really help to bring out the natural colors in the tile giving it a deep rich look.  There are a couple different sealers to choose from such as natural look, gloss and low sheen.  Its always a good idea to test out the sealer on some spare tiles before doing the whole floor to make sure your going to be happy with the final product.

You cant go wrong with slate whether you are installing slate floors, slate counters, slate back splash or slate showers.  No matter where you install slate tile it will last a life time and add value to any home.

Custom Slate Tile Shower

Installing Slate Tile

First thing I like to do is remove as much of the slate from the boxes and lay them out to see all the shades of color and thickness difference in the tiles. This is also a good time to check for damaged tiles.  I like to try and mix the different shades  and set aside some of the more unique looking tiles for areas that will show them off.  I also set some of the thicker tiles aside and I like to start with them and bring the thinner tiles up to that level.  Like most other natural stones you will need a wet saw to cut the slate tiles to the proper size, these are available at most home centers to rent.  Its a good idea to remove any mortar from the surface of the tile as you install it using a wet sponge. More info on how to install slate tile can be found here – how to install tile

Sealing Slate Tile

After you are done grouting your slate its a good idea to let the slate tile and grout fully cure before sealing.  You will want to check the specifications on the products you use for proper cure times before sealing slate tiles.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tanais/ / CC BY 2.0

Sealing your slate is a great way to enhance the natural colors and give it a long lasting finish.  Start by making sure your floor is nice and clean, its a good idea to use a shop vac if you have one to remove any loose dirt.  Apply the sealer using a paint brush, sponge or applicator pad in thin coats.  Allow the first coat to dry depending on the product your using this can be a couple hours or days.  Once dry then apply a second coat and again let fully cure before there is any traffic on the slate floor.

If you have any question on how to install slate tile or how to seal slate tile feel free to leave a comment I will do my best to answer

  5 Responses to “Slate Tile”

  1. You mentioned sealing after you grout. I thought sealing should be done before grouting for an easier and cleaner job? I am tiling a 170 sq ft room. Any recommendations for sealers and/or techniques?

  2. By using thinset, you can spread extra on the back of the tile or add a little more on the floor under the thinner tiles. Again this is all personal preference, some people prefer a more rustic uneven slate floor.

  3. You said, “I like to start with them and bring the thinner tiles up to that level”. How is this “bringing the thinner tiles up to the level of the thicker tiles” accomplished?


  4. I like to use custom building products flex bond thinset and grout for most exterior jobs. You could probably get away with a little cheaper thinset such as customs versabond but on a job that small it is worth the extra couple bucks to use the good stuff.

  5. Great article,,,thanks. I plan to cover my exterior front entrance step. 3′ deep x 8-9″ long with Slate. Probably 12 x 12 gauge slate tile.
    I have installed numerous ceramic tile jobs before. What would be the best thin set to use for cold western Massachusetts weather. And best grout to use.????
    I have visited numerous tile stores and almost all are not really knowledgeable concerning Slate.

    Thanks for your help and any suggestions would be appreciated

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