Slate, also known as “metamorphic” rock, occurs naturally in the ground. Slate tiles have many excellent qualities in both color and durability, making it a “natural” choice for many homeowners. Nature gives slate tile flooring neutral coloration as well as some very vibrant shades in its various formations.
Some slate floor tiles are even a combination of both subtle and vibrant colors. So the color choices available in slate tile flooring are widely varied, and nearly all can be matched to just about any surrounding decor.
Is Slate Tile Flooring the Right Choice For You?
Slate tiles are known to be water resistant and very durable. They prevent slippage underfoot, and so are safer in some ways than the more common floor tiles, such as vinyl or Italian tile, making them ideal for both indoor and outdoor flooring projects.
However, it should be noted that for families with small children or even an elderly family member living in the home, there is no padding or softness when dealing with a slate floor, so deciding whether slate tile flooring is a good choice for you may be determined by your child’s current mobility level, or whether your elderly parent or grandparent living with you is prone to falling.
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Installation of tile is involved and somewhat labor intensive, but if you can do the installation of your slate tile flooring yourself, you will save yourself quite a lot of money, reducing the cost of your floor by literally hundreds of dollars. Of course you would want to follow manufacturer instructions when preparing to install your slate tile flooring.
Tips for Slate Tile Flooring
Make sure to take accurate measurements and buy a bit more tile than you figure you will need, just in case you have any breakage or you make a mistake when cutting pieces to fit when needed. Some of the basic tools and materials you will likely need are:
- Cement backer board – to be installed over your existing plywood sub-floor with concrete screws.
- A screw gun
- Cement mortar
- Your slate tiles of choice
- Tile spacers–little “x” shaped pieces of white plastic that help keep the tiles properly aligned during installation.
- A bucket for water when it comes time to grout, another bucket for making the mortar mixture in.
- A trowel to apply the mortar to the floor before laying the tiles, and finally,
- A diamond-blade wet saw–which you can either buy to keep or just rent for your project.
Care and maintenance of your slate tile flooring should be very easy, provided that you have installed it in the proper way. Also, just because slate tiles are somewhat water resistant does not mean that you should bypass the sealing step.
Sealing your tiles will just be added protection, making them even more non-slip, and sealing the grout should cut down cleaning time for both the slate tile flooring and the grout that surrounds it.
A slate tile floor can be a lovely, yet durable addition to any home. Do your homework, plan carefully, and you will soon have a beautiful slate floor to show off in your home!