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3 Tips for Laying Slate Tiles

by Guest on Aug 3, 2010

If you are looking for a way to upgrade the flooring of your home, slate tiles may be just the thing.  Slate is a natural stone that is very durable and highly water-resistant.  It was once used to tile roofs in the early part of the 1900s and many homes still carry their original slate roofs.

One of the biggest drawbacks to slate is the price. Slate tiles, although they will last almost forever, can be extremely pricey to invest in initially. However, for their classic look and durable surface, they are well worth the investment. If you are attempting to lay slate tiles in your home for the first time, there are three important tips that will make the job go a lot more smoothly.

Measure, Measure, Measure

When purchasing slate, you want to make sure that you have an adequate number of tiles. While it may be no big deal to purchase an extra box of vinyl floor tiles, slate is quite a bit more expensive and can quickly through off a budget if too much is purchased. Measure the area of the room at least twice to make sure that you have accurate measurements. Once the room has been measured, choose slate tiles that will not only complement the room's decor, but that will also be easy to install based on the dimensions of the room. Lay out where the tile will be going before installation begins. Run chalk lines diagonally across the room and place the tile on the floor to develop the pattern. Taking the time initially to measure the space and lay out the tile beforehand will save time and money during installation.

Seal It Up!

Natural slate tiles are very porous and should be sealed before installation. Sometimes, the tiles will come pre-sealed. However, when sealing them yourself, make sure that you apply two or three coats of sealant. This will prevent water from seeping into the tiles and staining or discoloring them. The more sealant, the more protected the tiles will be. Make sure that each coat of sealant is completely dry before applying the next coat, however, or the tile surface may become uneven with the coats of sealant.

How Hot Is It?

Although the temptation to jump right into installation may be there once you purchase the tile, it is best to allow the pieces of stone to sit in the space where they will be installed for at least 36 hours. A warm room of at least 60-degrees is the best location, because at that point the adhesive tile cement and grout are easier to work with. If the room is too cool, the cement will not dry properly and the project will end up taking a lot longer than expected. Making sure that the materials needed to do the job correctly are at the optimal temperature will make the job go much smoother.

Slate tile can be difficult to work with for novices. It has extremely sharp edges and should be handled with care and heavy-duty work gloves. Always wear eye protection and never attempt to lay slate tile when tired or distracted. The addition of slate tile to a house is an instant increase in the home's value and will last for many decades to come.

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