One of the most beautiful of all-natural stone tiles, slate floor tiles have many advantages. Homeowners love the look of slate floor because the rich dark color and unique texture can add drama and warmth to any room. However, despite its beauty and versatility, there are disadvantages of slate floor tiles that may give you pause before deciding to install them.
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Slate Flooring Tiles
The beauty that natural slate tiles can bring to a room cannot be overstated. Beautiful coloring, range of textures, gorgeous sheen and a warmth only achieved with natural stone are just a few of the reasons why people choose to slate tiles. However, like most natural stone flooring, there are also problems with slate floors.
Slate flooring has areas where it will perform with greater and lesser success. Slate flooring costs can run very high. For this reason, it's important to weigh both the pros and cons of slate flooring as a whole, as well as in your particular space, before making the decision to commit to slate tiles.
Pros of Slate Flooring
Aside from simply being beautiful, there are many pros to installing slate flooring tile in your home. Slate flooring is one of the most beautiful and durable stones. Slate durability is why it is often used in high foot-traffic areas like entry halls and kitchens. It is by far one of the strongest of all-natural stone flooring materials.
While slate requires regular sealing, with diligent maintenance and attention to its safety and cleanliness, slate can last a long, long time, adding character to your space for years. There are also tons of color combinations possible with slate flooring. Each stone looks unique and unusual, which is why it's so desirable. Slate makes every floor look one of a kind.
The variation in color is another pro of slate flooring. You can get slate with colors that are loud, contrasting and will dominate a room. Other slate has a flatter, more subdued tone that will allow your furnishings, fixtures and decor to set the tone of the space.
Problems With Slate Floors
Perhaps unsurprisingly, while there are many positive aspects to choosing a slate floor, there are also some downsides. Many people feel that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of slate floor tiles. But as with any other home improvement, you will need to make the choice for yourself, depending on your needs and values.
The first, and perhaps most obvious, downside of slate flooring is its cost. Slate flooring cost can make it prohibitively expensive for homeowners, especially for people who are already facing a significant expense in their home renovation. While it can be argued that slate flooring increases the value of a house overall, the installation cost may make it too expensive to consider.
Slate flooring installation is also likely to be a factor in your budgeting. Unlike ceramic tile or other natural stone, slate is delicate during the installation process. The tile is brittle, which makes installation difficult, and the subflooring must be perfectly prepared to prevent any cracking or breaking. For this reason, DIYers are strongly discouraged from attempting to install their own slate tile.
Other Considerations About Slate Floor Tiles
The maintenance of slate tile floors can be a challenge. Due to the slate porosity, the stone must be sealed with a sealer that fills any available holes in the stone. This prevents moisture and debris from gathering in cracks and crevices. Subsequently, the slate must be sealed again with a barrier sealer that prevents damage to the surface of the floor. The grout must also be carefully and meticulously maintained.
While slate tile floors are a great companion for radiating heating systems, if your heat doesn't come up through the floor, the cold tile can be uncomfortable and unwelcoming. Also, the natural and varied texture of tiles can present clefts and peaks that are beautiful to the eye, but may be uncomfortable underfoot.
Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience working in the home, design and interiors space.