Slate flooring is not one of the most common flooring choices. While this floor has high durability and easy maintenance demands, slate floors lack the comfort of other flooring options such as carpets and tiles. You will mostly find slate floors in bathrooms, kitchens, hallways and porches because they handle stains well as long as they have sealants applied to them. But they may not be comfortable enough for other areas.
You will have to pay more money for slate floors than for most other floors besides marble and granite floors. Thicker slate floors can get more expensive and you will have to pay more for some of the favorite colors and patterns. Cheaper alternatives are vinyl, laminate and tile.
The slate floors are hard. The floors give less resistance when someone falls on them. The hard floor can also be hard on the knees, especially for those who spend a lot of time standing, such as when cooking. However, you can put something soft, such as a rug, over the areas where you usually stand.
Also, during the winter slate can be very cold and uncomfortable. However, those who have adequate heating systems will not experience intolerably cold floors.
A lot of slate floors are vulnerable to stains, so you will need to seal the floors to keep them from staining. Unfortunately, sealing can change the natural appearance of the slate floor, so you may not want to seal the slate. However, whether or not you should seal the floor depends on the floor porousness. When sealing, use a water-based sealer to avoid health problems coming from volatile organic compounds in the sealer.
While slate floors are among the most durable floors, they can develop cosmetic problems, such as streaks, white marks, stains, discoloration, flaking and scratches. Some of this damage comes from normal wear and tear while other damage comes from acidic substances burning into the floor, such as lemon juice, vinegar and tomatoes. Also, slate can chip more easily than other hard floor surfaces when something heavy falls on it. With proper conditioning and waxing, you can keep the slate floor looking shiny. However, this floor gets more slippery than many other hard floor types.
Slate floors come in a variety of colors and styles. However, this flooring type may not have a uniform color, which might make these floors seem less attractive to some. Overall, the slate gives a room a layered and rustic look that is not for everyone.