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How Much Does Slate Tile Flooring Cost?

Slate Tile Installation Prices

Slate is formed by heat and pressure over millions of years, resulting in a stone product that is extremely hard and durable. Slate can be used both indoors and outdoors for flooring, walls, or specialty projects such as tabletops or walkways. Wherever it's installed, expect this great-looking, slip-resistant natural stone to look great and last for decades.

Slate Tile Considerations

While slate tile is practically a no-brainer for a number of interior and exterior projects, you'll still need to keep the following points in mind when making a purchase:

  • Tile Size and Thickness: The most common slate tile sizes are 12" x 12", 16" x 16", 20" x 20", and 24" x 24". Depending on the manufacturer, you can expect size variations of +/- 1mm to +/- 3mm. Boxes of tile also vary in thickness by as much as ΒΌ". Thickness discrepancy is usually presented as a range (such as 3/8"-7/16"). Choose gauged slate for tiles that vary less in thickness. Also check that the tiles are calibrated (calibration involves machine-honing the backs of tiles to ensure that they lay flat).
  • Color: Slate is often gray in color, although a number of shades, from black to green/gray to red, are possible. Perform a test run before actually setting the tiles in place to find an arrangement that uses color variations to your advantage. This step will also help to account for differences in tile thickness.
  • Substrate: Slate tiles must be installed on a solid substrate. Using materials such as sand or flexible plywood underneath slate tiles could cause them to break. Consult a professional if you have questions about which specific substrates are appropriate for slate.
  • Mortar: Interior and exterior slate tile installations require different types of mortar.
  • Sealant: Slate tiles are porous in their natural state and therefore must be sealed regularly. Sealants can be high-gloss, low-gloss, or natural (no-gloss).
  • Breakage and Waste: It's always a good idea to order 10-15% more tile than is actually needed for the job to account for breakage (during shipping, installation, or daily use), cuts, and variations in thickness.

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Slate Tile Flooring Costs

  • Slate tile starts at around $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot and costs up to $6 to $7 per square foot. Underlayment, sealant, and mortar could add $5 to $10 per square foot to the materials cost depending on the type and quality of the products used.
  • Installing slate tiles is time consuming; if you hire a pro, expect to pay anywhere from $5 (for a simple install) to $15 (for a more complex installation) per square foot. DIY slate tile installation is a feasible project. This article provides a decent overview of the work entailed.

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