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What is Slate Tile?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Jay Garcia
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2016
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Slate tile is tile made from slate, a metamorphic rock which can be found in large deposits all over the world. Slate tile has been used in roofing and flooring for centuries, and this stone has a number of other uses around the home. For example, it is an excellent surface for counters because it has great thermal resistance, allowing people to set hot pots and pans directly onto slate tile. Many tile stores and home improvement stores carry slate tile, and it can also be ordered for specific jobs.

Slate comes in a range of colors, which is part of the appeal of slate tile. It can be gray, bluish, green, red, orange, or brown, often with veins of color running through the tile. Many people use it to add a more natural look to a room or roof, since no tile is identical. Slate tile can also be arranged in patterns which showcase the color variations, and various shapes can be cut to create ornate tile designs.

Beyond its thermal resistance, there are some other advantages to slate tile. It has a mildly rough surface, creating a non-slip surface which will not permit falls even when the floor is wet or greasy. It is also durable, when installed and cared for properly. Slate tile can be used to keep rooms cool or warm with circulating systems which run underneath the tile, creating radiant heating and cooling.

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Before it can be used as flooring or roofing, slate has to be cut. Because of the way in which it forms, slate is very flaky, and it can be extremely friable. It needs to be cut in thick slabs so that it will not flake or crack, and it also needs to be cured, which often involves treatment with an application of wax to keep the rock waterproof. Once the slate is laid with grout which is appropriate for slate tile, it needs to be sealed to keep out moisture and stains, and it also needs to be periodically stripped and re-sealed, especially in high traffic areas. Many people like to leave the work to experts to ensure that the flooring is laid properly.

Slate floors do best when they are swept regularly and mopped with plain water only. Mild soaps can be used on tough stains, and if the slate has been sealed properly, the soap should not stain the tile. It's also possible to use diluted vinegar to mop slate tile and cope with stubborn stains. Slate roofing should be periodically inspected to check for loose or cracked tiles, and it's a good idea to keep extra tiles on hand so that tiles can be quickly and easily replaced if necessary. Hiring a professional slater may be necessary for installing a slate roof, for people who do not have roofing experience.

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anon168666
Post 2

Most slate tile is rusty and black now, and people import them from worldwide, this reduces the cost. I like slate, because slate has a natural feeling!

doriskay
Post 1

Hello, I am in the process of purchasing a 75 year old house that has a slate roof. The roof has some missing and broken tiles and needs some repair. I love the roof and would like to have it repaired, but my husband hates it. If I choose to replace the roof with something else, can I use the slate tiles from the roof for flooring in the house? Or maybe shower walls? Or something? I'd like to hang on to those slate tiles.

I like your website. thanks.

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