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Does Slate Tile Have a PEI Rating


What to Ask When Shopping for Slate Tile

Are you considering purchasing slate tile for your home? If so, you will want to ask the right questions about installation, quality, and cost. The more answers you have, the more of an educated decision you can make when it comes to purchasing. Here are some questions to keep in mind to make sure you get exactly what you want and need.

What is Slate Made Out Of?

Slate is a foliated, fine-grained metamorphic rock that forms when riverbed or ocean sediments get compressed and then heated by the crust of the earth. It’s mainly made of micas or clay minerals and can have quartz in it as well. The color of most slate is gray and can range from light to dark. Slate also comes in red, purple, brown, green, and black. Its color will be based on the type and amount of organic materials and iron that are found in it.

Will Extra Material Be Needed for My Installation?

When ordering your material for slate, it’s recommended that 10 to 15 percent extra is allowed to account for wastage. This could be due to a variation in thickness, the style of installation, and cuts needed to fill corners. When working with square settings, an extra 10 percent should be ordered, while an extra 15 percent should be ordered for diagnosis settings.

Is My Slate Resistant to Damage?

When applied to a substrate that’s solid, slate is very resistant to damage. When the sub-floor used before slate installation is flexible, such as a plywood sub-floor that’s thin, the slate is at risk for cracking. This means it’s important to have a substrate that’s adequate before installing the tile. A waterproof membrane and moisture management needs to be in place when used in shower areas and washrooms, as slate is very porous.

How Much Will My Slate Cost?

Slate will vary depending on the quality. For gauged-grade A quality, expect to spend anywhere from $3 to $8 per square foot. If you want to save money, you can get off-grade or ungauged quality slate for $1.50 to $6. You have to keep in mind that you get what you pay for, so it’s smart to pay more to ensure it lasts longer.

Getting what appears to be a good deal by purchasing B or C grade material won’t give you a consistent shape, color, or size. The tiles might have broken edges or cracks in them, and might even be the product of unfair labor practices on the part of mining companies.

You’ll most likely need to hire someone to install your slate unless you’re a professional yourself. You want it to look clean, and you do not want to waste extra material while you try to figure out how it works. However, labor can cost up to three times as much as the actual material. Make sure to ask the installer if the quote they give you includes the materials, pre-installation prep work, adhesives, post-installation protective sealing treatment, removal of waste, and cleanup on top of the work of tiling. You don’t want to misunderstand what they’re quoting you and be stuck with an expensive bill after.

While it’s tempting to save money and do it yourself, it’s not that simple. Stone is very heavy, so it’s hard to move it around, and it can be brutal to set every tile in its position. Hiring someone will save you time and money in the long run.

What Texture Will My Slate Be?

Slate comes in several different textures. Gauged slate tiles are popular. These tiles get flattened out on the back when they’re being refined. The straight surface of this helps bond the tile more thoroughly with the grout when it’s being installed. Sometimes the backs are slightly scored, which creates rows that are even and can better grip the adhesive bedding.

Clefted natural slate tiles are another type of tile that have gauged smooth backs and an unrefined top surface. This allows the clefts, cracks, and bristles of the stones to show through. Many people like this for the rugged, powerful look it gives the tile that feels like it’s from the mountains. It also has good traction when it gets wet, which is something to consider if you’ll be putting it in the bathroom.

Honed slate tiles have an even and smooth surface. Some slate can take more honing than others, although it’s rare to see one as polished as marble. The look ends up being an even floor that looks precise. It’s also very comfortable to walk barefoot on a honed slate tile floor. However, a disadvantage is the stone colors will lose their vibrancy and luster over time. Their traction is decent, but can still be slippery when wet. The honing process has tiles that scratch easier and show stains more than others, especially solid color or lighter materials.

What Color of Slate Can I Buy?

here are hundreds of various slate colors that are available to choose from. If possible, go to a store in person to see how the color looks and get samples to bring back to put on your floor. You should buy one extra box at the minimum of the color in case you need to make repairs in the future. This way they’ll always match.

The hue of tile can change by different degrees based on the varying types of solid color slate. Some will only be one color and not change much from each piece, while others will have different variations with shadows and shades clouding the tile’s consistency. There are also slate materials that have two or more colors that contrast and combine across the surfaces. Each color is from a different material that’s present. For example, red means there is iron in the material. This means it won’t be good for outdoor materials, as rain will cause it to break down.

When you’re shopping for slate tile, make sure you know what questions to ask. This will mean you’ll be able to make a more well-informed decision and buy the right type and amount.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is slate?
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Slate is a fine-grained, foliated metamorphic rock that is formed when ocean or riverbed sediments are compressed and heated by the earth’s crust. It is composed mainly of clay minerals or micas, depending upon the degree of metamorphism to which it has been subjected. The original clay minerals in shale alter to micas with increasing levels of heat and pressure. Slate can also contain abundant quartz, along with small amounts of feldspar, calcite, pyrite, hematite and other minerals. Most slates are gray in color, and come in range of shades, from light to dark gray. Slate also occurs in shades of green, red, black, purple and brown. The color of slate is often determined by the amount and type of iron and organic materials that are present in the rock.

Is BuildDirect’s slate tile suitable for the floor?
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Yes, our slate’s durability and attractive appearance make it a popular choice for wide variety of uses, including flooring and flagging.

What do both sides of the slate look like?
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Slate has a natural cleft on one side from the split face and a machined (semi-calibrated) back on the other to manage thickness.

How much does the thickness of slate tile vary?
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Thickness of slate varies from edge to edge since the surface is defined by a natural cleft, having high and low points. Typically, thickness variation can be between 1/8” to 1/4″, depending on the format size. Slate tile is usually installed with a medium-bed mortar, which allows for the variation on adjoining tile edges to be minimized.

How much extra material should be considered for installation?
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It is recommended to order an additional 10% to 15% to allow for wastage due to thickness variation, cuts to fill corners, and the style of installation. Typically, 10% extra should be considered for square settings, and 15% for diagonal settings; even more should be considered if you will be creating special designs with the slate.

How much do the dimensions of slate tile vary?
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Though the sizes are given in imperial units, slate tile is cut to international metric sizes. Hence the actual cut size can be as follows: 12x12 = 300mmx300mm, 16x16 = 400mmx400mm, and 24x24 = 600mmx600mm.

Is slate resistant to damage?
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Slate is highly resistant to damage, as long as it is applied to a solid substrate. If the sub-floor prior to the slate installation is flexible (for example, a thin plywood sub-floor), the slate may crack like any other tile. It is therefore very important to have an adequate substrate prior to installation. Slate is porous so moisture management and a waterproof membrane should be used when installing in washrooms and shower areas. Feel free to ask a BuildDirect Product Expert if you have any questions.

What trowel size do you recommend for installing slate tiles?
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Use at least a 3/8x1/2 notch trowel for 12x12 tiles, and a 1/2x1/2 notch trowel (or larger) for 16x16 and 24x24 tiles.

Can I install slate tile outdoors?
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Yes, slate tile can be installed outdoors, but please refer to each tile’s features for specific freeze and thaw information.

Can I install slate tile outside on sand?
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Slate tiles should not be installed on sand beds because they will crack and brake if not properly supported. Slate tiles should be set on a solid substrate with mortar. However, slate pavers can be set on sand beds; slate pavers from BuildDirect are 1 ¼” thick, and are designed to take heavier loads.

Can I install slate tile on wood?
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The only wood surface that is recommended for the installation of slate tiles is exterior grade plywood.

How many defective tiles should I expect in my order?
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It’s not unusual to have up to 5% of a slate tile order defective to some degree (e.g. chipped edges, cracked tiles, flacking, bowing etc.). Industry standards consider any amount up to 10% acceptable. These defective tiles can be used for cuts you will need to make during installation. If your order contains more than 10% defective tile, please note it on the logistics receiving document and take photos. Please make a claim with us within 10 days of receiving your order.

Which type of mortar should I use to install slate on exterior grade plywood?
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Use a mortar that complies with the ANSI A118.4 (latex or acrylic modified mortar).

How wide should my grout joints be?
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It’s a matter of personal taste, but traditionally, slate tile is installed with wide grout joints to compensate for thickness variation. A 3/8 to 1/2 grout line is recommended, depending on the format size.

What type of grout should I use?
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Use a sanded grout for 1/8 to 1/2 joints, and saltillo grout for joints widths over 1/2.

Do I need to seal slate?
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Slate is porous and can become stained. It is recommended to use a sealant so that stains can be easily extracted.

Is there a PEI rating for slate tile?
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PEI ratings are set by the Porcelain Enamel Institute. These ratings were developed for the ceramic and porcelain tile industries. There is therefore no PEI rating for slate tile. However, slate is very durable, and can be used where a hard-wearing product is required.

After I receive my shipment, what should I do when I am ready to install?
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Be sure to check all contents of the pallets prior to installation. Any claim will be void if the natural stone has been installed. With all natural stone applications, it is highly recommended that the installer avoid choosing tiles for an installation on a “one pallet at a time” basis; the best method is to open boxes in all pallets from the start. Each tile from each box will be varied from pallet to pallet, and an installation should incorporate the contents of all pallets evenly during an installation. This method will more effectively address the issue of color variation, which is a reality when working with any natural stone product. Please contact a BuildDirect Product Expert if you have any questions.

How does buying slate tile from BuildDirect work?
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BuildDirect works closely with suppliers from around the world to provide you with top quality slate at unbelievable prices. We fill slate orders in two ways. The first is selling pallets out of warehouses located throughout North America. The second is shipping container orders directly from select manufacturers and delivering them to your job site. Call a BuildDirect Product Expert toll-free for more information at 1-877-631-2845.

Can I purchase just one box of tile before I place my full order?
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We’re unable to sell individual boxes of tile due to shipping costs. The cost to safely ship one box of tile can be more than five times the amount of the actual tile. To see our tiles in person before you buy, check out our free sample program. We’ll send you up to five free samples right to your doorstep. No credit card required. Also, we offer a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee, which means if you aren’t completely satisfied with your tile prior to installation, you can return it for a full refund within 30 days of delivery.

How much slate tile does a container hold?
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Container quantities of slate tile range from 5,000 sq. ft. to 8,000 sq. ft., depending on the tile size and destination. Slate paver container orders will have a maximum of around 2,500 square feet. A BuildDirect Product Expert will happily help you determine the container quantities permitted into your area.

How do I obtain slate tile samples?
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If samples are available for the product you are interested in, you can request a sample directly from our website. We will send you up to five free samples with no credit card required. Slate tile sample pieces are approximately 4x4.

How to Install Slate Tile

So you have picked a stunning slate tile product for your renovation project, and the material has arrived. Whether you are installing it yourself or calling in a professional contractor, it is important to follow these steps before you begin the installation process. Although this part of your renovation can be challenging, the work you put into installing your flooring will be worth it in the end. Learn more about the slate tile installation process!

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What is the Best Tile for Your Kitchen

Adding tile to your kitchen is a great way to give it a sleek, sophisticated look. However, picking out which type of tile is right for your home can be a bit tricky. There are several great options available, so it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each to make an informed decision. Use this guide to decide which is the best tile for your kitchen, so you can pick the right material for this important home upgrade. Learn more here!

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Slate Tile from BuildDirect

Our Roterra and Cabot slate tile are trusted for flooring and wall tile, adding durability, permanence, practicality, and an attractive tonally varied surface that can define a space. These tiles are premium quality, cut to specification, and designed to be installed easily for impressive results long afterwards, both inside and out.

The robust nature of slate tile may be traced to its harsh beginning, formed under tremendous pressure and heat deep in the earth. The product of silt, volcanic rock, and a number of trace minerals, they reflect an earthy, rugged beauty that is instantly recognizable.

The Benefits of Slate Flooring Tiles:

  • Great Looks: an attractive color spectrum - gray, amber, purple/mauve, gold
  • Versatility: for use indoors and out
  • Practicality and Safet: slip-resistant surfaces for a level of safety for your space
  • Durability and Long-life: resistance to wear that enables them to last

Slate Flooring and Walls

Roterra and Cabot presents a range of colors to be applied to walls and floors. The subtle textures and color variations that this ruggedly elegant natural stone is known for make slate an attractive and practical choice.

They’re made to transform your kitchens, or recreational spaces. Or, our slate surfaces can be applied to areas outdoors like verandas, pool surrounds and as wall cladding too.

Why Buy Slate Floor Tiles From BuildDirect?

Wherever you choose to install them, our slate tiles for floors and exterior wall surfaces are designed to make a positive impression for the long term. Roterra and Cabot is cut to specification, their square edges and flat backs designed for a straight-forward, time-saving installation. For consistent quality, we’ve got the edge on our competitors.

And because we’ve got industry know-how to match our eye for the best, you get the best pricing too; highest quality, and lowest price.

Explore our great selection, and feel free to ask a friendly BuildDirect product specialist if you have any questions. Call us toll-free at 1-877-631-2845