Using Slate Tile In the Bathroom – Pros and Cons

by Rachel Laurendeau on October 29, 2012

Finding just the right bathroom flooring material that meets your taste, lifestyle and budget can be tricky. Slate is one option that has been gaining in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of using slate in the bathroom.

Pros of Slate
• It is a naturally beautiful, rustic looking stone.
• Slate is available in a variety of naturally occurring colors and styles (although my favorite is still the timeless dark gray slate).
• It’s resilient and durable, although it can scratch or chip.
• Slate is naturally waterproof which makes it a good choice in kitchen or bathroom remodeling projects where there are higher humidity levels.
• Provided it is maintained and sealed periodically, it will remain stain resistant.
• Honed slate, where the face has been ground down to a smooth surface, is available for applications where a textured surface is not practical or desired.

Cons of Slate
• Slate should generally be installed by an expert who can lay out the tiles aesthetically and can ensure that they are even and do not split. This will mean that your slate will come in with a higher price tag than a DIY project since you need to factor in installation costs.
• Slate can feel cold underfoot but that is easily remedied with under floor heating system prior to installation of the stone.
• It can be a bit tricky to clean due to its texture so you might need to use some extra elbow grease to get into all the nooks and crannies.
• Slate, like most other natural stone, needs to be resealed periodically, about every 1-5 years as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. This is a pretty straightforward task though, and should not be a deterrent to choosing slate. According to the experts at Tile & Stone by Villagio, to know if your slate needs to be resealed, place a drop of water on the surface. If it beads up, your sealer is working. If it doesn’t, it’s time to reseal.

Alternatives to Slate
If you don’t think slate is for you but you like the look, you can consider another natural stone such as a honed marble in antique gray or go with a blue-gray limestone. For something with a lower price point, there are some porcelain tiles that are quite good imitators and look quite similar to slate. Do make sure you choose them in person though, as there are some pretty fake looking slate impersonators on the market.

If you would like to know more about installing slate tile or other natural stone in your home, talk to your local bathroom remodeler or home improvement expert.

Resources: eHow, Luxury Housing Trends and Tile & Stone by Villagio.

If you enjoyed this blog article, you may also want to read Bathroom Flooring Options

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