Slate Tile Buying Guide

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Planning on buying slate tiles? We compiled a list of some of the major considerations
you should take into account before making a decision, by creating a slate floor tile comparison chart
that covers other popular slate floor and wall tile alternatives. Simultaneously, the following comparison chart would help you as well to better understand the advantages and disadvantages of slate flooring.

However, since different characteristics of different tile options cannot be conveyed by words
or images alone, we have also partnered with leading online tile wholesalers, and invite you to
choose up to 5 Free Tile Samples of any type, including slate tile samples.
All samples ship free, and would arrive within 1-2 business days right to your door.

Obtaining free samples would allow you to really hold down the materials and test their quality and other attributes (e.g., scratch-resistance, durability, dimensions, feeling of the texture, color matching, etc.)
right from the comfort of your own home. To choose and receive your free samples, simply scroll down to the bottom of the following comparison chart and click on the button in the relevant column.

In addition, you can click here to get a free installation cost estimate for your project.

Slate Tile vs. Travertine vs. Porcelain

Comparison Chart: Slate Tile vs. Travertine Tile vs. Porcelain Tile:

  Slate Tile Travertine Tile Porcelain Tile
What is it made of Slate is a metamorphic rock formed at coastal regions, as the result of silt from ancient oceans subjected to tremendous heat and pressure, for over millions of years after their recession. A type of limestone, usually formed at areas such as hot mineral springs. Porcelain is a part of the ceramic category, only that its manufacturing process consists a grain clay that is finer, and firing at higher temperatures. Porcelain tiles that look like slate (or resemble other materials) are additionally being rendered with an advanced HD printing technology.
Durability As a natural stone, slate is highly durable, more than marble for example. Extremely durable, more than slate tiles. Porcelain durability is ranked by the porcelain PEI rating (which rates all porcelain and ceramic tile products). the PEI rating ranges between 1-5 (higher PEI denotes higher durability). A 3 and above PEI value suits all residential applications (flooring and cladding). Tiles with high PEI values can be even more durable then slate and travertine.
Warmth and Feel Slate has an impressive rugged beauty; Absorbs and radiate more heat than other stones such as travertine. Elegant antique feel; Like most hard surfaces (such as stone and tiles), would feel quite cold and hard underfoot. Offered in stylish, varied patterns, including slate appearance, encompassing a prominent decorative value.
Areas commonly used Slate is often used for floor surfaces and wall tiles, whether interior or exterior: Living rooms, kitchens, foyers, recreational rooms, pool surrounds and wall cladding. Living spaces, entrances, hallways, foyers. may be also used as exterior or interior wall cladding. Floor surfaces (including exteriors, as most porcelain tiles suit an outdoor use as well); Exterior and interior walls. Tile with high PEI values would suit commercial projects as well. Porcelain is a practical solution for wet locations such as showers, bathrooms, kitchens and pool surrounds.
Colors and pattern variety Variety of earthy colors (such as copper, natural gold, gray, blue and black), derived from the mineral content of where the slate was formed. Natural colors and patterns; Offered in various finish types: polished, honed, brushed and tumbled, that would affect the appearance of the texture (rugged vs. glossy). Wide color and texture range, including tiles that look like slate. the type of finish can be either matte or polished. through body porcelain would be colored all the way through; glazed porcelain would be colored in its surface only (with a white body).
Pattern repetition Each slate tile is natural, unique and one of its kind. Natural stone uniqueness that is similar to slate. Pretty constant in the case of solid color tiles; tiles that mimic a stone appearance would vary moderately in their look.
Climatic Suitability Indoor use: suits all climates; Outdoor use in extreme cold climates: according to specific product specs. Similar to slate. Thanks to its high density, porcelain tiles suit all kinds of climates, generally for outdoor settings as well.
Care and Maintenance Slate would last magnificently if cared in the appropriate manner; Sealing is required on a periodic basis, more often if the tiles are frequently in contact with water. Similar care as slate. Virtually maintenance free compared to slate tile; sealing or waxing are not required.
Thickness 10mm – 16mm 10mm – 13mm Generally 9.5mm (= 3/8″, Industry standard)
Dimensions Typically 12″x12″, 16″x16″, 6″x12″, 8″x16″ Typically 4″x4″ - 24″x24″ Typically 6″x6″ - 24″x24″
Cost (material prices) $2.50 - $15.00 /sq ft $2.00 - $9.00 /sq ft $1.00 - $20.00 /sq ft
Total Cost (with Installaion) Click for Cost Estimate Click for Cost Estimate Click for Cost Estimate Click for Cost Estimate Click for Cost Estimate Click for Cost Estimate
Ease of Cleaning Damp mopping, clean spills as soon as they happen, difficult stains may be removed with natural poultices. Dry dust mopping on a regular basis; use a pH neutral agent if washing is needed, difficult stains may be removed with natural poultices. Can be cleaned easily with a damp mop, Glazed porcelain would be easier to clean (while through-body porcelain tile would be more slip-resistant).
Environment friendly Moderate; In the sense that in the short term, slate is not a renewable resource, its quarrying could be considered not very eco-friendly, However, in the sense that in the long run, slate is very hard wearing and has a timeless beauty, it is not expected to be frequently replaced, and thus would lead to less environmental waste, as opposed to most other flooring types. Similar to slate environmental impacts. Porcelain is very eco-friendly; made from natural materials; has an extremely long life-cycle.
Scratch and dent resistance Not as impervious as granite, however, scratches to slate stone are not very noticeable and can add more character. Sturdy resistance, however, travertine is much softer compared to slate. Great resistance, typically more than natural stones, and yet, any tile can chip if a heavy object would drop on it.
Fading due to UV exposure Generally no. No. No.
Ease of DIY Installation A professional installer with slate or pavers experience is recommended. A professional natural stone installer is recommended. A professional tile installer is recommended.
Can it be installed over radiant heat Yes. Yes. Yes.
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