Pros and Cons of Slate Flooring

What Are The Benefits and Drawbacks of Slate Flooring?

A beautiful, natural flooring option is slate. Slate’s timeless aesthetic appeal and outstanding durability as a flooring material are hard to match with synthetic alternatives.

It is a metamorphic rock with a special composition that allows it to be carved into flat forms and sizes, ideal for your home’s floor. Slate comes in a wide range of earth tones, and the thickness and surface roughness of the rock may be altered to fit any interior living space or style.

Any home can benefit from the powerful, practical beauty that natural slate can add.

There are benefits and drawbacks with any flooring, though. Check out our list to see if slate is the ideal option for you if you consider using it as your flooring material.

Pros of Slate Flooring



You have the freedom to take advantage of the slate’s visual appeal and harmonize it with any decorating style, thanks to the variety of hues, striation patterns, and surface textures. Today, there are practically hundreds of hues available for slate. You have a natural palette at your disposal to express your personal style, ranging from bold hues to understated, elegant blacks and greys.


Where do the aesthetic value and practicality of slate flooring fit in? Certainly on show in lobbies and other conspicuous, busy areas. It can also be used elsewhere if you desire. It’s true that slate looks good in practically any indoor space. Kitchens, bathrooms, and mudrooms? No issue, and there’s no reason to confine the use of slate flooring to interior spaces. Even garages and the area around swimming pools are popular places to use this flooring.


Slate first gained popularity in this country as the superior roofing material that was frequently used in the 18th and 19th centuries, not as a stylish flooring material. Slate tiles were once exclusively produced in the United States by more than 200 quarries for use in roofing.


Natural slate offers a smooth, cozy texture to walk on that feels great—especially on bare feet—despite the fact that it is a rock.

Slate has heat retention capabilities that tend to keep it a little bit warmer even on chilly mornings, unlike some other stone flooring materials that become piercingly cold throughout the winter.

Slate is frequently the flooring material of choice to install on top of a radiant heating system embedded beneath the subfloor or in the concrete slab since it retains and releases heat uniformly.

• Durable! One of the most durable natural stone flooring options is slate. It is not susceptible to chips, fractures, scratches, or cracks. Although regular sealing is required, it’s a great alternative for bathrooms, kitchens, and high traffic areas.

• Long-lasting! If kept properly, slate can survive for decades.

• Beautiful & unique! Slate comes in a huge variety of colors, from solids to mixes. Additionally, since it is a natural material, no two pieces will be exactly alike!

• Increases your home’s worth! Slate is a more upmarket flooring option, so even while its cost can be costly, it usually increases the overall worth of your home.

• Reparable! A tile may occasionally sustain damage. Slate tiles are very simple to remove and replace, but because of their natural state, you can have trouble finding an exact match if you don’t have extras on hand.

Fantastic for radiant heating, the ideal material for radiant below-surface coil heating systems is slate.

Cons of Slate Flooring



Slate flooring is typically quite expensive. An installed slate floor made of premium tiles typically costs $10 to $20 per square foot, with some variations possible.

Another natural stone is travertine, which costs between $8 and $14. The cost of installed man-made ceramic tile ranges from $4 to $12 per square foot.


Slate is not only strong as a flooring material, but it is also very weighty. This fact affects potential installation problems.

Slate tiles weight a lot, and this is important because, if they aren’t set on a level supporting subfloor, the tile may break from its own weight.

It is crucial to set up the subfloor to support that load. To ensure that the slate tiles are installed extremely flatly, the floor must be completely level. If the current installation surface isn’t completely flat, self-leveling concrete will need to be used to make a bed for the slate.

Does this seem like a task the typical do-it-yourselfer could complete? For the installation of slate, a skilled flooring contractor is typically needed.

Possible harm

Many extremely durable, hard stone materials, like slate, have the potential to become brittle in specific situations.

Although slate is better than other materials at withstanding deterioration and can support great weight with ease, a sharp blow from a really heavy object could potentially break a slate tile.

Additionally, if the object is made of a harder substance than slate, the slate may theoretically be scratched by it (few typical materials found in a household are, however.

Hardness Index

While standing still for extended periods of time on an extremely hard flooring material like slate may not be comfortable, walking across its smooth surface is enjoyable.

Individuals who require a softer standing surface due to joint or foot issues would be more likely to be affected by this.

When it comes to finding the perfect balance between aesthetic appeal and long-lasting use, slate is an obvious choice.

An investment in the long future, a slate floor is, for many homeowners, more than just a home enhancement.

Think about the benefits and drawbacks, then carefully shop for the best product and a skilled flooring installer.

• Expensive. Slate tiles typically cost between $4 and $10 per square foot, and expert installation might add another $10 to $15 per square foot to the price.

• Complicated to install. In order to avoid cracking the grout joints or the tiles themselves, the subfloor and underlayment preparation for slate tile must be done extremely carefully. Slate tile is challenging to cut without specific tools. You might even need to strengthen the floor structure if you plan to install it upstairs in order to sustain the flooring!

• Calls for maintenance. The tiles must first be sealed with a penetrating sealer to close teeny pores and a barrier sealer to provide a protective surface before being sealed again. Every year or so, both sealers might need to be reapplied. Additionally prone to cracking, grout lines can be stained, moldy, and mildewed, especially in humid environments.

• Might be unpleasant. There are various textures for slate tiles. However, certain varieties of polished slate have a rough, uneven texture.

• A hard, cold surface. Slate can be exceedingly cold without radiant heating, despite being an excellent flooring option if you have it. Due to its hardness, you should avoid using it in children’s bedrooms.

• Inconsistent. Slate is unique, as was already explained, and this can make future repairs challenging if you want uniformity.

Final Reflections

Slate tiles are a sturdy and lovely material, but before buying and installing, be prepared to think about their high cost and upkeep requirements.

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