How to Replace Slate Porch Tiles

When your slate porch tiles are broken or severely damaged, they can be easily replaced with new ones. However, careful removal should be exercised, in order to avoid damaging the other tiles that are still in good shape. This project is intended for DIYers who have experience installing stone, ceramic tiles or brick veneers.

Tools and Materials

  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Ear plugs
  • Dust mask
  • Grout grinder
  • Notched trowel
  • Sanded grout
  • New slate porch tiles
  • Thinset mortar
  • Rubber float
  • Bucket
  • Grout sealer
  • Tile spacers
  • Damp cloth

Step 1 – Remove the Grout around the Damaged Tiles

Remove the grout around the tiles, using a 4-inch grout grinder. Be careful to read the user manual carefully, to avoid misusing the device. Do not forget to use safety glasses, gloves, ear plugs, and a dust mask for protection. Allow the grinder to cut through the grout all around the tile, and avoid touching the other tiles with the blade.

Step 2 – Remove the Tile

Slide the edge of the chisel underneath the tile and tap it with a hammer, until it breaks the mortar beneath it. Pry the tile off of the floor. Do this only if there is enough room allowing the chisel to slide underneath, without causing damage to the other tiles. If not, place the chisel on the top center of the tile and tap it with a hammer to fracture the stone. Pry the broken pieces away from the porch piece by piece.

Step 3 – Prep the Vacated Slot for New Installation

Use the chisel and hammer technique, to remove the mortar stuck to the substrate underneath. Keep the surface level, in order to make the installation a lot easier. Clean the debris with a broom and dustpan.

Step 4 – Install the New Porch Tiles

Purchase replacements that approximately match the color and texture of the pieces of slate tiles previously removed. Purchase all needed materials as well. Mix some thinset mortar in a bucket to the consistency of mashed potato. Apply the thinset to the underside of the slate. Position the slate down on the floor and use tile spacers to ensure even spacing. Check for level. Do the same for all replacement tiles. Allow the mortar to cure for a few hours before grouting.

Step 5 – Apply the Grout

Mix sanded grout with water in a bucket. Use a trowel to mix the grout until it becomes as consistent as molten lava – not to thick like clay, but not too watery either. Use a rubber float to squeeze the mix around the tile. Ensure that no gap is left. Do the same for the other tiles. Leave the grout to set for about 30 minutes. Wipe off the extra grout on top of the slate tiles. Leave the grout to cure for about 24 hours.

Step 6 – Seal the Grout

Use a paintbrush to apply the sealer on the grout surface. This allows it to become less vulnerable to moisture damage, thus prolonging its use. Allow the sealer to dry.