Installing Slate Tile on a Concrete Base

What You'll Need
Slate Tiles
Leveling compound
Grouting bags
Thinset mortar

Installing slate tile on a concrete base is a task that you can do on your own, following certain steps and tips. Slate is one of the most durable and long lasting floor materials and requires little maintenance; it doesn’t allow dirt to show that much either. Concrete can be an ideal subfloor when installing slate tiles. Preparation is the most important part of every do-it-yourself task. 

Step 1 – Preparation

Before starting with the installation, you should remove all possible flooring and coverings. The older flooring will need to be removed and cleaned. Slate tiles can be installed over a wood floor or a cement floor, but in any case the floor needs to be dry. 

Step 2 – Level the Floor

Before starting you should check the concrete base to ensure that is level. You can use an 8-foot level to check it; in the case that the floor is not level, you can use a leveling compound which will help you make the concrete level. Make sure that the compound dries completely.

Step 3 – Use Thinset 

Use the thinset over the concrete base and spread it evenly. You can use a trowel with notches that are proper for the size of tiles you will be using.

Step 4 – Install the Tiles

Take the tiles and set them in the thinset. Make sure that you do not use more thinset than is necessary. Use the spacers to space the tiles evenly until you have covered the entire concrete base. 

Step  5 – Use the Grout

Take the grouting bags and squeeze the grout in to the lines between the tiles. Make sure that you do not leave any voids or gaps. Let the grout dry and cure for 2 to 3 days.

Step 6 – Use the Tile Sealer

Two to three days later use the tile sealer over the surface of the tiles. If you wish for a glossy result you should apply 2 to 4 coats of sealer. The sealer can prevent the slate tiles from staining. Keep in mind, though, that you should not use the sealer over waxed flooring because the sealer will not be effective. If the slate flooring is in a room with moisture, such as bathrooms or kitchens, you should also seal the gaps between the tiles and the walls. Always allow the sealer to dry properly.

Extra Tip

One of the first things you need to do is to calculate how many tiles you will need. If you take the floor plan or sketch it, you will be able to calculate the exact amount. However, you should always order more, at about 5 to 10 percent more than the calculations, because some tiles might break, or you might make some mistakes and you will need to use more tiles than you would normally. When you buy the tiles, you can buy the materials at the same time, so that you buy the proper ones for the slate tiles.