Tips for Installing Exterior Slate Tiles

Slate tiles are constructed from a type of rock that is made of clay and volcanic ash. They are available in a range of colors and can be installed both indoors and outdoors. The texture of slate makes it particularly effective for the patio or walkway. Here are some tips for installing exterior slate tiles.

Sorting Tiles

Separate your tiles into groups. Place tiles of similar color in the same group, as well as tiles of similar thickness.

Checking for Fitting

Lay out some of the tiles to determine how well they fit together. If you plan on creating a pattern, position the tiles into the pattern you have designed.

Mixing and Applying the Mortar

Put on your protective eye wear and a dust mask before you begin mixing the mortar. Use a mixer rod and drill to combine the mortar and water in a five gallon bucket. The mortar should have the consistency of batter. Use a ¾ inch trowel to apply the mortar evenly over the area where you are installing the slate.

Laying the Tiles

Lay enough mortar for two tiles at a time. Use a damp sponge to wet the tile before you lay it on the mortar. Check to be sure the tiles are level. Insert spacers between the tiles. Continue laying the remaining tiles. Use a wet saw to cut any tiles that require a special size to fit into your plans. Allow the mortar to dry completely.

Grouting the Tiles

Remove the spacers. Wet the tiles with a sponge. Apply sanded grout into the spaces between the slate tiles. Wipe any excess grout from the surface of the tiles with your wet sponge.

Finishing the Installation

Gently mist the tiles with your garden hose. Lay plastic sheets over the tiles. Allow the sheets to sit on the tiles for twenty-four hours.