Get the clean lines of slate tile without the messy installation process by using interlocking slate tile.
What Is Interlocking Slate Tile
Unlike solid slate tiles, interlocking slate tiles are less expensive, lighter and require no adhesive or grout to install. The slate is bonded to a plastic mesh base that allows the tiles to snap in place over a solid, level surface. The tiles align themselves automatically, saving a lot of extra hassle. Since the tiles are raised, water drains beneath them, and slate is naturally slip-resistant, making slate tiles an ideal choice for a patio or swimming pool area. Since they are so easy to install, you can rearrange them to fit almost any space, even balconies and roofdecks, or quickly change up your whole landscaping scheme.
How to Install Interlocking Slate Tile
You don't need any special tools, fasteners or adhesives to install interlocking tile. In fact, this is an easy weekend project for even a DIY beginner.
- Measure the area in which you plan to install the tiles and note any pipes, posts or other protrusions.
- Prepare the surface (concrete, gravel, asphalt or hard packed dirt) by filling any cracks or depressions and smoothing out bumps so that it is level.
- Start by laying the tiles from the outer corners and work inwards diagonally.
- Simply align one tile to the next so that the connecting tabs correspond and lock into place.
- Use a wet saw to cut any tiles to fit around obstructions, or to fill any remaining gaps.
- Play around with the pattern by laying out tiles first without clicking them together.
- Don't install the tiles too tight to an exterior wall or sidewalk but leave a small gap for expansion due to temperature changes or slight errors in angle.
- Place a plastic sheet or another type of protective layer under the tiles to protect the surface beneath, especially if you are a renter.
- Fill noticeable gaps with pebbles, rock or bark, or you may even alternate tiles with these materials for a more natural look.
Slate Tile Care
Slate tiles are easy to care for, but regular maintenance will keep them looking their best:
- Sweep your slate tiles to remove dirt
- Clean with a sponge dipped in mild detergent mixed with water
- Use a vacuum or leaf blower to remove debris from between the tiles, or wash them down with a water hose
- Avoid dropping heavy or sharp objects on your tiles
- Protect tiles from legs of metal chairs by using rubber caps
- Seal your slate tiles to improve slip resistance and protect them from the elements, check your manufacturer's recommendations
Where to Buy Interlocking Tiles
Interlocking slate tiles can be difficult to locate. You may not be able to purchase them at your local home improvement store, but try these online retailers: