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Slate tile okay for my shower?

NRLong's picture

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I am continuing construction on my new home with help from each and every one of you. Thanks. I am looking at tiles for a large walk-in shower, and am thinking about slate. Why do all fancy showers seem to be marble? Would slate work okay? Should I use ceramic instead? Are tiles okay at all, or should I use slabs?
Thanks for your input.

NRLong

(post #169141, reply #9 of 10)

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Some years back - 10? - I used a recycled slate blackboard (rough side out) of historical meaning to the clients as a shower wall. Clients finished it with Spar Varnish. Durability has been no problem.

As Joe submits, wonderboard and tarpaper give peace of mind. Slate should be no problem if you focus on substrate, grout (think epoxy here), and sealing the slate.

(post #169141, reply #10 of 10)

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I am continuing construction on my new home with help from each and every one of you. Thanks. I am looking at tiles for a large walk-in shower, and am thinking about slate. Why do all fancy showers seem to be marble? Would slate work okay? Should I use ceramic instead? Are tiles okay at all, or should I use slabs?
Thanks for your input.

NRLong

(post #169141, reply #1 of 10)

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Slate may be a bit pourous for this application. Marble is almost cost prohibitive unless you havw a big budget and also has the drawbacks of natural products. In a shower I suggest a nice vitreous or impervious ceramic tile. I would choose a big tile 12"x12" to 16"x16" with some interesting accents and trim tiles.

(post #169141, reply #2 of 10)

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I don't know about "cost prohibitive" -- TOh had a marble shower stall a few months back for just $20,000...

With the slate, the thing that would worry me about porosity is the likelihood of mold & mildew. But the idea of natural stone is appealing.

(post #169141, reply #3 of 10)

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Slate looks great and easily obtainable in smooth to rough surfaces. The rough surface gives good footing. As both the others have mentioned, it is pourous, so it'll need to be properly pitched and sealed.

With a proper pan and with the tiles properly sealed, it's a safe bet.

(post #169141, reply #4 of 10)

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Good, because I have a pile of the stuff sitting in the yard from another project. And a shower pan to build.

In answer to Fred -- Mongo, do you have firsthand experience here?

Well, we seem to be posting more or less simultaneously here ... I agree re the quality of the slate, it comes in different grades ... the masonry supply stuff was 1/4" or so but much flatter. OK?

(post #169141, reply #5 of 10)

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Lets' see...the slate is sealed properly...but with what to reduce maintenance to the zero level tile or a granite would provide? How to treat the edges to eliminate the tendency to split and spaul?

I never thought of slate in this application but the idea is intrigueing.

(post #169141, reply #6 of 10)

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"Real" slate flooring tiles are actually pretty sturdy and stable. Don't even consider using the quarter-inch thick HD stuff.

I've gotten it through a "higher end" retail outlet, the stuff, I think, is pretty fabulous.

(post #169141, reply #7 of 10)

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What I know about slate isn't worth mentioning, but we did a vanity top in slate a few months ago. Our slate supplier who specializes in it recommended "tempered" slate, which is fire-hardened to resist chipping, spalling, etc. A piece 1-1/2" x 36 x 24 was only about $35. Might help to make a better finish product.

(post #169141, reply #8 of 10)

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It's funny, I've had some good friends talk about a major bathroom remodel that includes a walk in slate shower. I tried to sell them a combination of tiles that would look spectacular (of course I could be wrong). So if they ever actually make all their selections I'll find out about slate showers. Since they struggle with design decisions I've told them I won't start the job until all materials are on the job. Otherwise I'd get it torn out and they wouldn't figure out what to install. Over a period of years I've tried to help them with design and selections but haven't been particularly effective. So this winter I'm pretty sure that they'll get it together and I'll build that bathroom. Don't you have to knap some of your cuts with slate for even appearence? If moisture wants to soak through 3/8" of slate,1/8-1/4" of mud, 1/2" of cement board, and wet a layer of felt that drains to the weep holes of the drain then let it.

Joe