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Slate tile vs slate look porcelain tile?

8 years ago
last modified: 8 years ago

So in our upcoming empty nester home we need a super sturdy flooring. We will have at least 6 dogs in residence( not all in the house at once, but will be in the house). Home will be rustic style cabin in the mountains. We like the look of slate but having never lived with actual slate I'm not sure how it will hold up to dogs. I like the idea of porcelain tile but wonder if it looks artificial.

Also, there are 2 bedrooms on the main floor, not sure what flooring to do in those. We want the ensuite bathrooms to have the same slate or complementary flooring as the main house. Would it look odd to go to wood in the 2 bedrooms and then back to slate or whatever in the bathrooms?

We will have area rugs in the living area and area rugs or runners in the bedrooms.

The main floor of the house should be around 1200sf.

An inspiration pic


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Comments (26)

  • 8 years ago

    There are many different slates out there so you have to find the right one. Some are rough and flaky and some aren't. You need to test some samples before committing.

    We installed some last year in kitchen, the greatroom, laundry, and powder room and it's pretty good. It's not sealed but doesn't stain. The dog can't hurt it, BUT it seems to be a little slippery for him. He can walk and run okay but if he just sits, his legs sort of slowly slide out. This happens to him on the hardwood floors too, though. I know some dogs have real traction issues on hard flooring and their people end up with rugs everywhere so do keep it in mind.

    We do have ours bordering hardwood floors and I think it looks fine and it would be a nice way to do a bedroom. It's just cozier. :P Both would be perfect in a cabin.

  • 8 years ago

    We have slate in our front entrance (Oyster Slate) but I remember when looking at slate that some will tend to flake more than others. Something to be mindful of and I can't remember if there is a flakiness scale or not.

    We don't have dogs but we chose slate because we use our front entrance all the time, we have rainy weather and through that door comes skiis/ski boots, soccer cleats, trail runners covered in mud, hiking boots, bikes, etc and it has withstood all of that. Our slate backs onto the carpeting of stairs which leads to hardwood at the top of the stair and it flows fine.

    Like all hard surfaces, if you haven't used tile before as a flooring, it can be very hard on your back and knees. We lived in a house for 6 months that had tile on the kitchen floor and from that experience I know I couldn't do it again.

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  • 8 years ago

    You need "real" Vermont/NY mined slate, which comes in black, gray, green, purple mottled and red, it's not cheap, but it has a lovely natural beauty, wears like iron, doesn't show dirt and is easy to clean. Some of the slates mined in other places on our planet aren't as durable, especially the taupe and beige ones mined in India, which are better for backsplash applications (IMO).

    This link is for the Vermont/NY area companies that mine and fabricate slate:

    http://www.slatevalleymuseum.org/slate-companies1.html 




  • 8 years ago

    We had slate floors in our last house, loved them! They don't show the dirt or pet hair. I was always horrified when I would sweep at how much dirt there was & you couldn't really see it. We didn't find that it flaked too much, maybe a bit the first year. Ours was quite rough compared to slate look tile. Would do it again in a heartbeat.

  • 8 years ago

    I have tile all over my house except for the bedrooms which are wood. Think it looks fine.

  • 8 years ago

    I have a contemporary post and beam home, so a lot of wood like your inspiration. My first floor is is all hardwood floors(natural ash) except the entry and adjacent powder room which are porcelain slate.

    I live in Maine and could have gotten what lake affect called 'Vt Slate" except we call it Maine Slate - :) Monson Slate, Sheldon Slate are two big quarries with locations in Maine and VT. the porcelain that I got hasw a bit more of a contemporary feel and that jived with my house's aesthetic so it was a good fit for us.

  • 8 years ago

    My slate looks a lot like MrsShayne's porcelain slate. Not a lot of color variation. And I can see every dog hair that appears as he passes. :)

    (Mine is from Brazil and was very inexpensive: this in assorted sizes)

  • 8 years ago

    My experience with real slate is that not all the tiles will necessarily be the same height and may be an issue for barefoot. There are some great slate look tiles out there.

    I've seen these Italian porcelain tiles in person at the tile shop where I purchased my tile and tile flooring.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Thanks so much all. We are renovating what is now a builder grade finished cabin. We will be adding as much rustic character as we can afford. We aren't adding much in the way of square footage (that will be another post), but do have a ton of drywall and cheap finishes to remedy. Just so you get an idea of where we are starting,

    boring exterior, hope to add dormers and change color to start

    Horrible living dining area. Fireplace will be removed as it is in a stupid place. I may end up doing a corner fireplace where the armoire is now.

    As you can see there is no cabin charm at all. But the river lot is worth every cent, and the house is sturdily built and well maintained.

  • 8 years ago

    Ohhh you picked the cabin I voted for. YAY!!!

    WIll you be keeping the hardwood in the living room, looks good in the pictures.

  • 8 years ago

    WOW! What a beautiful home!!! I dream of finding a place like that someday!!! How exciting!! Keep sharing more pics :)

  • 8 years ago

    My son used Daltile's Ayers Rock slate look porcelain tile. He is very pleased with it. The tile comes in 8 different colors and has a several sizes for the field tile as well as mosaic and trim pieces. It has some texture to it but not too bumpy and has nice variation in the coloring. He used it on both the floor and walls in his bathroom. I only have an in progress picture of the walls. He was going for more of a grey look and used the color called Majestic Mound.

    I think their color Rustic Remnant is also very nice. Here is a picture of it from Dal Tiles website:

    Here is a link to tile on Dal's website

    Ayers Rock

  • 8 years ago

    Local eater, we don't have it yet. Owner is actually on a boat trip so we will submit offer when he gets back in a couple weeks. Fingers crossed...

    Regardless, this gives us time to meet with builder at house and get some numbers on what we plan to change. This way we know what our max we can pay for house.

    Wood floors will be removed, they are those pre finished Bruce floors which dog claws will destroy in no time. It will be easier to change floors when house is empty.

  • 8 years ago

    Vermont structural slate has a great website and provides a lot of specific information about their slates. The slate tiles are also available in a wide variety of finishes. They also do larger commerical projects and have (this is not the correct word) remnants listed for sale, sometimes it is quite a large SF amount. This is the type of slate that does not flake and some of it does not require sealant at all. http://vermontstructuralslate.com

  • 8 years ago

    I don't know where in the country you are, but slate or tile floors can be quite cold. With radiant heat under, they're wonderful.

  • 8 years ago

    We are in Georgia.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    We have a rustic slate bathroom which I love and am extremely happy with. That said many of the comments made here about it are legitimate thoughts to consider. The tiles are uneven, and if a tiler without a lot of experience laying slate does the job, you could have bumps in areas of the flooring that won't appeal to your feet. It can run cold, but that has not been an issue for us even in sub zero weather, it's just not something we care about. It's very hard and can be hard on one's legs if you're standing for a long period of time. The pro's are that it's very low maintenance though, seldom shows dirt and super easy to clean when it does which was important to me.

    I don't agree with Lakeeffect in that you don't have to get Vermont Slate. If you research it at all, you'll find there are lots of different types of slate that will work fine. We didn't get Vermont slate. I did however take the suggestion of a pro in the bathroom forum and soaked some tiles in a bucket of water for several days to see if they would break down. It didn't and it's done amazingly well in all areas including the shower. These are old pictures from our remodel just after the install and sealant. It's called Indian Autumn and the pictures don't really do it justice. We wanted everything we've upgraded with to be of natural materials and earthy, so we didn't go with a porcelain, but if it's not something you care about, I think that the Daltile would be a good alternative.


  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    The other thing you'll need to consider is the colour variations of whatever slate you choose. When you look at a showroom display they have access to a huge array of tile colours however when you open your box pretty much what you see is what you get and the colours may have no resemblance to what you saw in the showroom

    You really have to work with the tiler or designer or have a really good eye for design to layout the slate in a pattern that distributes the colours in a pleasing manner.

    If you look at lukkii's you'll see a white tile right beside a blue tile and then lots of variegated brown ones - that is all Indian Autumn and all from probably the same box.

    If uniformity is key for you, true slate may not work for you.

    Because slate tends to have rougher edges the grout lines also tend to be wider and often appear to be uneven but again that is a characteristic of slate.

  • 8 years ago

    Wait, you're not building anymore but remodeling? Where did I miss that discussion and best of luck to you.

  • 8 years ago

    We still have an option on the lot to build but due to hoa restrictions we may not be able to build what works for us. At least within our self imposed square footage and budget limitations. While we wait for numbers and a decision our agent found us another option. We would have to remodel but we would have the budget we think. Luckily our builder also does remodeling and can give us an accurate number to make changes.

    Needless to say I'm pretty bummed as I really love the way the custom plan was evolving. I'm not giving up yet, but am getting myself ready for plan b if it comes to it.

  • PRO
    8 years ago

    VT slate is fabulous with dogs! I had it in the world's tiniest kitchen which was also our entry that we used in a Maine boarding school dorm apt. It was multi colors, shapes and sizes. Twenty+ yrs ago Lowes had it for $1 sq ft. There were 5 dogs and twice, a litter of puppies, plus indoor cats (don't ask). Once a year, my husband scrubbed it and resealed it. Loved that floor! Snow tracked in just evaporated, mud dried and was swept away. Great for dogs!

  • 8 years ago

    We have used slate for two of our rooms and love it! I also agree that the pattern is really important and adds to the overall effect. Here are pics of ours.

  • 8 years ago

    Mom2sulu, I'm guessing that is actual slate. Very pretty, exactly what I want. As the rest of the house is so plain, I'm looking for some texture for sure.

  • 8 years ago

    Yes, it is actual slate but purchased from the Tile Shop so relatively inexpensive. The Mongolian Desert flakes a bit more than the black slate, but so far both are holding up well. (We have no dogs--but kids :)


  • 8 years ago

    Annette, if hardwood flooring is actually your preference you may want to consider keeping the Bruce prefinished hardwood. We have a Bruce high gloss throughout most of our main floor. It's 10 years old and is very scratch resistant even with our 5 year old lab. Not one scratch.

    On the other hand, we also have a prefinished brazilian walnut in our kitchen and dining area (from Lumber Liquidators) and while it doesn't show scratches from the dog, the finish isn't near as durable.

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