Slate Patio Upgrade

3 Materials
12 Hours

When we first moved into our house, I had stained my concrete back patio and over the years is did not hold up all that well. In high traffic areas the color had worn off and the concrete had mildew stains. After a little research, I decided on adding slate tile to the patio - very affordable @ 53 cents a tile and we already had a wet saw and all the tiling tools (trowels/sponge/spacers).

You can calculate all your materials quanities needed online before you even go to the store - this will save time and the hassle of trying to find someone to help you.

Schluter Edge installed

The schluter edge has spaces to install with the mortar. You don't want a lot of extra mortar poking through the edges, just a quarter inch or so to make sure it's solidly attached to the concrete floor.

For the mortar, I used FlexBond, which allows for the Slate to expand during drops/raises in temperatures. This was a little more expensive but well worth it at $30 bag versus $20. I used two bags

Now that you are ready to lay your tile. Mix the mortar to the manufacturer's instructions. I used a trowel with a small and wide toothed edge, my preference because it gives you two options to get the needed grooves in your mortar. These grooves are important for getting the mortar even and will make your tiles last longer. Also, remember to add spacers to every side as you go - this will make your tiles exactly the same width apart. Slate tiles vary in thickness, so you will need to add additional mortar below the tiles that are thinner and less for the really thick ones.

On the edges, you will need to measure and then cut your tile to fit the opening. We started in the most high traffic side and moved towards the house. We wanted the cut edges to be up against the house. After you have installed all the tiles, you will want to wait at least 24 hours to grout.

When you go to grout, make sure you are ready with a clean bucket of water and sponge, as well as your grout (premixed or mixed to the manufacturers specs). I chose a medium grey color for grout.

Work in small sections so the grout is easy to remove and don't mix too much grout, because it will dry out if you work slow. I used a small putty knife to apply the grout, pushing it into all the spaces....doing about 9 tiles before I washed it off.

To remove the excess grout, squeeze out most of the water in the sponge and lightly rub the entire surface. Rinse sponge and repeat, leaving less and less water in the sponge.

I waited about 24 hours after grouting to clean the tiles really well...using my little steam cleaner.

Finished patio!

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Flawless Chaos
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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 5 questions
  • Lee Rakoskie Lee Rakoskie on Feb 15, 2021

    where did you get the tiles for 53 cents??? I love this look but cant find anything under $2.

  • Creative Moments Creative Moments on Feb 15, 2021

    Will the grout hold up to weather? How long have you had it completed? Any change?

  • GMS28 GMS28 on Feb 15, 2021

    do the slates get slippery though when they get wet at all

Join the conversation
4 of 26 comments
  • Pam Pam on Feb 15, 2021

    We thought of this but what happen when tile get wet. It's slippery and you could fall.

    • Flawless Chaos Flawless Chaos on Feb 15, 2021

      Like any smooth surface, you do need to be careful when wet. But the slate tiles are not as slippery as smooth concrete. Slate has goves and bumps, it's a natural material so it's not completely flat like regulare tile or concrete. In the two years that we've had it, and with a pool in the back yard right beside it, no one has fallen.

  • SBlizzard SBlizzard on Feb 15, 2021

    I love the patio! Will the flex grout compensate for small cracks in the concrete? Small as in narrow. They are long. Thanks!

    • Flawless Chaos Flawless Chaos on Feb 16, 2021

      Thanks! It's actually the mortar that is a flex product, to protect in massive temperature swings (expanding/compressing). I would not use grout on any concrete cracks unless you were planning on tiling over the cracked concrete, then definitely use the flex mortar.