How to Build an Outdoor Slate Wall

A slate wall.
  • 4-6 hours
  • Advanced
  • 600-800
What You'll Need
Grout float
Decorative items (optional)

Slate wall is a widely used item for interior and exterior designing primarily because of its qualities in terms of aesthetic beauty, durability, reliability, high damage resistance, and extensive availability of size, textures, patterns, shapes, and colors. They provide an aura of natural beauty yet at the same time, offer an air of modernity too and are mostly used for the construction of fountains, waterfalls, and barbecue areas.

Building your outdoor slate wall isn’t the kind of task that you necessarily require professional assistance for because using the tools and steps mentioned below you can construct one yourself.

Step 1 - Decide on the Location and Specifications

Deciding on the location is obviously important as the amount of space available will affect the size as well as other decisive features of the wall. Slate wall tiles are available in a variety of colors namely rusty, black, white, grey, blue, red, green, and yellow. Choose the color you want before you purchase any material. You can also choose the different features of your outdoor wall, whether you want to stack or tile the slate (stacking looks more beautiful but requires more tiles) and what should be the type, pattern, and surface of slate to be used for the project. Once these questions have been answered purchase the material required in the right amount from your local hardware store.

Step 2 - Prepare the Base

Once the location and dimensions of your wall have been decided, prepare the base for the construction. Clear the place of possible stones, rocks, and plants. Level the surface area after which the mortar (for the base) needs to be mixed. Three different types of mortars are usually used with slate tiles: unmodified thin set (inexpensive, low quality), latex-modified thin set (elastic, stickier), and fortified thin set (strongest and most durable). Hence, decide on the type of mortar you prefer and use a trowel to place the slate one on top of the other but keep in mind that thick slates require lesser mortar while thin slates require more mortar. Once the application is complete, allow the mortar to dry out as per the time specified on the mortar package.

Step 3 - Lay out the Slate Tiles

Start laying out the slate tiles starting from the bottom center of the wall and then moving evenly towards both the respective sides (right and left) so as to maintain balance once the installation is complete. Check up on the edges of the slate tiles you purchase before you install them in your wall.

Step 4 - Provide the Final Touches

If using slate tiles for a waterfall use a paintbrush to paint the wall with a sealer while wiping away any excess with a damp cloth. Moreover, use gray grout to fill in between the slate tiles with a grout float and let the grout dry for at least 24 hours. If you wish to enrich or deepen the color of the slate tiles, seal them with a color enhancer but see to it that the enhancer is not applied on the grout. Moreover, lighting, plants, and decorative shells/stones are recommended decorative tools for your wall.