Slate is a robust surface material for roofing, bathroom and kitchen flooring and walls. It is a durable natural stone. Slate is a fine-grained metamorphic rock derived from shale, clay and quartz. Trace minerals include mica, chlorite, pyrite and feldspar. Tremendous pressure and heat under ocean beds transform shale into slate. This rugged origin gives it an instantly recognizable surface texture. Some of the properties that make slate attractive are resistance to moisture, staining and slippage.
Slate’s colors include shades of gray, red, orange, black, green, mauve, yellow, amber, cyan and gold. Slate has a high iron content that is more prevalent in the darker colors such as green, blown and black. Over time, streaking will normally occur in the lighter shades such as pink and yellow.
Slate tiles are grouted along the edges. Sealants are applied to strengthen durability, improve resistance to stain and make them smoother in appearance. Natural slate tiles look rustic, contemporary and sleek. Patios, countertops and fireplaces are ideal places to maximize their slip resistant properties. Slate has a natural split surface (its cleavage and grain) that allows it to be broken into thin sheets. Thus, it is recommended that slate be applied on a solid substrate or a bed of mortar.