8 Little Known Facts About Slate

8 Little Known Facts About Slate

Could a slate tile be the key item to include in your next construction product? Despite this natural stone having been used in buildings for quite a few centuries, not everyone is aware of the ‘why’.

We’ll discuss slate’s many attributes below so you can determine whether it’s a natural stone you should be using more from now on. Your clients will thank you for it.

This is How Slate is Made

The slate tile you install in your home could be from volcanic ash. Either ash or clay can become slate after going through a process of metamorphism. The substance would first turn into sedimentary rock similar to shale and then become the hard rock widely used in the construction industry as well as other niches.

Slate has a unique characteristic called ‘fissility’. This refers to the flat sheets in which it’s naturally formed. Experts who use a special tool can separate these sheets from each other in the quarry if they strike parallel to the stone’s foliation.

These flat sheets make it easy to form thin slate tile products without much effort, to be used in natural slate tile flooring, roofing or in many other applications.

Slate Can Handle Extreme Temperatures

One of the reasons slate is such a popular substance to use in homes is because of thermal stability. This means it won’t easily lose heat or warm up very quickly. This makes a slate tile a perfect option for your roof, but also for catering: place hot food on a polished slate tile that’s been heated up and the slate will prevent the food from cooling down quickly.

This feature is one of the reasons it’s such a popular stone to use on a roof. An outdoor slate tile surface or roof will keep the interior cool even when it’s hot outside, because it doesn’t quickly absorb the sun’s heat. And when it’s cold the building will take longer to cool down, which means the structure is less dependent on air conditioning systems.

This of course makes for comfortable living, but also has an effect on the occupants’ carbon footprint: fewer emissions thanks to a lower demand on the power grid.

Slate Isn’t Always Slate

When you’re shopping for a slate tile, make sure you have the real thing. Over the years some have used the words ‘slate’ and ‘shale’ interchangeably. Slate may be the result of shale metamorphism, but they’re definitely not the same products. Those in the know are conscious of using ‘slate’ only to refer to slate products, so use reputable suppliers who know industry talk.

Slate Isn’t Always Gray

Slate has a unique composition and many different minerals can make up the set of polished floor tiles you install in a home. These different ‘ingredients’ play a role in the color of the slate. Slate products can differ in color because of the different minerals found in each quarry.

Because you can never predict exactly how nature will mix together different substances (minerals), do yourself a favor and browse slate tile product lists before making your final selection. You’ll probably be surprised to find greens, purples, browns and even red slate tile items. Pick a hue that will complement the rest of your construction.

Slate has a Rating of 4 on the Mohs Scale

Another reason a black slate tile roof is so popular is because of its durability. One way of proving this is to measure it according to the Mohs Scale. This scale of mineral hardness places slate stone anywhere between 2.5 and 4.

Granted, there are many natural stones that are much harder and more durable, but a quality natural slate tile will serve you well for years whether it’s up on the roof or you put down honed slate flooring.

This durability—matched with the fact that it’s easy to hone into a specific shape—makes a slate tile a practical utensil in a household: you can sharpen knives if you use a slate tile as a whetstone. Simply make sure you use a fine slate product as they work best.

Slate = Easy Maintenance

If you’re building any structure these days, low maintenance is most likely a prerequisite. Business owners don’t want to waste time and money on special cleaning processes & homeowners want effortless lifestyles. Low maintenance usually also means environmentally friendly conditions as fewer toxins get used for cleaning.

In all these aspects a slate tile roof or floor is a winner. It doesn’t stain easily and you don’t need specially designed cleaning products to keep it clean. A smooth, polished slate tile surface will simply require a quick wipe down, making it a hygienic option for a kitchen.

Slate is Safe

Many are used to the classic slate roofs seen in homes, cathedrals and other historic buildings. But why did it stay popular in modern times? One reason it was so popular in the 1900s is that it’s an electrical insulator. An electric switchboard surrounded by a slate tile box minimizes electrical risks. A structure can be built using natural products while still maintaining a high level of safety.

Slate Inspired Famous Sayings

The popularity of using black slate tile products go back centuries, but not only for building purposes. In the 1800s this natural stone tile became the writing surface to be used in schools. You can write on a slate tile with chalk and then simply wipe it off & start writing again. This common practice eventually led to the well-known phrase of ‘clean slate’. Some also use ‘blank slate’.

This saying is used in many contexts these days. One popular one is when a person decides to make a new start without allowing the past to influence his or her future anymore.


Slate is beautiful, but also practical and now you know WHY it’s been so popular; in modern & ancient times. Slate is even used in everyday life, proving its value. Best of all: using it is an environmentally friendly way of enhancing structures, so it’s time you search for slate tile suppliers near you.

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