I grew up with a slate floor at home. In fact, thinking about it, the whole ground floor consisted of slate flooring and we had a few different types in different rooms. To be fair it took a serious battering; dogs, cats, us children growing up, building works, the entire ground floor was flooded (twice), house parties (too many), the list goes on, but it’s still there today and looking great. Nearly 30 years on, now that is scary!
For those geologists amongst us, slate is a fine-grained metamorphic rock made from silt and clay which have been compacted under high pressure and temperature. It’s a naturally dense material which makes it low-maintenance and stain resistant. For hundreds of years it has been a key flooring and roofing material.
Admittedly slate tiles tend to lean towards the dark side, so perhaps if you’re dead set on a light, bright floor, slate should be avoided. However the beautiful charcoal, grey and rust shades that slate offers should really be considered as these moody tones can actually provide an easier backdrop to decorate upon, than lighter or warm tones. Take the above images; from rustic to elegant, from white to bright, slate can complement a huge spectrum of styles and shades, whilst providing interest and character underfoot from the surface texture.
Talking of texture, most slates tiles are available in their naturally riven or ‘cleft’ state. This finish can vary considerably depending on the slate type, from more heavily textured of Dalian Rustic Riven slate tiles, Grey and Black, to the more refined riven surface of our Gris, Heather Grey and Nero Riven slate tiles. Due to the consistent thickness of the later slates, these can also be used as slate wall tiles and look fantastic.
Slate is also available in a striking ‘honed’ or smooth surface, which has been machined to provide a completely flat surface. This machining process removes the riven texture and leaves the equivalent natural shift but displayed by way of colour variance. Our concise range of three honed slates are truly eye-catching and are suitable for both floors and walls.
Slate is also a great choice for exterior paving. When I completely renovated my listed farmhouse a few years ago I was unusually indecisive upon the choice for the exterior slate tiles. I agonised over it for months and only when the reclaimed Welsh Slate roof was complete I could see the obvious choice was slate (my builders didn’t love me for this, being heavy and hot to touch during the height of the summer!) Black Riven Slate tile has been used for the main patio areas as well as pathways that lead around the house. It receives endless compliments and is practical too, perfectly fitting with the old property and rural surroundings, it isn’t slippery either. As slate is a naturally dense material it doesn’t absorb moisture and when we get a downpour it’s great to see it visibly drying, when I have time to watch this of course! Writing about this reminds me I must get some better images of it now the garden has matured around it. But as you can tell I’m a huge fan of this wonderful natural material and its definitely worth considering for your project.