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Rock of the Week: Slate


In our humble opinions, this metamorphic rock is one of the greats when it comes to natural stone.

A fine-grained rock composed of volcanic ash and sometimes clay which has formed over tens of thousands of years, slate can be easily split into near-perfect smooth surfaces.

First utilised by our ancient ancestors as razor-sharp flint, slate has been in use ever since and is most commonly seen on rooftops throughout the land. It’s a hugely durable and versatile stone used to pave patios, paths and as kitchen worktops – the possibilities are endless.

Most people think of slate as being grey, which it normally is, but there is a vast variety of other colours as well. In Wales, once the world-centre of slate, you can find an array of colours including purple, green and cyan. Even the grey tones vary widely from dark to light.

It’s these variations of colours you’ll normally see inside a home rather than outside as floor and wall tiles or kitchen worktops. Customers that want to use slate outside the home tend to steer towards the shades of grey.

By the way, if you are using your slate outside, remember to ensure your it’s at least 20mm thick. It may also be worth laying a concrete pad underneath the slate to guarantee there’s no movement.

Slate has always been hugely popular for a number of reasons. It’s waterproof and available in huge abundance, which makes it the cheapest variation of natural stone out there.

Another factor to remember when purchasing slate is that due to its uniqueness and colour variations, individual pieces of slate are going to be slightly different from any other. This can put some people off purchasing slate in its tile form.

Discount stores have been known to sell one colour of slate in a showroom and deliver materials which look completely different, but this is not necessarily dishonest given slate’s variations. This is also the reason why it’s standard practice to order more than you need.

Slate can be used for:

  • Flooring
  • Wall covering
  • Kitchen worktops
  • Vanity units
  • Paving
  • Hearths
  1. Thanks for this post, very helpful. I wasn’t aware it was available in so many colours! Now we’ve got our eyes on some Welsh slate with a slight green tinge. Can’t wait to get it down. Thanks.

    • You’re welcome Jeff, glad we could help! Hope the fitting goes well, would love to see a picture when it’s done.

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