slate tile

Slate is generally thought of as a dark grey stone, but it can come in a range of colors from cyan to green, red and paler shades.  This metamorphic rock naturally has layers that have allowed the creation of thin tiles and sheets from the material since time out of history.

One of slate’s largest draws is its most complete impermeability to water.  It’s a great choice for flooring in bathrooms and mudrooms where it will resist spills and stains.  Slate is traditionally used as a roofing material for this reason, providing a surface that can last up to a century without replacement.  However, you shouldn’t let tradition limit you.  Slate is an excellent choice for any number of other outdoor installations, from pools, to patios and driveways.

However, this is a stone not overly resistant to oil based spills.  While slate flooring and counter tops in a kitchen can be beautiful, the possibility of spills make it harder to maintain.

Slate is typically somewhere between travertine and marble with regards to durability.  The stone can scratch and chip, so consider felting the bottom of any furniture or metal placed on the surface.  Slate may spall, or flake for the first three months after installation. This is natural and should cease as the stone ages.  Slate does tend to scratch over time, resulting in a well wearing character only possible with natural stone.  If a more pristine look is preferred man-made materials are also an option.