Why Do We Use Slate For Roof?

Why Do We Use Slate For Roof
What is Slate? – Slate is a fine-grained, metamorphic rock derived from a shale-type of sedimentary rock composed of clay and volcanic ash. Slate is made for roofing slate, a type of shingle, as you’ve come to know already. Slate has been used for hundreds of years around the world and are wonderful for life expectancy.

This is because its water absorbency index is extremely strong at less than 0.4%, rendering it waterproof. Depending on what geographic region they come from, they can last for up to 50 years. Of course, a number of other factors can affect how long they last. These include original workmanship and the level of maintenance.

Slate shingles are very heavy and expensive to install and maintain. At the same time they are very natural looking. Due to their durability and strength they can withstand any weathering over time –water, freezing, wind storms or hail storms are a breeze for slate shingles.

Which is better slate or tile roof?

Slate vs tile- which choice is best for your roof? When it comes to finishing a roof, there are several options to choose from. By far the two most popular choices are slate and tiles. What exactly is the difference between the two and which one is best suited to what type of roof? The basic difference The fundamental distinction to be made between slate and tiles is the fact that slate is natural stone while tiles are a manufactured product.

  • That alone, however, is not enough to determine whether either one is better for you.
  • It will influence their looks and implementation, but in order to decide which one is the choice for your home, it’s important to go deeper.
  • Roof tiles As mentioned before, roof tiles are manufactured.
  • Created using sturdy materials such as fired clay and concrete, they’re a solid option that has the added benefit of great versatility.

Due to the fact that they’re artificially made, roof tiles come in a variety of designs, formats, and colours. They can come in larger variants, which helps reduce the cost of installation. They can blend in perfectly with any type of decor thanks to their diversity.

  • Thanks to the variety in sizes, they can work both with irregular and straightforward projects.
  • Additionally, clay tiles are great for roofs with a pitch even as low as 15 degrees.
  • Slate Unlike tiles, slate is a naturally occurring material.
  • Though mined in larger chunks, it can be splintered into thin layers with great easy, making the resulting tile-like pieces perfect for roofing.

Though most slate comes in grey, there is quite a significant selection of colours occurring naturally. The main difference is that they must be fitted to a roof with pegs and nails and, as such, require holes to be punched into them before they are fitted, so it is important to make sure that all the holes are in the right place before installation works start.

Another thing to keep in mind is that slate can only be used down to 25 degree pitches. Slates are also a bit more expensive than tiles, but they make up for it with lasting longer. Which one should I pick? In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. Tiles are definitely a cheaper solution that come in a greater variety of colours and patterns, while slate has increased longevity and is perfect for bringing out a more rustic quality of your home.

Whichever one you choose, however, they’re both solid choices worthy of your investment! : Slate vs tile- which choice is best for your roof?

What are the advantages of using slate shingles?

What are the benefits of slate versus shingle roofing? – Slate is something we like to call a ‘forever roof’ since homeowners will only need to put only one on in their lifetime, but a shingle roof may need to be replaced two or three times. Another benefit of slate roofing is its ability to increase the resale value of your home due to its natural beauty and durability.

How do roof slates work?

Roof slates are a very popular choice when it comes to deciding which roofing material to use on a pitched roof. As well as being aesthetically pleasing, and increasing the potential selling value of the house, roof slates have a number of physical benefits.

Do slate roofs rust?

Iron Pyrites in Slate 28 September 2020 The rust stains sometimes seen in cheaper slates are impurities of naturally occurring iron pyrites. As well as being unsightly, this will also lead to premature ageing and failure. Not all slates are the same. As with most things in life, if you buy the cheaper options it will usually cost you more money later when you need to replace it.

Slate roofing is no different. Slate that is cut from the cheaper, less pure, sources can be found to contain impurities and especially iron pyrites. Iron pyrites will show as a rust coloured imperfection and will lead to rust stains on the roof. After many winters and frost, the slate will develop holes and can delaminate much quicker than better quality slates.

Examples can be seen in the photos shown here. This problem and inherent defect can be avoided by buying the best quality roofing slate. Slate that originates from England and Wales are usually of a high quality. Imported slates from Spain, China, Brazil and Canada are usually of inferior quality and tend to fail sooner. : Iron Pyrites in Slate

How long will a slate roof last?

YOUR HOME; Maintaining Slate Roofs: New Options (Published 2000) YOUR HOME

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See the article in its original context from August 6, 2000, Section 11, Page 7 TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. FEW homeowners would argue with the premise that a slate roof adds beauty and value to a house.

But while such roofs are often thought to be virtually indestructible – some have been around for a couple of hundred years – even the best slate roofs age, leak and eventually have to be replaced. ”The average homeowner will look at an 80-year-old slate roof that’s leaking and think, what in the world am I going to do with this?” said Joseph C.

Jenkins, a slate-roof contractor in Grove City, Pa., who is author of ”The Slate Roof Bible” ($35, Jenkins Publishing, Grove City, 1997). ”And I would say that the most important thing to find out before answering that question is what kind of slate you have.” Mr.

  1. Jenkins explained that while there are a variety of sizes, shapes, colors and styles of slate used on roofs, most slate roofs can be divided into two basic categories: hard and soft.
  2. ”Hard slate will last anywhere from 75 to 200 years, while soft slate will last only 50 to 125 years,” he said, adding that as a result, a homeowner trying to decide whether to repair, restore or replace a slate roof should first determine whether the existing slate is hard or soft.

Generally speaking, Mr. Jenkins said, colored slates are almost always hard slate and black slates are almost always soft. (There are some black slates that are hard, and there are some colored slates that are soft because they’re really black slates that have been faded by the sun.) In any case, he said, a slate expert – known as a ”slater” – will be able to tell hard slate from soft simply by tapping on it.

And since most slate roofs on homes in the Northeast were installed in the early 1900’s, Mr. Jenkins said, homeowners who have them generally have a decision to make when the roofs start leaking. ”If it’s hard slate, you probably should restore it,” he said, explaining that even a 100-year-old hard slate roof could have another 100 years of useful life.

”But if it’s soft, it may not be worth fixing.” Mr. Jenkins said that in most cases, leaks in slate roofs are caused either by broken or missing tiles or faulty flashing. If the problem is with the tiles themselves, he said, repairs can easily be made by an experienced slater.

  • ”All you have to do is pull out the bad slates and replace them with good ones,” he said, explaining that a mistake many homeowners make is to wait until there are several broken or missing slate tiles before calling in a contractor.
  • ”That’s like having a cavity in your tooth and waiting to get more cavities before getting the first one fixed,” Mr.
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Jenkins said, adding that even one cracked or missing tile can allow water penetration that can damage the roof deck. Leaks caused by faulty flashing, he said, may require a full restoration. ”Restoration means replacing all the metal parts on the roof,” he said, referring to the sheets of metal flashing used to seal areas where chimneys, vents and dormers protrude through the roof surface.

  • In most cases, he said, the flashing will deteriorate and fail long before the slate itself.
  • ”Restoration is a routine job for an experienced slater,” Mr.
  • Jenkins said, adding that since every job is different, the price can run from several hundred to several thousand dollars.
  • In cases where a slate roof is beyond repair, replacement may be necessary.

And for preservationists and aesthetic purists, the only appropriate replacement for an old slate roof is a new one. ”A slate roof is regarded as the best roof you can buy,” said Brian Stearns, president of Vermont Slate and Copper, a slate roofing company based in Stowe.

  • ”It’s also one of the most expensive roofs to install.” In most cases, Mr.
  • Stearns said, a slate roof installation – including the slate itself and removal of the existing roof – will cost about $1,500 per square, with each square equal to a 10-by-10-foot area.
  • He said that the square footage of a roof is usually about the same as the total square footage of the house.

So a 2,000-square-foot house would require 20 squares, and a new slate roof would cost about $30,000. ”I would guess that to do the same job with asphalt shingles would cost about $200 a square,” he said. ”So the question you have to ask yourself is whether it’s going to be worth spending that much more money for slate.

  • Then again, if the house had a slate roof to begin with, chances are that the real estate in the area might justify it.” There are, however, some relatively new high-quality roofing products that look like slate but that cost less than the real thing.
  • One is Celadon Ceramic Slate, a synthetic roof shingle manufactured by CertainTeed Corporation in Valley Forge, Pa.

”Celadon gives you the look of slate without having to pay slate prices,” said Matt Butler, the owner of Allied Building Products, an East Rutherford, N.J., distributor of CertainTeed products. Celadon tiles, Mr. Butler said, are lighter than slate – making it possible to use the product on roofs that would not support the weight of real slate – and come with a 75-year warranty.

  • And while considerably more expensive than asphalt shingles – the tiles alone cost about $235 a square, not including installation – they are considerably less expensive than slate, which costs about $450 a square, not including installation.
  • Another alternative to slate is Majestic Slate, a product manufactured by EcoStar, a company based in Chicago.

”For lack of a better term, what we’re making is imitation slate,” said Kerston Russell, the company’s president. Mr. Russell explained that his product is an injection-molded slate look-alike made mainly of recycled rubber. ”We use car bumpers, radiator hoses, door moldings and even some old tires,” he said.

”And what we end up with is a material that looks for all the world like real slate without any of slate’s disadvantages.” For example, he said, while slate is brittle – and can be easily cracked or broken if stepped on during installation or repair – Majestic Slate is flexible and will not chip or crack.

Moreover, he said, the rubber-based composition of the tile makes it possible to simply nail each tile snugly to the roof deck – a procedure that is less labor-intensive than having to carefully nail through pre-drilled holes in slate without hitting and breaking the slate.

The material cost of Majestic is somewhat less than the material cost of slate – the price ranges from $285 to $360 per square. And the simplified installation procedures generally result in even greater savings. Yet another lightweight alternative to slate is StoneCrest, a metal roofing product manufactured by Metalworks, a Pittsburgh company.

”StoneCrest is a galvanized steel shingle that looks like slate and comes in an array of colors,” said Mark Storti, the company’s manager for marketing and technical support. The product, which carries a lifetime warranty, is so light it can generally be installed right over an existing asphalt shingled roof if the local building code permits.

Which roof slate is best?

Welsh Slate – Welsh slate is considered by many as the best natural slate in the world. Welsh slate is available in either heather (purple) or blue-grey. Penrhyn slate has a beautiful soft blue/purple appearance and can be expected to last more than 100 years.

In comparison to other natural slate products, it is easy to work with and requires very little maintenance. New Penrhyn slate can be pricey – it is often found cheapest at specialist roofing supplies. You may also wish to consider visiting architectural reclamation companies, as much is available second hand.

Following the closure of the Ffestiniog quarry in 2009, Welsh blue-grey slates is much harder, though not impossible to source. Currently, small amounts of slate are available from Cwt-Y-Bugail – again a specialist roofing supplier should be able to help.

How is slate secured to roof?

When Tsion Messick started talking to roofers about replacing the slate on her 90-year-old Colonial in Greenville, Del., something didn’t seem right. “We ran across roofing contractors who did not have much experience in slate roofs,” Messick said. Worried that she would end up with a shoddy job, she delved in and did her own research.

There was a lot to learn and finding the right resources was key.” One of those resources was Joseph Jenkins, a slate roofing consultant and author of ” The Slate Roof Bible,” Jenkins warns the worst thing uninformed roofers do is tell homeowners their slate roof needs replacing when it really doesn’t.

“The main thing people need to understand is that a slate roof can literally last for centuries,” Jenkins said. “I’m annoyed that a roofing contractor would destroy somebody’s roof and it’s regretful that the property owners don’t know what they lost.” How long your slate roof will last depends largely on what type of rock was used.

  1. According to an identification guide on the Slate Roof Central website, some of the hardest, heartiest types are purple slate, non-fading green slate and grayish black Buckingham slate, which can all last 150 to 200 years.
  2. Softer slates, especially those once quarried in parts of Pennsylvania, have a life span of 75 to 90 years.

That’s the type on top of my 1946 house, so I am in the market for a new slate roof. The median age of houses in Washington is 75 years, so I’m not alone. A slate roof can cost from $12 to $40 per square foot, according to websites and roofers I consulted.

Your price will be on the lower end if you use recycled slates or reinstall your own. The price will rise if your house is complicated, your slate is extra fancy or you live in an expensive area. That’s two to four times more than an asphalt-shingle roof. Then again, a slate roof can also last four or more times as long, making it a good value over the long haul.

But for a slate roof to last, it must be installed correctly. Here’s what you need to know: Where it comes from It’s not enough to know the color and cost of slate you’re putting on your roof. It’s not even enough to know the name of the slate manufacturer.

  • The most important thing you need to know is where did it come out of the ground,” Jenkins said.
  • In other words, you need to know the name and location of the actual quarry.
  • That’s important because some quarries have better reputations — and warranties — than others.
  • Look for slate that is warranted to last at least 75 years.
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One hundred is even better. That warranty should contain a guarantee that if the slate develops pyrite stains — ugly, rust-colored streaks — the slate manufacturer will pay to replace your roof. The Slate Roofing Contractors Association maintains a list of reputable manufacturers and quarries on its website.

  1. You should also ask your installation company if it can reinstall or recycle your old slate and to adjust the price accordingly.
  2. Sidelap and headlap A critical factor is the amount that slates overlap each other to keep water out of your house.
  3. Nowledgeable roofers make chalk lines on the felt underlayment to assure the overlap is adequate.

Slates should overlap by at least three inches on the sides, called sidelap. Even more important is the overlap at the top of each slate, called headlap. If your roof is steep — with a pitch of at least eight inches in height for every 12 inches in width — you need three inches of headlap.

You can confirm your roof’s pitch using an online calculator. If your roof is shallower, between 4:12 and 8:12, the slates should have a headlap of at least four inches. Roofs shallower than 4:12 should not be made of slate, according to Traditional Roofing Magazine. One final note: There should be an additional one to two inches of headlap near the eaves to help guard against ice damming.

Metal on metal Copper is the most common metal used in slate roofs, but there are other options, such as coated stainless steel, that cost less. Regardless of what metal your contractor uses for flashing and other purposes, the real key is consistency because of something called galvanic corrosion.

  • Put simply, some metals, when they come in contact with one another, will “eat” each other over time.
  • This is one reason the metal parts of slate roofs often fail long before the rock itself.
  • This caution applies to metals used in flashing, ridges, valleys, nails, rivets, drip edges, gutters and downspouts.

You do not need to worry so much about the metal composition of your snow guards, because they don’t come in contact with other metals. Choosing nails Slate nails should be copper, stainless steel or at least hot-dipped galvanized steel to give them a fighting chance of lasting as long as the slates themselves.

Electro-galvanized nails are a no-no because they can rust in just a couple of years. Nail length also is important. The correct length is double the thickness of your slates plus one inch. If the nails are the correct length, they will penetrate the roof sheathing boards but not punch through to the other side.

Once hammered in, the nailheads should sit flush with the slate. If they’re pounded in too far, they can crack the slates they are supposed to be holding; if they are not pounded in far enough, they can crack the slates layered over them. Choosing underlayment In this era of artificial materials, underlayment for slate roofs has become a confusing and disputed subject.

All but one roofer I interviewed wanted to use what is called ice and water guard in the valleys of my roof underneath the slate. Jenkins said ice and water guard is not only unnecessary but can actually be harmful to slate roofs. He said this product prevents your slate roof from breathing because it’s synthetic and makes it hard to perform repairs later because it’s sticky.

So what underlayment is appropriate? Traditional, 30-pound organic roofing felt. The felt is mostly there to protect your home from the elements if there’s a storm before the contractor installs the slate. It then disintegrates in a few years and Jenkins said that’s perfectly fine.

  1. I’ve worked on well over 1,000 slate roofs in my lifetime, and none of those had any functional underlayment,” Jenkins said.
  2. The rock itself is what sheds water and protects your home, not the material beneath it.
  3. The correct sheathing The sheathing, also called decking, is the wood to which the slate is attached.

Ideally, the wood will last 150 years — or long enough to support an average initial slate roof and replacement slate roof. The right sheathing choice is individual plank boards. The boards can be anywhere from three-fourths to 1½ inches thick and many different species of wood will work.

Plywood, particle board and laminated woods are not ideal because they are made with glue and don’t last long enough, according to Slate Roof Central. If you are replacing a lightweight roof, you will also want to make sure your rafters and sheathing are strong enough to hold up a heavy slate roof without sagging.

Proper equipment and technique Your roofer should choreograph the project so that the workers walk on the slate as little as possible, which can crack the stone. To achieve this, contractors should use roof brackets — called “roof jacks” in the trade — which are like mini scaffolds roofers can work from.

Other traditional tools any good slate roofer should use: slate cutters, hammers, hooks and rippers. To test prospective roofers’ slate knowledge, you can ask them whether they use these tools. Good roofers also know to mix up their supply of slate as they work, rather than pulling from a single pallet, to avoid sudden changes in color.

What your contract should include As you have read, there’s a lot to know about — and insist upon — especially because replacing a slate roof can be a five- or six-figure investment. And yet, when I requested bids to replace our slate roof, three out of four roofers submitted half-page contracts without any of these specifications.

“That bothers me,” said Shaun Rowe of Brax Roofing in Gaithersburg, Md. “For a roof like this, that’s built to last a century, it’s better for both contractor and customer if the materials and workmanship are spelled out in detail.” Brax has adopted Slate Roof Central’s five-page model slate-roofing contract, something savvy homeowners can ask other roofers to do.

At the very least, ask contractors to include a clause in their contracts stating that they will build your roof according to the installation guidelines drafted by the Slate Roofing Contractors Association. If the house stays in the family, your children —and even grandchildren — will thank you.

Can slates leak?

Slipped Tiles/Slates – Bad weather can sometimes cause tiles or slates to slip off, leaving roof underlay exposed. Large quantities of rainwater can then pool in that area, making a leak increasingly likely to occur. The same thing can happen when slates/tiles crack or chip.

How to Spot

This is one of the easiest things to spot because it is usually visible from the ground. If you suspect any small cracks or chips in your roof tiles, you may have to get a closer look. But remember, don’t do anything that you are incapable of and call a professional if you are unsure.


Usually, the only solution to a slipped roof tile or slate is to get it replaced. Make sure you find an appropriate replacement tile that is the same material and colour to avoid it sticking out or looking odd. Again, if you are unsure, it is always best to get some help.

Why is slate so strong?

HOW DOES SLATE FORM? – Slate is formed through the regional metamorphosis of mudstone or shale under low-pressure conditions. When shale or mudstone is exposed to heavy pressure and heat from a tectonic plate activity, its clay mineral components metamorphose into mica minerals.

  1. Mica minerals such as biotite, chlorite, and muscovite, are the main components of slate.
  2. One unique characteristic of slate is that it is formed through the process of foliation, which refers to the repetitive lamination of metamorphic rocks caused by shearing forces or differential pressure.
  3. Layers of rocks are then formed perpendicular to the direction of the pressure of metamorphic compression.

This gives slate its ability to cleave along flat planes. It is considered as the finest grained foliated metamorphic rock, having 0.01 mm or less of space occurring between each layer or lamina.

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Can slate break easily?

Pros of Slate Flooring –

Durable! Slate is one of the strongest natural stone flooring materials. It’s resistant to cracks, scratches, breaks, and chips. While it does need regular sealing, it’s an excellent option for bathrooms, kitchens, and heavy traffic areas. Long-lasting! Slate can last for decades if properly maintained. Unique & beautiful! There are so many color options available with slate, from solids to combinations. And because it’s a natural material, no one piece will be the same as another! Ups the value of your home! Slate is considered a more upscale flooring material, so while its price can be high, it will usually add real estate value to your entire home. Reparable! In some cases, a tile can be damaged. Thankfully, slate tiles are easy to remove and replace, though keep in mind: due to its natural state, you may not find an exact match if you don’t have extra on hand. Great for radiant heating! Slate is the perfect medium for radiant below-surface coil heating systems.

How strong is slate?

Hardness – On the Mohs scale, slate hardness ranges between 2.5 and 4, making it less in hardness than natural quartz or granite but equally harder than limestone or marble. Slate is a durable stone that is easy to transform into any shape.

Does slate get hot in the sun?

Why Do We Use Slate For Roof Light-colored pavers will be cooler to walk on in summer. By Rosie Romero Special to the Arizona Daily Star Each year, thousands of Arizona residents email or call Rosie Romero’s radio show with questions about everything from preventing fires in their chimneys to getting rid of tree roots invading their sewer system.

His goal is to provide answers that suit the specific lifestyle wherever someone lives in Arizona. Q: I have an old concrete patio in my backyard and I want to redo it. I’m thinking of covering it with black slate. Would that work? A: Dark-colored slate could get very hot in the summer. In addition, slate is not a very good surface outdoors.

It can get slippery when it’s wet, and it could look very dusty in the summer. Sometimes thin layers of stone keep peeling off slate tiles. A better choice would be to buy light-colored or white concrete pavers. You can lay them right on top of the concrete and the light color will keep the pavers cooler in hot weather.

  1. For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com,
  2. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert for 25 years, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program, heard locally from 8-11 a.m.
  3. On KNST-AM (790) in Tucson and KGVY-AM (1080) and -FM (100.7) in Green Valley.

Call 888-767-4348.

Is slate good for heat?

Natural slate for fire safe building installations – Why Do We Use Slate For Roof As you can see, natural slate is one of the most heat resistant building materials available today. As a fire safe roofing and cladding material, it provides some of the best protection against the spread of fire and associated toxic smoke. If you’d like to find out more about SSQ natural slate, get in touch today.

Why is slate used in flooring?

Why Do We Use Slate For Roof As the most affordable natural stone flooring option, slate tile flooring is one of the ideal choices for your Bloomington or Minneapolis home if you’re seeking a Floor Covering that is durable, beautiful, and unique. Slate tile flooring is something that we’ve seen a growing interest in here at Floor Coverings International of Bloomington and Minneapolis.

  1. But to decide whether or not slate floors are appropriate for your home, it is important to consider all of slate’s merits and drawbacks.
  2. That’s why we’ve written this post to help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of slate tile flooring, and whether or not you want to install slate floors for your next flooring project.

Pros of Slate Tile Flooring

Slate tile flooring is incredibly durable. The stone is made from metamorphic rock that was formed over long periods of time due to heat and pressure within the earth. This results in a flooring material that is extremely hard, so it is resistant to scratches, scrapes, and dents. Slate is a very water resistant material, so it can be used in rooms with high moisture levels and high likelihoods of liquid contact, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and mudrooms. Slate tile can even be used to tile your shower. Because slate tile flooring is so hard and resistant to moisture, it can be used both indoors and outdoors, and serves as a good material for items such as garden stepping stones or outdoor patios. Slate is a natural flooring material, as opposed to synthetic options such as laminate flooring or nylon carpeting. This means that it won’t off-gas harmful volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). In order to keep the air quality in your home really high, make sure to also use a slate sealant that is similarly low in VOCs. Slate is resistant to fire. Slate is a very low maintenance flooring. All it requires is regular sweeping to keep it clean. The rough texture and varied coloring of slate tile flooring makes it a very forgiving flooring material. Slate tends to hide both dirt and damage very well because of its unique appearance, so even if it does chip or get a buildup of dirt, it will be fairly unnoticeable. Slate has a unique aesthetic appearance that sets it apart from other flooring materials, including other natural stone flooring materials. Slate can be found and quarried all over the world, and its appearance will change depending on the mineral composition of the soil in which it was formed. It can range in color from dark gray and black, to inclusions of brilliant and iridescent golds reds, greens, blues, and purples. The textured, cleft surface of natural slate also provides a sought after rustic look. Even if you don’t want the characteristic look of slate, for example if your interior design style is more minimal and modern than rugged, you can still get slate’s durability and resistance in a sleeker look by going for honed or polished slate, which is smooth and more uniform in color. Slate is resistant to chemical attack. Slate is a great flooring material for people with allergies, as it is easy to clean and unlike carpet it won’t cling to harmful allergens.

Cons of Slate Tile Flooring

While slate tile flooring is more affordable than many other natural stone flooring options, it is still on the pricier side. Slate can cost anywhere between $5.00 and $20.00 per square foot, much higher than flooring options like carpet, vinyl, or laminate. While slate is a very hard flooring material, it is also quite brittle, so if something heavy is dropped on it, the tile is likely to break. Because slate is such a hard flooring material, it can be painful to stand on for long periods of time. Furthermore, the rough, cleft surface of natural slate can be painful to walk on barefoot. Unlike materials such as carpet, cork, or hardwood, slate tends to be quite cold underfoot, so it might not be comfy to walk on during cold winter mornings.

Whether or not slate tile flooring is right for you, be sure to call Floor Coverings International of Bloomington and Minneapolis, MN for all your flooring needs. Photo: Palette7

What is slate used for writing?

Summary – In the nineteenth century, schoolchildren used slates to practice handwriting and arithmetic without wasting precious paper. Slate pencils were made of soapstone or softer pieces of slate rock, sometimes wrapped in paper like this one. Many students remember the sound of the slate pencil – like nails on a chalkboard.

In the late nineteenth/early twentieth century, chalk was used instead. In the nineteenth century, schoolchildren used slates to practice handwriting and arithmetic without wasting precious paper. Slate pencils were made of soapstone or softer pieces of slate rock, sometimes wrapped in paper like this one.

Many students remember the sound of the slate pencil – like nails on a chalkboard. In the late nineteenth/early twentieth century, chalk was used instead.