Slate Paving Questions and Answers

What is Slate Paving?

Slate paving is the use of a flat slate tile or flagstone that is laid over a sub soil or base to provide a hard wearing surface. Outdoor slate paving is usually laid in gardens to provide a walk way, path or patio area that drains efficiently and provides a hard surface to walk on or place outdoor furniture and plant pots. Slate paving in gardens is often laid in a decorative pattern to enhance the look of a garden. Slate paving is not usually suitable for driveways.

Slate paving with a water feature

Is slate paving any good?

Slate paving is non porous meaning that is does not allow liquid to pass through it. Slate is also a natural stone and quarrying slate is a lot more environmentally friendly than creating man made concrete paving slabs that produce immense amounts of carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, slate paving is a great choice for outdoor areas with light loads.

Is slate paving better than Limestone?

Slate paving and Limestone paving both have their own pros and cons, the choice is really down to the individual. Limestone is really hard wearing, like slate it is a natural stone and therefore better to use for the environment than man made stones. The main difference is the surface of the stone.

parquet natural slate outdoor paving

Is a slate flagstone the same as slate paving?

When making the decision to choose between a flagstone and a paving slab, the choice is usually determined by the finished look. Flagstones are more commonly found in traditional gardens as they have a more natural look with colour variations, pattern variations and a more natural and weathered look. Paving is more often found in areas where a pattern is needed, a uniform colour with a crisper, modern and cleaner look.

Is slate more expensive than pavers?

This really depends on the material type with granite and Indian Limestone typically slightly cheaper than natural slate although it really depends on the quality of the slate and the granite or Limestone. Brazilian slate is often more expensive than Spanish or Indian slate and it is a superior slate, especially for use in outdoor areas. Indian Limestone is the most popular choice in the UK for patio areas and usually comes in a range of slightly different colours so the slate would be better where you want a consistent colour and vice versa. Concrete paving slabs are even cheaper but are becoming less popular due to the high environmental impact of the production process and the more desirability of a natural stone product.

paving with light grey and dark grey paving slabs in various patterns

Are slate patios good?

Slate is a great choice for constructing a patio, other common type of natural stone is Indian Limestone. Slate is ideal if you are looking for a darker blue or grey colour whereas limestone offers a softer and lighter colour also with a uniform colour. Indian Limestone is probably the most cost effective and there are colour variations between the stones. Slate has been used as one of the most popular natural stones for patios for a long time. It is very easy to clean, hard wearing and water resistant so it dries quickly, especially useful if you live in the UK. Slate flagstones were used as the main material for traditional patios as it was cheaper and easier to source than other stones.  It also has a uniform colour and gardeners love it as it makes the vibrancy of different flowers really stand out.

Do slate patio slabs scratch?

Slate paving slabs do scratch but the long term effects depends on the actual quality of the slate. Welsh and Brazilian slate for example, are typically very hard wearing and very dense, a surface scratch on the really hard wearing slate tends to disappear even with a damp cloth. This makes the higher density slate the best choice for patio slabs or any area where there is a lot of footfall. Lower density and softer slates will chip and scratch a lot easier, this is typically more common in Chinese slate and to a lesser extent in Indian slate. As always, price reflects quality and the more popular, harder wearing Brazilian slate is often a bit more expensive than softer slate but a much better choice for an outdoor patio.