Slate Tiles Questions and Answers

Ardosia have been manufacturing and selling slate tiles since 1984 and have grown to be one of the largest independent suppliers of slate tiles in the UK. With a team of skilled craftsmen and only using the finest quality Brazilian slate, Ardosia have evolved to become a leading slate tile manufacturer and retailer. All of the slate tiles produced by Ardosia are inspected by hand and manufactured to the highest quality to ensure that our clients get a product that is uniform and fit for purpose.

Slate tiles can be used for a variety of purposes from flooring, wall cladding and roofing. The natural qualities of slate as a natural stone make it probably the most suitable natural material for tiling. As a stone, slate can be split easily and consistently, it is non porous and cost effective as well as being hard wearing and aesthetically pleasing. Enjoy our questions and answers for slate tiles, if you have any more questions that you feel we should answer, we would love to hear from you.

slate flagstones in a cottage garden

How Long Do Slate Tiles Last?

Slate tiles can last for centuries, how long they endure depends primarily on where they are used, how they are used and the environment in which the slate tiles are used in. For slate flooring, the thickness of the slate is important, thick slate slabs last for centuries as a flooring solution. There are many old buildings public, private and commercial where traditional slate flooring has been in place for centuries nearly always in rooms where the flooring had heavy usage such as kitchens and entrance halls. It is therefore easy to understand that in modern installations, the tiles will last for a very long time. The look and feel of slate flooring will change over time as it naturally wears, as would any other type of flooring but with a natural stone such as slate the appearance of wear will only enhance the appearance and appeal of a room.

Where slate tiles are used outdoors such as for roof tiles or outdoor flagstones, the colour of the slate can be important. Darker coloured slate absorbs heat faster than lighter grey slate and this will shorten the lifespan. This may not be significant for thick flagstones, on a path for example, but is something that could be a consideration for roof tiles. Having said that, it is far more likely that any slate used as a roof covering will far outlast many of the fixings and supporting. In the present age the longevity of slate and the fact that it can be easily re-used  must be a major consideration when choosing a material.

slate tiles in lime ash colour

Is a Slate Tile Durable?

Slate is a very durable material, in many cases it is more durable than the man made materials that support the slate. It is also often more durable and practical than other natural materials, especially for roofing and flooring. A great example are slate flagstones versus concrete tiles in the garden. They are usually of a comparable price but slate flagstones often have a significantly longer lifespan than concrete floor tiles as the latter suffer over time from the weather, they are more porous and suffer from weather deterioration, especially expanding and contracting during extreme temperatures such as frosts in the winter that lead to cracking.

As slate is nonporous and lightweight, it typically lasts longer than other materials for outdoor use, especially for roofing where slate has been shown to have an expected lifespan that is longer than clay or concrete tiles. The other benefit of slates tiles for a roof is that they are also thinner and lighter than clay or concrete tiles, this puts a lot less stress on the supporting structures such as wooden roof struts with the secondary benefit of increasing the expected lifespan of a strut.

Internally, slate has been the material of choice for flooring over centuries. Most  old country houses and listed buildings have slate as a flooring, especially on the ground floor. It will outlast wood as a floor material, significantly more durable and not susceptible to environmental damage such as pest and fungal infestation or water damage.

slate floor tiles in a traditional kitchen design

Is a Slate Tile Slippery?

Slate has long been used in outdoor and wet areas and the natural characteristics of the stone make it non slippery.  The natural cleft of slate that is found in non-honed tiles along with tumbled tiles improves the level of grip. Slate is also highly resistant to bacteria such as green fungal infestation which significantly increases the chances of slipping when wet. Especially when considering outdoor areas that are damp and have low levels of natural sunlight, other materials, including wooden decking, can quickly become covered with mildew/algae and become very slippery, during the winter they will require a lot of maintenance and cleaning.

Slate is also great for indoor wet areas such as the  Ardosia manufactured, bespoke, shower trays in a single piece of natural slate. This is honed slate that is smooth to the touch and has a modern and contemporary feel. Due to the non-porous nature of the material, even honed slate has great anti slip properties. If you are comparing with materials such as ceramic tiles, slate is considerably less slippery.

shower tray made by Ardosia with fine slate grain showing

Can Slate Tiles be Used in a Shower?

Slate tiles can be used in a shower or wet rooms. At Ardosia, we manufacture bespoke slate shower trays, that look stunning, where you can see the natural grain of the slate. We have also supplied slate tiles for shower and wet room flooring and have many satisfied customers. Slate should be placed on a solid floor, especially for showers and wet rooms. We also recommend that a high quality grout and sealant should be used. Slate is nonporpous, it will not leak making it ideal for any area subject to high levels of water and moisture penetration. Slate is great for shower areas; the natural density also means that it does not attract mould and chemicals such as soap and shampoo wash off very easily.

The low absorption characteristics of slate also make it ideal for use on bathroom or shower walls, whether it be in small format tiles or full size slate panels.

shower and bathroom with slate tiles that are not slippery when wet

Do Slate Tiles Crack Easily?

Slate splits easily along the foliation, in flat planes in one direction quite easily. However, in the other direction and dependent on the thickness of the slate, it is difficult to split. That is how slate tiles are made easily, they split into thin layers making them a perfectly natural material for roofing. If you are looking for a durable floor material, slate in any reasonable thickness will not easily split or crack.  Slate can split when exposed to very high temperatures. For example, some slate may crack if a very hot fire is lit directly onto the slate. However, with just a small gap between the fire such as through the bottom of a grate or a wood burner, slate does not split. That is why slate is ideal as a hearth material and is probably the most popular choice for hearths under wood burners.

slate tiles at a hotel swimming pool with shower