What is Slate?
Slate is a metamorphic type of rock which has fine grains and is foliated. This particular rock formed as a derivative of sedimentary rocks which are made of volcanic ash or clay. Because it is very fine-grained, slates can be smoothened to flat sheets to serve as floor tiles or roof tiles. Most of the slates that are found are gray or grayish in color. But in some areas, slates may come in cyan, green, or purple.
Over the years slates have been commonly used as roof shingles. From a big slab of this rock, thin sheets can be made using precise equipment. With the help of sealants and tar paper, slate tiles can be arranged on the roof in offsetting rows. Many people use slates for roofing because of its durability and its heat-absorbing property. Slates are also known to absorb very low amounts of water which make them ideal for roofing. This property also makes this type of rock withstand freezing temperatures and resist breakage due to damage from snow or frost.
Some people also use slate to form indoor ground tiles or to create walkways in open spaces and gardens. Slates for this purpose are typically thicker than those put on the roof as they need to withstand pressure from people’s weights. For indoor slate tiles, grout is usually added on the edges for smoother flooring. It is also common for people to put chemical sealants onto the ground slate tiles. This is done to protect the tiles from stains, to improve its durability, and/or to reduce the smoothness of the tile surface. Because slates can be really smooth in texture, most people use sealants for a rougher texture on the tiles and for safety reasons, especially on outdoor tiles during rainy season.
Aside from roofing and floor tiles, slates are also used for other purposes like billiard table tops, blackboards for writing, tombstones and markers, and bench tops among a variety of other uses.