Seven different uses for slate around the home
It may have been the Industrial Revolution that really kickstarted British demand for slate as a roofing material, but more than two centuries later, slate roof tiles are still prized for their appearance and durability – even if the slate is now more likely to be quarried from Brazil or Spain than from Wales.
In the modern home, however, there are many more potential uses for slate than you might imagine – both inside and outside your property.
Ardosia Slate – listed in our Directory here – is a Devon-based family business that specialises in the supply of high-quality Brazilian slate products, so we took a look at what they offer to uncover some of the most popular uses for slate around the home and garden.
Heavy duty, waterproof and stain resistant, the same qualities that have made slate so suitable for roofing make it an excellent choice for floors – especially in areas like kitchens (as pictured above), bathrooms and (for the lucky few!) swimming pools.
Different sizes and types of slate floor tile – such as slabs, flagstones and cobbles – also mean that there’s a look to suit every setting, while slate’s high thermal conductivity makes it a good choice for use with underfloor heating, too.
If you can use slate for flooring, it stands to reason that it’s good for walls as well.
Whether you’re after an easy-to-maintain splashback, an eyecatching feature chimney breast, or sleek panels to create that wetroom you’ve always wanted, it can all be done in slate.
Worktops and countertops
Natural materials such as wood and marble are always a popular choice for kitchen work surfaces, and slate worktops combine the aesthetic appeal of those options with the reassurance that staining and discolouring won’t be a problem, thanks to slate’s non-porous surface.
Some users point out that you can even put your hot pans straight on to a slate worktop, though we would always tend to stay on the safe side and use a surface protector or cork mat anyway!
Having said that, slate’s natural resistance to fire is another of its advantages, and is why it’s a great choice for fire hearths whether you’ve got a traditional open fireplace or a cosy log burner.
Beautiful, robust and easy to clean, the main challenge of a slate fireplace surround can be installing it. Happily, Ardosia is able to cut, shape and size your fire hearth to your particular requirements, meaning that you only have to worry about finding someone to put it in – so, no need to start hiring specialist cutting equipment to fashion the right shape yourself.
From department stores to garden centres, slate planters have become increasingly ubiquitous in recent years, and it’s not surprising, really – the combination of a classic material with modern styling makes them a striking and attractive choice for both contemporary and traditional gardens or patios.
There’s also the advantage that, unlike wooden or terracotta pots, they’ll stay looking good from season to season. Better still, if you need a slate planter in a custom size or shape, our friends at Ardosia can manufacture them to order.
While slate is very durable, its attractive and timeless appearance means that it doesn’t have to be used just for surfaces that will get lots of hammer – it can be used in a purely decorative way, too.
Slate placemats and coasters are a staple in the shops these days, and we particularly like Ardosia’s range of freestanding wine racks. Fashioned out of thick chunks of slate, they will ensure that your custom wine cellar makes a striking statement whether it is full or (even better) empty.
Tables and chairs
Again, most of Ardosia’s tables are custom fabricated, so it’s a useful option if you need a table in a specific size, or just want to make a bold statement in your dining room.
We especially like the idea of combining pine or oak table supports with a slate top – great if you want your new table to harmonise with a room already full of wooden furniture, or if you find the idea of a slate table-top on a slate base on a slate floor just a bit too, well, slaty.
It’s like the double-denim analogy that we might use at our sister fashion site: much as we love slate, sometimes you can have just too much of a good thing!
What’s your favourite use of slate in and around the home? Share your thoughts and tips below!