Slate tile is extremely beautiful, but this is only one reason why slate has become such a popular building material amongst architects, designers, buildings and of course, homeowners themselves. While slate is extremely beautiful when laid, it is not just the natural beauty combined with the geometrical precision of the installation which appeals but the many other features of this exceptionally fine material.
Slate is made from shale, also known as claystone, and it is primarily an amalgam of many different minerals and crystals which have been subjected to very high pressure and extremely high temperatures which fuse the rock. The high pressures cause the mineral constituents to align themselves into parallel sheets which are further compressed together, but which when quarried, are easy to split into slabs of varying thickness to suit the application they will be used for.
Slate is found in a wide range of color variations, and because there is an enormous amount of variation between individual slate tiles, no two installations are ever identical. Every time slate is used, it provides a highly customized appearance which cannot be found anywhere else. Slate colors range from dull grey, through to vivid blues, greens, ochre, yellows and earthy hues and tones.
Slate is also extremely strong because of the intense pressure and fusing of the minerals within the thin, compressed sheets. This is another reason why a slate tile installation is frequently preferred because the tile actually provides enhanced strength to the installation. Slate tiles are also highly durable and extremely hard-wearing, so slate is an ideal material for using on floors.
Slate is also capable of being very highly polished to provide a mirror-like face. This makes slate a sought after tiling choice when looking at covering bathroom and kitchen walls. It is also waterproof, which makes it even more suitable for use in areas where it is likely to be splashed or needs to deal with high moisture content. Another advantage for slate tiles in the kitchen and bathroom areas is that it provides no sustenance for mold growth and slate is relatively inert, which means it is hard to stain.
Slate tile may be used to create a variety of design effects depending on the edging and texture of the tile. Chamfered edging is eminently useful in situations where the homeowner wants an easy to clean surface (there is a beveling of the edges which fit tightly together). Smooth textures can be created by honing or polishing the tile face, both of which find extensive use indoors for floors and wall cladding, however heavy textured tile, which tends to be more natural looking or rougher, can help bring the outdoors into your home, or indeed be used outdoors for landscaping and for garden pathways and patios.
Slate tile is relatively easy to install, though it helps to take time to obtain a good color effect using the variation in tile color and texture. Slate tile delivers all the function that designers and homeowners are looking for, but this does not come at the price of sacrificing appearance and aesthetics. Slate tile is widely viewed as being a high-end building material which denotes high quality, excellent taste and unique style.