Slate is a common sight on many roofs in the UK but this versatile stone has many other uses and one that is growing in popularity is the use of slate tiles in bathrooms.
Floor and wall tiles are available but you should check with your supplier with regard to the suitability of the tile for the application you have in mind, especially in shower areas. Limescale can build up where the slate traps small amounts of water in its craggy surface. Small pieces of the surface can flake off in some circumstances and the correct preparation is vital to ensure the tiles remain solidly fixed during their service life.
Like all natural stone, slate tiles should be sealed. Although less porous than other stone slate can get stained if the surface is not sealed. Some sealants affect the surface colour and finish giving the slate a wet-look while others will retain the natural look of the slate.
Slate is a metamorphic rock formed from shale or fine grained basalt under extreme pressure and heat. The resultant stone can be split along natural fracture planes which results in the familiar riven surface. This can lead to tiles with this type of surface possessing varying thicknesses; the thickness can vary from tile to tile and even from side to side on the same tile. This can make installation slightly tricky in order for ridges or high spots to be avoided.
Grey slate is very common in the UK but the colour of slate tiles from other countries can vary considerably including purple, black, red, green and brown as well as mottled combinations of colours.