In the Olympia/Lacey area and elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest there is perhaps no other stone that provides such an appropriate backdrop as slate.
Although soft to the touch quality slate has a low water absorption rate and has been used as a roofing and exterior cladding material for thousands of years. When we refer to slate in the United States we are in most cases referring to slate tiles or slabs that have been imported from India and Brazil. The two major suppliers of slate to the United States. Slate that is quarried in England, Whales and Ireland is usually used in roofing and cladding applications and the price of this material is apparent in comparison to Indian and Brazilian slates.
Slate Fireplace Hearths – Slate Mantels – Slate Countertops
In slab form slate is most suitable for fireplace hearths, mantels and benches. Because slate is soft it will scratch easily and is best used for countertop applications in which one is hoping to achieve a truly rustic or worn industrial feel.
Slate Tile – Slate Shower Pans – Slate Backsplashes – Slate Floors
Slate tiles on the other hand have a variety of interior and exterior applications. Interior we see slate tile used for shower enclosure walls and shower pans, tub surrounds, kitchen backsplashes and floors. Exterior applications include walkways, patios, porches, and cladding. Sealed with a color enhancing sealer slate comes to life exposing rich vibrant colors and texture.
Slate Tile Walkways & Patios
For exterior applications we recommend using slate tiles in areas that are not exposed directly to the elements. Primarily this is due to the fact that there are very few tile setters left that understand slate requires a little more preparation and care during the installation process than say regular ceramic or porcelain tile. Because of the extra care needed for a proper installation slate does not always perform well in some exterior Northwest applications. A covered porch or patio is ideal for best avoiding tile repairs in the future.