Natural slate is a fine-grained metamorphic rock, formed from sedimentary deposits of clay and silt which have been subjected to geological pressures over millions of years.
Slate was long reserved for roofing upmarket architectural properties. Being traditionally a symbol of wealth, it was used for castles, palaces and stately homes – where it can still be seen being used today.
Technological progress has considerably lowered the cost of production and increased the availability of this sought after material, allowing its natural beauty to be utilised far and wide, where it will remain for generations to come.
The Benefits of Natural Slate
Natural slate has strength, fire resistance, energy efficiency (due to it’s thermal resistance) and durability. Well fitted slates can out-live the rest of the building, often with minimal maintance. It’s simply the best material for roofing.
Aditionally, it has a very low carbon footprint – making it the most environmentally friendly of roofing materials on the market. Why would you choose anything else?
Removing slate deposits from mines is time-consuming and expensive, so sites are carefully researched and analysed to ensure the quantity and quality of the slate is up to our standards.
Where necessary, ‘overburden’ is removed (this can be millions of tonnes of soil and loose rock), to allow for the removal of blocks of slate to take place. These blocks are carefully extracted using wire saws, inserted through drilled holes in the rock, a process that takes many hours. These cut blocks are then split into transportable pieces for processing further. Once all slate seams are fully removed, the landscape is returned to it’s original appearance.
In the processing centre, there begins the challenging task of balancing maximum yield from each block with the actual orders for shapes and sizes the quarry receives.
Water-cooled saws are used to reduce dust, with the water being recycled and purified to minimise environmental impact.
Slate production is highly regulated – and as such uses no chemicals during its production.
The cut blocks are then taken by highly-skilled craftsmen, who split the blocks in to the final slates. Sawn edges are dressed to maintain the slates classic appearance – which is part of what makes this material so popular.
Grading and selection comes next, to divide the slates into batches. This important process is entirely manual for maximum care. Each crate of slates is then counted, carefully packed, and labelled with unique batch number – which holds all origin information, allowing all of our slates to be tracked back to source.
Slatescape provide slates in Standard Grade or First Grade (the best), with a Mixed Grade available on some ranges.