Slate Green Building

Are Slate Green Building materials such as tiles, blocks and slabs and slate paving Eco Friendly enough for your green home improvement project!

When looking at modern day building materials in general, traditional slate gets the green flag for being a long lasting material making it a sound investment as a natural dense stone for home building but it also has many other benefits as a building material for both interior and exterior projects.

In assessing slate we are also discovering that as with other green building materials the answer lies in part in a delicate balance of geographical location weighed against extraction methods and durability of the material.

If you look around at older slate made buildings in an area where slate is local you get an idea of why it gains so many green building material points for its durability, unlike porus stone you don't find crumbling and slate maintains its look and color tones.

Slate has been used since building construction began, not only because it can be found on or relatively near the surface but also because it is easy to handle, being easy to cut into shape and size and fits in so well with it's own natural environment.

slate rock wall green building over a boulder



The oldest evidence of the use of eco friendly slate can be found in huge blocks of slate used in wall construction by the Romans and much later thin slate slices were the most popular roofing material up to and during the reign of Queen Victoria of England.

But, hey, lets get back to slate...


Slate Quarries

If you want to use slate green building material at your site or home you want to know how local the nearest quarry is to your site and if you are in a good location for short and easy transportation of your slate.

If you are looking for the largest slate quarries in the world you can find them in Asia, North and South America and in Europe, especially in Spain and in England.

Slate from different areas comes in a variety of different earthy color tones and grades and as such is used for different building projects so you can have it overhead and underfoot.

Slate flooring rose in popularity at the end of the last decade and slate floor tile is still a sure winner as long as you decorate your room warm enough to carry the grey tones of a slate tile floor.

Slate cleavage and grain



But for slate green home improvements it's not all grey... slate color tone is important if you are trying to refurbish and match the color of an older roof or if you need to fit in with color type of roofing in your area.

For anyone doing a home improvement project on an older home you may well be looking at the Vermont slate from North America as it has the right traditional look or you may prefer the light sea green or olive green Burlington slate from the Lake District in England and Campo slate comes from La Coruna in North West Spain.

Grade of slate is important if you are looking for extra quality and strength in your slate green building material, with this in mind if your home is in Europe you may try to get your hands on some "Villa del Rey" villa of the king.

Another important factor when buying slate is to make sure that your slate material purchase conforms to your local regulations, this is to ensure its strength as the right slate for the right job, for example all slates sold in the UK have to conform to BS EN 12326-2:2000


Benefits of Slate Green Building Materials

Slate Green Building materials are a benefit to any building project because...

  • Slate is fireproof - just doesn't burn, that's great isn't it!
  • Slate is also waterproof, the surface darkens when wet but this natural building material is impermeable to water.
  • Slate doesn't need much looking after, you don't have to keep painting the surface so no ongoing costs there.
  • Slate doesn't require a potentially harmful chemical protective surface because in it's natural state it doesn't provide a home to moss or algae.
  • Slate would be trickly to treat anyway as it is also resistant to chemicals such as alkalis and acids.
  • Slate can be prepared in different sizes and thicknesses to suit building purposes.
  • Slate remains naturally stable in normal extremes of either cold or hot climates.
  • Slate comes in an array of natural earthy colors and tones and no two pieces are the same.
  • Slate is a clean and smart material.
  • Cost is low when you take into account the long term durability.
  • Slate is versatile for interior and exterior slate green building projects.
  • fixed economically with only a hook or a couple of nails.
  • In general damages slates can be easily replaced.
  • Which reminds me that of course it is easy to handle and easily installed in the first place.
  • Slate can also be glued using non toxic silicone to create an eco friendly bond.


Negatives of Slate Green Building Materials

"Some people think that slate can have a cold look to it and that it can make a home look quite dark" - this is true and the rest of your decoration has to compliment or create a balance of light and warmth to counterbalance the natural grey of slate in your green interior design.

"Slate is only eco friendly to ship if you live relatively near to a quarry" - this is also true if you are factoring in the weight of this natural stone and the energy and transportation costs to transport it long distances. Slate is great in it's own environment!

"Slate quarry mining ruins the landscape" - just as in the case of takig any natural substance from the earth there are consequences and unfortunately the act of mining of slate is not as eco friendly as the material itself is once extracted.

The problem is that mining this material leaves torn and scared landscape behind after the explosive mining of terraces of slate and cleaning up the land after it has been mined is made more difficult because galleries within a quarry were often up to 40 meters deep.

But the good news is that we are beginning to reinvest in our environment to the extent that we are finally improving ways of turning a mined landscape back into green natural land.


Slate Green Building Materials

  • What is slate made of...
  • How was slate made...
  • When was slate formed...
  • What are the colors of slate...

Slate is mainly of a mixture of quartz and muscovite orillite, usually with a good amount of biotite, chlorite, hematite, and pyrite thrown in the mix and sometimes you will find a bit of feldspar, tourmaline, kaolin, orzircon, apatite, magnetite, zircon and often a helping of graphite.

Slate is a metamorphic stone and as such can be fairly easily split into tiles along the cleavage and grain of the rock and this is because it is a fine grained sedimentary laminated rock that was metaporphosed or formed in layers of the above mixture of clay minerals, sometimes known as a clay mudstone mix, which was squashed together under intense pressure for a long time... between 450 and upto 600 million years ago...

- it's all somehow linked up to the big bang of the Cambrian Explosion many millions of years ago when what followed was a cooling of the oceans, enough for plankton to really bloom and release masses of oxygen into the air and create the beginnings of a world that we could really live in - so slate has had plenty of time to set nice and solid hasn't it! but please keep in mind that not all slate is as durable, while the best quality is reserved for slate roofing other types easily break up into shale.


So Much Color in Grey Slate !

When anyone says that slate is too dull and grey and tend to get carried away about the beauty that can be found in that each piece is unique of colors and tones that can be found in slate from around the world.

colors and tones of slate green building materials


Some people think that slate can have a cold look to it and that it can make a home look quite dark but it can also be very interesting and colorful and it is worth remembering that slate comes in a variety of earthy color tones including black, blue, purple, red, green, or gray as well as light sea green and olive green slate, a non fading green slate and weathering green and a light grey which develop to soft warm shades after a few months and a favourite of mine the blue grey.


Slate Green Building Tiles

I believe that Slate Green Building Materials get the green flag because it is such a long lasting material to use for your home improvement and financing project for for both interior and exterior designs - making it a sound investment as a natural dense stone for home building.

Take a good look around, see what natural materials are local to you - older local builders may be able to give you an idea of where the nerest quarries are and what is or was worked there, so that you can begin to make lists of the different materials like slate green building tiles that could arrive at your home after travelling the shortest possible distance and therefore have the lowest possible total embodied energy possible.


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