Slate is one of nature’s most incredible substances. Formed naturally from metamorphic rock, the minerals found in slate give it a natural beauty and a hardness that makes it durable and long-lasting.
Vermont is the largest producer of slate in the United States. Vermont and upper New York are called “Slate Valley” for that reason. Pennsylvania is also rich in slate around the Appalachian Mountain area.
Besides floor tiles, slate has been used for roofing, billiard tables, and school chalkboards. The latter two uses aren’t pursued any more as other substances have been substituted for their beneficial qualities, but slate is still used for patio tiling and garden areas much the same way it has been for thousands of years.
On a trivial note, President John F. Kennedy’s grave marker is made from slate.
Slate is formed out of shale. When tectonic plates collide with metamorphic rock, this creates a low-grade pressure from which slate is formed. Slate often appears dull but is available in different colors, including red, green, purple, and gray of various shades. If the original shale contains iron, then the slate can include pyrite crystals.
Because of its natural look, slate makes a great patio tile. It can be used indoors or outdoors with great effect.