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Frequently asked questions

Please note Natural slate tiles are more suited to trade and experienced DIYers, if you are neither or have not used natural slates before, please read all of the below FAQ’s.  This will give you an indication of what to expect.  Please do not hesitate to contact the office for more advice.

Please note we sell slates for the primary purpose of roofing……flooring……walling and paving….If you wish to use them for any another purpose, please contact the office to check its suitability.

Find the question you want below, or see questions relating to the following topics:
Flooring/Paving Slate

Flooring/Paving Slate FAQ’s

Can I have more uniform colours?

As slate is a natural product it is not possible to guarantee uniform colours. If you have a specific requirement, we would advise that you visit our warehouse/showroom and have a look at the actual stock to avoid disappointment. Some slates will have less variation than others.
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I want a slate floor but not too much texture/roughness which one is suitable to use  at home?

There are 3 basic levels of texture, those marked named “Rustic” are the most heavily riven, with the most texture, these would most resemble the old farmhouse  flagstone floors that have been laid many years ago.  Then we also have the lightly riven slates which have very little texture, but still have to attractive natural variations you get in natural slates.  All the Brazilian slates come under this category.  The rest are between the two where they are not particularly rough or smooth.  If you do not wish to have too much texture we strongly recommend you consider a Brazilian slate for your project.   Please do not buy rustic slates if you are wanting a flat level floor.
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Are the Slates perfectly square?

No, as slate is a natural product every piece is individually split and then cut to size.  There may be small variations from the stated dimensions, we quote nominal variations of +/- 2mm, we therefore recommend a grout joint of up to 10 mm for Brazilian slates and up to 15 mm for Chinese slates .
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I have bought a random pattern, can I get all the grout joints to be all the same width?

No. It is not possible to achieve the same grout widths throughout a random pattern. You can greatly reduce the variation in grout line width by simply moving certain tiles closer or apart as you lay them down.
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Is slate suitable to use with underfloor heating?

Yes. Natural stones are very good thermal conductors and as such transfer heat evenly and effectively.
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Can slate be used for driveways?

Yes. You will need to ensure that the sub-floor is prepared correctly for driveway use. We would recommend installing a concrete pad and use a 30mm thick slate for driveways and all slabs must be fully bedded.
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I am on a budget can I use a thinner slate for my patio?

Yes if it is only for foot traffic, you can use a nominal 20 mm thickness slate, either install a concrete pad or ensure your installer can prepare the ground so that there is no movement. It is not recommended to use flooring thickness slates outside other than in exceptional circumstances.
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What is the best way to clean slate?

We recommend that all natural stone be sealed. For day-to-day cleaning you can use a natural stone cleaner approved by the sealant manufacturer. Or you can simply use some warm water and a light/diluted detergent, however some sealant manufacturers say this may shorten the life of the sealant.
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Why is it recommended to buy extra tiles?

It is industry standard that you order extra 10% to allow for cuts and wastage. For example if your room is 30 m2, you should order 33m2 as you will need to cut some tiles at the edge of the room, often the smaller off-cuts cannot be used. The delivery cost to send out a few extra tiles is far more than the value of the tiles. It is also advisable to keep a few spares in case you need to replace some tiles in future due to damage or future renovations.
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I do not wish to allow 10% for breakages and do not want to order any extra tiles for my project and expect you to replace any breakages even just one tile as soon a possible.  Will you do this?

Please do not order from us.  If you have placed your order please contact the office and we will issue a full refund.
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Do I need expansion joints?

It is best to check with your tiler/builder with regards to whether expansion joints are required in the area that is being tiled. Normally no expansion joint would be required if the area is less than 10 meters. For areas that are 10 meters +, expansion joints would be required every 8-10 meters. For areas that are 10 meters + and with underfloor heating, expansion joint would be required every 6 meters.
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I have heard some slates can rust. Is this common? Why does this happen?

Slates rusting is very rare. This is due to the way slate is formed. Slate is formed from river or sea sediments. Sometimes during the course of the water, random pieces of pyrites or fossils or other matter are also deposited at the same time. Most of these have no adverse affects on slate, indeed some add to the unique characteristics. Unfortunately on rare occasions some iron pyrites can cause rusting. We are unable to guarantee there will never be any pyrites as it is completely random. In these rare instances we would recommend the rusting tile simply be removed and replaced.
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Why are there white patches appearing on the slates even though they have been sealed?

There could be a few reasons for this:

  1. The adhesive/grout was not cleaned properly before sealing
  2. The tiles were not completely dry prior to sealing causing the sealant to react
  3. The tiles have been spot bedded so the adhesive patches are showing through the tile
  4. Sub-base: (a) there is no damp-proof course which is drawing salt out through the tiles (b) there is a damp-proof course but it hasn’t been allowed to cure/dry properly before putting tiles down.
    In such instances you can use LTP Grout Stain Remover or LTP Grimex to remove the stains.

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I have received my order but some slates look like they have scratches and scuff marks on the surface, and small chips on the edges. Are these seconds?

We do not supply seconds. Minor surface marks or scuffs are normally caused by the tiles rubbing together during production or during transit. These will not normally be visible once the slates have been cleaned grouted and sealed. The slates are hand split using chisels and occasionally very small chisel marks may be seen on the edge of the slates.  This is characteristic of the stone and not a defect, and are an unavoidable part of the production process.  When you use tiles for cuts up to 90% of the tile will be usable
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Some tiles appear to have split/delamination lines, these usable?

Slate is formed in layers, mainly from sea and river sediments, which are compressed over time.  This allows it to be split using chisels to make thin slates.  As this is formed in layers sometimes small gaps formed within the layers, these are normally just a few millimetres in depth.  It can occur randomly, and is visible on the sawn edge.  These are a natural characteristic from the formation and production process.  In the unlikely event a tile has this characteristic, it can be used as a cut with 95% of the tile utilised.
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Do I need to seal the slates outside?

Yes. We do recommend the slates are sealed. Any natural or man-made product may weather and/or oxidise when exposed to the elements.  Sealing the slates greatly reduces the likelihood and degree of either of the above.
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Can I lay slates externally on spacer pads / pedestals?

Yes. We’d advise using a Brazilian slate in 30 mm thickness, maximum size 600 x 600 mm.
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Can slate be used on walls?

Yes. You would need to check with your builder/tiler to ensure the wall is strong enough to hold the weight. Also ensure that an acrylic bonding and priming agent is applied before tiling, and a suitable adhesive is used.
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Can I lay on to chipboard/ply?

Yes. You would need to ensure that the sub-floor is made as rigid as possible with little or no movement. If there is still movement then you can install additional ply ensuring you cross board so joints are not at the same place. You must also use a flexible adhesive to lay the tiles.
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Can I get slates exactly like the sample that I have received.

Samples are to show an example of colour and texture only. It is not possible to show all variations in one small sample. If you are looking for a particular colour, we would recommend that customers visit our warehouse.
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I have finished my project but have some extra tiles, do you accept returns?

No. Unfortunately we can not accept returns. However it is always advisable to have a few spare tiles in-case of any damage or future renovation works affecting some of the tiles. Please ensure you have measured and re-measured the area correctly.
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I have found a few broken tiles on delivery. Will you replace or refund these tiles?

We do not pack or send out any broken tiles, if you find a few broken in transit these can be used as the cuts around the edge of the room or patio. If you have noted on the delivery the goods were damaged and it is over 10% and £50 in value then we will make an insurance claim with the haulier and and free replacements will be sent as soon possible. Please see Delivery Terms on our website for further information. Unfortunately we cannot refund or replace a few broken tiles broken during transport.
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I like to measure every tile with callipers and require free replacements for any tiles with the slightest variation from the stated nominal sizes, chip marks, rust marks or saw marks.   Can you send free replacements for these tiles?

We sell very competitively priced slates and as such these will come with natural variations and characteristics, some marks will be present from the production process and are unavoidable.   To select and reject every tile like this would make the mining and selling slates un-economical.     In the unlikely event you find a one or two tiles you do not like, or are broken you can use these as cuts or in areas where they are less visible or covered.    In any event if you have ordered 10% extra as recommended  by industry standards you will have adequate to complete your project.
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Roofing Slate FAQ’s

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How many slate colours are available?

Generally there are shades of the following colours available, Blue Grey, Grey, Grey Green, Green and Heather Purple.
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What is meant by Weathering, Semi Weathering, Fading, Non-Fading Slates?

A Non-Fading Slate is one which changes very little from when it is first quarried and any slight changes will be relatively uniform on the roof. Any slate which is not a Non-Fading slate is known as a Fading slate or Semi Weathering or Weathering Slate. The amount of colour change varies from product to product.
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What sizes of roof slate are available?

The traditional common sizes are 600 x 300 mm, 500 x 300 mm, 500 x 250 mm, 400 x 250 mm, 400 x 200 mm
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How much of the roofing slate is visible?

The portion of the slate which can be seen is known as the Margin and is dependent on the head-lap and calculated as: (length of slate – head-lap / 2)

What is the Head-lap?

The Head-lap is the measurement of the slate that is covered by two layers of slate from the two courses above.

Why is the Head-lap Important?

The Head-lap is what makes the roof watertight from Wind Driven rain, the Head-lap is increased on shallower pitched roofs and roofs with greater site exposure
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How thick are roof slates?

Roofing slate vary in thickness a nominal 5-7 mm is typical however for Scotland particularly in the Highlands a heavier 7-9 mm is traditionally used.
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Do roof slates need grading?

Yes, slate should be sorted into at least three separate grades, (heavy, medium and thin).The thicker slates should be used on the lower roof (eaves), medium slates in the middle of the roof and thin slates on the higher roof (Ridge) section.
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What size of batten do I need to use?

Slate battens should be 50 x 25 mm should be used in accordance with British Standards BS 5534 Part 1 2003.
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What nails should I use for fixing the slates?

Copper or Aluminium nails should be used to British Standard BS 1202 3.3 mm diameter.
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What are slate and half slates and why do i need to buy them?

A slate and half slate is used on the verge on alternate courses to create the horizontal lap. A slate and half may also be required on areas of the roof where slates need to be cut, for example around roof lights, chimney stacks etc. The use of slate and half slates ensures the width of any slate on the roof is more than the minimum width allowed in British Standards BS5534 which is 150mm
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What is the best way of ensuring I get a quality slate?

Purchase slates from a reputable supplier that can supply full documentation for their products. Documentation should include independent test reports, Declaration of Performance Certificates and written guarantees on completion of the project.

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Do I need to order extra slates for my project?

British standard suggests that you should allow 5% for wastage, breakages etc on a roofing slate.  This is the normal for a quality slate, however with commodity or standard quality slates not of the highest grade, up to 8% is deemed acceptable for these grades of slate.   A significant percentage of any breakages however can re-cut and used for tops and eaves courses, where a smaller slate is required

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Delivery FAQ’s

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I was not on site when delivery arrived. My builder signed for the goods without checking and we have found some damaged/broken tiles.

The person signing for the goods must check the condition of the consignment upon delivery. You have up to 20 minutes to check the consignment. If the goods arrived in a visibly damaged condition, customers must note this as damaged on the delivery receipt next to their signature. You then have 48 hours to properly check the goods and advise us of any excessive damages with photos. Signing for the goods unchecked will prejudice any claim for damages against the haulier. In these instances we cannot replace or refund any damaged goods.
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The pallet/packaging looks like it may have been damaged, but I cannot see any broken tiles, How should I sign for the goods?

You must sign for the goods as damaged if you suspect it has been damaged in any way. It is preferable to sign for it as damaged and later find there’s no problem, than sign for it as ok and later find lots of damaged tiles. If you have not signed for the delivery as damaged unfortunately we are unable to make a claim with the haulage company. Please note if the damages are less than 10% or £50.00, we cannot make a claim against the hauliers insurance. However these tiles can be used as cuts around the edges of the room.
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My delivery arrived late, can I charge you for my builders time?

We arrange deliveries on behalf of our customers. Instructions are sent to the haulage company once your order has been processed. All delivery dates advised are provisional and should be confirmed with you by the depot 1 day before delivery (for economy service deliveries). We cannot be held responsible for any consequential losses that may be incurred from late delivery (such as tillers/builders time). We therefore do strongly recommend that you order any goods for delivery at least 2 days in advance to allow for any unforeseen events that may delay delivery.
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I live on a slope; can I get delivery to my property?

The driver will try his best to get as close to you as possible. If in the unfortunate event he is not able to go up the slope, or if it is not safe enough to unload on the slope, the driver will then unload and leave the goods at the nearest access point on solid level ground. If this is not suitable, you can check with a local builders merchants and ask if they will be able to take delivery on your behalf and then arrange for them to deliver to you. If you would like delivery to be made to builders’ merchants, you would need to notify us of this at the point of ordering.
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I have a gravel drive, can the goods be delivered to my driveway?

Due to the weight of the pallets unfortunately goods cannot be delivered on to gravel. The goods can only be delivered on to solid level ground (not grass/muddy paths).
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I live on a narrow lane and need a smaller lorry to reach my house, Is this possible and does it cost extra?

Yes we are able to arrange smaller 7.5 mt lorries in such circumstances, the lorry itself does not cost extra, but the tail-lift on a smaller lorry can only take 750 kgs.  All our delivery pricing is based on 1000 kgs as per normal sized lorries.   You will have to pay for more pallet units for delivery.  For example 4000 kgs would be 4 pallets charges normally, but on a smaller vehicle it will be 6 crates.  There is no additional charge for the smaller lorry, however there may be an small additional charge for the extra labour to re-pack the goods.
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The haulier has arrived, but cannot get to my property because of :- narrow winding road, restricted width access, low overhanging trees, weight restricted bridge, parked cars likely to block access etc, but I did not tell you of any access problems, what happens now?

The goods can be unloaded at the nearest point of access, or they will be returned to the local depot, where you can organise your own builders/transport to collect the goods. If you require the goods to be redelivered on smaller or specialist vehicles there may be extra charges payable. Therefore you must advise us in writing or email of any access restrictions.
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How are goods unloaded from the delivery vehicle?

All Deliveries will be made using a lorry with tail lift and pallet truck. The tail lift can only lower onto solid level ground; no slopes, gravel, grass or mud tracks. The pallet truck can only move on flat hard standing ground, either concrete or tarmac are most suitable. There is no mechanical off load facility on the lorry. Please note the driver will leave your order to the nearest practical point of access. This is likely to be ‘kerbside’.
Please note normal tail lift deliveries cannot be made to properties on a slope. Special arrangements will need to be made and this may incur additional delivery costs.
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I only need a few tiles can I arrange for my own collection to avoid the delivery costs?

Yes you can. Collection would need to be made from our warehouse in Bridlington, East Yorkshire. If you would like to arrange for courier collection you can do so at your own risk. If you would like the tiles to be packed on a pallet for collection, a £25 plus vat packing charge will apply.
We make this service available to customers where it is not economical to pack and send small orders where the value of the goods is low in relation to the cost of the labour to pack the goods and delivery charges. In these circumstances, the goods are sold ex-warehouse and it is the customers’ responsibility that the goods are checked on collection.
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My order is below the minimum order value. Can you arrange delivery for me?

Unfortunately due to the number of complaints for a few tiles with small chips or one or 2 broken tiles or for tiles customers simply do not like, we will only accept these on a case by case basis.  We may add a small order charge of £25.00 to cover the cost of labour, packaging and pallet etc.  We recommend that you order a few extra tiles in case there are one or two are damaged in transit and/or tiles you do not like.  We sell our slates competitively, it is not possible for the quarries and/or us to remain in business if we are expected to replace one or two slates costing several pounds when delivery charges are a minimum £50 before any labour or packing costs.   The hauliers insurance does not cover a few broken tiles in transit.
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How long does it take from order to delivery?

Once an order has been placed and paid for in full, goods can normally be dispatched from our warehouse within 48 hours (extra time may be required for cutting/bullnosing). Delivery from receipt of full payment normally takes 5-7 working days.
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