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The slate guide - From stone selection to installation!

Installing slate tiles in the garden is becoming more and more popular, and the stone is playing historical wings over our gardens. The slate creates an outdoor floor that exudes luxury and a timeless feel. No matter what environment you put slate in, you create a homely environment that sets the stage for socializing!

In our big slate guide, we go through some of the common choices and questions that usually arise with our customers. But also great tips and advice along the way to a successful slate installation.

Mica slate in an irregular format brings thoughts to the south! Choose a thickness according to your choice of mounting. Thinner slate for cast base and thicker stone for installation in set layers.

When it is time to plan for a slate surface, it is important to first take into account the pressure that will burden the paving, the aesthetic choices and also other wishes you have for your slate laying. Color, format, the shade of the stone and surface texture are common questions that need to be answered before the shovel can go into the ground. The planning lays a good foundation for the journey to take off towards a finished outdoor floor and successful paving.

A good start in the process is to take the journey via our products in our webshop, where many inspiration images , product images and texture images can be found and can give a good idea of ​​what the product looks like. Partly, how the format of the stone can vary, the texture and the different shades that are available to choose from.

You can also visit one ofour exhibitions if you want to have the opportunity to feel and squeeze the material to get a better insight into how it could fit in your particular garden.

In our range you will find a range of different products for gardens and public environments. We at Stenbolaget are knowledgeable about slate and have placed many and large surfaces of our most popular products in our exhibitions. So if you feel that you need to immerse yourself in the material and perhaps see and feel the surface of the stone more than in a picture, then visit our showrooms and exhibitions around the country. 

Of course, a sample piece is an advantageous solution that can also make the choice easier. In our stores, you can buy a larger piece of our irregular slate varieties or slab floors with you. A good way to feel at home.

Slate Savanna contributes to a warm paving!

When you have found the right type of slate, it is time to review how your installation will take place. What should the stone surface look like when it is finished? Which way should your slate be installed? And what style of joint do you want? Slate comes in different thicknesses, sizes of the stones and with different conditions. Choose an installation method that suits your material, and above all choose a thickness range of your slate that can be installed in the way you intended. Slate often comes in varying thicknesses and adjustments must be made during installation to achieve an even surface.

Style of the slate:

If you feel that a stricter, sharp-edged and more modern approach is what you are looking for, there are several ways to go. Antigen by cutting all sides and edges of the irregular stone. Clearly more work but can create outstanding results in the end. Another solution is to install sawn pavers to achieve a stricter paving and garden environment. A sawn slate creates lines and modern shapes, while the natural claw surface lives freely over the outdoor floor. The poured floors come in many types of slate where the width is fixed while the lengths vary. The falling lengths contribute to great playfulness in the surface, while the straight lines maintain order and a clean style.

Offerdal slate in Hällgolv comes with a fixed sawn width where the lengths and joints create extra life in the installation!

However, if you are looking for a more classic layout, irregular slate, decorative stone in slate, and stepping stones are perfect options for you. Preferably in combination with each other. Stepping stones are mounted with a simpler insert and give the garden clear passages and walkways.

Beautiful stepping stones in Mica slate provide a clear walkway.

In the event that you intend to lay an irregular slate, it may be a better solution with chiseled edges and not sawing straight cuts. Irregular Slate is a material that requires a lot of processing and adaptation according to the conditions and surroundings of each surface. You can either cut with special tools or chop and tap the edges with different tools for natural cuts. But cracking or chipping the stone can be challenging, especially when the slab is thick and with the fact that some slates are harder than others.

Read more about Irregular slate, assembly, processing and small tips below:

1. The planning stage and the need:

As a first step in your planning, it is important to turn over all the stones to be able to find any pitfalls, potential desires to avoid problems on rebound later.

The load that we mentioned earlier is clearly an important factor for which construction you will carry out. surfaces with load, garden paths, patios and simpler walkways with stepping stones all have different requirements for the sub-work and it is important to take a position on how your surface should be done.

Have you thought of mounting your surface in bearing layers and stone chips or simply casting your substrate? Cast substrates require more preliminary work as a reinforced, cast plate is needed. But a slate floor installed on a cast substrate becomes more like a finished floor and a feeling that "indoors move out". This can clearly be a must for certain loads. Assembly takes place on a cast base with natural stone fix and a joint suitable for the stone and the joint width of the stone surface.

The thickness and size of tiles also often become a decisive factor in your choice of stone. Slate is a natural stone that is split out of blocks to make a good garden material, this gives a natural claw surface and that the thickness varies between different lots. The thickness also often varies in the same slate slab. Some examples of our most popular types of slate with different thickness ranges are:

Irregular Mica shale 10-20

Irregular Slate Tundra 10-30

Irregular Offerdal shale 20-40

Irregular Mica shale 30-60

Irregular Oppdal shale 30-40

The thinner types of stone, which are often delivered with smaller pieces, are absolutely best suited for installation on a cast substrate or installed in soil-moistened concrete and not as well in set layers. The thicker substances are well suited for support bearings and seat bearings, but even there the load should determine the installation, as some extra thicknesses can handle a higher load than others.

Regardless of the thickness of stone you choose, it is always important to have a carefully executed sub-work! If you are unsure how to lay your slate or what thickness to choose, you can always discuss this with us at Stenbolaget.

2. Choice of stone type:

Once you have worked out how your installation will take place and what load it must withstand, there is a really fun step in the process. Choosing slate! Presumably a number of varieties have now been weeded out or that some are considered more adapted than others.

Various formats, shades, textures and origins are available to choose from. Are you looking for a stylish gray tone , black slate , southern European feel or simply a surface with the wings of Swedish fjäll ?

3. Lay the supporting bed for a successful slate installation:

The first step when you are going to lay slate in the bearing layer and setting layer is to carefully measure the area where the stone is to lie. The easiest is to mark out the lines with spray paint, but another option is to use mason's string that you attach around the surface. Be sure to plan for the framing of your slate as well and allow for curb space. Agranite curbstone is preferred. The stone interacts beautifully with the slate and you get both a durable floor, high-quality framing and maintains the natural material throughout the surface. But also to intertwine these crafts and how they are processed.

How deep you then dig depends on what you are going to use the surface for. If the idea is to lay a garden path or patio, approx. 15-25 cm is often enough.

If it is a slightly heavier load than that, the excavation depth needs to be increased.

Frame your excavated area with non-woven fabric to prevent materials from mixing up and to avoid material migration. The fiber cloth should be mounted with overlap in its edges and not the joints close to each other, be careful to mount the cloth up at the edges as well to hold the surface together.

Pack a stable core of bearing stock and use a ground vibrator to assist. It is this machine that compresses the bearing layer and makes the foundation stable. We mainly use rock crusher 0-32 as this provides a stable foundation for your paving. Pack well in batches and ensure that you get both falls on the surface for runoff and that the surface is packed even down into the masses. A tip to fill up and pack in batches and then prepare the bed for the seed layer itself.

Calculate how much crushing you need in our calculator for each product and buy in ready-made large bags or in bulk in one of our stores and facilities. Keep in mind that the substrate drops by approximately 15% when using a soil vibrator and adjust your order so that your entire area and needs are covered.

In soft ground conditions, it is good to pack the bearing layer extra tightly. Take an extra round or two with the soil vibrator and don't forget to water in between. This causes the material to set extra.

When the bearing layer is completed and you have finished working with the ground vibration, it is time to prepare the actual bed for your slate. Slate is often installed in stone flour 0/8 or stone chips 2/6 . Stone chips (Macadam/Flis 2-6) is, however, a recommendation from us as it drains better than stone flour and makes it harder for moisture to migrate up into the tiles.

Planting material that works for leveling the ground surface. Spread the layer evenly and use the soil vibrator once more. Use pipes that you dig into the bed and pull off your sitting bed with a straight board or level plank, making sure you follow your fall on the surface. A recommendation is to try to land with a fall of 1-2cm/metre.

Laying slate is clearly more time-consuming than slabs and paving stones in fixed formats and you will need to adjust your substrate for each unique slate slab. As the stone comes in different sizes and thickness ranges, you will need to adjust the setting bed along the way to make each laid slab stable.

Now we have arrived at the slate laying:

Irregular slate and sawn slate slabs, all products are delivered on wooden pallets where the stone is stacked. Working from several different layers in the pallet is an advantage with most stone materials as you spread the material out well and separate the shades in the batches. Slate is a natural material where shifts in the stone and veins can wander and make the surface extra unique. So a spread can contribute to extra effect and a lovely variety.

Look around your pallets and test yourself and visualize to get the surface you want. 

As we mentioned earlier, a stricter laying and more modern surface can mean more cutting of the edges of your slate tiles. And for a more classic slate laying with a raw or hewn edge, more of the material on the pallet can be used and extra spillage avoided.

In general, you should expect a spillage of about 15% when laying an irregular slate. And not least when you intend to cut straight cuts and cleaner edges.

Select your irregular pieces to meet in the layout and try to find the right one for each stone in the pallet. Sometimes you can use pieces almost completely without having to cut them. Work bit by bit and let your slate surface slowly grow.

Slate is a fun but also time-consuming puzzle. But one thing is for sure...it's worth the time! 

Installation of the slate tiles is done in the same way as paving stones, paving stones and concrete tiles, with a rubber mallet . Even a urethane mallet can be used and provide a recoilless function. With the mallet, you drive the stones into the substrate without damaging the stone at all.

When you have got the slate in place properly, it is important that it lies flat over the entire stone, if adjustment needs to take place in the setting bed below, you simply lift the slab or wiggle up the part where adjustment is to take place.

Assembly tips:

- Then make sure you have ample coverage of setting material under each slate slab to prevent the stone from shifting. It is often better to land a couple of millimeters too high and then drive the stone down into the setting bed for a silent installation.

- Spend time looking in the pallet to save on the time it takes to cut a certain shape on stones that may already be there.

- When installing sawn slate slabs, the degree of spillage is not as high as when an irregular material is used.

Get to your joints

The joints on a slate surface are usually wider than many other stone floors in the garden.

Naturally carved edges provide a wider meeting and intersections between the stones. Sawn edges, however, provide a narrower joint. The joint gap should be adjusted according to taste and taste but also according to the material you plan to join your surface with. A narrower joint also means more processing and a higher spill rate. ( See sample picture lower down in the guide)

Assembly tips:

- Try to avoid long and straight "general joints" where a longer joint travels through large parts of the surface. It can give the feeling that the floor belongs to different conservatories. This line will also illuminate extra in an otherwise irregular surface.

- Do not use excessively small pieces in the middle of a layout where only large pieces meet. The small piece of slate can be perceived as a broken piece of slate and simply feel out of place.

- If installation is carried out on a cast substrate, a cement-based joint is used to close your slate laying together. And if the assembly is carried out in bearing layers and set layers, a flexible joint material should be used to be able to follow the possible movement of the ground. Otherwise, the risk is that cracking will occur in the joint when the ground then moves.

Irregular Offerdal shale 10-20 mounted on cast base. The thinner slate is recommended on this particular substrate.

Cutting your slate tiles 

In order to process and adapt the stones to each other and the pattern you desire, the edges of the stone either need to be cut or sawn. 

A common method is to simply lay out the material against each other to get a clear picture of where the processing is to take place. You then draw on the stones with chalk in the appropriate color according to the shade of the slate. It is important to have a clear line to work towards.

Hit the edges with a mallet, hammer or chisel, being careful not to cut too much at once. Work your way up and find the right shape for your layout. 

If it is a one-time surface and less slate laying, a hammer can often give good results. Find a good surface to cut against and maybe there are thinner lines or deviations in the slab that you would still like to cut away. If you want to cut a longer straight edge, it can be an advantage to draw a line in the stone.

Some slates are harder than others and also make it a little more difficult to cut accurately.

Beautiful Slate Lava in black shade, with rust colored elements and its irregular shape!

A carved edge has a natural cut and a more lively joint distance than many other paving.

Assembly tips:

- Do not cut away too large pieces at once, but work your way towards the drawn line. Do not apply too much force, but try to work towards the part to be removed from the slate plate.

- Small adjustments can be made by simply tapping when the plate is in place.

- If you have split a slate slab, the waste should not always be thrown away, but it can be a decisive key to getting your paving together later on! If the pieces are not too small, put them in a pile and watch while the surface grows.

Combining slate with granite products in the garden creates an interacting garden where you keep a natural common thread throughout the project.

Saw your slate tiles 

If you intend to lay a slate surface with completely sawn joint lines, you will get a tighter joint, a more modern look and can fully shape your pattern and design. Cutting slate is completely doable and both saw tables with water supply, skid cutters, motor cutters and angle grinders can be used. All with a diamond blade mounted and water added to the stone surface are preferred to avoid dust, chipped edges and at the same time cool the blade. However, table saws can be difficult when the pieces of slate are larger.

Read more about stone cutting here !

Cutting with an angle grinder and circular saw is done simply by placing the stone on a surface that must not be damaged. This if you were to go through the entire thickness of the stone. An empty pallet is a good example to have as a base. As we mentioned, the slate is delivered on a pallet and will probably be in place when the installation starts.

Assembly tips:

If a very tight joint is installed, it can be clearly advantageous to go all the way through when cutting for a completely flat edge to meet the next. A trade-off that can take place on the spot.

Natural stone and not least slate and granite are hard materials! It is important when cutting that you use protective equipment, and that the machine is equipped with a diamond blade to be able to work through the stone properly.

When you choose to cut your sides and joint lines, it is nice to finish the surface through as it will give a certain style to the laying. Combining carved edges with sawn lines in the middle of a slate installation can sometimes feel messy. Let the straight cuts end up towards the edge if possible.

We hope this guide can give you a better insight into the craft behind a successful slate surface. Whether you plan to do it yourself or hire a stonemason to help, slate creates something truly magical. Each paving stone gets its own touch and creates a unique surface for the garden to socialise. A surface to be proud of!

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