Slate is an incredibly popular choice of garden paving. The stunning colour palettes of slate paving, which vary from silvery-greys to a dark blue black colour is what makes it stand out from other natural stone pavers. The glossy surface, richness in colour and simple maintenance process are just three of the reasons that slate paving is so popular in gardens across the UK.
After quarries in China recently stopped production of their slate paving, there are now only three main types of slate available. There are Indian Slate Paving, Brazilian Slate Paving and Welsh Slate Paving. In this blog post, we look at the differences between the three types of slate paving and help you choose the best slate for your outdoor slate paved area.
The colour, texture, pattern and price are the main things that set Indian Slate Paving, Brazilian Slate Paving and Welsh Slate Paving apart. Have a think about your budget, the look you want to create in your outdoor area and the texture you want to feel underfoot. This will be key in helping you decide which blue-black slate paving is right for you.
If you are still in the early stages of planning your project, it may be worth checking out our buyers guide to make sure you have everything in place.
Indian Slate Paving Slabs
Indian slate paving was the original slate that reached the UK from overseas. It was imported to give consumers great quality slate without having to pay huge amounts, as they would if they purchased the luxury option slate from UK quarries.
Indian Slate Colour: The colour palette of Indian slate paving is a mix of dark greys, with a glossy finish. The colour is often described as more of a blue-back slate paving colour. It has an almost metallic finish when installed outside.
Indian Slate Texture: The surface of Indian slate paving is something our customers love or hate. Indian slate paving is a very natural looking stone. It has a very riven and textured surface. This surface form very dramatic layers that rise and fall in an inconsistent pattern. If you are looking to create a modern or contemporary space, we would recommend blue-black Indian slate paving stones for your outdoor area.
Indian Slate Pattern: Indian slate is perhaps the least patterned of the three types of blue-black slate. While the surface is rough and natural, the actual colour pattern on the surface is fairly consistent. There is not a lot of colour change across blue-black Indian slate paving stones. This makes them ideal if you are looking to create a classy and minimalistic feeling for your paved space.
Indian Slate Price: The Indian slate is an entry level slate. If you have a tighter budget but love the look of slate, then this is a great option. It gives you the black-blue slate style you want without exceeding your tight budget. Indian slate paving ranges between around £25 and £30 per m2 on average.
Why Indian Slate paving over Brazilian Slate or Welsh Slate?
- Consistent in colour.
- The most natural texture.
- Friendly on price.
What lets Indian Slate down?
- Very rough on the surface.
- No colour/pattern variations.
Brazilian Slate Paving Slabs
A much more recent addition to the UK market. Brazilian slate was imported to provide a true global premium grade slate to the UK at an affordable price. The slate that is quarried in Brazil is a cut above any other imported slate thanks to its smooth surface, fascinating patterns and beautiful colour palettes.
Brazilian Slate Colour: Brazilian slate is available in two colours. These are grey or black, however the black is more of a blue-black Brazilian slate paving. Some of the Brazilian slate paving stones will be darker, while others will be lighter. Meanwhile, the grey Brazilian slate paving stones are more a consistent silvery-grey colour.
Brazilian Slate Texture: Brazilian slate is the smoothest of the three types of slate. While there are subtle rises and falls in the surface of the slate paving, these are rarely more than a millimetre of two in difference. If you’re looking for a sleek and smooth slate finish in your garden, we would recommend the Brazilian slate paving.
Brazilian Slate Pattern: The grey Brazilian slate paving stones have almost no pattern to their surface. However, the blue-black Brazilian slate paving has a really varied pattern on the surface of each stone. We feel this helps create a patio of uniquely beautiful slate paving stones. If you’re looking to create an eye-catching patio area that really stands out, then the varying shades of the blue-black Brazilian slate paving stones are exactly what you’re looking for.
Brazilian Slate Price – Pricier than an Indian Slate option. It’s beautiful, but you will have to fork out between £30-£40 per m2 if you want to clad your garden out in Brazilian Slate. Many consumers are happy to pay the extra cost as they prefer a more patterned and smoother surface to their slate patio. Brazilian slate paving is around £25 to £32 per m2.
Why Brazilian Slate paving over Indian Slate or Welsh Slate?
- Very decorative to look at.
- Natural colour palette and pattern that is difficult to replicate in manufacturing.
- Smoothest surface of all slates.
What lets Brazilian Slate down?
Brazilian slate is set at a higher price point which can put it outside many homeowners’ budgets. The Brazilian slate paving stones are also liable to scratch marks due to the smooth surface. While some people see the inconsistent surface pattern as a positive, others do see this as a negative if they want a more uniformed finish to their slate paved patio area.
Welsh Slate Paving Slabs
Welsh slate has been quarried in the UK for many years. It is the original slate that covered most slate projects in the UK from as far back as the roman times. Welsh slate is steeped in history. It has been used in stately homes and historical grounds for hundreds of years. You will even find an article written by the BBC here when the stone was being considered for use as a Global Heritage material.
Welsh slate is an incredibly strong natural stone. It splits into perfect sheets and because of this, is perfect for outdoor paving slabs
Welsh Slate Colour: Welsh slate is dark grey/blue in colour. It also has the occasional white vein running through it. This colour palette makes Welsh slate suitable for many applications.
Welsh Slate Texture: A riven texture when naturally split. Welsh slate feels very natural and suitable for many projects. The texture of the slate sits somewhere between the dramatic texture of Indian Slate and the smooth Brazilian Slate. It feels natural without being overwhelmingly varied.
Welsh Slate Pattern: Each Welsh slate paving slab will be varied in texture, but the colour and pattern will remain consistent throughout the paving slabs. Welsh slate paving has very little colour pattern on its surface.
Welsh Slate Price: The price of Welsh slate paving is definitely what makes it very different to the other types of slate. Welsh slate can be upwards of £80 per m2. When you purchase Welsh slate paving stones you really are paying the premium price for a much sought after slate paving product.
Why Welsh Slate over Brazilian Slate or Indian Slate?
- Global heritage stone.
- Incredibly strong even when thin.
- Historic, luxury stone.
The Negatives of Welsh Slate
The main negative of Welsh slate, unsurprisingly, is the cost! A lot of consumers fall in love with Welsh slate paving slabs, but the price is too much – especially on larger paved areas.
In Conclusion, which type of Slate is the best?
Why Choose Welsh Slate Paving Over Brazilian or Indian?
Welsh slate is a global heritage stone. It is incredibly strong, even when it is thin. The Welsh slate is a very historic and luxury stone for your outdoor area.
Why Choose Indian Slate Paving Over Brazilian or Welsh?
Indian slate paving is very consistent in its colour. It also offers the most natural-looking texture out of the three types of slate paving. However, the biggest benefit of Indian slate paving is its budget-friendly price tag.
Why Choose Brazilian Slate Over Indian or Welsh?
Brazilian slate is very decorative to look at. It offers a very natural colour palette and pattern that is difficult to replicate in a manufactured stone. Brazilian slate paving stones also offer the smoothest surface of all three types of slate.
Which Type Of Slate Paving Is Best For You?
It’s a difficult question to answer. As per our original comments, it is dependent on your budget and finish you are hoping to achieve from your paved outdoor area. While the Welsh slate is a very impressive stone and a globally protected material due to its heritage status, it is very costly. It is a stunning slate paving option, but when beautiful alternatives are available at a quarter of its price – is Welsh slate the best option for your garden?
Both the Brazilian and slate paving slabs are incomparable when it comes to price. They rarely touch over £35 p/m2. These are both strong blue-black slate paving options that look great and have all the sought after characteristics of Welsh slate, but they are imported. If you feel £80 p/m2 is out of your budget, the Brazilian and Indian slate paving options are well worth considering.
The Brazilian slate paving stones are a preferred option for many of our customers. The blue-black slate paving offers decorative and subtle colours and patterns that give you a finished slate patio on par with a Welsh slate patio.