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Sandstone vs Slate

When it comes to selecting a surface material, the options are seemingly endless. Everywhere you look there are choices. Selecting one of the many materials for the hard surfaces in a home or establishment is a challenge for consumers. Today we are going to talk a bit about a couple of those options in this article entitled sandstone vs slate. We'll look at each of these materials and discuss some of their characteristics. We'll talk a little about their uses along the way. And we will see why the qualities each possesses matters. So let's start our comparison of sandstone and slate.

Sandstone Synopsis

Sandstone is a very fitting term for this material because it is formed from literal sand particles. That's right, sandstone is the result of particulates being bonded together with another substance acting as a "cement" to hold the sand particulates together. The bond may be very strong, causing the resulting stone to be very durable.

Summary of Slate

Natural slate is a metamorphic rock with distinct characteristics that make it identifiable to anyone that has seen it before. It is a stone that is durable and can be easily split into thin slabs and plates. This makes natural slate a goto choice for roofing tiles. As we will get into later, there are very good reasons for its popularity as a roof covering. Note what Wikipedia says on this subject:

Natural slate is used by building professionals as a result of its beauty and durability. Slate is incredibly durable and can last several hundred years, often with little or no maintenance. Natural slate is also fire resistant and energy efficient.

Comparing Sandstone and Slate

As with any natural stone comparison, there are traits that sandstone and slate have in common and there properties that distinguish them from one another. Let's pit sandstone vs slate and see how these two material compare when they square off. We will look some basic aspects of stone and talk a little bit about each material in that context.

Sandstone & Slate: A Hard Comparison

The first aspect of comparing these materials that we will look at is their hardness. Each natural stone falls somewhere on the Mohs hardness scale. Both of these materials are somewhat hard, but not as hard as some other natural stone. For example natural granite is harder than either of these are. Another one is quartzite which can be described affectionately as "a child of sandstone". We won't get into why it has that nickname here, but it is an interesting reason.

So where do each of these rocks live on the Mohs scale? Well, simply put, they are neighbors. Slate come in at about 5.5 and sandstone is usually in the range of 6 to 7 depending on the particular stone. Sandstone gradually forms, so it can be found outside the range mentioned. But the slabs sold are usually in that scope of hardness. Additionally, sandstone also morphs into another rock and sandstone that is being changed into this stone can actually be a bit harder than the range stated. But generally speaking, sandstone is 6 to 7 and slate is around 5.5.

Why Hardness Matters

Hardness is an important aspect of durability when a material is used for a surface. The harder the material, the more resistant to scratching it is. material like slate and sandstone are scratch resistant and that means they hold up well under regular wear and tear. On the other hand though, the harder the material is, the more necessary it is to use a diamond blade designed for cutting hard materials. For example, if you are cutting a slab of sandstone or slate, you will probably want a blade like the White Lion blade from Weha. It is called a "quartzite blade" but it a very effective blade for cutting many stone materials, including slate and sandstone.

Porosity of Natural Stone

Porosity is another facet that we will discuss here. With almost no exceptions, all natural stone is porous. However, some stone is more porous than other stone. Even two stone slabs of the same type can have differing levels of porosity depending on the grade of slabs you are comparing. In fact, a stone's porosity varies even within the slab itself. One place on the slab may be more or less porous than another location on that same slab. But in general, all slabs are somewhat porous.

Sandstone Compared to Slate

So how do the two materials under consideration stack up? Generally speaking, sandstone is more porous than slate. Slate is not as porous as many other natural stone materials. The grain is so fine that it does a nice job keeping water and other liquids form penetrating it. Slate's low porosity is actually one reason it is an effective material for roofing tiles; its weight is another. Slate is a low porosity material that can be split into thin plates which can be cut into tiles and used on roofs. For a material to useful for a roof covering, it needs to be light. It also needs to shed water, not absorb it and slate does this very well. So, even though slate is porous, it is not as porous as other materials, including sandstone.

Why Porosity Matters

Porosity is an important thing to note since the absorption of a material like sandstone contributes to the material's ability to stain. on the other hand, treating the material to keep it from absorbing liquids means making it more stain resistant.

Addressing Porous Stone

Addressing the porous nature of natural stone is not difficult to do. In fact, all that is needed to make stone surfaces water and oil repellent is to add a sealer for making stone water repellent. Or, if you wish, you can use a stone sealer that also enhances the color of the stone to which it is applied. Using sealer, consumers reduce the effects of a stone's porosity.

Slating A Course for Color

Natural stone's color is directly related to the minerals from which it is formed. In the context of sandstone vs slate we see that sandstone, being formed primarily from sand, would be obtainable in virtually any color that sand is. What about Slate though? While slate has a more limited color selection, it is available in a handful of colors that compliment a range of looks.

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