How can I reuse or recycle … slate tiles?

Slate roof tilesI’ve been thinking about Scott’s really big piece of slate from Monday and it reminded me that I often see old slate roof tiles in skips around our estate as houses are renovated and new roofs added.

We have a slate surround and hearth for our fireplace so slate goes well in our living room but we already have some slate coasters and to be honest, we don’t use them much.

Any suggestions how else we can use the skip-dived slate tiles around the living room or elsewhere?

The tiles are flat, and usually about 30cm by 20cm and between 5mm-1cm thick (1′x9″x um, a quarter of an inch or something).

(Photo by Flo_Evans)

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35 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle … slate tiles?”

  1. mel says:

    The perennial cheeseboard – you can chalk the names of cheeses next to them for your next dinner party (does anyone ever have dinner parties anymore?). Shopping lists, idea catchers – basically anything that requires writing stuff down with chalk. Also of course, good broken up in the bottom of pots for drainage.

  2. Chalk notice board in the kitchen, or for kids. Or as a cover for drains to them getting bunged up with leaves.

  3. Alastair Perkins says:

    Old slates make brilliant drives and paths go to somewhere like b@q you will be paying a fortune for what you can get for nothing. They act as drainage as well, good for security as walking on them can be heard thus alerting you of visitors around your house.

  4. Alastair Perkins says:

    Forgot to add you need to break them up first!

  5. If they are still intact and in good condition you could give them to a builder who might use them.. or keep them yourself in case some of yours fall off. Also good for stopping your cat/dog from doing doo-doos on your nice and tidy flower bed.

  6. Joan says:

    You can use them to mulch plants/ pots too if they are broken up ( put in a bag and then use a hammer – avoids getting splinters in eyes)

  7. Rosie says:

    Use them as edgings along paths, also to separate herbs in a garden bed. slate is impervious to most things.

  8. Andrea says:

    Here in New Orleans where we’ve got plenty of old slate around, a lot of artists paint on them. So try your hand at painting, or see if there is a local artist/art school/etc. around that might like to have them.

  9. Rosalind says:

    Pet gravestones (sniff!). And they make the best skimming stones EVER, if you have a pond nearby (since you only find really good natural skimming stones on beaches).

  10. Placemats/coasters on tables.

    Flooring (awkward to lay unless they are all uniform thickness).

  11. Golden Phoenix says:

    I recall my dad making some interesting and attractive planters from old roof tiles.

    He drilled two holes near the corner on each edge of one and on three edges of four more. (Make sure you drill at a low speed else they’re likely to crack)

    He then simply wired the five pieces together (the one drilled on 4 sides on the botom) to make planters.

    The rust from the wire he’d used looked quite pretty, rather surprisingly, and the gaps around the edges of the tiles made for excellent drainage.

    If you’re adept with a tile cutter or any other way of cutting slate you could make any shape planter you liked.

    Also consider painting a nice picture on a piece and adding your house number/name underneath. Varnish then fix to the wall by the front door. So much prettier, cheaper and more personal than a plastic one from B&Q.

  12. Stephanie says:

    You could take them up and reuse them somewhere else, or give them away to someone who really wants to get/use them.

  13. Dawn says:

    Slate wall tiles (kitchen etc), splashbacks are very fashionable just now and really easy to use receycled ones rather than paying a fortune for new ones.

  14. Arthur says:

    Could they be crushed on site and used as gravel for a walkway or drive? I am removing my slate roof and perhaps consdiering it

  15. Mr Nosey says:

    You could cut them up into small rectangles and use them as miniture roof tiles on a reproduction Victorian dolls house and give it to a small girl as a unique gift.

    Be carefull when cutting slate, always wear protective glasses and gloves, as a shard of slate can easily cut you.

  16. bill says:

    how can you cut them? they are extremely fragile. any suggestions??
    i have a bunch i want to paint on, but i am afraid they are too fragile and will fall apart.
    thought about cutting….but don’t see how to do it without breaking them into pieces.

    • Tony the Tiler says:

      An Angle Gridner does it perfectly or a slate cutter/nibbler, tool a bit like a parrot beaked large par of pliers.

    • Robbie says:

      there’s a tool for cutting normal tiles that i’m sure would work well ( i think this is tony’s parrot-like device) :)

  17. Larry says:

    I saw raised flower beds made from old roofing slates. Stick the slates vertically into the ground about 3 inches. Align them so each tile has its right edge inside the next tile and the left edge outside the previous tile. When the bed is filled up with dirt, the tiles are then self supporting. They readily withstand freeze thaw cycles, and tolerate excesive rains.

  18. DAK says:

    I would like to use old slate to make paintings on but most of them have a couple of holes in them. How can I patch up the holes so that I can paint over them?

  19. Mark Taylor says:

    I have alot of slate from my old roof and don’t know what to do with It.

    • Tony the Tiler says:

      Old slate is worth money and can be quite valuable if in good condition as there are anqwful lot on any standard roof. Wish I had them, i’d turn them into notes no bother.
      Advertise in the local press or on Classified sites such as Viva Street – – free internet site, I have used it and it is very good or Gumtree –
      Personally I’d advertise them on ebay free listings days, guaranteed a sale –
      Phone a local roofers yard from yellow pages ask what they charge for say 10 tiles the same as yours and advertise your own at cheaper rate. The rest is history.
      Good luck.

  20. Jorge says:

    I will buy old slates let me know

  21. Linda W says:

    Fifteen years or so ago I went to Yellow Daisy Festival at Stone Mountain (google it, still held every Sept.) and purchase a mirror which was surrounded by 100 year old slate roof tile. The tile around the mirror was all one piece—as in a thick frame, and it was painted with a thick paint that looked almost like oil paint. Each had a unique design and of course unique shape due to the inconsistencies in cutting the slate. Think I paid about $45 or so for a very small one back then. Oh, it had two holes in the top, thru which a leather lace was tied so you could hang it on the wall. Very beautiful and has lasted years!

  22. ruth martinez says:

    replacing a slate roof. Would like to sell the old slate to pay for the new roof.

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  24. Sarah Thompson says:

    It is so sad that people are replacing gorgeous slate roofs with boring modern ones. I’m sure there are practical reasons, but aesthetically, it is a tragedy.

    Loads of homes in Bala Cynwyd, PA still have them, and they are a thousand times more attractive than any of the newer roofs.

    • Linda says:

      Sarah – I have a slate roof which is as old as my house — 97 years. I would really love to keep it, but my roofer (whom I trust) tells me even slate has a life expectancy. I’ve already exceeded that by about 10 years of so. There is no way I can afford to redo the roof with slate. It’s just way too expensive. So, unfortunately, I have to go with boring old shingles. Perhaps that is why people are replacing their slate roofs.

      • Paula says:

        Buckingham slate lasts 200 years. What kind is yours?

      • Anonymous says:

        Linda, I was in the same situation. Our house was built in 1887, and had a Birmingham slate roof. Because of the replacement cost, we had a synthetic slate roof installed. This new roof looks pretty authentic when view from standing on the ground 25-30 feet below. Also, the cost was about 75% less. Brenda

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