A slate mosaic is a collection of slate stone pieces that have been arranged in some sort of pleasing pattern. Pieces are usually chosen based on their size and color, then inlaid with each other to create a certain design. Mosaics are common as backsplashes, as walkways, and as flooring.
Slate is a very durable stone, and is a common choice in many aspects of architecture. The stone is frequently used as roofing, as flooring, and as wall coverings. Often times, large slabs of slate are placed together for these purposes. In a mosaic, the stone is first broken into individual tiles that must be intentionally set and arranged.
While all slate is gray in color, there are wide variations in the shading, even of individual slabs. Colors can range from gray so dark it is nearly black to light violet and aqua shades. A slate mosaic usually makes use of varying color gradations, both to add interest and to develop repeating patterns.
Most of the time, a slate mosaic uses exclusively slate pieces, though other stones can be woven in. In kitchens, for instance, it is not uncommon to have a slate mosaic backsplash on the walls that is accented by recurring tiles made from the same granite as the counter tops. Slate mosaic floors and shower walls in bathrooms often incorporate colored stones or shiny rocks to add reflective interest. Mosaic pieces of any kind can be used as accents or anchors.
Slate mosaics are almost always functional. In art, a mosaic can be designed to stand alone, or to serve as decorative interest on a wall or ceiling. Home and business owners often choose slate for its aesthetics, but mosaics almost always serve a practical purpose, too.
Although slate can be cut into thin mosaic tiles, it is naturally a very durable material that resists cracking and breakage. This makes is a good choice for flooring, as it is easy to clean, withstands temperature changes, and in most cases will not crack due to foundation shifts or age. Floor mosaics can be as simple as artfully arranged tile slabs or as complex as actual designs created using different shades and sizes of tile.
Slate is also a popular option for bathrooms and kitchens, in large part because of how easy it is to keep clean and dry. The stone resists moisture and mildew, and is simple to sponge off. It is generally more expensive than most ordinary bathroom tile, but is also more durable. These sorts of mosaics tend to use small pieces of tile, and can be used to line sinks, edge mirrors, and surround shower areas to add decorative interest.
A slate mosaic can also be popular in outdoor landscaping. Walkways, retaining walls, driveways, and planter edges can all be created artistically with stone patterns. Making mosaics in ordinary places like these is an easy way of adding interest. Custom stone work is often expensive, but is usually less costly then new landscaping or remodeling.
One of the only places where custom slate work is uncommon is in roofing. Builders in many parts of the world use slate roof tiles to add endurance to a building. While it is possible to choose roof tiling colors, there is rarely any room for aesthetic arrangement. Roofing is a particular science that does not usually lend well to artistic manipulation.
Slate counter tops, while common, rarely feature mosaic patterns, either. Particularly in the kitchen and bathroom, counters are exposed to a lot of bacteria. Simple slabs are much easier to keep sanitary than mosaics, which almost always feature grooves between tiles. It is a lot easier to use mosaics as decorative elements in areas that do not need regular scrubbing.