What are they?
Slate and limestone are both sedimentary rocks (although slate starts life as a metamorphic rock). Sedimentary rocks are small pieces of eroded rock that have been carried by wind and water to settle on the beds of rivers, lakes and oceans. Layer upon layer is then pressed down into the earth where the lower layers then form into rock. Both stones are stunning in their organic beauty, displaying elements of their early existence in the form of metamorphic patterns and small fossils.
What are their main advantages?
Slate and limestone provide a totally original hallmark to any interior project, and their natural warmth makes them perfect for floors and fireplaces.
What are their disadvantages?
Generally, both come only in a matt finish, with a narrower colour spectrum than marble. Limestone and slate can be unpredictable in their patterns, and their natural randomness and fossil deposits can be perceived by some people as flaws; others, however, love them for this very reason. Slate and limestone are also both relatively soft and, as worktops, will not endure the rigours of a busy kitchen.
What colours are available?
Slate tends to be darker (blacks, browns, greens and greys) while limestone is lighter (creamy whites and light browns).
What finishes are available?
Some limestone can be polished but both are usually in matt finish (honed).