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Why Choose Slate House Signs?

Updated on October 11, 2012

Project a Quality Image

The front of a house is what gives every visitor their first impression. A house sign is essential for giving an auspicious feeling to any residence - whether it is a name or a number. Defining a house in this way makes a strong statement about the likely internal quality and is almost and essential "seal of approval" and not just a target for the postman!

There is no doubt that a house with a real slate sign stands out from the crowd. Slate house signs are very durable and will keep their good looks for a very long time - generations in fact. Far from starting to look shabby, in time their weathered appearance will add charm to any cottage or modern estate house alike. Although their cost will be a little more than wooden or pressed steel signs, using a natural stone such as slate is worth the extra money.

Even if the sign begins to look a little faded after a number of years (the paint highlighting the letters and numbers will slowly degrade especially if rubbed clean every week or two) the grooves can be repainted easily maintaining a neat and effective appearance at all times.

Quality signs like this one are easily available to order online
Quality signs like this one are easily available to order online

What is Slate?

Slate is usually found as thin sheets of grey material that can be used for floor tiles, roofing shingles, work surfaces and blackboards. Because slate has two lines of breakage - "cleavage" and "grain" which means that it can be split into the flat sheets needed for these uses.

Slate is a particularly good electrical insulating material and also very fireproof. For this reason it was used in the early parts of last century to manufacture electrical circuit board components and relay controls in electrical motors. It was even used to sharpen knives and other blades.

Slate is a fine grained homogeneous rock that derives originally from a sedimentary shale like clay or volcanic ash. It results in a hard and durable but workable material. Because most slate is waterproof having a water absorption index of less than 0.4% it is ideal as a roofing material in wet areas.

Slate is found around the world in many different locations. Most of Europe's slate comes from Spain, but high quality sources also include Wales, England, Belgium, Italy and Portugal.

China's slate deposits are huge but it is only recently beginning to export to the rest of the world.

Slate is found in the USA and Newfoundland, but most continental American slate comes from Brazil. However this source produces slate that is much less waterproof than others, with tiles prone to weather damage after frosts and rain. Slate is also found in the Arctic where the local residents historically used the material to make spear and arrow heads for hunting.

Beware imitation slate! However, most frauds are obvious look alike copies made out of materials such as pressed fibre board and do not pretend to be the real thing.

A simple number makes a bold statement and is very inexpensive to buy
A simple number makes a bold statement and is very inexpensive to buy

How to Buy a Slate House Sign

Slate house signs are normally manufactured to order. There are many companies that will take your order online and efficiently prepare a sign to your specifications. As slate is a relatively workable stone it is an ideal area for somebody seeking a home business opportunity to choose. It is possible to start a small business engraving slate blanks and selling to local hardware stores, garden centres and DIY shops.

For the more enterprising willing to invest in modest milling and cutting equipment it would be possible to purchase raw slate sheets and blocks from a quarry. This would allow the manufacturing of slate house signs to be extended to creating bespoke slate flooring, slate work surfaces and slate hearths.

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