Thursday, November 7, 2013

DESIGN IDEA: DIY Fireplace Veneer - Reclaimed Roofing Slate

For three years now I have been waiting and looking for ways that I can do some work on our house myself.  Up until now everything has involved big power tools and some knowledge of construction (or so it has seemed) so I have left it to the "professionals" (quotation marks intended!).  What's more, we have been looking for ways to use reclaimed materials and so far we have had no luck getting any contractors to jump in and embrace our vision.  But the moment has arrived.  This fireplace veneer project is clearly a DIY opportunity and any DIY opportunity is an opportunity to try using reclaimed materials. 

With that in mind, I have been looking for reclaimed slate or bluestone tiles.  What I have discovered is that used roofing slate has three qualities that make it a good candidate for this project:
  • abundant
  • cheap
  • easy to cut
At this very moment there is a woman in Queens selling old roofing slate tiles for fifty cents a pop.  Here is the pic from her posting:



I emailed her and she says I can pick through the pile and take the ones I want.

I also watched a few videos on how to cut slate roof tiles and it is so simple that a 7 year-old can do it!  Here is my favorite video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_x0V2uQ1Es 

And look! Slate is so easy to cut that this person made a slate moose mosaic on their roof:

Traditional Roofing Magazine #8 - Ornamental Slate Roofing
















The one thing I can't find online is images of examples of other peoples' reclaimed roofing slate veneer projects.  Mostly, people who seek uses for reclaimed slate seem to just paint a border on a big tile and then write their dinner menu on it or some such quaint thing.  Bummer.  If we go this route, we might be the first to write about it.  No promises.  Just an idea.

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