How To Break Slate

How To Break Slate: Expert Techniques

To break slate, use a chisel and hammer to create an indentation, then tap the chisel lightly to break off sheets of slate along the desired line. It is also possible to break slate using an angle grinder fitted with a diamond blade to reduce thickness.

Breaking slate requires caution and precision to achieve desired results. Slate, known for its strength and durability, is a popular natural stone flooring material that is resistant to cracks, scratches, breaks, and chips. It is a preferred choice for bathrooms, kitchens, and areas with heavy foot traffic.

However, there may be instances where breaking slate is necessary, such as for mosaic projects or to reduce its thickness. In this guide, we will explore two methods to break slate: using a chisel and hammer, and using an angle grinder with a diamond blade. By following these techniques with care and precision, you can effectively break slate and achieve the desired results.

Properties Of Slate

Slate is renowned for its unique properties that make it an ideal material for various applications. Its durability, low maintenance, and elegant appearance make it a popular choice for flooring, roofing, and other construction purposes.


Slate exhibits exceptional durability, making it resistant to cracks, scratches, breaks, and chips. This robust nature makes slate an ideal material for use in high-traffic areas, bathrooms, and kitchens. The inherent strength of slate ensures longevity and minimal maintenance, providing a sustainable and practical solution for various projects.

Sealing Requirement

Slate requires regular sealing to maintain its integrity and enhance its longevity. Sealing helps to protect the natural stone from moisture, stains, and other potential damage, ensuring that the slate maintains its aesthetic appeal and durability over time.

When it comes to breaking slate, certain methods such as using a hammer, chisel, or angle grinder, can be employed depending on the specific project requirements. By understanding the properties of slate and its resilience, individuals and craftsmen can ensure the successful manipulation of this enduring material for their desired outcomes.

How to Break Slate: Expert Techniques


Challenges In Breaking Slate

Breaking slate can be a challenging task due to the strength and durability of this natural stone. The following factors contribute to the difficulty of breaking slate:

Strength Of Slate

Slate is known for its strength and durability, which makes it resistant to cracks, scratches, breaks, and chips. This inherent strength makes it difficult to break slate using conventional methods. However, with the right tools and techniques, it is possible to successfully break slate for various purposes.

Tools Required

Breaking slate requires the use of specific tools to overcome its strength. Here are some essential tools that can help you break slate effectively:

  1. Slate cutter: A handheld slate cutter is a specialized tool designed to cut and break slate accurately. It features a sharp blade that can score the surface of the slate, allowing for a controlled break.
  2. Claw hammer: A claw hammer can be utilized to weaken thicker slates by creating indentations or punching holes into the material.
  3. Angle grinder: An angle grinder fitted with a diamond blade can be used to split large pieces of slate with precision.
  4. Chisel: A chisel can be used to create indentations or score lines on the slate, making it easier to break off sheets or sections.

By utilizing these tools correctly, you can overcome the challenges posed by the strength of slate and achieve the desired results.

Techniques For Breaking Slate

Using Handheld Slate Cutter

A handheld slate cutter is a precise tool for breaking slate along marked lines. Place the cutter on the slate, apply pressure, and roll it back and forth to make a clean cut.

Hammer And Chisel Method

To break slate using a hammer and chisel, mark the cutting line on the slate and place the chisel at the edge. Lightly tap the chisel with the hammer to create a split, then continue along the line for a controlled break.

Expert Tips For Cutting Slate

When it comes to working with slate, precision cutting is essential. Whether you are a professional or a DIY enthusiast, knowing the expert tips for cutting slate can make your job easier and more effective.

Using Diamond Blade For Angle Grinder

If you need to make straight cuts on slate, using a diamond blade with an angle grinder is a highly efficient method. The diamond blade provides the necessary hardness and durability to cut through the tough slate material with ease.

Circular Saw Technique

An alternate method for cutting slate is utilizing a circular saw with a diamond-tipped blade. This technique is suitable for making precise cuts, particularly for larger slate pieces or when working on a substantial project.

Additionally, when cutting slate, always remember to prioritize safety by wearing appropriate protective gear and using the correct tools for the task at hand.

Precautions And Best Practices

When it comes to breaking slate, it’s crucial to adhere to safety precautions and best practices to ensure a successful and safe outcome. From wearing the right safety gear to preventing tool overheating, following these guidelines will help you efficiently break slate without risking injury or damaging the material.

Safety Gear

Before breaking slate, it’s essential to wear the appropriate safety gear to protect yourself from potential hazards. When handling slate, make sure to wear safety goggles to shield your eyes from any flying debris. Additionally, using heavy-duty work gloves will provide protection against sharp edges and prevent cuts or abrasions on your hands. Furthermore, a dust mask should be worn to avoid inhaling any fine particles during the breaking process, ensuring respiratory safety.

Avoiding Overheating Of Tools

Overheating of tools can lead to compromised performance and potential safety hazards. To prevent overheating, it’s imperative to use a hammer drill with a concrete bit and keep water on the bit and the slate during drilling to maintain cool temperatures. This will effectively prevent the ruination of the bit due to overheating. It’s important to continuously monitor the temperature of the tools and make sure they stay within the appropriate operational range to avoid any damage and complete the breaking process efficiently.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Break Slate

Is Slate Easy To Break?

Slate is a strong natural stone flooring material that is resistant to cracks, scratches, breaks, and chips. While regular sealing is necessary, it is an excellent choice for bathrooms, kitchens, and high traffic areas. It can be broken with a hammer or chisel if needed.

How Do You Break Apart Slate?

To break apart slate, use a chisel to make an indentation along the desired line. Lightly tap the chisel with a hammer to split the slate into sheets.

Can You Break Slate With A Hammer?

Yes, you can break slate with a hammer. The hammer weakens thick slates, making cutting easier.

Can Slate Be Broken?

Slate can be broken easily with minimal effort. It can be cracked, weakened, or split manually using a hammer or chisel. Broken slate can be identified by the shape of the fractured edge. It is a strong and durable material, resistant to cracks and chips, making it suitable for various applications such as flooring in high-traffic areas.

Can Slate Be Easily Broken By Hand?

Slate is a durable natural stone, challenging to break by hand due to its strength and resilience against cracking.

What Tools Can Effectively Break Apart Slate?

Using a chisel and hammer, create a line for precise cuts. Tapping gently on the chisel helps split slate accurately.


Breaking slate can be a daunting task, but with the right techniques and tools, it can be done successfully. Whether you’re looking to create mosaics or need to cut slate for a specific project, there are various methods you can employ.

From using a handheld slate cutter to using a claw hammer, there are options available for different needs. Slate is known for its durability and strength, making it an excellent choice for flooring materials. By following the proper steps and taking precautions, you can break slate effectively.

So, don’t be afraid to tackle slate projects with confidence!