Natural slate pioneers

Forty years ago, Ahmed El-Helw fell in love with natural slate. At a Spanish trade show, he watched as skilled craftsmen demonstrated how thinly quality slate can be split and cleaved.

He found it fascinating – so fascinating, in fact, that he’d go on to dedicate the next four decades of his life to the same material.

Ahmed founded Spanish Slate Quarries UK Ltd (SSQ for short), and became the first person to bring the finest quality Spanish slate to homeowners and architects around the UK.

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Trusted around the world

SSQ’s uncompromising commitment to quality have seen our products become known and sought-after all around the world. Today, as well as our logistics office in North-West Spain and quarry in central Argentina, we’ve got teams in 22 countries, meaning that wherever you are, you don’t have to settle for anything less than SSQ quality.

Barrow Hill Primary Academy Chesterfield

Discovering Del Carmen

In the beginning, it was far from easy. Ahmed quickly learned that slate, like any natural material, can vary hugely in quality. Even slate from the same country, or the same region, will vary significantly – which meant that if he wanted to offer the best of the best, Ahmed needed to track down a truly outstanding quarry. After commissioning an in-depth geological survey of North West Spain, the country’s natural slate heartland, he found one – Del Carmen.

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Sensational Spanish slate

SSQ’s Del Carmen slate is hand-picked by architects around the world for its outstanding aesthetics and consistently high quality. Del Carmen has a deep blue-black colour, a distinctive, faintly rippled texture, and attractive longitudinal grain.

Millions of Del Carmen slates have been installed by SSQ customers all over the world – and with quality controllers based practically on site in our Spanish office, our company’s uncompromising commitment to supplying only the best ensures our Del Carmen slate meets the most exacting international standards.

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Barrow Hill Primary Academy Chesterfield
Barrow Hill Primary Academy Chesterfield slate roof

Finding phyllite

Not long after, SSQ branched into another, equally stunning and prestigious product – Riverstone phyllite. Phyllite exists in a perfect geological sweet spot.

Hundreds of millions of years spent underground have made it hard and strong – even more so than slate. But it’s not so hard that it can’t be split for roofing and other purposes. Its mica flakes, and the tiny crystals on its surface, give it an unmistakable silky appearance – known in the industry as a phyllitic sheen – and its attractive grey-green colour instantly distinguish it from other products on the market.

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Testimonials

SSQ Matacouta slate was chosen as the most sympathetic option. Its consistency and competitive price make it a clear winner over indigenous slates.

Historic Scotland

Testimonials

With so many ‘interested parties’ the local planners set their minds on a natural slate roof at a very early stage of the project and, from this starting point, we needed something that would satisfy a number of technical and aesthetic requirements – SSQ Domiz blue-grey, was the one chosen for use to compliment the local ‘Shere Green’ colour.

Ben Hunt, Total Project Integration

Testimonials

We specified SSQ First Domiz Blue-grey roofing slate for both technical and aesthetic reasons:its strength and quality gives the performance needed and its cold, hard, colour provides a dramatic foil to the rich warmth of the western red cedar walls.

Mark Webber, Architect, Nichols Brown Webber

Testimonials

Everyone liked Sarria: the client was delighted with its appearance and its consistency made it easy to cut and lay.

Gary Lambert, Complete Roofing Contractors

Testimonials

The quality and strength were there, the colour was similar to indigenous Welsh slate and its ‘traditional’ look was in keeping with the surrounding community. In fact, as I had used it on my own Edwardian house, I knew it was a good slate!

Julian Bohling, OSP Architecture

Testimonials

The choice of SSQ Del Carmen was made easier after confirmation that it had gained approval for use in the Welsh National Parks as an alternative to indigenous materials. We were also pleased with the level of technical, design and on-site support we received from SSQ.

The Hafod Renewal Office

Testimonials

Working in a conservation area brings a special responsibility. SSQ Riverstone slate fits perfectly, its tone and texture blending seamlessly with its surroundings.

Joan Kinane, Architect

Testimonials

SSQ Rocaber Blue-grey slate was actually chosen at the initial design-concept stage. A natural slate roof was in keeping with the traditional local architecture.

Tom Ewan, Architect at Model Developments

Testimonials

It is a very attractive development and we needed something equally attractive and of equally high quality for the roofing material. SSQ Del Carmen slate is top quality, and we liked the colour and texture. What’s more, it is very good value. I’d have no hesitation choosing it again.

Mr Keith Wills, Clancy's Building Manager

Testimonials

The choice of slates was made easier due to the quality of product you provide and the support of Gary Firth throughout the process – which I much appreciate. Gary is a good ambassador for your company.

Pat Murray, Senior Project Engineer, Alvance Group

Testimonials

SSQ Ultra Del Carmen slates come with a 75-year guarantee and that was important. Not only that, the on-site services promised – and delivered – by SSQ enabled a smooth and easy workflow.

Stuart Howes, Architect

Testimonials

It was an absolute pleasure to meet you today, and I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your time and a wonderfully informative CPD.

The whole team really enjoyed it, and you definitely conveyed your passion and knowledge of your products!

I would say I will keep SSQ in mind for future projects, but they always have been. However, I have definitely left with a need to utilise more slate in my design work!

Michael Clifton BSc ACIAT - Oakbridge Bespoke Homes Ltd

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