If you’re looking for a sleek and stylish material for your kitchen countertops, you go for granite and marble countertops. But if you want to try a unique natural stone, you can choose slate. It’s durable, looks high-class, and makes your space look more attractive. Here is everything you need to know about slate and whether it’s the right choice for your kitchen or not.
What Is Slate?
Slate is essentially a metamorphic rock made out of clay and volcanic ash. The high temperature and pressure inside the Earth are enough to mold these things together and form a durable and versatile rock that is found in Spain, China, Africa, Brazil, and other countries.
Slate is a dark-colored material and one of the most common uses of this material is in the making of good ol’ chalkboards. Not only this, slate is used in making statues, gravestones, roofing, flooring, tiles, and even artifacts. Slate is available in the form of slabs and tiles. Usually, slabs are more famous, because they are thick and considered to be more durable, but tiles are a great option for flooring or for smaller kitchens, where slabs aren’t necessary.
The most common and famous variant of slate for kitchen countertops is the Vermont slate because it is considered to be high-quality, durable, and it’s a perfect fit for any kitchen.
Things To Know About Slate Countertops
Here are some things you should know about slate countertops.
It’s Easy To Clean
Slate is surprisingly easy to clean because it’s a natural stone. A lot of the time, natural stones are porous and they can be a pain in the neck to clean, but not slate. It is a compressed and compact material so there aren’t any pores and you can clean it with a wet washcloth and dish detergent mixed in water.
As for removing food stains, you can use a toothbrush to gently pry the dried food crumbs off the countertops and wipe them clean afterward. It couldn’t be much easier.
It Can Crack Easily
There are different thicknesses of slate available for kitchen countertops and thinner countertops are the most prone to cracking. You shouldn’t put too much weight on these countertops, because they can eventually crack and break. If you’re putting your entire weight on these countertops, smashing things down with great force, and dropping things from a decent height, then you are definitely going to damage your countertops.
So, it’s best that you take good care of them so that they can last long. You certainly don’t want to test the limits of slate, because no matter how strong and durable a material is, it’s not unbreakable, at the end of the day.
Sealing Is Not Necessary
If you want to go for a low-maintenance material, then slate will be the best choice you can go for. Slate doesn’t need to be sealed, like other natural stones such as granite and marble, because it’s naturally water and stain resistant.
Sealing countertops can be a huge hassle and the fact that slate doesn’t require any, is nothing less than a relief. You can easily work on these countertops, without having to worry about stains or moisture ruining the countertops because the possibility is quite slim.
Scratches Are The Norm
Slate might be stain resistant, but it sure isn’t scratch resistant. Slate is quite soft and smooth to the touch, so sharp things like knives and pointy objects can do a lot of damage on the surface. That’s not to say that you can’t ever use a knife directly on the surface of the countertop. You can probably get away with using a knife once or twice but if scratches start to form, then they can deepen over time and that can lead to more damage in the long run.
So, try to use cutting boards and plates when cutting vegetables, fruits, meats, and other edible items, because you don’t want to risk scratching the material. Moreover, maintain slate countertops for better lifespan.
Since slate is a metamorphic rock, it’s not a stranger to high heat and scorching hot temperatures. So, it’s a huge advantage that it can’t be affected by high heat and hot utensils and foods. The darker color of the countertop also helps in concealing any dark stains, but that won’t be necessary because slate is not easily shocked by high temperatures.
It can sustain temperatures up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, but if you’re still on the fence about dealing with hot pans and pots on slate countertops then you can certainly use trivets, for your peace of mind.
Not A Lot Of Options
Slate is a wonderful material, but that doesn’t mean that everyone can find something they like. Slate has a limited color range and the available colors are usually dark and medium, so there isn’t a lot of variety. Other natural stones like marble, quartz, limestone, and even granite have amazing color and design options to choose from, but slate is lacking in this department.
If you find something in the limited color range of slate, then that’s awesome, but if you can’t, then you probably need to look for other options like granite countertops. If you’re low on budget, you can consider faux granite countertops NC.
Porous materials can be a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, but luckily there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to slate countertops. This material is densely packed and compact and it doesn’t house any sort of bacteria and small organisms.
It also doesn’t lead to fungus and mildew formation, which can be a huge deal breaker for a lot of people and the main reason is that it doesn’t accumulate any water or moisture on its surface or inside the slab. So, if you’re looking for sanitary material, then slate is a good choice.
As mentioned previously, there are many variants of slate. Well, the quality can vary from slab to slab. There are thick and thin slabs, tiles, and even fabricated countertops meant for specific kitchens. The quality of slate will not be the same in all of these variants. Thicker slabs are more durable, but they’re also heavy and hard to install. Thinner slabs might be prone to chipping and flaking, which is the peeling away of the material from the topmost surface.
As for tiles, they are generally weak and can break and shatter pretty easily. So, you need to choose very wisely.
No Glossy Finish
If you’re a fan of glossy and shiny countertops, then slate will disappoint you. Slate usually has a semi-matte finish and it doesn’t reflect light off. Finishes are important for a lot of people and while most don’t mind the matte finish of slate, others can have a problem with it.
A major letdown is that you can’t even make slate glossy by polishing or sanding. It’s pretty much matte in appearance. So, if you’re someone who absolutely needs glossy countertops for your kitchen, slate might not be the right choice for you.
Choosing materials for kitchen countertops can be a hard and tedious task, but this guide will help you out in narrowing down slate as a potential material choice for kitchen countertops. They can be installed by granite countertop installers Raleigh NC as well.