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If you can remember back to your middle school science class, you may recall a bit about the material known as slate. Particularly, that it’s the result of a transformative chemical process of pre-existing rock. Interior design trends tend to tip towards stones like quartz and granite these days, however, if you’re looking for something eye-catching—something that stands out—you should consider slate.
Slate has been used as a construction material for ages, as far back as the Roman Empire in fact, where it was considered an easy material to work with because the ease with which it can be broken down into thin slabs. Nowadays in the US, slate is mostly used for flooring and flooring applications, however slate also sees use as a a countertop choice for several reasons.
1. Nearly waterproof
All stones have a characteristic porosity and absorption rate even though we don’t usually think of stone as being absorptive. The water absorption rate of slate is very low, around 0.4 percent. Making it ideal for surfaces in moist environments. To compare, marble can have an absorption rate as high as 2.0 percent. This also makes it a bit more stain resistance, but note we said a bit more as 0.4 is still greater than zero.
2. Durability without the weight
Slate isn’t as heavy as granite but that bears no weight on its durability. It’s able to withstand blows and strikes from other heavy objects (within reason). And as long as you keep the chisel and hammer away, slate can last for a very long time. This is probably why it’s a popular material for roofing and floors.
3. Low maintenance
After your professional countertop installation, maintenance of slate is pretty simple. Application of a sealant like MARBLELIFE® Stone Sealer is recommended to further protect this durable stone from any unintended discoloration or staining. Cleaning using a stone-safe cleaner—MARBLELIFE® Marble Cleaner Concentrate—will keep your slate in prime condition.
PRO TIP: Don’t wipe spills. Blot them. This will reduce the chance of spreading stains.
4. Distinctive decor
The dark veined texture which characterizes slate make it a great match for modern décor or a rustic look. In spaces with white walls, slate countertops provide a sharp contrast that make it stand out more than materials like marble or quartz.
Want to WOW them, or update your existing slate floors, consider having them leveled. MARBLELIFE is one of the very few companies with the expertise to work this textured surface without damaging the tile. The result is a rich colored flat floor. In fact, internally MARBLELIFE craftsman have rated a slate flatten floor as their favorite project across 30 years of work and experience. Rarely needed, but results are beautiful.
5. Heat resistance
Because of its chemical composition, slate is similar to soapstone or granite in being remarkably heat-resistant. Capable of withstanding more heat than many metals, it’s very unlikely that you’ll damage or discolor this stone with hot items.
As far as natural stone goes, granite and marble definitely occupy the higher price ranges. However, slate is a natural stone that can add elegance and style to your space without breaking the bank. Around $60-$70 per square foot (granite ranges from $50-$250+). It is the most under-appreciate of stone. Inexpensive and yet capable of providing color and patterns of a natural stone. Got an Old Coating?
In the 1970s it was popular to add gloss with the use of a urethane coating. Today the coating that may remain is likely chipped, yellow and flaking. What was once gorgeous may well be an eyesore. Before you tear out and replace give MARBLELIFE a call. These coatings can be removed and the slate either retreated, restored or leveled to provide a variety of like-new to better-than-new appearances. When in doubt, let your local MARBLELIFE tech give you a free-assessment of what they may be able to do for your tired floor. You may be amazed at what is possible.
For any other questions regarding slate countertops or any other stone maintenance and care, call your local MARBLELIFE® office and a knowledgeable stone craftsman will be happy to assist you.
MARBLELIFE Marble & Travertine Cleaner is an “InterCare” based cleaner and is a safe, easy to use and highly effective way to clean your natural stone surfaces.